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Today's Edge:

Recently, CNN came out with a great article on the pros and cons of protein powers, and I wanted to give my quick take on the article.

The MOST IMPORTANT TAKEAWAY from this article is:

“Protein powders are really meant as a supplement. It's still important to consume whole foods, because they provide a variety of nutrients as well as fiber."

With that being said, here are some quick guidelines regarding protein consumption:

  •  1-3 palm-sized portions of protein per meal (chicken, beef, fish, pork, etc.) should cover most of your protein needs.
  • ·Unless you work out vigorously > 30 min or do heavy resistance training daily, you may not need to take a protein powder.
  • The added sugars and oils in some protein powders are more than just unnecessary calories – they can cause inflammation and joint soreness. This is why it's important to look for a quality brand if you do use protein powders
  • If it comes down to a candy bar or a serving of high quality whey protein for a snack please choose the whey protein.
  •  If you do regularly consume a protein powder, try to add fruits and veggies with it and make it a smoothie.
  • If you want muscle gain shoot for .6-1g of protein per pound you weigh. But keep in mind: everyone is different.

Protein powder is not by itself the answer to muscle gain.

Before you spend money on a protein powder as you seek muscle gain become great in the following areas:

  • Sleep more
  • Get sunlight exposure
  • Lift heavy stuff often and with good form
  • Eat more healthy calories from real food, especially animal or dairy protein surrounded by plenty of veggies


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Tim DiFrancesco, PT, DPT, ATC, CSCS spent 6 seasons as the Head Strength & Conditioning Coach of the Los Angeles Lakers and is the founder of TD Athletes Edge.  He is nationally renowned for his evidence-based and scientific approach to fitness, training, nutrition, and recovery for athletes and fitness enthusiasts.

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