Let’s talk about women’s protein supplements and how they may assist in weight loss. I’ve been meaning to cover this topic in a post for a while now, and there’s a few aspects to be addressed.
First and foremost, how do women’s protein supplements differ from the stuff that male body builders take?
If you read the sales pitch that goes along with these products, usually they’ll tell you how it is “specially formulated to benefit women” or something like that. Now… this will vary from one product to another but I’ll split them into two catagories; either it’s “just protein” or “protein + vitamins, minerals or other added supplements”.
So, “just protein” is just protein. Usually this means Whey Protein Isolate, or Whey Protein Concentrate, but there are other options as well for example soy, pea or other plant based proteins. Let’s assume we’re talking about Whey Protein though… pause for a moment and consider where Whey Protein comes from. It’s a by product of making cheese, right? They separate the curds from the whey, the curds become cheese, and the whey is sold off to supplement companies. It all comes from the dairy companies to begin with though, as a by-product of the cheese making process.
So, there’s a lot of people out there selling their own protein supplements and talking about how they’ve specially designed, formulated or created it to be better than the other stuff on the market, and unless they actually own their own cows (and all the rest of it) I put it to you that they are full of it. They bought their whey from a dairy company, bought some tubs from somewhere else, got someone to design a label for it… and that’s as much as they’ve had to do with it.
Now I have no issue with people trying to make a buck and marketing their stuff but the issue here is the price. As an example, I might spend 80 bucks on 2.5kg of quality WPI from one of the supplement companies I usually order from. The exact same stuff, but marketed towards women? I’m looking at a site right now selling 420 grams for 47 bucks.
So if you’re a woman, they’re going to try charge you about 3 and a half times as much for the same thing. Funnily enough it seems to mostly be women trying to rip other women off with this stuff, too.
How does a protein supplement assist in weight loss?
This is the other issue I have with the way protein supplements are marketed to women. It gets pushed the same way as a lot of other magical quick fix solutions. You know, “just add this and you’ll lose weight because insulin response” or something. There’s one site actually saying “who cares about the candy bar I had at lunch?” because when you supplement protein, your muscles metabolise whatever else you ate and you don’t store fat, apparently.
Absolute. Fucking. Bullshit. and I find it DISGUSTING that people (qualified trainers, usually female) in the industry spread this nonsense to scam an extra buck or two out of vulnerable people.
The bottom line with maintaining a goal weight is the appropriate calorie and macronutritient consumption. If you are lacking in appetite and struggling to get enough calories (overall, or specifically from protein) from your meals, a protein shake is a great way to make up the difference. That’s really the extent of it. If you’re eating too much already, a protein supplement is only going to put you further into weight gain territory.
A protein supplement can be a very handy tool in building a balanced nutrition plan to meet your goals, but it is not a magical solution. It definitely does not cancel out other bad food choices that may lead to exceeding your calorie requirements, either.