What Are The Pros And Cons Of Using Protein Powder To Build Muscle?

Question: What are the pros and cons of using protein powder to build muscle?

Answer: Protein powder can be an extremely effective tool in helping you build muscle mass, but it's not a miracle worker. A scoop of most protein powders, for example, is about 20 grams of protein, that's the same as a 3-ounce chicken breast. So it's no miracle worker. Just because you put a protein powder into your diet doesn't mean you're automatically gonna get stronger or bigger or faster.

When you use that protein powder, though, can really help you. So you want to strategically place when you are adding the protein powder in. It's a great tool also, because it's digested easily, it's easily absorbed. So it makes a great post-workout recovery drink. So if you put that protein powder immediately after your workout that's gonna help with that muscle recovery the second you're done working out.

Putting that protein right before bedtime, even after your dinner but before bedtime, you can actually minimize how much muscle breakdown you have during the night. You can use protein powder as a way to increase the protein at your breakfast. A lot of people struggle with getting enough protein at their breakfast. Stir that protein powder into your milk, pour that over your cereal, perfect. Stir it into your oatmeal.

So using it strategically to boost the protein at certain times of the day you need is gonna help you then increase recovery, increase muscle mass, increase strength. But just because you use a protein powder, if you're using it in replacement of another meal, it's not gonna be a miracle worker. It's not automatically gonna make you stronger, faster, leaner.

Molly Kimball, R.D., Ochsners Elmwood Fitness CenterPlay