Supplementation vs. Substitution – Michael Kranak, MA

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Michael Kranak, MA  – @KranDaddy

What’s one of the first things people do after they finish a workout? They down a protein shake! This is especially true if they have a 20-30 min drive home before they can eat their breakfast, post-workout meal or whatever meal comes next based on when someone trains. I train early in the mornings so I eat a solid post-workout breakfast right after; however, during the day I’ll have one or two scoops of my FAVORITE protein, Max Effort’s chocolate peanut butter. They’re my snacks. They get me through that timeframe between lunch and dinner.

Every use of a protein shake (strictly talking water mixed with a scoop) in the above paragraph is an example of supplementation. My main meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) all consist of real, whole foods (i.e., chicken, eggs/egg beaters, turkey, sweet potatoes, etc.). Protein powder is exactly that, a supplement. It’s something someone includes in their diet in addition to their meals. It’s a great way to increase one’s protein intake quickly.

Now, what’s happening A LOT lately, is people are completely eliminating a main meal (usually breakfast or lunch) and taking in a protein shake (water and powder only). This is substitution. There are a few reasons people do this, with the main goal usually being weight loss:
• Claim they’ll “feel fuller”/it will fill them up more
• Believe it will reduce calorie intake
• People looking for a “quick fix” (e.g., Shakeology products) rather than long-term solutions
Unless you are absolutely crunched for time, have NOTHING else to eat or prepared, or are making a beefed up protein shake (e.g., 8oz almond milk, 2tbs peanut butter, yogurt, protein powder, etc.), there is NO REASON to substitute your lunch or dinner out for a scoop of protein.

It will NOT make you feel fuller. To really hit home on that point, take a look at the pictures and description below. One picture is 1 serving of chicken breast tenderloins; one picture is 1 serving of protein powder. Nutritionally speaking, they are very close. In fact, the chicken is lower in calories, carbs, and fats, and higher in protein!! Moreover, look at the sheer VOLUME of food – the actual SIZE and WEIGHT of each serving. The larger a portion size, the fuller you are going to feel.

If I asked you which one of those options is going fill you up more, you’d be correct if you said chicken. If you said protein, well, better get your eyesight checked.

1 Serving Chicken Breast

Weight: 4oz      Calories: 110      Protein: 25g      Carbs: 0g      Fat:0g

1 Scoop Protein Powder

Weight : 1oz     Calories: 112     Protein: 23g     Carbs: 2g     Fat: 1.5g

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