Protein is a macronutrient that is essential in the process of building and maintaining muscle tissue. It's important to consume the right amount of protein every single day. Because of this, many athletes rely on protein powder to reach their required daily protein intake.

Despite its prevalence within the health community, many are unaware of the pros and cons associated with protein powder. Educating yourself on its benefits and risks will help you determine if protein powder suits your diet and lifestyle.  

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Malia Budd

Pro: Protein Is an Essential Part of a Healthy Diet 

tea, coffee
Malia Budd

It's really important to eat a healthy and balanced diet consisting of the three macronutrients: carbs, fats, and of course, protein. Protein is a building block in the human body. It helps build lean body tissue, which leads to healthy skin, shiny hair, and strong bones and muscles. Our bodies rely on protein in order to perform basic functions as well, like give us energy, absorb vitamins and nutrients, and support the central nervous system, the kidneys, the brain and muscles in functioning properly. 

#SpoonTip: It's recommended that you eat 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight per day. This will vary depending on your lifestyle.

Pro: It Helps You Build Muscle

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Katherine Baker

Many athletes choose to drink protein shakes because they are a convenient source of protein that can be consumed right after a workout. Exercise causes our muscle tissues to stretch and tear, and protein gives them the opportunity to grow back bigger and stronger.

#SpoonTip: Including protein powder in your diet doesn't always have to be boring. You can make pancakes, cookies, brownies, waffles, and bread with it, all while still reaping the benefits of protein. 

Con: It Lacks Micronutrients And Antioxidants

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Tiare Brown

Protein shakes may be quick and convenient, but they are a dietary supplement as opposed to a whole food. Protein powder can help you reach your recommended daily protein intake, but it will never provide you with the same micronutrients and antioxidants that protein-rich, whole foods will.

Relying solely on protein powder as your main source of protein can result in micronutrient deficiencies. It lacks phytonutrients, antioxidants, and dietary fibers, which are micronutrients that are vital for maintaining a healthy, functioning body.  

Con: It Can Have Unexpected Unhealthy Ingredients

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Allison Wojtowecz

This is where buying protein powder becomes a little tricky. There are several different types and brands of protein powders, including whey, casein, soy, rice, pea and hemp. The different powders come from different protein sources, and each type suits a different lifestyle and dietary restriction.

Once you have chosen the protein powder that works best for you, you must check the ingredients. Companies may use preservatives, fructose syrup, artificial sweeteners, and maltodextrin to flavor their powders. These additives may taste good, but they make the protein powders high in sugar, carbs and fat. 

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Kelli Haugh

There are both benefits and risks to consuming protein powder. Deciding whether or not you should use it can be difficult. If you choose to use it, make sure to educate yourself on the different types, brands, and ingredients associated with protein powders before deciding which one is best suited for your lifestyle.

We all have our own unique genetic makeup, so nutrition will never be black and white. When it comes to dietary supplements, always do your research before trying anything new and never be afraid to ask questions.