Protein powders have increased a lot in popularity over recent years, moving from something consumed mainly by competitive athletes and bodybuilders to something much more main stream. But is it something we all need? Can we lead active lives, strive for great gym performance and/or muscle building without it? Who is it for? And who is is not? Like with many things, I think the answer is not so clear cut and is instead highly individual.So let’s dive in & discuss why you might decide to include a supplement in your diet, or alternatively, why you might not.

Protein is an essential macronutrient made up of 'building blocks’ called amino acids. There are 20 amnio acids relevant to human nutrition, 9 of which we can only get through our food. Most protein rich foods contain all 9 of these amino acids, however some plant based sources of protein, beans for example, are lacking in a few. These amino acids are used to build, repair and maintain tissues (skin, organs, muscles), to synthesise enzymes and hormones and to create energy. The protein we eat can also influence physiological factors such as our hunger and exercise recovery, making it even more important for individuals who train regularly.

The recommended daily intake is 0.75g/kg bodyweight for adults, a figure that increases to 1.2-2g/kg a day for those who are active/ have strength or muscle building goals. Ideally that amount would be spread fairly evenly across meals and snacks, with about 20-30g each time, so as to maximise its potential in building and repairing, and also to help us ‘balance’ our meals (useful for satiety, regulating blood sugar etc…)

But many of us don’t hit our target range - especially if we shooting for the higher end, or are veggie/ vegan/ dairy/ soy intolerant (where sources tend to be lower in protein). Let's take a look at how much protein some protein-rich food contain per serving.

1/2 can chickpeas: 9g

2 eggs: 11g

1 tbsp peanut butter: 4g

1 sesame seed bagel: 9g

Tofu (1/2 block): 15g

Salmon fillet: 32g

Chicken breast: 36g

1 cup greek yogurt: 23g

1 glass soy milk: 9g

Protein powder: 20-30g

From the above you can hopefully see that it's 100% possible to get around 20-30g in a meal without protein powder, especially when we remember that we don't tend to eat single foods in isolation, and that most of the things we eat contain some amount of protein (for example, even a medium sized potato contains around 5-6g).

With that being said protein powder simply gives us another option. It can be a simple way to add protein to a snack or breakfast (in oats for example). It can be a great tool for vegans, where protein sources can be a little lower. It is quick, convenient and awesome if you enjoy things that are sweet. But if you already get enough protein without it, you don’t enjoy the taste, or it is feel an unnecessary expense, it’s not something you need to worry about missing out on. It’s a tool. Not the only way.

I’ll save how to chose a powder for another day, I know that can be a mine field all on it’s own. But (since I was asked yesterday), as someone who has been allergic to soy and dairy since birth my personal fave is salted caramel chocolate by Awesome Supplements

I hope this helps ❤️