Why I Refuse to Drink Shakes

By October 24, 2016Eat, Live, Nutrition

No, not milkshakes (how else do I bring boys to the yard?), but supplement shakes like protein shakes, meal replacement shakes, slimming or weight-loss shakes, or anything related to “health” companies like Shakeology.

“But don’t you want to make #gainz and lose weight?”

Why I Refuse to drink shakes

If only it were that simple. Drinking a thick, chalky substance that you made from adding powder to liquid won’t magically solve all your problems. Here’s why:

1.) Most people don’t have a solid understanding of what is healthy vs. what is perceived to be healthy.

It’s very easy to be persuaded by marketing. In fact, it’s a marketer’s job to persuade people to their product. But just because these shakes are wrapped in attractive packaging that uses key “health” words like “weight loss”, “amino acids”, “low-fat”, “low-calorie”, “low-carb”, “gluten-free”, it doesn’t mean that they are actually beneficial for your body. Consuming an abundance of these “healthy shakes” doesn’t mean that you can eat all the junk food in the word. They don’t cancel out everything else you eat.

On top of this, the media enforces these marketing “health” words because most people in the media aren’t actual health professionals, who have spent countless hours educating themselves on what is best for the human body. They’re media gurus, “experts” who seem legitimate, but don’t have proper credentials.

2.) Supplement companies are run by business professionals, not health professionals.

The majority of people working at GNC or Vitamin World have little interest in your (healthy) life. As much as you tell them, they see you as a customer, not a client. And if they can get you to be a loyal customer who spends a good chunk of their money (which could be used to buy healthy whole foods), that means that they’ve done their job. Not whether or not you’ve reached your goal of losing 15 pounds or running a 10k.

Now, if you have a trainer/coach who is trying to sell you a product, that is a BIG NO-NO. As a personal trainer myself, I can tell you that we are specifically informed not to sell any products because that lowers our credibility. Supplements are not essential to your diet, they are supplementary. You can consume all the macro and micronutrients you need just by eating whole foods. Crazy, I know.

3.) You don’t know what is in the product.

Supplements are not FDA regulated. Although there are some private companies that do monitor supplements, these production companies can get away with sneaking additional components. For example, college athletes are advised against using pre-workout supplements because there are traces of cocaine in them that would show up on drug testing. However, the average person at the gym might unknowingly guzzle a pre-workout shake at the gym every day not realizing exactly what they’re putting in their body.

4.) The majority of Americans get double the amount of protein that they need in their diet.

Consuming excess protein over a long period of time yields increased body fat (as when you consume to much of, well, anything) and decreased bone strength. So maybe you’ll gain muscle more rapidly now but think about the long-term effects. 

Life’s a b*tch sometimes. Schedules become overloaded, you don’t have time to make food or go to the gym and it’s just so easy to make yourself a shake and be done. But just as every other health & fitness enthusiast would say – prioritize. Make room in your schedule to prep extra chicken, beans, or Greek yogurt parfaits, or to have a 12 minute workout session. Literally write it in your planner or put it in your Google Calendar/iCalendar. Hold yourself accountable.

If you use shakes, no one is expecting you to go cold turkey on them. But at least consider weaning off of them until you get into the habit of eating real, wholesome foods most of the time. Do what is best in the long run because you only have one body. One body to do the things you love, like hike mountains with your dog, travel the world, and play softball with your friends. One body to treat with the utmost care because you want to live to be able to enjoy the most that life has to offer because that’s being healthy is truly about.

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Author Christina Chu

Christina is a Junior at Boston University, majoring in Dietetics and minoring in Communication. She is a tennis instructor at BU, an ACSM CPT, and writes blogs for multiple Registered Dietitians. She can be seen with her headphones in playing one of her Spotify playlists and/or shamelessly taking a picture of everything she eats. You can check her out at @foodietunes on Instagram.

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