Pros and Cons of Protein Shakes

Pros and Cons of Protein Shakes

Protein shakes are popular world-wide for being easy "quasi-meals" that are filling and support quick recovery after exercising. Nonetheless, many of us question the consumption of protein shakes in the long run in terms of safety and long term effect on the body.

If you go to the doctor and ask about the benefits of having protein shakes daily, he will not give you a clear answer. Protein shakes are indeed helpful, but many people tend to take them for granted. They end up skipping meals, not eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, and start the vicious cycle of taking the easy way and consuming more and more supplements.

Let’s analyze the pros and cons of protein shakes.




We mainly drink protein shakes to boost recovery after workouts. Studies show that protein drinks encourage muscle healing and performance. But, we could also consume protein shakes as a snack. It helps with weight management, total cholesterol levels, and body fat levels. [1] [2]

Whey protein powder is the most favoured supplement world-wide. It contains all the essential amino acids, gets absorbed much faster than other types of protein, and best of all, very filling. Having a protein shake right before or after physical exercise is more practical than packing a lunch box for the gym. [3]

Some other pros of whey protein shakes are:

  • Lower levels of inflammation [4]
  • IBS friendly, although further studies needed [5]
  • Increased levels of glutathione, which helps the body's antioxidant defences [6]
  • Muscle mass maintenance [7]




Some people prefer to stay away from protein shakes because the long term effect on the body is not known. Protein powders are dietary supplements, which means that the manufacturer decides what can go in. In that case, we’ll have to rely on their integrity. The earliest study concerning the cons of protein shakes was in 2018. Clean Label Project made a study that showed the presence of heavy metals in many products. Apart from protein shakes having lead, arsenic, and mercury, another scary fact was the content of BPA, pesticides, and other toxic compounds that deteriorate health. This study gave protein shakes a bad image. One of the study’s conclusion was that choosing protein powders that use eggs as a protein source are cleaner than plant-based protein powders.

Some protein powders are also high in sugars and calories, which means they can lead to weight gain – the opposite of one of the pros. [8] [9]




Each person chooses what he or she feels is best for their health! Many benefits come with having protein shakes. Excessive consumption can lead to undesired side effects. The important aspects are being informed, choosing high-quality products, eating a healthy and balanced diet, and using protein shakes when needed only. Also, consuming too much protein at once doesn't help because your body will absorb only a limited amount.

Finding the best protein powder for your body is a trial and error experience. Therefore, do some extra research on the chosen brand, see how your stomach feels after having it, and draw your conclusion. However, for those who have medical issues, it is highly recommended to consult your physician before purchasing any protein supplement.