Protein drinks, should I use them?

Many teens want to build muscle and bulk up, and most think protein drinks are the way to do it. But, are protein drinks a good idea? The answer is really dependant on who you are, what your goals are, and what protein drinks you are drinking. The following are some things you should consider:

  1. The quality of the protein, and other ingredients.  Many protein drinks offer only low quality proteins which are not going to benefit you as much as hurt you. In addition, several protein drinks on the market are full of sugars and fats that are going to hurt you as much as the protein helps you. If you are needing extra protein, don’t add it in ways that will also add a lot of artificial ingredients, fat and sugars to your diet as well, as these have both short and long term consequences that are negative. It leads to heart disease, an overworked immune system, and poor blood tests. So, when choosing your protein drinks, look for ones that offer high quality protein, low sugar, or no sugar, and as natural of ingredients as possible.
  2. Your alternative options, or home made protein drinks and shakes. Unless you are really trying to bulk up, or are avoiding meats, protein drinks may be unnecessary. Other options would be to simply add an extra serving of meat, or increasing your intake of protein rich vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, etc. Or, instead of drinking processed and refined protein drinks, consider making your own. You can buy a jog of protein powder, and make smoothies using milk, fresh or frozen berries, a few scoops of protein powder and even natural peanut butter (the no sugar added kind) for that extra protein and extra flavor. They are yummy, easy to make, usually less expensive, and far better for you because you know what all the ingredients are.
  3. What are your goals? Protein drinks are a pretty good option if you are trying to bulk up fast, as they add a great deal of calories with out a lot of bulk in your stomach. This means that you can increase your caloric intake by 1000-2000 calories without feeling overly full, and without using junk food, pizza, greasy fries, etc. to do it. If you want to build muscle, but want to stay slim and lean at the same time, protein drinks may not be your best option. Often natural proteins and plenty of exercise is a better option. If you are just worried that you are not getting enough protein in your diet, it is best to consult your physician or a dietician rather than use protein powders and drinks to make up your lack of protein in your diet. Often you will be lacking other things as well that a protein drink may not supply.

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