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Protein Powder Dos & Don'ts

By Joseph Eitel

Protein powder offers a convenient and easy way to supply your body with high-quality protein. Plus, it’s generally recognized as safe when consumed in moderation and within your total daily protein needs. However, to benefit from protein powder, it’s important to know the “do’s and don’ts” associated with protein supplementation.


Research various types of protein powders so you’re choosing one that’s ideal for you. For instance, vegans would not want to choose whey or casein powders, since these are derived from milk. Soy protein powder would be a better choice in this case. Don’t choose a particular protein powder because of its packaging or “promises” made on a TV commercial. These claims are often exaggerated or are atypical for most users.


Consume the correct amount of protein as directed by the manufacturer and your doctor. Too much protein in your diet can lead to unwanted weight gain, kidney problems and increased cholesterol, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The University of California Los Angeles reports that the human body can absorb and utilize a maximum of 0.91 g of protein per pound of body weight per day. Don’t let your protein powder intake put you over this maximum limit. At the very least, it will be a waste of money since the extra protein will either be stored as body fat or excreted from the body. McKinley Health Center recommends 20 g to 25 g of protein powder per day for the average active adult.


Take protein powder supplements if you’re a healthy, physically active adult looking to improve your overall body composition, preserve lean muscle mass and potentially boost your immune system function. This assumes you work out regularly, including at least two resistance training sessions per week.

If you’re a child, adolescent or teenager, don’t take protein supplements because it may cause younger people to eat fewer whole foods that are rich in vitamins and nutrients necessary for growth and development.

Before Supplementation

Visit your doctor or dietitian to make sure protein supplements are right for you. According to the CDC, most Americans already consume enough protein in their diet, so supplements are not even necessary.

Never consume protein powder on an irregular basis or without first planning it out with your doctor or dietitian. You will benefit most from protein powder if you supply your muscles with a steady stream of amino acids – the building blocks of protein – by consuming protein powder in small amounts on a regular basis. For example, consume a 10 g protein shake in the morning and a 10 g shake in the afternoon or evening.

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