Photo Credit: rbbaird (flickr.com)
History tends to repeat itself. Decades ago, steroids were the forefront of bodybuilding. Every bodybuilder used it, even Governor Arnold admitted to using it at some point. When it became illegal to carry or use steroids without a prescription, people started looking for other ways to building muscle quickly.
This came in the form of protein powders, which indirectly influences bodybuilding through repairing and developing muscles at a rapid rate, allowing the bodybuilder to put more work into building mass. To put it simply, it provides a benefit in physical activity. Today, protein powders have little to no side effects when used correctly and carefully, but it is still under fire from critics who believe it as the second coming of steroids.
There are a lot of factors why this is so. First, protein powders aren’t tested by the FDA. This leaves the protein product manufacturers freedom to put whatever they want on the label, whether they’re accurate or not. They can also freely make claims to the effectiveness of their product.
This misinformation is often the root of anti-protein stances. But if you really look at it, most of the anti-protein powder people receive their information from hearsays and secondhand stories. Not that it’s any different for the pro-protein stance.
For instance, a lot of bodybuilders who use protein powders attribute their results to the products. What they usually fail to mention is that they know exactly what protein powders are capable and incapable of. They also know how to use it to maximize effectiveness.
If you’ve seen protein supplements that advertise themselves as “100% protein” or something similar, these bodybuilders themselves actually careful enough to not believe the hype. If you ask them why, they’ll tell you to look at the label and you’ll see that there are a lot of other ingredients to make the protein powder. Simply put, it’s not 100% protein at the slightest. Manufacturers simply tend to exaggerate their adverts to boost sales.
A similar, yet more serious, topic that reflects this back-and-forth debate is the legalization of marijuana. Anti-weed factions often say it is a gateway drug, but then you see a lot of stoners who have not used any other drug.
This stalemate will go on for a long time. But is the effectiveness of protein shakes fact or fiction? The fiction is in the marketing strategies. Protein shakes are rarely what they’re advertised to be. The fact is that it is effective, but only if coupled with exercise and a healthy diet.
Weighty Medicine: Pumping Iron Comes of Age (huffingtonpost.com)
When the Gym Isn’t Enough (nytimes.com)