If you frequent a gym enough, you’re no stranger to protein shakes. And if you are gym-averse, just turn on the TV – you can’t channel surf without some sweaty gym body glugging a protein shake and becoming a 3D version of themselves before your very eyes. It’s either a beefy dude or a multi-tasking career/homemaker/mother/toned woman showing you how it’s just another part of their morning routine. So what does a protein shake contain anyway? Do people who live outside of billboards and TV screens need them? We ask fitness expert Sameer Sheikh*. He tells us to check the facts first.
Protein powders are basically variations on whey, soy and casein protein; they’re water soluble [hence protein shakes], and comparatively easy to swallow. “Also, you can get kinds with some bull, buffalo, bison, silver back gorilla semen. It’s a little thick and tough going down, your throat I mean. It’s probably harder going down on a gorilla. I personally have never tried either. It’s probably like mother’s milk,” he adds. Somehow we doubt that.
Ok, let’s move on, are they really good for you, we ask hastily. “Like everything else, it has its fair share of the good, bad, and ugly. The health industry is quickly jumping on the protein train and people are lapping it up because of ease of use. You can quickly throw protein powder into smoothies, shakes, soups or add to homemade protein bars. But at the end of the day, it’s all about moderation. Eating whole and home-made meals all the time can be a little tiresome and time-consuming. So I’m not averse to protein supplements, if I don’t have the time to cook up a well-balanced meal. But there’s no replacement for proper food and letting your digestive processes run their course. Also, the diarrhea that accompanies protein overload isn’t very pleasant either. I stay away from bars because of all the preservatives.”
In other words, consume at your own risk.
*Sameer Sheikh is a New York based personal trainer and fitness consultant. During his brief India stint, he consulted for some of the best gyms in the city and developed their fitness programs to reflect international standards.