Should you use protein powders? It’s complicated. – Chicago Tribune

Did you think protein powder and protein shakes were the domain only of the Arnold Schwarzeneggers and Dwayne “the Rock” Johnsons of the world?

These days, protein shakes and powders are used by diverse groups of people that couldn’t be more different, at least physically: elite athletes, post-surgery patients, the elderly, time-deprived Type As and fast-growing teens.

Why? Because protein in and of itself is key in healing and restoring the body (not just muscle but also bone, cartilage and blood), whether the breakdown is from high workout loads or from medical procedures, such as surgery or radiation. But that doesn’t mean we should all run out and buy tubs of powder. As with any food or supplement, there are upsides and downsides, and it pays to educate yourself.

Pro: Powders can be quicker and easier than food

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