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So, I read enough posts on how bad a whey protein powder shake is so bad for me so I decided to stop doing that and eat regular protein from natural stuff instead. My normal morning routine is get up and do a 48g whey protein shake that had 220 calories. That has kept me on track at 3.5lbs / week for 11 weeks. Total loss of 38 pounds before last week.

I switched to all natural protein in the morning. I changed nothing else about my routine. The first thing I noticed is how much you have to eat to get 30g of protein. But I made sure I got 30g. Eggs, spinach and beans just took too much volume to get to 30g so I started adding steak and chicken. But I made it through a week with no protein shakes. And that wasn't easy since I was on the road for 4 days. I must reiterate, I changed nothing else.

The results: - 1 lbs. That's my first week losing less than 3 lbs. And I track everything.

So for me, the protein shake first thing in the morning works much better. I get more protein faster and easier. And it works. Not sure if it is the extra 18g of protein I get with the shake or what, but I am convinced it is right for me.

I know one data point doesn't prove a theory, but the relentless "protein shakes are evil" mantra that I read on this forum should be abated. Let folks try it. If it works, it works. Better than not getting the protein first thing in the morning.


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I have to agree with you on this! The common consensus is that a protein shake is a protein shake. That couldn't be more false. Besides the type of protein used (casein, whey, whey isolate, soy) there are different delivery methods used and different additives. There are bad examples of protein shakes out there but it is the buyers responsibility to read the nutritional panel. If the information provided in the panel is confusing then I will more than gladly help you pick the protein that's right for you. A whey isolate protein can give you a fast acting protein that has very low carbs and calories. Weight gain shakes should not be confused with a standard protein powder as these can easily be in excess of 800 calories.

  • cmox commented Jun 19th 2012:

    @JoshRoss, any recomendations for brands? I'm currently using About Time whey protein isolate and I'm always on the lookout for any decent recomendations.

  • JoshRoss commented Jun 19th 2012:

    I personally use Muscle Milk because its vitamin infused and contains the minerals magnesium and zinc which raise testosterone levels. I only hesitate to recommend any brand because I don't know your specific goals or what role you expect the protein powder to play (i.e. how many calories out of your normal days total). The best and easiest thing you could do is go onto bodybuilding.com and look over their brands. You can sort them by protein type, delivery method, brand and best of all goal. Also, they have informational videos describing the science behind protein delivery.

  • Jerry Ames commented Jun 19th 2012:

    I've been thinking of substituting muscle milk for breakfast to see if it will help with this weight loss stall i've been having but can't decide if I should try the normal or the lite.

  • Tomhole commented Jun 19th 2012:

    Muscle milk doesn't have enough protein (only 25g) for breakfast. And the lite has even less. And it has 3g of sugar (crystalline fructose). I only do muscle milk after a workout. It rocks for that.

    Any protein powder that only has protein powder is good. I use the Vitamin Shoppe brand because it's cheap. But once this 5 lbs tub is gone, I am going to try pure egg protein. Just because I'm curious.

  • JoshRoss commented Jun 20th 2012:

    Remember to take into account what you are mixing your shakes with as well. If you are using milk (even skim milk) you can add another 8 grams of protein per cup. I usually drink my shake towards the end of my workout with 2 cups of milk so it totals around 41grams give or take. I concur with tomhole on the post workout placement as well because fructose makes it into the blood stream very quickly and that is paramount after a workout.

All Answers


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I think the key thing here is exactly what you did and Tim recommends- testing a theory on your own body and captured the results. It sounds like the protein shakes are working well for you.

Thanks so much for making this post and sharing your results. I've been concerned about protein shakes. After talking to both a doctor and nutritionist - they both agree that edible foods are better for us since our gut has to work to process it. However - that doesn't mean that protein shakes are devil's spawn either.

I've been avoiding them mostly because some other SCD folks have experienced a stall when starting them. Since I was on vacation and wouldn't be able to have my normal frittata breakfast, I knew that it was a good idea to have a back-up plan. I pretty much scoured the internet trying to read up all I could about different types and brands. Based on a lot of positive feedback I opted to go with Jay Robb brand since people seemed to really like it, it didn't have a lot of weird ingredients or sweeteners. I went back and forth over the whey protein isolate or the egg white - but ended up choosing the unflavored whey one.

I had it most mornings for 10 days and didn't notice any negative impact. I still prefer to chew vs. drink my breakfast, but don't think it stalled my progress. I'm also going to keep it around the house for times when I don't have time to cook and need the protein.

  • Tomhole commented Jun 22nd 2012:

    UPDATE: so I weighed 216.0 lbs when I stopped the protein shakes. I made it 9 days to 15 June and weighed 215.6 lbs. I went back to protein shakes on 16 June. I now weigh 211.6 lbs. That's enough data for me to know that my protein shake regimen works for me. Can't speak for anyone else. New experiment is eggs at night before bed.


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Hi Tomhole, I have a question for you - I am new to the SCD and the forum, I have been reading A LOT of posts, but that has led in some cases to reading contradicting advice.

I have been working with a personal trainer for about 6 weeks and started the SCD about 2 1/2 weeks ago because the training alone wasn't giving me the results I was hoping for. So far so good, I am down a few pounds and I feel great.

My question is about protein shakes after workouts. My PT suggested that I drink a 30g protein shake immediately after our workouts. I bought a brand from Costco called Premier Nutrition that has 30g protein (milk protein, whey protein), 5g carbs (1g sugar), and 160 calories. Additionally, my job puts me on the road a lot and I have used them as a meal replacement when I don't have time to eat a full meal but still want to make sure I am getting the recommended protein in my diet.

My concern is that I may be sabotaging my diet with these shakes. From your experience (and others, of course!), what do you recommend? Should I get off the shakes or are they okay. Furthermore, should I cut them out entirely or am I okay after my 3/week 1hr weight training sessions?


  • Tomhole commented Jul 8th 2012:

    I do protein shakes in the morning exclusively. Haven't had them any other time. For post workout stuff, if I can't get to chicken or meat, I have a Quest bar. 170 cal, 4 carbs (1 sugar) and 20g protein. I used to do 3 a day but now I have one a day or none.

    Here's my approach: try it out and see what happens. It is absolutely true that whey protein has been shown to illicit an insulin response equal to eating a slice of white bread. That is bad, right? Only if your body then processes the protein like white bread. I think a protein shake in the morning (and nothing else) works because the insulin response has nothing to respond to except the protein in the shake. If you were to eat food with the shake, it might be different.

  • Tomhole commented Jul 8th 2012:

    That's why I haven't been willing to try protein shakes during the day. Not sure if the insulin spike would respond poorly with the other food intake. I just eat lots and lots of meat and eggs during the day.

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