Why Does Protein Powder Taste So Bad?

If you’ve ever hit the gym, chances are- you’ve had some protein powder in your life. As we all know, protein is required to grow muscle, so many people use protein powder as a convenient source to gain muscle.

But, why does protein powder taste SO BAD?

Well, protein powder tries to minimize calories and maximize protein. This means they often have no sugar, no artificial sweeteners, no carbohydrates- just raw protein with no flavor. This is because protein powders need to have low calories to help bodybuilders retain muscle when losing weight, and not put too much fat on.

Don’t worry though. Mix in that protein powder with some milk, ice, and chocolate fruit and you’ll have an incredibly tasty and incredibly high protein shake.

But, this is kind of a complicated issue- so let’s cover it more in-depth!

Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels
Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

What is Protein Powder?

To first answer our question, we need to figure out what protein powder is.

Yes, that sounds like a stupid question to go through- but protein powder is actually really complicated and most people don’t know what it really is.

Most people are under the impression protein powder is a supplement that will grow muscle, is super healthy, and is required to eat/drink if you bodybuild.

The truth is, protein powder is a great SUPPLEMENT but is NOT a replacement for just eating protein from normal food sources.

And protein powder is absolutely NOT required at all to build muscle. The same protein in chicken, steak, milk, whatever are all the same, if not better than using protein powder.

Protein powder is just a good mix to help you reach your daily protein goals if you’re really busy. For example, maybe you’re in college and don’t have time to cook all day, protein powder can help replace some of that.

But, as the name suggests- it’s protein powder. It’s different than a protein bar as it has no flavor or anything else, it’s just protein in a powder form and this is why I think people get so confused. There’s nothing in it that’s special, it’s just protein.

So, Protein Powder is Quite Literally Just Gross Protein?

Yeah, so turns out that protein alone is pretty nasty. It’s a lot different than carbohydrates that are sweet and tasty- protein just ends up being kind of gross in its’ standalone form.

So when you buy protein powder, you’re kind of just being ‘microsized’ protein.

Remember this, you probably don’t want to be like me and try mixing your protein powder in water and drinking it. (This is a horrible idea and you’ll probably vomit)

Think of it like creatine almost. You need to mix it into some food, but you don’t want the taste of creatine to ruin whatever you’re eating.

When you start looking at it like this- your perspective will change. Protein powder isn’t a food, but an ingredient. Then it starts making sense why protein powder tastes so bad.

It’s like if you tried eating flour. Flour itself is just gross chalky powder, but when you combine it with other ingredients- bam, you got a cake.

Protein Powders Typically Don’t Have Sweeteners, Sugars, Nothing

The thing is, protein powders typically don’t have sweeteners, sugars, nothing in them.

They are designed to be an ingredient you can add to anything. If they added a certain sweetener, people wouldn’t be able to mix it with everything.

Now, some people can argue that protein powder often comes in flavors, but those protein powders often taste horrible as well. And there’s a reason for that.

Protein Powders Aim To Be Low Calorie

So, protein powders aim to be low-calorie, and for good reason.

First of all, adding any sweeteners or sugars will cause the protein powder to have a distinct taste, making it difficult to mix with other drinks/foods.

But, those sugars and sweeteners add a lot of calories.

Here’s the thing, whenever you go to the gym to grow muscle you typically have to gain some weight to put on that muscle. That’s perfectly normal.

But, protein powder needs to appeal to people that are on a ‘cut’ too. If people want to lose weight, they need to have the lowest-calorie protein powders possible. Because if the protein powder has a lot of calories, people won’t eat nor buy them.

Furthermore, protein powders are great for when you’re on a cut. One of the hardest parts of losing weight is making sure you get enough protein.

If you aren’t getting enough protein, your body will destroy muscle instead of destroying fat. This is one of the core reasons protein powders have to be low calorie, and therefore- have no sweeteners, no sugars, and taste bad.

Protein Powders That Taste Good (Warning: They have more calories!)

So, if you’re the person that’s just really busy and needs a good standalone protein shake you don’t have to mix with 50 fruits and mysterious things to taste good- I got you.

There are quite a few protein powders that taste good, but do be warned they will have way more calories. Now, this isn’t always a bad thing.

For instance, if you’re bulking- those extra calories are needed. Or, if you’re just really busy, those extra calories can also be good because if you don’t eat enough calories on a cut- you’ll lose muscle.

Also, sometimes it’s not the end of the world, you’ll just often have to eat less to balance it out.

Here’s my favorite protein powder of all time: The Muscle Milk Genuine Chocolate Protein Powder. It tastes amazing with milk added, it’s literally like a chocolate shake.

Just mix the milk and that before you head to class or after the gym and you’ll have a simple protein shake in no time.

I used to bring a carton of milk and that tub in my backpack when I had super busy days at college, and it helped me so so much.

Conclusion of Why Does Protein Powder Taste Bad?

So, that was a lot of information- but here’s what we learned:

  • Protein powder is usually just ‘microsized protein in a bag’ and nothing else.
  • That means no sweeteners, sugars, nothing.
  • This is done so people can use protein powder on a cut or mix it into food without gaining weight due to extra calories.
  • You can add protein powders to shakes with milk, chocolate, or fruit to make it taste way better.
  • It may be in your interest to find a ‘bulking protein powder’ that has more calories but actually tastes good. These protein powders usually have the same amount of protein, but have sugar or sweeteners added and usually taste good. (like I said, that muscle milk protein powder tastes delicious!)

Thank you for reading, and please comment if you have any questions and I will get back to you ASAP!

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