How Do Protein Powders Work? Benefits and Nutritional Effects — The Sporting Blog

Protein is incredibly significant for health. It’s an essential macronutrient that aids in developing muscle, restoring tissue, and producing enzymes and hormones.

With this in mind, the food industry has created protein supplements such as powders to help global consumers meet their necessary daily intake. With their promising benefits, it’s no wonder why protein powders have been receiving endless praise over the recent years.

Protein Powders: An Introduction

Protein powders come in various kinds. The three common ones are whey, soy, and casein protein. Whey protein, a milk-based protein, is typically utilised because it’s fast-absorbing and is regarded as a complete protein which harbours the nine essential amino acids. These amino acids can immediately be consumed by your body.

Moreover, protein powders are now readily available in pre-mixed, ready-to-drink supplements in various markets and online stores. This can become an advantage when you don’t have access to high-quality protein sources or are unable to attain your daily protein needs solely through meals.

Amidst all of these, it’s still crucial to educate yourself regarding how protein powders work. Curious enough?  Keep on reading.

1. Helps Build Muscle

Protein powders have become a staple in the health regimens of athletes and fitness enthusiasts. It’s a crucial part in their diet and key to building and preserving body tissues which includes muscles.

Athletes and weight lifters may need to exceed their general protein intake. Research shows that athletes with intense training programs may benefit from acquiring approximately twice the daily recommended intake of protein, ranging from 1.4 to 2.0 g per kg of body weight.

Gladly, protein powders are now available in different forms such as shakes, bars, liquids, and the like. Several scoops of protein powder can actually make a difference in muscle development.

Additionally, for vegans or certain people who cannot tolerate whey protein, plant-based options are the way to go. Supplements can become convenient alternatives to this problem. Protein powders have been claimed to stimulate muscle development similarly to whey protein.

To note, the best vegan protein powders are the ones which are of high quality and are reasonably priced. Thankfully, these can be purchased both via physical and online health stores.

2. Speed Up Post-Workout Recovery

Apart from its contribution to muscle growth, protein can help restore damaged muscles and tissues due to intense workout or training.

Studies claim that consuming protein supplements after exercise can minimise muscle damage and enhance both muscle performance and muscle protein synthesis. This protein is broken down into amino acids which then become used by your muscles after a strength workout.

For this reason, athletes usually use protein powders to speed up healing from post-workout soreness and muscle fatigue. In addition to your protein shake, you may also incorporate protein-rich meals unto your diet. You can read on the best types of protein for post-workout consumption to learn more about this.

Apart from its restoring properties, increased protein intake can provide your muscles with more time to rebuild and grow faster.

3. Boosts Your Metabolism

Eating more protein can speed up your metabolic rate. Protein promotes thermic effect of food (TEF). According to Helen West, RD, this phenomenon increases your metabolic rate by 15–30%, compared with 5–10% for carbs and 0–3% for fats. 

Metabolism refers to all the chemical reactions which keep your body functioning optimally. On the other hand, metabolic rate is defined as the number of calories you burn.

Moreover, a high-protein diet, particularly when combined with strength training, can speed up your metabolism because muscle burns more calories than fat. To facilitate this, protein powders add more protein to your diet.

4. Increase Feelings of Fullness

Consuming protein-rich food and taking supplements may help you feel fuller for lengthy periods. Fullness may help you regulate portion sizes and promotes less snacking or overeating. All of these may consequently help you maintain a healthy weight.

Albert Matheny, M.S., R.D., C.S.C.S., of SoHo Strength Lab and Promix Nutrition reported that a protein snack such as a protein shake can keep you satiated, which, consequently, may help you control hunger pangs. It may also help you manage cravings for unhealthy snacks or stop the habit of overeating when you finally have your next meal.

5. Help Shed Body Fat

Gavin Van De Walle, MS, RD, reported that a review of nine studies claimed that overweight or obese people who used whey protein supplements have shed more weight and acquired more muscle mass than those who didn’t.

In addition, the same review manifested that whey protein users encountered notable improvements in blood pressure, blood sugar control, and cholesterol levels. These weight loss benefits are due to whey protein’s ability to decrease appetite and increase the feelings of fullness throughout the day.

A Gentle Reminder

Dietary supplements are meant to aid you complete or improve your current diet. Adam M. Gonzalez, Ph.D., C.S.C.S., assistant professor in the Department of Health Professions at Hofstra University stated that the required amount of protein for each individual relies on their biology, lifestyle, and goals.

Likewise, there is a recommended daily protein intake for people in varying age groups. It was reported that the recommended daily intake of protein for people aged 19 years and over is 46g for women and 56g for men.

Additionally, excessive protein may be detrimental to your kidneys as this may contribute to dehydration. To avert this, ensure that you initially consume protein food from your diet prior to taking any supplements. Likewise, know your required daily protein intake to avoid overconsumption.

To note, each individual responds to protein supplements differently. Do not figure this out alone, particularly if you have pre-existing medical conditions. When in doubt, you should communicate with a healthcare provider who can help you curate your diet plan.


Because of the wide options to choose from, protein powders have become a go-to supplement by many fitness enthusiasts, athletes, and the like. Amidst their promising effects, it’s best to know your nutritional needs and consult a nutritionist before you start incorporating these into your regimen.

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