The Great Debate

Bodybuilders and other athletes alike have swore by the use of various form of protein powders as both a way to help your body recover from intense workouts and as a way to build lean muscle. However, there have been people who say that protein supplements do not help, or actually hinder the body in the long run. Here we will run through a few arguments for both sides of the debate.


The debate about the effectiveness of these supplements has a very wide range. Someone who is overweight and doesn't move from the chair very often is going to have very different needs than someone who is an active, athletic person. There are also many different types of protein powders available on the market today. For the purposes of this article, we will assume and active and athletic person. We will also assume we are talking about protein powders in general, not the pros and cons of specific types powders.

What's Good?

To start with the obvious our body absolutely needs protein. It is a macronutrient. Every cell in our body needs protein to function properly. In total there are 21 amino acids, however, only nine are essential to get in our diet. The rest of the amino acids can be produced by your body. Taking protein powders will get you these essential amino acids and many of the non-essential ones as well.

Taking protein after your workouts can help you recover more quickly. You may have heard or seen the term BCAA's before. BCAA stands for branch-chain amino acids. These are essential to helping your body recover, especially when taken directly after your workout.

Protein powders often have many other nutritional benefits such as boosting your immune system or providing you with other essential vitamins and minerals, depending on brand and type.

Finally, though many people use protein to help them bulk up, powders can be used to help aid weight loss. This is because protein helps your body feel fuller, and also because your body uses up many calories when it processes the amino acids.

The Not-So-Good

The first negative thing that comes to mind with these supplements is artificial. They're processed, regardless of kind, though some are better than others. Since protein doesn't naturally taste good, many products use much added sugar or even worse artificial sweeteners such aspartame or sucralose.

Our body can only digest and use so much of the amino acids. This means that if we are taking in a lot, there is a good chance much of it is being wasted. Most people get enough protein throughout the day in their normal diet. If you aren't very active or trying to gain weight, protein powders can be a waste of money.


For people who are not very active, protein powders are probably unnecessary and wasteful. People who have strict workout routines are much more likely to benefit from the extra protein powders enable people to take in. However, no matter who is taking the supplement, it is important to know what ingredients are in the product you are taking so you can make an educated decision on what is best for you!