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Protein powder is the most popular bodybuilding supplement on the market, but is it worth the money? In this video, I’m going to show you whether or not spending money on protein powders is worth it or if you would be better off getting your daily protein intake through whole foods and skipping the supplements.

There is no doubt that the complaint about protein supplement pricing is a common one. Some swear that not only is it not worth it but it is much easier to get everything your body needs with real food and you don’t need any supplements at all. That argument should start however with a revelation of how much protein your body needs to meet your specific goals.

There is plenty of research out there that says that the bare minimum amount of protein that needs to be consumed every day is about .3g per pound of bodyweight. This means that a 150lb person would require 50 grams of protein each day to remain healthy. That said, if building muscle is your goal then you are going to need a lot more than that.

Once training enters the equation the protein requirements jump up significantly to anywhere from .7g to 1.2g per pound of bodyweight. This is because weightlifting breaks down muscle tissue. It is only through the repair of the muscle through good nutrition that the muscles have a chance to grow back bigger and stronger. This is where protein becomes a vitally important part of your diet.

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Opinions vary on the exact amount needed but it will fall within this given range and can be influenced by the amount of muscle you have already, your training experience and whether you are attempting to lean down or go through an unnecessary bulk. Where you get your protein from matters less than the fact that you actually get it each day.

Those that think that purchasing protein supplements is too expensive, will point to the value of whole foods. Perhaps now more than ever, the value just simply isn’t there. If you look at any of the common protein staples (whether they be meat or vegan friendly sources), the expense is just not much different than the cost of the protein obtained through protein supplements. Add in the fact that the convenience of the powders is often times much higher and therefore likely to be a more consistent way to ingest your protein, and you realize just how much value is in this alternative source.

In order to figure out the value of a protein source you want to use a simple math equation.

Take the price of the protein that you’re buying and divide it by the number of servings times the number of grams of protein in each serving. This will give you a more universal value of the price per gram of protein. When you apply this to things like chicken, ground beef, learn sirloin, salmon, peanut butter, tofu and lentils you see that all are within a few cents per gram of each other.

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Add in the fact that not all of the non-meat choices are complete proteins. This means that eaten alone, they are not supplying all of the essential amino acids that your body needs and therefore require that you seek out other sources.

When it comes to whey protein, you also get another major bonus that many overlook. That is, with just 29 grams of whey protein powder you are going to get 3 grams of leucine. That is important. Science has shown that three grams is the amount of leucine that you need to stimulate the MTOR pathway that triggers muscle protein synthesis. Without this, the degree of muscle size you can build will be limited. Not only does whey trigger the threshold but it does so at a very calorie efficient cost.

Many other protein food sources provide just too many extra calories with it in the pursuit of meeting the 3g leucine threshold.

I realize that there are a lot of protein powder sources on the market. Be sure that you are getting one that not only has a good cost per gram but also doesn’t rely on cheap proteins to improve their numbers. Check the label and make sure that the leading source of protein is not whey protein concentrate. This is a quick indicator of a protein powder that doesn’t contain enough high quality protein and should therefore be avoided.

For a premium quality protein that hits the mark and also has an industry leading 30 grams of protein per serving (making it one of the best values on the market) be sure to head to athleanrx.com and check out my ATHLEAN-Rx brand supplements.

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For more vides on supplements and protein powders be sure to watch the supplement timeline video I have as well as the others on this channel by remembering to subscribe and turn on your notifications so you never miss a new video when it’s published.

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59 thoughts on “Protein Powder is a Waste of Money (DUMB!)”
  1. *THE GIVEAWAY IS BACK* – I’m giving away my brand new complete 90 Day Beaxst PPL program to 40 lucky clickers within the first hour this video is published! Remember, this is NOT THE FIRST 40, but those randomly selected within the first hour the video is published. Click the link to see if you’ve won. No strings attached! Clicking twice does nothing. Only one entry per video. Remember to watch to the end for more workouts.
    https://giveaway.athleanx.com/ytg/protein-powder-waste

    If you don’t win, no worries, you’re not going away empty handed. Just be sure you have your notifications turned on so you can get to my next video quickly and try again. Good luck and thanks for being a loyal subscriber…

    1. @athleanx I have a question for Jeff,
      I have heard a similar protein per pound equation,
      But with the added clarification of lean body mass,
      Meaning an obese person wouldn’t use their weight,
      But the ideal weight to calculate protein intake,
      (Commenters) this is just one example don’t get lost in the point,
      Thoughts on this? Thanks!

    2. Jeff. I hear that consuming too much protein can strain the kidneys. Do you avoid this by staying within 0.8-1.2g/LB?

    3. Has anyone ever won a giveaway? I always get there in time but it always gives me a ” too bad, you wern’t chosen” error. Feels like a marketing scam just to get you to get notifications + bell the on

    4. OK. So I am not going to buy real protein food. Just going to eat protein power for every mean with a potato. Gimmie a break.

    5. @Rafail, protein powders are highly processed food. The more food is processed, the less nutritious it is. Also, many brands have sweeteners and many of which are artificial. There are protein powders that are processed further and marketed as Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA). It’s a gimmicks to get your money.

      Have you ever thought what kind of poisonous solvents are used to chemically isolate protein?

  2. Price for protein powder increased by 300-400% the last year here in Germany. I’m better up eating whole chicken and their eggs

    1. Here in Hungary, it’s more like increased by 150%…but all other common (especially the non expensive) foodstuff increased by 300%, so ironically, protein powder is among the least expensive protein sources. Only stuff like Walnut (or other high protein) flour dwarf it, literally 300g protein for $3, making it one cent per grams. Only problem is that it’s not a high quality protein like quality whey powders, or good meat.

    2. @Mish Ka Yeah, Europe’s super solidarity with their sanctions against Russia – which 90% of the residents never asked for – is working sooo well, maybe there are some minor inconveniences in Russia due to it, while EU countries literally havev to spend 3x as much as before from basically the same salary, pushing the middle class and poor people into straight deep poverty territory.
      But alas, I’ll stop political posting here.

  3. Hi Jeff, following you channel for a long time. Your lower back workouts have helped me a lot. Idk if you take video requests, but one thing I’d request you to make is a full detailed video on golfers elbow. It is a common gym injury, and I’ve faced it sometimes, and it’d be great to have your take on fixing it. You made one video on this some years back, but it’d be great to have something more detailed on this. I’m sure it’d help many of your other viewers as well.

  4. Let ‘s face it: this is an ad. But a very good one! And very informative as well.

    1. @Peter Rog pretty much, this video is really misleading. Why is salmon being compared to protein powder based on protein per cent, when salmon is nutritionally FAR more beneficial?

    2. Whenever something gets advertised it’s ultimately YOUR OWN choice whether to buy it or not..simple

  5. 1:05 Bare Minimum 0.36g/lb
    1:20 Build Muscle 0.7-1.2g/lb
    2:00 Protein Cost Formula
    4:21 Food or Supplement?
    5:47 Protein Powder Ranked (BEST TO WORST!)

    1. @Random Process Can’r expect much from a kid judging people based on their names.
      That’s why you think that dude is a doctor because of the “Dr.” instead of researching more about his chiropractor background.

  6. Great overview. Fair comparison. Not everyone needs or wants protein powder. Personally i use it for cooking. Its a high quality ingredient and its amazing to create high protein recipes such as pancakes or cheesecakes. If you goal is to lose weight a high protein and high fiber diet are amazing. Some fruits and protein shakes, would be great diet for a lot of people.

    1. @Jon V What is not a compelling argument? The fact that the protein is damaged in the manufacturing process?

    2. @AH silver If you just google it there are tons of articles on the matter. Main things to think about is how the whey was manufactured into powder (high heat), how was it gathered (from milk or was it a byproduct of cheese), how was the protein in the supplement measured (nitrogen content or actual protein count). Most products are manufactured in the cheapest way possible and added ingredients skew the protein count by raising nitrogen levels. A higher end protein shake will be much better but the process is expensive and you will pay for it. You might as well drink milk. It is important to do your own research and make your own decision based on your goals. The supplement industry is NOT regulated by the FDA. That is why I don’t trust them. It is a multi billion dollar industry of lies. Think about it. If any one supplement was proven to increase life or make a healthy person healthier that creator would be a trillionaire. But to this day not one supplement has been proven to do so after decades of testing.

  7. The gold standard protien at Costco is 25 grams of protein per serving, $64 dollars for a 80 serving bag. Which equals about 3.2 cents per gram, or 80 cents a serving. That’s one of the best deals I’ve seen so far

    1. Meh it’s still more expensive than it used to be. I only wait for discounts to purchase them.

    2. @Aljaž K. – SI I have a big bag of unflavored my protein and the quality doesn’t seem as good as on. It clumps too easily while on is easy to mix.

    3. @Mighty Mochi I’ve had my 5kg bag of vanilla flavoured whey iso under my kitchen table for almost a year, and it’s not clumpy at all. you just have to keep it dry, cool and CLOSED TIGHTLY, so I have no idea what you did to make it clumpy, but I’m gonna guess humidity got in there.
      Store it properly, or every and any protein powder will get clumpy.

  8. A lot of people tend to forget that protein powder is such a great utility for different food recipes. If I’m craving a cake, easy mug cake with protein powder is easy solution for me.

    1. If your craving cake then make oatmeal and put as much sugar in as you need. Not necessarily healthy, but it won’t spike your blood sugar as much and you won’t be consuming any processed oils that are used in making cake batter. I never gain weight when I binge eat oatmeal.

    2. @Thunder Chicken Thighs Oatmeal isn’t for everyone as it has big fiber content and for medical reasons, I can’t eat it in big quantities.

  9. Loved your video as usual Jeff. But I wish the calculations you showed were true here in India too. I love calculations and I have done this a lot of times in the past with my protein powders. In India the cost of US Manufactured proteins has hit the ceiling. I have seen people switching over to unflavored variants or local made brands as well. I was a regular buyer of Dymatize, which strangely I saw in your video was for $70 on US version of Amazon, while it’s in almost $118 in India. The per gram protein calculation comes on a very high side if we consider the brands like ON, Dymatize, GNC, Redcon, Isopure, Ultimate Nutrition and so on. I remember buying One Science Nutrition IsoGold for a long time and now see even they have hiked their prices. Finally I have switched over to 1Up and Dexter Jackson for now which is still in a decent budget. So I really wish all your calculations were true here in India. Nonetheless I really wish you launch your brand here in India. Pls see it as a great opportunity.

    1. Local made brands? Only one brand manufactures whey in India, that is “avvatar”. All the other “local” brands just import whey from USA or Europe.

      Btw avvatar is my choice of protein after these price raises (especially the unflavoured one), it’s always higher in protein content in lab test reports by atleast 5%. It’s also the freshest whey in India.

  10. I’m actually glad you dropped this video when you did. I was contemplating buying an isolate protein that is on special. I could wait til payday but I was thinking it would be necessary. After watching your video I realized I have chicken for dinner tonight and I’m having eggs and bacon tomorrow. I could easily get to payday on what I already have.

  11. Hey Jeff. I know there is some bias here with your protein powder, but I would like to see a video about how yours compares to other powders on the market. I use Isopure low carb Dutch chocolate because it has little to no carbs and does not have sweeteners like acesulfame potassium. I’ve been pretty satisfied with it as a meal replacement in the mornings on days I go to work. However, I am always on the lookout for a better option if it’s presented to me. Thanks!

    1. @Ram Jameson Same for me. I prefer unflavored so I can mix it in some things but mostly, I just want the most protein for my buck. It’s expensive enough without losing 10% of the protein content on additives.

    2. I use Naked Whey Protein which is cheaper than his and has 3g luceine even with 25g per serving. Also he didn’t say you can just add an extra tbsp to your serving to get the 30g lol

  12. Love your focus and insight, Jeff. Very well-done presentation. An ad? Not really. You just explained what everyone should be considering when working on health and nutrition. You put initial cost in perspective— made me reconsider my options and actual value!

  13. Great video, and it absolutely makes a great rebuttal if people are trying to argue price point. That said I think it’s important to note that the food examples given also give other nutrients besides protein. But if protein is the limiting factor, then a protein powder can definitely be a viable solution

  14. Inflation definitely screwed up the cost per gram for eggs. I still use them in my diet, but it’s crazy how a simple dollar or more per dozen changes the per gram protein cost. Another great video, as always! As a personal trainer myself of over 13 years, and currently studying for my CSCS to get back into athletics, you’ve been one of my main go-to’s to learn from since I began. No bro science, just real science. Keep up the amazing work! We all can learn something by following true professionals like yourself

    Also: love that the end has the baby “growda” show me da whey from Broscience Life in it. Love that channel as well

    1. The price is coming back down though. Wegmans near me now has two 18 packs for $7. So, a little over 3 cents per protein gram.

  15. It’s also worth mentioning that some blend very well and some glob up. Usually the more expensive ones blend really well and to me it’s worth a few extra dollars to get a powder that actually is drinkable vs one that creates sludge balls.

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