Protein Shake Myths and Misconceptions

Towards these recent years, protein shakes and other nutritional drinks have increasingly become favorite choices among people who want to lose weight quickly and safely. Just what is so attractive about these health drinks? Despite their high prices, what makes them so appealing for people?

First off, protein shakes are seen as a convenient way of boosting the nutritional consumption of athletes, particularly those working on their endurance, patients who have undergone weight loss surgery, those who are senior citizens, as well as patients with cancer or many other conditions. This is because these shakes help boost the levels of protein needed by that person undergoing certain medical procedures. The average person typically would not need that added boost, and might actually be harmful when taken for the long term.

So what’s wrong with the way that people perceive protein shakes? The following are common myths and misconceptions surrounding the fad that has crept up on us:

1. Taking in extra protein means more muscles, which translate to more calories burned. In terms of weight loss programs, it is viewed as a great way to increase protein intake without the added burden of fats and other weight-affecting calories from eating meat. For those who want to lose weight, substituting protein shakes for meat might seem to make them lose weight, but in that case, it is not an issue of the protein intake but rather a switch of the protein source. Some people actually are not aware of their actual intake of meats, and might write it off as protein shakes being more effective in turning their fats into muscles. What really happened might be that, with protein shakes, they wind up sticking to that particular serving instead of stuffing themselves with protein, and not to mention fats and sugars. But remember that proteins themselves are not the main contributor to muscle build-up, as it should be tied up with the necessary exercise to break down muscles and build them up again over a period of time.

2. Protein shakes are sometimes misperceived as being needed for losing weight. Manufacturers sometimes have the tendency to claim that their product is the best way to lose weight, but doctors argue that no product is a magic solution for weight problems. The reason why people lose weight with them is that when they substitute a meal with them, they wind up consuming a fixed number of calories, instead of sometimes accidentally having an extra serving of roast beef. Bear in mind, though, that these shakes still contain calories, some higher than others, so using them alongside regular eating habits, or in higher numbers of servings than the recommended, will actually still cause you to gain weight.

3. Some advertising pushes protein shakes as a safe and wholesome way to lose weight. But do you know that these products are actually not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration? The absence of this regulation means that you have absolutely no guarantee of the safety of the product you are considering. Interestingly, in July 2010, Consumer Reports magazine conducted a laboratory test was of 15 brands of protein shakes, and found that all of them contained heavy metals in their ingredients, such as lead, arsenic, mercury, and cadmium. Also, the MayoClinic warns against consuming too much protein on a daily basis, as this puts unnecessary stress on the body to manage the byproducts of digesting protein. Among the risk for the added pressure is liver damage. Of course, this is more true for those who are not serious athletes anyway; bodybuilding athletes tend to be the exception, as in their case, the protein will naturally be used up for building up muscle instead of losing them as they work out regularly.

While there may be some parties that contest these warnings for protein shakes, it is always better to be safe than sorry. Of course, if you only intend to use protein shakes for a temporary weight loss program, it might be a good idea, as it can help you regulate your appetite over a period of time. The greater care is needed for those who have plans of using protein shakes for a long period of time, as most of the health warnings involve long-term and high quantities of use.