Do protein drinks really help?

Do protein drinks really help?

For optimal growth, our bodies must receive 20 different amino acids, which is what protein is made of. These will help to achieve a healthy body by building up your muscles, hair and nail, blood supply, skin and the internal organs as well. Our bodies are equipped to produce 12 of these amino acids naturally in the body and are called non-essential amino acids. The remaining eight amino acids come from the foods that are eaten and are called essential amino acids because the body does not produce them. In a well-balanced diet we should receive the required amount of amino acids that are needed. In fact, we most likely receive more than is needed. Both essential and non-essential amino acids are needed for tissue protein synthesis.


In the quest for building muscle mass, many people, most often those in the sports field, turn to protein drinks as a means to achieve a greater amount of protein in the body to build muscle. Excessive exercising of the body can help to decrease the protein in your muscles and increase the need to replace that protein in order to repair it. This is solved naturally by taking in more calories from food that your body will demand due to the increased exercise. All of this high protein intake will only lead to excessive fat, which increases your risk factors for heart disease and other problematic health conditions.


Do protein drinks really help us then? Most physicians would answer negatively regarding protein drinks based upon the above information. Instead, the best advice that many physicians would agree upon is that exercise and a well-balanced diet is your optimal means for achieving increased muscle mass and bone strength.


Furthermore, the FDA does not have to approve the safety or promises regarding protein drinks in order for it to be sold. The use of these supplements over a lengthy period has also not be tested and side effects or long term health concerns have not been fully evaluated. Safety concerns are somewhat of a mystery. Some reports of ingesting protein drinks are linked to rapid aging. Other health issues from too much protein can help to increase your risk factors for kidney stones in addition to the other health issues already discussed.


It is ultimately your choice in deciding whether or not protein drinks will help you in your goal of healthy living. However, there are several professional organizations that frown upon this method of building your muscle mass and the unnecessary indulgence of something that is already in your body already.


If you think that you might want to incorporate protein drinks into your diet you should always check with your primary care physician first and discuss the pros and cons regarding this decision. He or she can help you to decide if protein drinks are the correct choice of supplement for your body and situation.
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Do I need Protein Drinks if I am Working Out?
MayoClinic: WeightLoss


Consumer Reports: Protein Drinks: What our Tests Found
USA Today: Protein Pulls Ahead on the Post Workout Menu
Journal of Applied Physiology: PostExercise Protein Supplementation Improves Health and Muscle
US Dairy Export Council: Proteins