Alright, hear us out: protein shakes should never replace real food. Yep, we're talking about those sweet supplemental drinks that are often advertised as the ultimate post-workout nutrition. With promises to help you lose weight fast or bulk up quickly as main selling points, it's easy to see why people add these to their carts. Plus, all those protein shake ads make it look so damn easy. Nothing quite as simple as a 3-step "scoop, shake, and swig" right?
But here's the catch. While drinking protein shakes are a convenient way to add some protein to your diet, they can come with a ton of negative side effects. Like any supplements, protein shakes contain ingredients that might cause trouble in the long term, especially when consumed in large amounts. But don't go worrying just yet, because we've done our research. Skip ahead for a yummy list of healthy post gym snacks you can have as protein shake alternatives, or drop that loaded scoop read on to learn about some problems that come with drinking protein shakes.
What happens if I drink a lot of protein shakes?
While protein shakes could add some nutrition to your diet, regularly exceeding your maximum daily protein needs can actually do more harm than good. And if you are drinking protein shakes as meal alternatives, you could be missing out on a lot of key nutrients, minerals, fats, fibre, antioxidants, and more that your body needs to function well.
When you get the tell-tale acne, dehydration, bloating, nausea, headache, and a loss of appetite since starting to bulk-drink protein shakes, talk to your doctor to check if it's the protein powder causing this. Also, be sure to check the ingredient and nutritional information list on the back of the protein powder packaging to see how much added sugar and extra calories are being unnecessarily added to your diet.
You might find that your regular protein intake from whole foods already meets your body's needs, so adding protein shakes is just overloading your kidneys. As your body cannot store protein, keep overloading yourself and will become at risk of gaining excess weight, developing kidney stones, osteoporosis, high blood cholesterol, heart diseases, GI issues, and more.
Also keep in mind that if you already have any intolerances or allergies, certain artificial ingredients in protein powders can trigger a reaction. The best thing to do is think about how much protein you already have in your normal diet before throwing protein powder in the mix. You can track this with an app, manually, or seek out professional advice.
In 2018, the non-profit Clean Label Project group released a thorough report about the toxins they found in protein powders. After screening 134 products, they found that many protein powders are loaded with heavy metals like arsenic, lead, mercury, and cadmium, as well as pesticides and cancer-causing contaminants. Many nasties can still be found in protein powders that are advertised as "clean" or "natural". Not cool, mate. In short, most protein shakes are not quite the healthy post gym snack that they're made out to be. So if you're looking for some tasty protein shake alternatives, check out the list below.
Healthy post-gym snacks - protein shake alternatives
Health Direct states that most Aussies already eat enough protein everyday. They also offer general protein serving suggestions based on different body types. When finding out the amount of protein your gym-going body needs, you have to take into account your personal body type energy needs, choice of exercise, lifestyle, and existing diet. Below are some protein rich snacks that can offer more muscle repair, recovery, and building benefits than a generic protein shake.
Nut butter: Almond butter, peanut butter, and similar spreads are full of protein, healthy fats, and essential nutrients. Just keep an eye out ones that don't contain excess salt and sugars. Try having it in nut bars, energy balls, or smoothies.
- Greek yoghurt: Yoghurt packs not only protein, but also probiotics, calcium, vitamin B12, and more. If you don't have much time to do food prep, use yoghurt in a quick smoothie or in a bowl of granola for good, clean energy until the next meal.
- Red meat: Our Aussie beef jerky, droewors, and snap sticks are protein rich meat snacks that pack a punch. These savoury treats are super convenient to carry in your gym bag and offer a range of essential nutrients besides protein. Check out our blogs if you're wondering "is beef jerky healthy?" and for any other jerky-related questions you may have, or drop by one of our kiosks to have a taste!
- Seafood: Fish and other seafood are high in omega-3's, protein, and vitamins and minerals. A convenient post workout seafood snack that you can easily transport is a tin of tuna or a sushi roll.
- Legumes: Roasted chickpeas give you the satisfaction of a crunchy, savoury snack and a ton of protein. If you're short on time, grab a few tins or packs of these superfoods for the pantry during your grocery runs.
- Cheese: Can't go wrong with some cheese and crackers. Cottage cheese, Swiss, goat, parmesan, and mozzarella are a few kinds of cheese that offer a load of protein. You'll be glad to know that you're also getting the benefit of many essential nutrients while snacking on that cheesy toastie.
- Chia: Chia has risen in popularity over the years largely due to its many health benefits. These omega-3, protein, and fibre rich seeds are perfect for adding to smoothies, salads, and in an energy-boosting pre-workout pudding.
Swap out the shake
If you are still holding on tight to that protein shake, check out our article that answers the common question "is protein after a workout necessary?". Because when you do, you might just learn that you don't actually have to drink the same simple protein shakes forever. As we've briefly talked about here, there are a ton of post-workout snacks that are a better energy source, more nutritious, and tastier than your usual shake.
Plus, with a good understanding of your body's nutritional needs and of protein-rich food sources, you'll soon be eating your way to becoming a lean, mean fighting machine.But before you go, don’t forget to check out our mouthwatering range of Aussie beef jerky to find your new ultimate post gym snack. You’ll be coming back before you know it!