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"Real Food" vs Protein Powder: Which is Better for Your Body?

Updated: Aug 19



Protein powder is a popular choice in the world of fitness and nutrition, but it's also a topic of debate for some. In this blog, I'll provide you with clear information, debunk common myths, and give you the facts you need to make an informed decision for yourself.

Let's first address the misconception that protein powder is a processed and inferior source of protein compared to "real food." While protein powder does undergo processing, not all processing is bad. In fact, it can actually enhance protein digestibility and bioavailability without necessarily degrading its nutritional value. Claims that protein powder is inferior due to protein denaturation are not backed by scientific evidence, as denaturation and degradation are distinct processes. Additionally, the idea of "real food" can be subjective, as protein powder derived from sources like beef, whey, or soy can offer a concentrated and convenient protein source without the additional macronutrients found in whole foods. Moreover, protein powder can also provide essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and peptides in addition to protein.

Does Protein Powder Lead to Weight Gain?

Another myth links protein powders to weight gain. But remember, protein powders, when consumed within one's caloric needs, don't induce weight gain any more than whole foods do.


Is Protein Powder Worth the Price?

While some argue protein powders are a waste of money, they can be more wallet-friendly than you think. When evaluating the price per gram of protein, powders often compete with or even undercut traditional sources like chicken, fish, or tofu.

Navigating Marketing Claims

Be wary of marketing ploys or biases when researching protein powders. Some critiques stem from individuals or entities promoting competing products, not always based on factual data.

In Summary:

If you struggle to meet your protein needs through whole foods alone, protein powder can be a valuable tool in your arsenal, helping you achieve your health and fitness goals more easily. It can be a cost-effective and convenient way to consume high-quality protein, and there is no evidence to suggest that it is a processed and inferior source compared to "real food." It's also pretty versatile!


As with any dietary supplement, it's important to do your research, consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian, and make an informed decision based on your individual needs and goals.

I've personally used protein powder on and off since 1995.


If you're curious about protein powders but are uncertain about which brands to try, I've listed ConsumerLab's Top Picks below plus one of my favorites. It's crucial to remember that the supplement industry is not strictly regulated. Therefore, relying on third-party evaluations to ensure the product contents match their label claims is essential.


Here are some highly-rated options:


GNC AMP Wheybolic™ (Chocolate Fudge)

Isopure, Zero Carb 100% Whey Protein Isolate (Unflavored)

Jarrow Formulas Whey Protein

Nutricost Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate (Unflavored) - rBGH Free, Non-GMO & Gluten Free

Jay Robb Egg White Protein (Unflavored)

NOW Sports Nutrition, Pea Protein (Unflavored)

Vega One All in One Nutritional Shake (French Vanilla) - Plant Based Vegan, Non Dairy, Gluten Free, Non GMO

Nutiva Hemp Protein Powder

PB&Me - Peanut Butter

Ka'Chava Superfood (Chocolate)

Plant Fusion Complete Protein (Vanilla)

Amazing Grass Amazing Protein Glow (Wild Berry Hibiscus)


One of my favorites is True Nutrition. I love that you're able to build your own protein based on the things you value.




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