Ah yes, protein powder. It’s the first supplement people typically turn to when they decide they want to lose fat, build muscle or just improve the way their body looks or performs in any capicity.
Of course, once the decision to use protein powder has been made, a lot of basic questions commonly arise. For example:
- What does it do? What are its benefits?
- Does it really work?
- What’s the difference between whey and casein? Which is better?
- How and when should you take it?
- Are there any potential side effects?
- What brand is the best?
So, let’s answer all of those questions (and more) right now…
What Is Protein Powder?
As one of the most popular supplements on the planet, you probably know what protein powder is. And if you don’t, I’m sure you can guess.
It’s just… protein… in powdered form. Surprise!
You know how foods like chicken, fish, and beef are high in protein? Well, think of protein powder as a much quicker and much more convenient version of those types of foods.
You just mix some form of protein powder (whey, casein, etc.) with some form of liquid (water, milk, etc.) and taaadaaa… you instantly have yourself a drinkable high protein meal (aka a protein shake).
What Does Protein Powder Do? What Are Its Benefits?
Technically speaking, protein powder doesn’t actually DO anything other than provide you with a quick and convenient source of protein.
Where the benefits lie are with protein itself. Protein powder just so happens to provide that protein in a high quality, tasty, low calorie, convenient form.
Why is it so important, you ask? Well, here’s a quick recap:
- In terms of the overall health and function of your body, it plays a crucial role in the growth, repair or function of organs, bones, hair, skin, blood, and… oh yeah… muscle!
- In terms of building muscle, the human body just can NOT build (or even maintain) muscle if you don’t eat a sufficient amount of protein on a daily basis.
- In terms of losing fat, consuming enough protein each day is the dietary key to ensuring the weight you lose is fat and NOT muscle.
- Protein has also proven to be the most filling of the 3 macronutrients (more than carbs or fat), which means it plays the largest role in controlling your hunger and curbing your appetite.
- It also has the largest thermic effect, which means it requires more calories to be burned during digestion than any other macronutrient (again more than carbs or fat).
So basically, a sufficient daily protein intake is an absolute requirement for overall health, building muscle, maintaining muscle while losing fat, keeping you full and satisfied, and helping you naturally burn more calories each day.
Sounds pretty good, right?
Protein powder itself just serves as a super quick, convenient and easy way of ensuring you consistently eat your ideal amount of protein per day (which is the true key to actually getting the benefits listed above).
There’s no preparing or cooking. You take a scoop, pour in some type of liquid, mix for a few seconds (no blender needed) and drink.
In less than a minute you’ll have a low calorie, muscle building, muscle protecting, hunger preventing serving of protein with no real work, time or effort involved.
And besides just making it easier for you to consume the right amount of protein each day, there are certain times when protein powder may have some advantage over a normal high protein food. I’m of course referring to the PRE and/or POST workout meals.
Does It Really Work?
Yes. Protein “works” for various reasons, and protein powder supplies it. So yes, it definitely works.
Honestly, it’s kind of like asking if chicken works. Pretty silly, don’t you think?
However, if you’re asking if protein powder will do anything beyond what I’ve explained, or if it has some kind of magical benefits or super powered effects like many supplement companies like to claim… then the answer is a huge NO. That’s all bullshit 100% of the time.
Protein powder doesn’t cause fat loss or muscle growth or anything similar. It literally won’t do anything other than provide a quick and convenient source of protein. Everything else is always bullshit.
Is Protein Powder Safe? Are There Any Side Effects?
For the typical healthy adult, it’s perfectly safe.
Protein powder is definitely more of a food than it is a supplement. So again, it’s kind of like asking if chicken or egg whites were safe or had any side effects. They don’t and protein powder doesn’t either.
As long as you don’t greatly exceed your ideal amount of protein per day, and you have no preexisting health issues (in which case you should always check with your doctor before making any changes to your diet or workout), then you really have nothing to worry about.
Protein powder is probably the safest supplement there is.