Why You Should Think Twice Before Drinking Whey Protein Shakes

You've seen them advertised all over Instagram, you've read articles about how they're great for a quick breakfast, you've watched all the hardcore lifters at your gym toss them back on the regular. It seems like protein shakes are everywhere these days — and for good reason. Protein is a necessary macronutrient for important bodily functions, like building muscles, boosting your immune system, and strengthening your bones.

Popular Science reports that between 2009 and 2019, searches for "protein powder" increased five times, proving the supplement's increase in popularity. But how healthy is that protein shake you're blending up every day? It depends on the type of protein powder you're using. While whey protein is arguably the most popular powder on the shelves, it might not be as good for you as you think, according to one health expert. Mashed spoke with Piper Gibson, AHND, TND, BCDNM, FDN-P, holistic health and nutrition expert at Regenerating Health, who said that whey protein powder could lead to digestive distress, especially if you have any issues with dairy. So you might want to think twice before your next trip to GNC. 

Whey could leave you bloated and unsatisfied

"Whey protein is the most common form of protein in the market, but dairy products are not easily tolerated by many and can lead to digestive upset, gas, and bloating," Gibson explained to Mashed, adding that dairy proteins can also be higher in certain hormones like estrogen. Not only that, but Gibson cited a study that showed that consuming more than 20 grams of whey protein didn't increase satiety or decrease food intake. "If you are looking for a protein shake to keep you satisfied, it may be better to stick to a steak," she recommends.

However, there are some benefits to whey. Gibson notes that the popular powder does have one of the highest protein contents (at 20 to 30 grams per serving) and is absorbed more quickly than other types. She says that if dairy doesn't bother you, whey is an acceptable option.