The fitness supplement industry easily turns over in billions of pounds a year, and protein powders bring in their fair share of that income. There's always a lot of debates about protein shakes whether they build lean muscle and/or lose weight, but do you really need a protein supplement in order to make fitness gains?
Do you need the extra protein?
You are likely already getting enough (or even excess amounts) of protein from your regular diet if you eat regular meals and snacks throughout the day. Massive amounts of excess protein don't just get passed through the system without repercussions. Unused protein cycles through the blood and ultimately breaks down into urea and acidic by-products, which can put strain on your kidneys as they filter through and likely trigger bone to release calcium.
The recommended daily intake for adults varies anywhere from 0.5 - 1.5 grams per pound of bodyweight per day. The low end of that range is for sedentary individuals, while the top end is meant only for elite level athletes who train hard for a living, hours each day.
Eating real foods will give your body what it needs to be healthy, whenever possible.
What's in my protein powder?
If after all you decide that you can’t raise your protein intake with whole foods, you want to be very careful about the supplement that you choose. Critically read the list of ingredients and make sure that there are no fake sweeteners in the one you buy.
Sources of Protein
It's worth remembering that meat isn't the only source of protein; vegetables, quinoa, beans, tofu and nuts are a few examples. When it comes to animal products, it's ideal to get it from non-commercial farms who don't feed their animals foods contradictory to their natural diets, and which aren't pumped full of antibiotics to counteract the repercussions of poor ideal living conditions.
100 Grams of Chicken: 21 grams protein
100 Grams of Broccoli: 2.8 grams of protein; for example, you would need to eat 682g (7.5 cups) of broccoli to get the the same amount of protein from 100 g of chicken
185 Grams of Cooked Quinoa: 8g of protein
100 Grams of Avocado: 2 grams
100 Grams of Eggs (roughly 2 large eggs): 13g
100 Grams of Tofu: 8g
100 Grams of Salmon: 20 grams
Don't assume that protein "builds muscle". Lifting weights builds muscle, HIIT builds muscle, hard work and commitment build muscle - protein, while part of the process, does not magically build muscle without your full blown effort behind it. So unless you’re competing as a fruitarian body builder, most likely you do not need extra supplementation