Protein Powder vs. Real Food – Who’s the Winner?
In the spinning wheel of life, it just feels so convenient to grab a protein shaker and get the important nutrients quickly and easily. Protein has become a big thing, and shakes now can be found everywhere – from your local gym to your favorite Instagram influencers’ account. Protein is, undoubtedly, an essential nutrient everybody needs for building muscles, stabilizing metabolism and balancing hormone level, so does it really matter how you get it – may it be a protein powder or food? Let’s take a closer look at both options, so you can find what suits you best.
Smooth move: what are protein shakes?
Before comparing protein shakes vs food – we all know what food is, but what the notorious powder is made of?
They come in different forms and shapes – both from plant-based and dairy-based origin. The most popular sources are whey and soy. For those who don’t stick to a plant-based diet, whey is by far the winner. It is considered a complete protein (it has all the essential amino acids necessary for your nutrition) and it’s low in fat. Vegan folks might prefer soy or other plant-based protein.
Shakes are also packed up with many vitamins and minerals necessary for your body. In one serving you usually get about 20-30 grams of protein, which equals to half of the amount you need on everyday basis, and they are so easy to grab and consume.
Bumpy ride to nutrition
Does all that’s been said make shakes a perfect protein supplement in comparison to whole food? As it turns out, not really. Despite the many indisputable benefits that shakes have, there are still some things they can’t provide.
Whole food contains many nutrients, anti-oxidants and fiber that your body needs, so in our ‘protein shake vs food’ challenge food definitely gets a score here. Real protein-based foods also have a decent amount of natural fats – something that shakes lack. Even if you’re planning to lose weight, the combination of fat and protein is crucial for your health.
Real products also cause ‘specific dynamic action’ (SDA) or, otherwise called, a ‘thermic effect’. Whole food is usually made of chunks and pieces – it requires digestion, and your body burns calories while processing it. So, choosing between protein shakes or food, it is still preferable to find most of your protein in the whole food sources.
Necessity or treat?
If your plan is to gain more muscle, the shakes can definitely work for your advantage. However, between protein powder vs real food, no need to choose only one winner. The healthy option is to still include enough protein-based products in your everyday diet and do not opt them out completely. Shakes can be a great lift, but don’t make them your one and only option
Why drinking it?
Despite all of the meal prep and nutrition advice around us, it is still hard to find the time to cook regularly, and preparing meals accordingly to your fitness goals can be even harder. So here are a few perks shakes have:
It is quickly prepared, consumed and absorbed – takes only around 40 minutes to reach the muscles, whilst solid products need way more. So, if after a good workout you face a choice between protein powder or a meat steak, the first option is actually more convenient.
No time to cook a thoroughly planned nutritious meal? Just grab a shaker and get on with your daily routine! You’ll get your protein boost, combined with minerals and vitamins. This is definitely better than a milkshake in a drive-through, just don’t forget to treat yourself with some fish steak or tofu when you have the time.
With all the good qualities shakes have, they also taste good! Chocolate, vanilla, banana, coconut – you can find the option even for the most sophisticated taste. However, most of its goodness comes from the artificial sweeteners – so don’t get too accustomed.
Both shakes and whole foods have their benefits and disadvantages. Finding a combination of both is the best option for your health. Use a protein drink after your workout or when you’re in a rush. However, to help your body function well, stick to the real meals as your general protein source.