Use Protein Shakes Or Eat Real Food? Are They Dangerous?

Dino Paul Pierce is a great natural bodybuilder with a BS in Dietetics. Learn the secrets to the best results!

Use Protein Shakes Or Eat Real Food? Are They Dangerous?

I had been browsing and came across an article you wrote. I am just starting to get involved in lifting. Not to compete, but to look good and be healthier. I understand more about proteins and such ... but for someone who is just trying to be conscious about what he eats, and work out to tone up, what's the best combo? By that, I mean, do I need to do the protein shakes or can I just eat the meats and eggs and drink milk?

I have read a lot, but I never see anything on the downsides of these protein shakes. Example: When do you take them and what are the negatives? Like can you get fat from them? Any advice would be great... or perhaps point me to some articles. Thanks.

You can definitely get by with just eating real food. I heard Ronnie Coleman say himself at the 2000 Mr. Olympia that real food is much more important than any supplemental. However he and I would agree that supplemental protein does have its place in a bodybuilders diet. The point that he was trying to make was that wholesome food is better than a supplement. IN some cases I agree with the champion, but this may not always be true. Who am I to override Ronnie's statements right? I mean he is Mr. Olympia. I recommend that you eat as much real food as you can. If you are ever in a situation in which your schedule does not allow you to eat a cooked meal that is when you bust out your secret weapon AKA protein powder. So in short, NO you do not need protein powders but in some cases they can be a lifesaver. Ohh yeah by the way drop the milk if at all possible. I do not advocate the use of milk. Milk tends to cause more damage than it does good in adults. You do not need milk, okay? Trust me!

As for the downsides of protein shakes, well one of the main reasons that you do not see much negative associations with protein powders is because the companies pay for advertisements that better the industry, particularly their product. Some companies do bash each other but while doing this they make sure to tell you how great their product is and why you should but their product over all others. Hey this is a competitive business industry just like any other. Everyone has to make a living right? It is a shame to think about it this way but it is true. In some of the more reputable companies defense there are some great products out there. tries to sell a vast variety of great products. They keep it real so to speak. If I write a supplement review for I do not sugar coat it. I write what happened during my experience with honesty so that our customers get the raw truth. is one of the more reputable companies out there because they are truly looking out for the bodybuilder. For example you got this FAQ for no fee, did you not? This is a great service offered by I wish that I had this type of service when I first embarked on my bodybuilding journey.

As far as taking protein powder, well you can take them any time you want to really. You can use them as you would food. The main recommendation that I stress is fiber consumption. Please continue to consume your fiber when using protein powders. If you fail to do this you may experience gastrointestinal distress. You must keep that colon clean to have optimal digestive functioning. Most bodybuilders do not eat enough vegetables. Try not to be a statistic.

I do not think that the actual protein powder it self will get you fat. You can get fat if you are using a supplement that has carbohydrates in it as they can spill over into adipose tissue if over consumed. I recommend that you use a protein supplement containing less then 2-3 grams of carbohydrates per serving. There are some soy protein products that have zero carbohydrates and if you are a soldier and you eat for growth and not for pleasure they work great. I actually enjoy the natural soy protein drinks, but most people do not. Doing this (using low carb powders) should assure that you would not get "fat" while using the protein supplements. They contain kilocalories just as any other food. If you eat more kilocalories than you burn you will gain weight. It is the type of kilocalorie that you eat and your activity level, which determines if that weight will be fat or muscle tissue. The information in this FAQ should help you but I encourage you to check out all of my articles. Most talk about supplementation, nutrition, and training. They are all educational. Good luck and train hard!