Why is protein shake bad for teenagers

Teenagers and their protein shakes

The sports advice.

Due to the currently increased family contact, more parents see what their offspring is up to. And also what he eats. Fitness-loving teenagers already had question marks before Corona. Is their daily protein shake even necessary? Or are such protein shakes harmful?

Interestingly, these questions are usually only asked by the parents. The young people assume that the shake is mandatory and of course not a problem. The answer "No, not necessary" is likely to bounce off teenagers.

Protein shakes are certainly not harmful. It is also practically impossible to take so much protein shake that the amount of protein would be too high. From this side there is therefore the all-clear. It is also true that adolescents generally need more protein than adults, relative to their body weight. Your bones, organs and muscles are still under construction.

But things are different for young people who do sport. The consensus here is that they need the same amount of protein as adults. In both cases, the daily requirement is around 1.5 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. In teenagers, this covers growth and additional needs through fitness or exercise. And since adolescents are usually lighter, in absolute terms they need less protein than adults in sports.

A teenager can easily achieve this amount of protein without a shake, which is confirmed by surveys in Europe. The official dietary recommendations for adolescents are sufficient here to cover this amount: three servings of milk or dairy products plus one serving of meat, fish, eggs or tofu per day.

Perhaps, however, Covid-19 will lead teenagers to question their protein shakes in the future or even to do without them. The range of prices for shakes is huge, and many teenagers are likely to choose cheaper products. Such shakes are made with cheap raw materials, which often come from China.

It remains to be seen whether this knowledge leads to a rethinking among teenagers. In any case, people in the USA are currently afraid of such a scenario: The market for vegan products could collapse as soon as it becomes known that the vegetable proteins used for them come to a large extent from China.

Dr. Paolo Colombani is a nutritionist. After almost twenty years of research at ETH Zurich, he is now self-employed.