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View Full Version : whole-food protein vs. powder



ebrunner
09-01-2004, 12:12 PM
I always hear that real food sources of protein yield results superior to those gained from protein powder, but why is this?

Also, can anyone validate that they have gotten better results by using whole food vs. protein powder? What were the results (increased muscle/less bodyfat)?

I find protein powder more convenient, less constipating/easier to digest, and cheaper (when ordered in bulk) than chicken breast, but am wondering if my results would be better if I switched to a completely whole-food diet.

Max-Mex
09-01-2004, 12:21 PM
Protien powder is a supplement. That's really all it should be used for, IMO. If you need extra calories/protien, have a shake. Powders aren't some magic dust. You can get big w/o them.

Adetweiler
09-01-2004, 01:35 PM
But his question is WHY is whole food better than protien powder? I have heard a million times that eating 20g worth of protien from chicken is better than me drinking a shake, but why? Whats the reasoning behind this, why can't we just eat bars, and drink shakes all day(except for boredom factor of course)?

the one
09-01-2004, 02:06 PM
maybe cuz you get more than just straight protein from chicken and beef and whole foods. also the digestion rate, you dont always want a shake thats gonna be outta you in a matter of minutes.

RBC13
09-01-2004, 03:12 PM
Meats have vitamins and minerals. Zinc, iron, B-12 especially, good fat if lean, less processed.

Spartacus
09-01-2004, 09:27 PM
its a slower protein than whey. but its not necessarily better. protein is protein, whether from a tub or a bird.

ebrunner
09-01-2004, 10:16 PM
Max-Mex,

My question wasn't whether or not you can get big without protein powder, but rather whether or not you can get big and/or cut with protein powder.

The argument that meat would have more vitamins/minerals may be true, especially for red meat. But that aside, are there some muscle-building, fat burning effects that meat has over protein powder?

Max-Mex
09-01-2004, 10:42 PM
but rather whether or not you can get big and/or cut with protein powder?

Yes. It's still calories anyway you look at it. Whether it's whole food or powders, as long as you get enough, you get big.

For bulking purposes, powders are good because they are digested quickly. Easy way to get the extra calories needed. For cutting, not so good. You're more likely to be hungry later. It's a liquid for the most part so there's pretty much no digestion when you drink a shake. IMO, when you cut, shakes should be a last resort food. Whole foods work better because they keep you feeling full longer which will help keep food intake down.

ebrunner
09-01-2004, 11:45 PM
As long as meat doesn't have any significant fat burning, muscle-hardening effects, I'm going to continue my powder usage, even while cutting:

1. I would have to prepare large amounts of meat ahead of time, and then it's too easy to eat extra portions.

2. When I'm chewing on something, my brain registers that I'm eating, and it doesn't want to stop--when I drink something, the pleasure of chowing down is gone, and I feel like I'm just having somthing to drink. I can focus more on my true hunger signals.

3. I have a sweet tooth, and the shakes hit the spot, keeping me from craving ice cream all the time.

4. I actually find a shake made with some psyllium husk seed to be very filling--more so than meat. This could be purely psychological satisfaction--I enjoy the taste of a shake much better than eating meat. Plus, the psyllium husk forms a gel in one's stomach that leaves them quite full.

T_Chapman
09-02-2004, 12:04 AM
whole food has the vitamins and minerals and stuff that help with the muscle building process. its just more nutritious.

Vido
09-02-2004, 12:13 AM
I hope someone else chimes in and gives a real convincing explanation because I think everyone is just throwing darts here hoping to hit the bullseye, but not really knowing the true answer. I always preach that whole food is better, but until this question was posted I never realized I don't even know the reasoning behind it.

For now, just to add to what everyone else has said, protein powder is processed food, and the human body was not made to consume processed things. This argument is the same as why oats are better for you than cereal (aside from GI).

Bboy486
09-02-2004, 08:14 AM
To my understanding, Whole Foods are much more natural and a neccessity for life. The way I view it is that you can live without taking supplements but you cannot live without eatting. I know this is not the greatest responces, but I think it makes sense. And besides whole food is more nutritionally dense, and (hopefully) in most cases is a pure source of nutrients. Shakes are man made, hence they are synthetic, (i think that the correct term) and have limitations on how much they can actually enhance the body.

Case in point, I have been taking shakes, but lately I have been only taking one a day and trying to eat more, and I have noticed that I am getting stronger and bigger.

A kid at my gym has one of the biggest chests i have ever seen as well as being overall very built, I asked him what he takes, and all he said was that he "eats, eats, and eats", and never touches those "shake S**Ts". So in relation to your question, Whole foods are optimal, and shakes would simply be a supplimental alternative if whole food is not available.

ryuage
09-02-2004, 08:25 AM
so what if I eat a cereal made of oats!!! HA !

ebrunner
09-02-2004, 10:06 AM
Case in point, I have been taking shakes, but lately I have been only taking one a day and trying to eat more, and I have noticed that I am getting stronger and bigger.

This is the kind of anecdotal evidence I'm looking for--thanks. One question, though: did your calories/carbs/protein/fat remain the same when you switched from shakes to whole food?

Anyone else have experiences to share?

Manveet
09-02-2004, 10:15 AM
I hope someone else chimes in and gives a real convincing explanation because I think everyone is just throwing darts here hoping to hit the bullseye, but not really knowing the true answer. I always preach that whole food is better, but until this question was posted I never realized I don't even know the reasoning behind it.

For now, just to add to what everyone else has said, protein powder is processed food, and the human body was not made to consume processed things. This argument is the same as why oats are better for you than cereal (aside from GI).

There are only a few drawbacks that I can think of

1) Whey protein is digested rather quickly, which is not really that advantageous other than pre and post workout.
2) Whey protein sometimes lacks minerals and vitamins you get from whole food protein sources
3) It is a processed food. However, I don't think it is as bad as other processed foods people consume. Furthermore, a lot of the whole food many of us eat isn't really any better, unless people eat organic.

Personally, I consume about 4 scoops of powder a day, sometimes more if I don't have a lot of food around the house. I most often mix the powder with whole foods (in my oats) or have shakes with my whole food. I've gone periods of time without powder, and never noticed a difference.

Bboy486
09-02-2004, 10:43 AM
This is the kind of anecdotal evidence I'm looking for--thanks. One question, though: did your calories/carbs/protein/fat remain the same when you switched from shakes to whole food?

Well think about it, basically the shakes are substitutes, and you are really looking to eat like a champ to gain muscle. So with that thought, if i do not take the shake I need to eat food to make up for the protein and calories.

It really all depends what your goals are. For me I am looking to maintain 3000/day and my shakes only accounted for like 180 cal. So the food I needed to replace was to get me to the 3000 mark so nothing to great (save for the protein) and i found that using tuna would do the trick.

Spartacus
09-02-2004, 02:49 PM
whole food has the vitamins and minerals and stuff that help with the muscle building process. its just more nutritious.


ZINC WILL MAKE YOU HYOOOOOGE!! ($ to lyle)

sublime99
09-02-2004, 03:28 PM
Proteins in meats not only have vitamins and minerals but the protein you get from those meats are more thermogenic your body uses them more efficiently. The protein you get from supplements are good for right before or right after you work out but your body doesn't asorb but maybe 65-80% of a shake where your body will absorb 80-90% from the meats you eat or proteins you get from nuts cheeses and so forth. Shakes are good supplements for a quick needed influx of protein in the morning right when you wake up and after you work out, but best results will be had from whole foods.

Vido
09-02-2004, 04:08 PM
sublime99, where did you get those %'s from?

ryuage
09-02-2004, 04:13 PM
not zinc magnesium sterate will make you hyooooooooge

ebrunner
09-02-2004, 11:08 PM
Proteins in meats not only have vitamins and minerals but the protein you get from those meats are more thermogenic your body uses them more efficiently. The protein you get from supplements are good for right before or right after you work out but your body doesn't asorb but maybe 65-80% of a shake where your body will absorb 80-90% from the meats you eat or proteins you get from nuts cheeses and so forth. .

From what I've heard, meat protein is more thermogenic than protein powder--i.e. meat requires more calories to digest than shakes. I've always assumed meat would be superior to protein shakes for cutting, but never heard any anectdotal evidence to support this. I've never heard what the actual difference in thermogenic effect is between meat and protein shakes, and if this difference is significant enough to affect bodyfat.

However, if only 65-80% of a shake is absorbed, while 80-90% of whole food protein is absorbed, than the thermogenic effect may be offset by the digestibility--if you drink a shake and only absorb 65% of it, you are really only getting 65-80% of the calories on the label, whereas with whole food you are getting 80-90%. Therefore, the shake may be useful for cutting because 20-35% of the calories are passing through the system unabsorbed.

If we knew the thermogenic effect of both protein sources, we then could add the thermogenic effect to the digestibility, and find which source would be best for cutting (while the other would be best for bulking).

Vido
09-02-2004, 11:16 PM
You have to count the calories of anything that goes into your body. Whether or not it gets used efficiently is another issue.

Jasonl
09-02-2004, 11:30 PM
While I'm not saying powders are bad, they are still just supplements. And some of you guys are making it far more difficult than it needs to be, and Vido hit the nail on the head a fwe posts up...

Humans didn't evolve and survive hundreds of thousands of years on protein powders cooked up in some factory, we survived on dead animals. Just look at it that way.

Vido
09-03-2004, 10:15 AM
You also have to take into account the type of protein powder you're talking about. A blend of casein/whey/egg/soy/whatever is going to be closer to real food than whey. I think that as far as body composition goes (disregarding health completely) a protein powder blend will yield the same (or very similar) results as eating whole food.

However, ebrunner, if you're discussing how cheap protein powder is, I will assume you are talking about whey as the blends are considerably more expensive. In this case, whole food is going to be better for health AND body composition.

sublime99
09-03-2004, 11:03 AM
http://www.femalemuscle.com/library/weekly/aa101399.htm

tRY THIS :lurk:

sublime99
09-03-2004, 11:05 AM
OR THIS

http://www.bodybuildingpro.com/proteinsupplementsvsfood.html


VIDO i couldn't find the article that i read that in (the last post) but i remember it was from a medical website and it was a study they did on i think like 100 different active subjects.

ebrunner
09-03-2004, 01:30 PM
Humans didn't evolve and survive hundreds of thousands of years on protein powders cooked up in some factory, we survived on dead animals. Just look at it that way.

Maybe so, but for hundreds of thousands of years we knew nothing about optimal training, nutrition, meal timing, supplements, medicine. We may have survived, but most people on this board are trying to do more than merely survive--we're trying to take our bodies to the limit of our potential.

Sublime, thanks for the links. The article suggests that neither whole food nor protein supplements is significantly better than the other in terms of muscle building--so one can essentially pick whatever combination of whole food and/or supplemental protein they choose based on the individual's preferences.

Jasonl
09-03-2004, 03:21 PM
Maybe so, but for hundreds of thousands of years we knew nothing about optimal training, nutrition, meal timing, supplements, medicine. We may have survived, but most people on this board are trying to do more than merely survive--we're trying to take our bodies to the limit of our potential.

Yes, but if those whole foods weren't "optimal" do you think we would have survived this long? Whole food /pwnz all.

body
09-03-2004, 05:57 PM
Yes, but if those whole foods weren't "optimal" do you think we would have survived this long? Whole food /pwnz all.

but in years gone by we died at younger ages, were less big, less muscley, even reached puberty at a older age.
and when going back in time. people may have lifted things, but they did not weight trian.

body
09-03-2004, 06:16 PM
Meats have vitamins and minerals. Zinc, iron, B-12 especially, good fat if lean, less processed.


but qutie a few protien powders are supplemented with vitamins and mineral, plus have vitamins and mineral in as made form milk anyway.

At the end of the day most of us are taking vitamin and mineral tablets, eating laods of food on top of meat.

so its not a big concern. at end of the day, your body just realise it has eating beef or prtoein powder. it realise it has like 40grams of protien to digest etc.

meat is normally cheaper than protien powder, but i would not say it make a big difference as long as you get all the kcals, vitamins and mineral etc you need to grow. then you be fine

Jasonl
09-03-2004, 07:05 PM
but in years gone by we died at younger ages, were less big, less muscley, even reached puberty at a older age.
and when going back in time. people may have lifted things, but they did not weight trian.
Maybe so, but it's not due to the advent of protein poweders.

As you guys can already tell, I'm not the biggest advocate of many supplement compaines. :cool:

Cardinal
09-03-2004, 07:49 PM
As long as meat doesn't have any significant fat burning, muscle-hardening effects, I'm going to continue my powder usage, even while cutting:

4. I actually find a shake made with some psyllium husk seed to be very filling--more so than meat. This could be purely psychological satisfaction--I enjoy the taste of a shake much better than eating meat. Plus, the psyllium husk forms a gel in one's stomach that leaves them quite full.

Bingo! Probably not psychological so much as it is physiological. By filling the stomach with high amounts of fiber and water, particularly soluble fiber like psyllium, and keeping it full, you are doing what you can to influence nerve signalling that is volume related in the stomach. You are also decreasing insulin response, which is good in limiting hunger. Net result, far greater satiety, no matter if you are using wpc80 or any type of protein.

I have found the same thing to be true. In fact, I can take it a step further and not even use any protein, just oat fiber+xantham and strong sweetener. Great appetite suppressive effects.

The fat in actual meat however tends to slow digestion a bit. Adding oil to shakes may not have that effect due to a lack of mixing in the stomach. With fiber though, you can't go wrong.

ebrunner
09-04-2004, 12:10 AM
Yes, but if those whole foods weren't "optimal" do you think we would have survived this long? Whole food /pwnz all.

Whole foods may have been optimal for survival, but that in itself doesn't necessarily mean whole foods are optimal for peak performance. I have no opinion on whether whole foods or protein supplements are better (which is why I posted the question); for all I know, whole foods may in fact be more effective. However I disagree with the argument that whole foods are optimal for peak performance because our ancestors only ate whole foods. Our ancestors used to have to walk from point A to point B; does that mean we should never use cars or airplanes though we know they are faster and more efficient?

Jasonl
09-04-2004, 01:34 AM
Whole foods may have been optimal for survival, but that in itself doesn't necessarily mean whole foods are optimal for peak performance. I have no opinion on whether whole foods or protein supplements are better (which is why I posted the question); for all I know, whole foods may in fact be more effective. However I disagree with the argument that whole foods are optimal for peak performance because our ancestors only ate whole foods. Our ancestors used to have to walk from point A to point B; does that mean we should never use cars or airplanes though we know they are faster and more efficient?
Comparing whole foods and powders to walking and airplanes is a useless argument. Obviously peak performance would be required to survive for such a long time. Try taking protein from only powders and see how well you perform. Then get all your protein from whole foods and compare.

Vido
09-04-2004, 07:55 AM
When I said our bodies weren't made to consume processed foods, I wasn't talking about "peak performance". I'm referring to things like lack of digestion (and I believe someone pointed out that powders are not digested as thoroughly as whole food) and the problems that can lead to.

I know we're talking about protein, not carbs, but using highly-processed carbs as an example, look at all the cases of Type II diabetes (adult-onset diabetes) that exist now. These are a new phenomenon and can be partially credited (along with lack of exercise and a sedentary lifestyle) to the introduction of all these highly processed foods.

It's going to take a couple more generations for our bodies to have adapted to processed foods...and by then, who knows what new advances there will have been in the nutrition and medicine communities.

migs
09-04-2004, 08:13 AM
I get all my protein from whole foods, avg 150g a day I can tell you that it is very slow. I weigh 165lb.

But you're really wasting all the technology that way, whey is ideal for post/pre workout shakes and in the morning when you need the fast acting protiens. When I eat after a workout I still have to wait for digestion of food. Whey user do not.

chris mason
09-04-2004, 09:23 AM
I sell protein.

Protein powder, as already mentioned, is a SUPPLEMENT. It should be used as the name implies, it should SUPPLEMENT your diet.

Protein derived from foods consumed in your diet are best, especially those from animal sources.

Protein supplementation has a great value to the hard training athlete.

That is all.

ebrunner
09-04-2004, 09:35 AM
Comparing whole foods and powders to walking and airplanes is a useless argument. Obviously peak performance would be required to survive for such a long time.

Our definition of peak performance is not required for a species to survive. A 500 lb bench is not required for survival nor is a 9.7 100-meter, a 2:04 marathon, or a 5% bodyfat. Our ancestors may have had physically demanding livestyles, but the physical demands were more akin to the demands of a farmer or manual laborer than those of an elite athlete. All that out ancestors had to do to keep our species alive is live long enough to produce one or more offspring.

That said...


Try taking protein from only powders and see how well you perform. Then get all your protein from whole foods and compare.

This is what I'm trying to resolve, and why I've posted the original question. Once again, I'm not arguing that protein shakes are any better than whole food; I'm merely arguing your argument. However, your (or anyone else's) anecdotal evidence would be a more compelling argument in favor of whole foods. I take it you've had better results with whole foods. Was that in terms of increased strength, lost bodyfat, or both?

ebrunner
09-04-2004, 09:48 AM
When I said our bodies weren't made to consume processed foods, I wasn't talking about "peak performance". I'm referring to things like lack of digestion (and I believe someone pointed out that powders are not digested as thoroughly as whole food) and the problems that can lead to.

I know we're talking about protein, not carbs, but using highly-processed carbs as an example, look at all the cases of Type II diabetes (adult-onset diabetes) that exist now. These are a new phenomenon and can be partially credited (along with lack of exercise and a sedentary lifestyle) to the introduction of all these highly processed foods.



Ahh...so protein powder acts similarly to a high GI carb like white flour in that both overwhelm the body's digestive system at once. This makes sense, and would suggest that an all-protein powder diet could lead to increased bodyfat levels.

etwa
09-04-2004, 10:22 AM
A lot of this has to do with absorption! The digestion of whole food will slowly allow nutrients to supply the body. Powders, pill or anyother way is not as good. Supplement only or you are bound to lose muscle with your fat.

Jasonl
09-04-2004, 10:56 AM
I take it you've had better results with whole foods. Was that in terms of increased strength, lost bodyfat, or both?
Every time I have used whole food sources only for my protein needs I have had the best LBM and strenght/performance gains. I use powder now just because it's easier to prepare than a slab of chicken and quicker to consume than a can of tuna. But I only have 1 shake a day.