Protein Shake vs. Real Food - Are Shakes the New Black?

Garagegympower is reader-supported. When you purchase through links in our articles, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Protein Shake vs. Real Food – Are Shakes the New Black?

Have you seen all the protein shake Ads? Celebrities with beautiful bodies telling how magic protein shakes have helped them get their dream bodies.

The debate of Protein shake vs. real food can be seen on most media platforms.

Well, if you have followed even one debate, I am sure you have been asking yourself many questions.

Do we really need protein shakes? Can protein replace food? What are the pros and cons of protein shakes and what is the difference between these shakes and protein-rich food?

Below is a detailed protein shake review that will answer all of these questions and so much more.

Do We Really Need Protein Shakes?

Whey protein powder in scoop

There is no denying that our diets today are not what they used to be.

Most of us never get time to sit down for a meal, let alone make one.

This can possibly explain the rise of lifestyle diseases and the many diet-related conditions we are witnessing today.

Here is where protein shakes enter.

Easy to make, packed with good protein, and available in literally every flavor under the sun. What’s even better, the shakes promise to help with weight loss and all you need to do is drink your shake religiously for a month or two.

It is a small wonder that these shakes are literally taking the world by storm

So, all things considered, what would you choose – a protein shake or a meal?

This is a tough question but the answer lies in what you need and why you are considering a protein shake in the first place.

Do You Really Need the Shakes?

tasty Whey protein shake

The short answer would be yes.

The protein shake packs quite a punch as far as proteins are concerned. In just a single drink, you can be able to meet your daily protein dietary requirement.

If you are looking to build some muscle and need some extra protein, ensuring that you get adequate protein is as easy as mixing your protein powder with a glass of water.

You also need to do a lot more for your fitness but getting adequate protein is a good place to start.

While it is clear that a diet shake can be a lifesaver, it can never replace a meal. The benefits of real food go beyond a single nutrient.

For example, a handful of nuts will deliver a decent amount of protein to your body. In addition to this, you will also benefit from the healthy oils and fiber, among other nutrients.

The same applies if you consider some lean chicken breast. It is packed with protein and a healthy dose of other essential minerals.

If you regularly take healthy meals and you are conscious of the nutrients you take, then a protein shake is not a must.

The same cannot be said if your meals are filled with quickly assembled sandwiches with whatever is left in the fridge.

If you do not plan your meals and ensure that you get the protein your body needs, then getting a protein shake would be a great idea.

Can a Protein Shake Replace Food

scoop of protein powder

Absolutely not.

In the real sense, protein shakes are not designed to replace meals. They are supplements you can use to enrich your diet.

Real food comes with many macro and micronutrients that are sure to do your body a lot of good.

However strict your diet is, it is important to remember that protein shakes cannot replace food. A healthy meal at least once every day will be highly beneficial to your body.

Difference Between Protein Shake and Real Food

For starters, real food is natural. Some of the protein shakes are derived from these foods and are also natural.

However, there is a good percentage that comes with synthetic ingredients and there is no telling just how these ingredients may affect the body. In simple terms, real food tends to be more balanced when compared to protein shakes.

Real food is also easy on the stomach. Unless you are allergic to a certain food item, your stomach will have an easy time digesting real food as opposed to a protein shake.

Sure, protein shakes are designed to be absorbed quickly but real food leads to a much healthier gut.

Pros and Cons of Protein Shakes

protein rich food - nuts and milk



This is one area where the protein shake beats real food, hands down.

Making a protein shake is easy. Scoop your powder into a bottle of water, give it a shake, and you are all done.

So, protein shake or food when you have 5 minutes to make breakfast? The shake without a doubt will win in this case.

Aside from being a quick fix solution, the shake also comes conveniently in powder form. Some companies even offer individually packed protein powders.

You can pack your powder and fix your shake on the go or when you get to your destination.

Weight loss

Protein shakes are high in protein and low in calories. Protein being the most satiating nutrients of the 3 basic nutrients also means that a protein shake will leave you feeling fuller for longer.

You can substitute a meal with a protein shake if you are looking to quickly shed some extra weight.

At least with a shake, you will know exactly how many calories you are taking.

Muscle gain

You need protein muscle and most of the time, the protein in a normal diet is not sufficient. For people looking to build muscle, a pre or post workout shake is a great addition to their normal diet.

It delivers the extra protein required to accumulate some muscle and without the extra nutrients already supplied through other meals. It helps that most of these shakes are quickly absorbed in the body.

This means that the body gets the protein required during muscle building and muscle repair after a workout.


Insufficient nutrition

This cannot be stressed enough. Protein shakes are simply supplements.

However rich a protein shake is, the truth is that it cannot deliver the same benefits as whole foods. If you use these shakes to replace most of your meal, you are going to have nutritional deficiencies sooner or later.

Some of the nutrients we get in whole foods are essential for normal body functioning. Denying your body these essential nutrients will be detrimental to your health and will surely work to your disadvantage.

Real food comes with numerous benefits to the body. These gifts of nature work not just to nourish the body but also cure the body in more ways than one.

However, to get their maximum benefits, the foods have to be balanced and taken in the right amount.

Bottom Line

Protein shakes are convenient and deliver more protein than you would find in a normal meal. That being said, no single protein shake could replace a meal.

Therefore, comparing a protein shake vs. real food is totally wrong. You need to consider a protein shake’s ingredients before buying.

Protein shakes are not created equal and it helps to do your research to ensure that you get nothing short of the best.

Want to know more about protein shakes and other health-related products? Subscribe to our newsletter. We promise to let you know of all the happenings in the health and nutrition industry.