Protein shakes benefit and drawbacks

This article explains everything you need to know about protein shakes benefits and drawbacks



Protein is one of the building blocks of bone, muscle, and skin. Our body needs it to produce hormones, enzymes, and other chemicals.

Aim to consume 46 grams of protein for women and 56 grams for men per day, which is the RDA. For instance:

  • A breakfast egg (6 grams)
  • At lunch, 6 ounces of plain Greek yogurt (18 grams)
  • A serving of nuts as a snack (4–7 grams)
  • For dinner, have a cup of milk (8 grams) and 2 ounces of cooked chicken (14 grams).


High-quality protein can be added to your diet through protein drinks, which are often made from milk, soy, or eggs. However, despite how simple they are to use, they can be harmful to your health. How well you handle them will depend on your unique physiology, but even if you don’t have any issues with that, protein shakes can be a source of toxicity that could result in health issues. Additionally, these supplements may have an effect on your general nutritional health.


Weight Loss

Getting adequate protein may help to promote a healthy metabolism and decrease hunger. You could possibly drop body fat without losing muscle if you do this. Protein smoothies are a simple method to increase your protein intake, well eating protein-rich foods and taking supplements may help people feel fuller for longer. Feeling full tends to result in smaller portion sizes and less frequent snacking, which can help a person maintain a healthy weight or lose weight if necessary.

A 2017 review reported that supplementing with whey protein might reduce body weight and total fat mass in people who are overweight or obese.


Muscle growth

Protein is necessary for the growth of muscles. Protein shakes are frequently consumed by athletes and gym goers since they are thought to aid with post-strength training bodybuilding.

The use of protein supplements for this purpose is supported by a 2018 analysis of 49 trials. In healthy adults who engage in resistance exercise training, such as lifting weights, evidence suggests that protein supplements dramatically increase muscle size and strength.

However, due to older adults’ increased protein requirements compared to younger adults, the effectiveness may decline with age.


Some of the known drawbacks of protein shakes



Food allergies arise when your body’s immune system overreacts to a particular protein. Food allergies can last into adulthood or even start when a person is an adult, despite the fact that they are more common in infants and children.

Protein drinks combining cow’s milk, soy protein, and eggs can result in vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, and shock in people who are allergic to these substances.

Gastrointestinal upset

Lactose, a milk sugar, can be present in varying amounts in protein shakes prepared from milk. Your intestinal tract produces too little, or even no, of the digestive enzyme lactase if you have lactose maldigestion or are entirely lactose intolerant. You cannot break down lactose if there is not enough of this enzyme. Instead, the sugar passes through your digestive system undigested, where it might be consumed by gut bacteria and cause gas production. Additional side effects of taking protein shakes with lactose include bloating, diarrhea, and stomach pain.


Organ Damage

Protein shakes are convenient to drink, which makes it simple to ingest more of this nutrient than is required. A high-protein diet may not have a negative impact on the health of your organs if you are active and in good health. However, eating too much protein may make your kidney disease worse if you already have it or are at risk for it since your kidneys will have to work harder to process the extra nitrogen produced during protein metabolism.

Heavy Metals

Protein shakes are not subject to the same FDA regulations as pharmaceutical goods because they are considered food supplements. Therefore, producers might not check supplements for toxins or might not report the presence of dangerous chemicals in their goods. Independent testing facilities have shown lead, cadmium, and arsenic contamination in numerous protein drinks. Over time, these metals may build up in your tissues and cause persistent poisoning.


The Clean Label Project, a nonprofit organization, published a report about chemicals in protein powders earlier this year. Numerous protein powders were discovered to include heavy metals (lead, arsenic, cadmium, and mercury), the plasticizer bisphenol-A (BPA), pesticides, or other pollutants linked to cancer and other illnesses after researchers tested 134 items for 130 different types of toxins. There found some toxic substances in noticeable amounts. One protein powder, for instance, has 25 times the permitted level of BPA.

How is it possible that protein powder has so many impurities?

The Clean Label Project identifies toxic substances in soil or manufacturing practices (absorbed by plants that are made into protein powders).

Not all of the protein powders examined contained high concentrations of toxins. The outcomes are displayed on the Clean Label Project website (



Even though taking too much dietary protein—such as that found in protein shakes—does not hurt your kidneys, it can make you put on weight. Any extra amino acids you consume are either burned as fuel or stored as fat because your body cannot store them. Your risk of being overweight or obese rises if the excess protein you consume pushes you above your daily calorie needs.



If you rely too heavily on protein shakes, you can be leaving out other healthy elements from your diet. For instance, protein from dietary sources can also give you iron, calcium, heart-healthy fats, and vitamin B-12 that pills might not have. If you substitute protein shakes for whole foods like fruits, veggies, and whole grains that are rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytochemicals, you may lose weight.



Key Points :

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A review article by

Dr Bhavana Kalvala

(Clinical Research Director @ IEEARC Tech)

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