Do I really need protein powders and what alternatives do I have?

Even though the sales of Supplement-shops are increasing, athletes who are really active are currently buying fewer supplements. For advanced athletes, the trend is increasingly tilted towards natural diet with the use of as few supplements as possible. We want to take up the subject of protein powder once again and discuss if it really needs to be taken or if the opposite is true.

In the fitness industry, the most marketed dietary supplement, in addition to the multivitamin preparations, is perhaps the whey protein. There are countless varieties, with countless compilations although they usually differ only in terms of the portion or the ratios of the amino acids, or vitamin complexes that are mixed or by the percentage of carbohydrates. Of course, depending on the quality and degree of processing, the price of products also increases. You pay more for a whey isolate or hydrolysate of a renowned company compared to a simple whey of a No-name brand.

But do I absolutely need Whey Protein?

Of course not! Most supplements can generally be replaced with natural foods, because they either so often imitate it, or are produced directly from them. It is somewhat bizarre that in forums, a lot of questions regarding replacement with certain dietary supplements are raised. This shows that many people possess very little knowledge about their food.

What alternative do I have now if I need to replace my Whey protein with natural raw materials?

Fundamentally, the whey protein is a simple milk protein and can be easily replaced with full milk products. Even simple cow's milk may almost have a biological value of 87, therefore do not be fooled by big numbers on packages. In foods, it is also financially much easier to adjust the high biological weights and different complex proteins. Eat dairy products like low fat curd cheese, Limburger cheese, lean granular cheese, drink lean milk etc. Other protein powders such as multi-component proteins are usually simple to replace with the natural diet. Some foods for example, have high biological significance, such as whole egg and potatoes (136), wheat flour and milk (123), egg and milk (122), beef and potatoes (114). There are innumerable good combinations and the choice of many different sources also entails a high number of other different nutrients in the food which is a big advantage with foods.

After all why protein powder then?

Protein powders can have a good amino acid profile that has its own advantages, especially with the combination of glutamine, BCAAS, arginine, alanine etc. Such a protein shake can of course be quickly prepared with milk or water and is ready for transportation. Besides, the protein powder, if desired, can have no or very low carbohydrates and also mostly no fat, which otherwise cause the the protein intake to degrade. These features and advantages are especially sought after in today's no-time-society, which again makes the protein powder attractive for the consumer.

What goes against the powder?

Protein powders are often produced synthetically and due to a high degree of processing, they can get contaminated during many parts of the production processes. In addition to accidental contamination, impurities such as growth hormones can also be added in order to increase sales of the product. In Germany about 20% of the supplements offered are contaminated and that is a not an underestimated percentage. Besides the problem of contamination, protein powders usually either have very high doses of vitamins, which can lead to overdose in a good diet. Often, no micro-nutrients are added, deteriorating the absorption of amino acids. The inclusion of products is often treated as a meal and therefore, after the training, the body lacks many other nutrients, such as carbohydrates and all micronutrients required for regeneration. The price of a good powder compared to natural foods is very high and frequent consumption can burden the household budget.


Protein powders are relatively easy to replace with diet and should at best only be used when you do not have any other option and your time management does not permit otherwise. That the protein powder is a must for building muscle is just pulled out of thin air and is often used for promotional campaigns by the companies to sell products. Natural nutrients, through many ingredients and, above all, through some still unknown quantities, always have an advantage over dietary supplements. Even though this sometimes can be a simple variant for the situation. If you want to nourish yourself naturally, you can of course do it very easily without supplements. If you are convinced with supplements, then always pay attention to the dosage and quality!

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Our articles should be used for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to be taken as medical advice. If you’re concerned, consult a health professional before taking dietary supplements or introducing any major changes to your diet.
Evangeline Howarth

Evangeline has taken part in competitive sports since a young age. As a qualified RYA Dinghy Instructor, she understands the importance of proper nutrition for fuelling extreme and endurance sports, especially due to her experience in Team GBR Squads and captaining and coaching her University first team.

In her spare time, Evangeline loves running – especially marathons. On the weekends, you’ll find her taking on water sports or hiking up a hill. Her favourite evenings are spent taking on a HIIT session or squats in the gym before digging into some spicy food and a ton of vegetables – yum!

Find out more about Evie's experience here.

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