Protein Shakes vs Wholefoods

Personal Excellence | Published: Thu 14 September 2017

The intake of protein plays a vital role in the recovery process following a training session.

The big question however, is whether it is better to get protein from natural wholefood sources or from a protein shake?

Sports Dietitians Australia state that supplements should never be a full replacement for good foods and that eating nutrient rich wholefoods should always be one's priority. 
In regards to the question of protein shakes versus wholefoods the answer differs between athletes as well as training loads.
For most people a well planned and timed nutrition plan surrounding protein intake will be enough.
For those athletes who may have a busier schedule or diagnosed deficiencies, protein shakes may be useful alongside a healthy diet, containing wholefood protein sources.
In summary, whilst some people will benefit from protein shakes others are better off just eating wholefoods.
Need more clarity on the debate? Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of protein shakes versus wholefoods;
Protein Shakes
  • If getting your protein from low-carb protein shakes you may only be meeting half of your recovery goals, affecting your overall recovery from a session.
  • If your energy intake is restricted, obtaining protein from wholefoods may be a wiser option as chewing food can make you feel fuller.
  • Protein shakes are easy to carry in your training bag for after a session.
  • As protein shakes can be quite expensive, wholefoods are generally a cheaper alternative for meeting protein requirements.
  • If you struggle with eating something more substantial after a training session, protein shakes can be a good option for starting the recovery process as they are easy to consume.
  • Dairy and eggs are excellent sources of protein. A serve of two eggs can offer around 12.7g of protein whilst one glass (250ml) of full cream milk can provide around 8g of protein.

  • Wholefoods offer a number of essential nutrients whilst protein shakes generally only contain protein.
With all of this in mind it has been shown that there is no difference in outcome based on whether you use protein shakes or wholefoods as your source of protein following a training session, as long as you are meeting your required protein intake for muscle repair and growth.

For more information and to find out how you can best utilise protein in your diet, make sure to book in to see your WAIS Sports Dietitian.


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