My child is only 15. Is it safe for him to take a protein shake?
Unequivocally, yes. I have yet to find a single shred of evidence that has shown protein shakes impair kidney function in healthy people. Not one clinical study. Not one review. Not one case study. Not even a reputable opinion from a medical professional. Trust me, I’ve looked and looked because my mother had the same concerns when I was 15. I even researched it while I was in pharmacy school. I’ve been using protein for almost 15 years now, and I haven’t had one bad lab test, one doctor’s visit, or even one symptom. In fact, we give post-workout protein shakes to all of our athletes after training. Some of them are only in 8th grade.
So where did that myth originate? From patients suffering from renal failure. The guidelines suggest that patients in the various stages of kidney failure reduce their protein intake because their impaired kidney function cannot properly handle a lot of protein. A healthy 15 year old child does not have the kidneys of a 70 year old kidney failure patient. That’s like saying walking in a treadmill is dangerous because a clinical study had shown that people 75 years and above were at risk of falling off and breaking their hip. Duh!
It’s funny that the same parents who have no qualms about their children eating McDonald’s or pizza on a weekly basis wouldn’t even think of letting them have a protein shake. I guarantee fast food will cause more health problems in your child’s future than any protein shake ever could.
If they want a protein shake, let them have one. Make sure it’s just a protein shake. Avoid the creatine. Avoid the nitric oxide. A lot of the supplement manufacturers will add additional ingredients into the shakes for “convenience” purposes. All your child needs is protein.
If your child only eats 2 meals per day, they are miles away from consuming too much protein per day. Usually, I recommend 1g per pound of bodyweight, with a minimum of 1g per 2.2 lbs of bodyweight. So a 120lb kid should be consuming between 54-120g of protein per day. A typical shake has 24g of protein in it.
If your child is particularly small and needs to gain weight, adding ice cream, fruits, and more to the shake can really add extra calories. 2 shakes a day should make a noticeable improvement in his physique.