In today's community of fitness, drinking a protein shake after a workout is almost a right of passage. It's as if the "Gym Rat" status can't be fully achieved unless you have a weight in one hand and a shaker bottle in the other. While supplementing with protein shakes can be beneficial, many people drink them without even knowing why.
Most commonly consumed post-workout, whey protein is usually considered a high-quality product containing all of the essential aminos; and compared to other proteins, whey is not only highly digestible but is quickly absorbed by the body. This makes it an excellent choice to help promote muscle growth and muscle maintenance when combined with a consistent strength training regiment.
The most filling of all macros, protein helps suppress your appetite by making you feel fuller, assists in boosting your metabolism and helps maintain muscle mass, even as age-related deterioration begins to occur. Rich in Leucine, a branch-chain amino acid known for promoting anabolic muscle growth, whey protein is also highly effective when looking to improve strength.
The most obvious reason to supplement with protein is to reach your daily protein intake goal for the day. While whole foods are always a better choice, supplementing with protein can be extremely helpful when in a hurry but lack variety in vitamins and nutrients essential for the body. This is why it's not encouraged to replace meals with shakes on a regular basis and why it's important to remember they're to supplement your diet, not replace it.
However, replacing a "cheat meal" or curving a sweet craving with a protein drink isn't that bad of an idea. The more you facilitate healthy choices the more you'll naturally do them and when compared to a slice of cake or a piece of pizza, a protein drink is definitely a the way to go.
Whether or not someone supplements with protein should be based on the persons goal and current condition of health. A quick evaluation of your regiment is the best practice when deciding on making the addition. Look over your goals, your current diet patterns and prep time. While it may not be best for everyone, it definitely doesn't hurt to go the way of "whey" every now and again.