Do we really need to use protein shakes?

ICAN PT is going against the grain and claiming protein science is nothing but propaganda.

The smell of protein powder is commonplace in most personal training studios, gyms and Bootcamp style workouts. but our ICAN PT  trainers believes this is all based on bogus science.

from our experience People are stuffing themselves with protein shakes needlessly.

“We believe protein shakes are unnecessary for about 90% of people,” “The only people who might benefit from them are vegans who aren’t being so careful with their diets — so it’s an easy way to get some protein — or elite athletes who are training twice a day six days a week.”

A bold claim, but an interesting one. Does the average person actually need a protein shake to bulk up? 


No. But it does make the process more convenient.

An untrained person needs, on average, as little as 60-75kg of protein. This is easily achieved through whole foods alone, unless you're a particularly picky eater.  However, the average man who exercises three times a week needs around 1.2g – 2g per kilo of bodyweight to pack on muscle. This is where things get interesting. 

Your body can only take on up to 35g of protein in a single sitting, which means tanking a shake too close to mealtimes means the body has no need for all that protein. It'll turn into glucose and get stored as fat, according to Nutritional Sciences: From Fundamentals to Food. Even if you spread this mammoth intake throughout the day, if you're stuffing your face with more than 2g per kilo of bodyweight, it's largely pointless and could be dangerous. 

(Related: the 7 most common protein shake mistakes)

Theoretically, you can get enough protein with only whole foods and no supps, if you're having five high-protein meals a day. If you’re the UK average weight of 83kgs and you’re looking to put on serious muscle, you’ll need between 100g to 160g of protein per day to really do the trick. Given that we can only absorb 35g per mealtime at max, a shake after your morning session is often more convenient than a high-protein second breakfast at work.

But remember, whole foods are far better as they contain more nutrients and minerals than protein powders. Whenever you can, always opt for real foods.