Category Archives: Protein drinks

The rise of the protein drinks for ordinary people

By Duncan Walker

Protein products are increasingly being marketed in supermarkets to ordinary people. Do they serve any real purpose for non-athletes?
The “sport-related” protein product sector is booming. It’s estimated that the world will be chewing and gulping down £8bn a year of bars, drinks, and other supplements by 2017.
But there’s now a wave of products where the branding marks a departure from the traditional world of the protein supplement.
The classic protein drinks have usually been characterised by displays of over-sized bottles and tubs, often with labels depicting rippling torsos. The powders and bars targeted hardcore gym-goers and amateur athletes.
The typical customer was someone who wanted to build muscle and aid recovery after a serious workout.
But the latest generation is positioned more around healthy lifestyle.
In the UK, a “high protein dairy drink” called Upbeat is the latest product to get a big marketing push. It follows the path blazed by For Goodness Shakes, a drink primarily aimed at gym-goers and athletes that was picked up by a wider pool of buyers.
Similar lifestyle protein products can be seen in the US on the shelves of the likes of Wal-Mart, K-Mart, Walgreens, and CVS.
But there’s an elephant in the room. People in the West usually already get more than enough protein.
Healthy protein intake depends on weight but over the course of a day, the average man should be eating around 55g of protein, while a woman needs 45g, says the British Dietetic Association.
In the UK the mean intake for men is 86.5g per day, with women consuming 65g, says nutritionist Dr Helen Crawley.
In the US, UK and most of the rest of the West people have diets that easily supply enough protein. A chicken breast might contain around 40g of protein, a cod fillet 30g, a helping of tofu 15g and an egg 6g.
Topping up with supplements can see substantial amounts of extra protein enter the diet, with some shakes offering up to 35g per serving.
Everybody needs protein in their diet on a daily basis as it is essential to body tissues, is necessary for growth and contributes to muscle mass and bone health.
But processing excess intake can put pressure on the kidneys – with kidney stones or even kidney failure possible in some people.
Only vulnerable groups, such as those recovering from surgery or frail older people, tend to need more protein – something for which medical advice should be sought.
“There’s no reason to have added protein in food, because we already have it,” says Crawley.
So what is behind the appearance of the ever-expanding range of protein supplements?
An “extreme” group of athletes working out in gyms were the pioneers for the supplements’ popularity, says Chris Schmidt, a research analyst at market research firm Euromonitor International.
The idea was that muscles damaged during intense weight training could be repaired and developed by turning dried and concentrated whey, a by-product of cheese-making, into a drink. These shakes were seen as more efficient and convenient than having to eat large amounts of high-protein foods.
Only a handful of specialist shops sold the powder and new customers were often found by targeting their personal trainers.
“In the early days they were very much associated with body building. Until the late 90s very few people outside that high performance athletic community had heard of them,” says Schmidt.
The bodybuilders were followed by professional athletes, then amateur and college athletes.
“They turned into these lifelong users and that was a big part of what broke the stigma, because a guy from across the street used it, not some Arnold Schwarzenegger bodybuilding guy,” says Schmidt.
As more people take an interest in their wellbeing – exercising more and eating more healthily – demand for protein rich products has continued to grow, says Schmidt.
The large tubs still exist, but more convenient ready-mixed shakes are now widely available, along with snack bars and flapjacks. Whey powders have also been joined by other protein sources including casein, hemp and rice.
The combined result has been a sharp increase in sales. According to Euromonitor figures worldwide sales of sports related protein products grew from £2.5bn in 2007 to £4.9bn in 2012 and are likely to reach £7.8bn in 2017. In the UK sales increased from £73m in 2007 to £170m in 2012 and are expected to reach £358m by 2017.
And the most notable part of the growth is the shift to marketing to “ordinary” people. Among new shakes is Wing-Co, a chocolate-flavoured high-protein drink aimed as a snack alternative for men in their 30s and 40s who “aren’t sucked in by lots of marketing rubbish“.
Upbeat drinks are pitched as a snack or breakfast replacement which might appeal to people including “post-pregnancy mums and vegetarians”.
These are drinks which are being pitched at a “far broader more mainstream audience”, says Julia Glotz, fresh food editor at The Grocer.
A lot of work has gone into the branding and the drinks look much more like other modern supermarket brands than sports supplements, says Glotz.
The new products aren’t even marketed as “supplements”. They might be a breakfast substitute for someone in a hurry, or pitched as an alternative to a snack.
They benefit from the general aura of healthiness that hovers over the word “protein”. If protein is so healthy, and I want a snack, one that will fill me up, I might very well be drawn to something with protein written on the packet.
The trend, says Glotz, was started by For Goodness Shakes, which “still looked quite gym” but did not look out of place in the chiller cabinet. More have followed.
“You see a few of them in the food-to-go area, where they might be positioned as a particularly filling drink that you can have at lunchtime. And you also see some of them sitting in the milk drinks and milkshakes section.”
Others have also spotted the possibilities. Danone makes a high protein yoghurt called Danio, while dieters might find themselves drawn towards Atkins chocolate bars and Marks and Spencer has a range of high protein meals that promise to keep you “fuller longer”.
Protein supplements do have a place used once a day after muscle-building training, but most people – including regular gym goers – would find that milk contains the right combination of protein and carbohydrates for rehydration and repair, says Azmina Govindji of the British Dietetic Association.
The key is a balanced diet, but supplements can be attractive.
“It’s in our nature to look for quick fixes, this is why diets work so well. If you’re promised by the hype and the marketing that this particular shake will help you to build muscle, then these very compelling messages can be quite alluring.”
But for many people using shakes and other supplements it’s the convenience they offer – rather than the belief that they’re an alternative to food – that is important, says Rob Aitken of personal trainers Matt Roberts.
“For up to two hours after a workout there’s a window to aid recovery. At that time they may not want to sit down and have a full meal.”
His clients are advised to try and eat protein with every meal and to make sure they combine shakes with real food.
“The clue is in the name, it’s a supplement.”

Dieticians say extra protein can do more harm than good

, Monday, 3 September 2012 16:20 UK
By Rick Kelsey
Newsbeat reporter

There’s a warning that gym supplements are often doing more harm than good.

The British Dietetic Association (BDA) says high levels of additional protein can cause side effects.

These can include nausea as well as kidney and liver damage.

It wants clearer warnings about what is in the powders and tablets.

Manufacturers say consumers are well protected with only 11 reported reactions in 11 years.

“The more protein in your diet the more you have to get rid of.”

Jane Griffin is a former British Olympic dietician and speaks for the BDA.

Continue reading the main story
I was shaking and I got angry. My girlfriend didn’t want to be around me.

Richard, 22
“People who have these high protein diets are now running into problems with their kidneys because of the amount of protein they must get rid of.”

The body needs protein for muscle growth and many gym goers use it to try to get bigger quickly.

Gym supplements come under food law so although they have to be labelled properly what is in them can vary.

They are different to medicines which legally have to ensure contents are more specific.

DMAA warnings
Euromonitor, which researches the market size of products, estimates that the sports supplement industry grew 15% last year.

It thinks one in five people who go to the gym more than twice a week use supplements that can come in the form of powders and bars.

The Department of Health advises adults to avoid consuming more than twice the recommended daily intake of protein (55.5g for men and 45g for women).

Most adults will take this in during their normal daily meals.

There have been warnings before, most recently from the Food Standards Agency, which advises people not to take gym supplements containing DMAA.

The stimulant was being sold in the UK in some pre-workout and ‘fat-burning’ shakes.

Creatine – helps to supply energy specifically to muscle
Protein – needed for muscle growth
Carnitine – helps with the breakdown of fats
Amino Acids – helps with making protein
The BDA argues there is now evidence to show excess levels of additional protein taken over a long time can cause health problems.

It believes people can get enough protein naturally from things like chicken and milk.

Bad reaction

Richard Cook is 22 and a student from Chesterfield. He has been taking supplements for four years but says he had a bad reaction to one of them.

“It felt like I was on drugs. I was shaking and I got angry. It also had an effect on my girlfriend who didn’t want to be around me when a had taken it.”

Although he still takes protein and creatine gym supplements he says he has cut down from seven to four shakes a day.

“I started thinking to myself, with this one product, why am I taking it when I feel terrible?”

The Health Food Manufacturers’ Association, which represents the supplement industry, says compared to other foods or medicines, gym supplements have an enviable record.

Many people commenting on Newsbeat’s Facebook page also defended the reputation of gym supplements.

James Reynolds wrote: “I take creatine and frankly I think that it does nowhere near the levels of damage that smoking and drugs do to people.”

Ollie Lizzard wrote: “People that are doing themselves harm on these shakes must just be consuming way more than the recommended amounts and have only themselves to blame.”

Dave Manning added: “Having worked in the sport nutrition industry I can confidently state that I have never heard of anyone suffering any kind of long term illness from using UK compliant supplements as long as they have followed the directions supplied by the manufacturer.”

The Truth About Protein

By: Adina Steiman

If you are what you eat, what does that make a vegan? A string-bean, milquetoast kind of a guy? Of course not—and renowned strength coach Robert dos Remedios, a vegan, is strong evidence to the contrary. Really strong.

But most men eat animal products. And we really do become what we eat. Our skin, bones, hair, and nails are composed mostly of protein. Plus, animal products fuel the muscle-growing process called protein synthesis. That’s why Rocky chugged eggs before his a.m. runs. Since those days, nutrition scientists have done plenty of research. Read up before you chow down.

You Need More

Think big. Most adults would benefit from eating more than the recommended daily intake of 56 grams, says Donald Layman, Ph.D., a professor emeritus of nutrition at the University of Illinois. The benefit goes beyond muscles, he says:Protein dulls hunger and can help prevent obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

How much do you need? Step on a scale and be honest with yourself about your workout regimen. According to Mark Tarnopolsky, M.D., Ph.D., who studies exercise and nutrition at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, highly trained athletes thrive on 0.77 gram of daily protein per pound of body weight. That’s 139 grams for a 180-pound man.

Men who work out 5 or more days a week for an hour or longer need 0.55 gram per pound. And men who work out 3 to 5 days a week for 45 minutes to an hour need 0.45 gram per pound. So a 180-pound guy who works out regularly needs about 80 grams of protein a day.

Now, if you’re trying to lose weight, protein is still crucial. The fewer calories you consume, the more calories should come from protein, says Layman. You need to boost your protein intake to between 0.45 and 0.68 gram per pound to preserve calorie-burning muscle mass.

And no, that extra protein won’t wreck your kidneys: “Taking in more than the recommended dose won’t confer more benefit. It won’t hurt you, but you’ll just burn it off as extra energy,” Dr. Tarnopolsky says.

It’s Not All the Same

Many foods, including nuts and beans, can provide a good dose of protein. But the best sources are dairy products, eggs, meat, and fish, Layman says. Animal protein is complete—it contains the right proportions of the essential amino acids your body can’t synthesize on its own.

It’s possible to build complete protein from plant-based foods by combining legumes, nuts, and grains at one meal or over the course of a day. But you’ll need to consume 20 to 25 percent more plant-based protein to reap the benefits that animal-derived sources provide, says Dr. Tarnopolsky. And beans and legumes have carbs that make it harder to lose weight.

So if protein can help keep weight off, is a chicken wing dipped in blue-cheese dressing a diet secret? Not quite: Total calories still count. Scale down your fat and carbohydrate intake to make room for lean protein: eggs, low-fat milk, yogurt, lean meat, and fish.

But remember, if you’re struggling with your weight, fat itself is not the culprit; carbs are the likely problem. Fat will help keep you full, while carbs can put you on a blood-sugar roller coaster that leaves you hungry later.

Timing is Everything

“At any given moment, even at rest, your body is breaking down and building protein,” says Jeffrey Volek, Ph.D., R.D., a nutrition and exercise researcher at the University of Connecticut. Every time you eat at least 30 grams of protein, Layman says, you trigger a burst of protein synthesis that lasts about 3 hours.

But think about it: When do you eat most of your protein? At dinner, right? That means you could be fueling muscle growth for only a few hours a day, and breaking down muscle the rest of the time, Layman says. Instead, you should spread out your protein intake.

Your body can process only so much protein in a single sitting. A recent study from the University of Texas found that consuming 90 grams of protein at one meal provides the same benefit as eating 30 grams. It’s like a gas tank, says study author Douglas Paddon-Jones, Ph.D.: “There’s only so much you can put in to maximize performance; the rest is spillover.”

Eating protein at all three meals—plus snacking two or three times a day on proteins such as cheese, jerky, and milk—will help you eat less overall. People who start the day with a protein-rich breakfast consume 200 fewer calories a day than those who chow down on a carb-heavy breakfast, like a jam-smeared bagel. Ending the day with a steak dinner doesn’t have the same appetite-quenching effect, Layman says.

Workouts Require Fuel

Every guy in the gym knows he should consume some protein after a workout. But how much, and when? “When you work out, your muscles are primed to respond to protein,” Volek says, “and you have a window of opportunity to promote muscle growth.”

Volek recommends splitting your dose of protein, eating half 30 minutes before the workout and the other half 30 minutes after. A total of 10 to 20 grams of protein is ideal, he says. And wrap a piece of bread around that turkey, because carbs can raise insulin; this slows protein breakdown, which speeds muscle growth after your workout. Moreover, you won’t use your stored protein for energy; you’ll rely instead on the carbs to replenish you.

One study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, pinpointed 20 grams as the best amount of postworkout protein to maximize muscle growth. (See 5 Perfect Protein-Packed Gym Snacks.)

You’re doing this because resistance exercise breaks down muscle. This requires a fresh infusion of amino acids to repair and build it. “If you’re lifting weights and you don’t consume protein, it’s almost counterproductive,” says Volek. Protein also helps build enzymes that allow your body to adapt to endurance sports like running and biking.

Powders are for Everyone

Everyone—not just muscleheads—can benefit from the quick hit of amino acids provided by a protein supplement, bar, or shake. Your best bet is a fast-absorbing, high-quality kind like whey protein powder (derived from milk): “It appears in your bloodstream 15 minutes after you consume it,” Volek says.

Whey protein is also the best source of leucine, an amino acid that behaves more like a hormone in your body: “It’s more than a building block of protein—it actually activates protein synthesis,” Volek says. Whey contains 10 percent leucine while other animal-based proteins have as little as 5 percent.

Casein, another milk protein sold in supplement form, provides a slower-absorbing but more sustained source of amino acids, making it a great choice for a snack before you hit the sack. “Casein should help you maintain a positive protein balance during the night,” says Volek. Building muscle while you sleep? Thanks to protein, anything’s possible.


Protein drinks :You don’t need the extra protein or the heavy metals our tests found

Muscle Milk Chocolate and Vanilla Crème and EAS Myoplex Original Rich Dark Chocolate
The promises are enticing. Whether you’re looking to shed unwanted pounds, get a quick energy jolt, build muscles, or fight the aging process, protein drinks are being boosted by some supplement makers as a scientifically proven way to quickly achieve your goals.
The products, sold as ready-to-drink liquids or powders that you mix with milk, juice, or water to make shakes, attract not just athletes and body-builders but also baby boomers, pregnant women, and teenagers looking for a shortcut to a buff body.
Some ads say that protein supplements, in flavors such as strawberry and vanilla cream, can be a nutritious and time-saving snack or meal replacement.
Marketing for Energy First Pro Energy Whey Protein Isolate says the protein supplement is “ideal” for pregnant women and growing children, and also offers this promise for aging adults who use it: “You will rarely if ever be sick and you will begin to look and feel years younger.”
In a testimonial for BSN Lean Dessert Protein Shake, “fitness celebrity” Jennifer Nicole Lee says, “Being a busy mom with 12-hour workdays, I rely upon my Lean Dessert Protein to get adequate amounts of protein without wasting time on creating complex meals ….”
Another product, Muscle Milk, boasts on its website: “Designed after one of nature’s most balanced foods: human mother’s milk ….”
But our investigation, including tests at an outside laboratory of 15 protein drinks, a review of government documents, and interviews with health and fitness experts and consumers, found most people already get enough protein, and there are far better and cheaper ways to add more if it’s needed. Some protein drinks can even pose health risks, including exposure to potentially harmful heavy metals, if consumed frequently. All drinks in our tests had at least one sample containing one or more of the following contaminants: arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury. Those metals can have toxic effects on several organs in the body.

%d bloggers like this: