What Are Protein Tablets?

Protein is an important part of your diet. This essential macronutrient helps build strong bones, lean muscles and can even boost your metabolism. The recommended dietary allowance, or RDA, for protein is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. Although there are plenty of protein-rich foods available in your grocery aisles — including fish, meat, and vegetarian options — sometimes your doctor will recommend that you take protein tablets if you aren't getting enough protein through your diet alone.

Protein tablets offer a low-calorie alternative to protein powder. (Image: alfexe/iStock/Getty Images)

Tip

Protein tablets provide an additional source of protein, but you'll see faster weight loss results if you incorporate exercise into your regular routine too.

What Are Protein Tablets?

Protein tablets are a dietary supplement containing protein powder in a pill or capsule form. They are widely available at health food stores, online retailers and even drugstores.

Manufacturers use many different types of protein to produce the powder for protein pills. Common ingredients are soy, collagen, bone broth or whey. Or they might contain ingredients like casein, beef or pea powder.

If you suffer from a dairy allergy or are lactose-intolerant, though, always steer clear of whey protein tablets, since whey is a byproduct of making cheese. You'll also want to avoid collagen, beef and bone broth tablets if you follow a vegan or vegetarian diet.

Protein Tablet Benefits

Unlike protein powder, which is typically mixed with smoothies or shakes, protein tablets don't contain too many additional calories. They also don't have any taste, so you don't need to worry about the flavor if you're a picky eater or have a delicate stomach. While protein content may vary from brand to brand, protein tablets typically contain 3 grams of protein per six tablets.

Another major benefit of protein capsules is that they are easy to grab and go. They travel more easily than canisters of protein powder or recovery shakes, so you can simply toss them in your purse or gym bag. Protein pills also require no refrigeration and no prep work.

Furthermore, unlike protein powders, there is no documented evidence to support the theory that they pose long-term health risks. According to the 2018 Protein Powder study published by the Clean Label Project, 70 percent of the top-selling protein powder products had detectable levels of lead, 74 percent had detectable levels of cadmium and 55 percent had detectable levels of BPA, a chemical known to cause cancerous tumors, birth defects and other developmental disorders. Protein tablets have not been shown to contain any lead, BPA or cadmium.

Does Protein Promote Weight Loss?

Upping your daily protein intake with protein capsules is a great way to shed unwanted pounds when you are doing strength-training workouts, since these supplements contain zero calories. In a study published in January 2016 by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 40 participants did one month of rigorous exercise while maintaining a low-calorie diet. Researchers discovered that trial participants who increased their protein intake lost just as much weight but gained more muscle than their lower-protein consuming counterparts.

Protein pills offer all of the nutritional benefits but none of the calories found in protein powders, shakes and bars. This fact alone makes them a good alternative if you are looking to lose weight without revamping your entire diet. You'll still get all of the benefits of a high-protein diet without the added sugar and calories or other iffy ingredients found in many protein powders, shakes and protein bars.

Side Effects of Protein Powder

Potential side effects of protein powder include headaches and pain in the muscles and joints as well as digestive distress, especially among people with an allergy to whey, a common ingredient used in many over-the-counter protein powders. This is why it's important to talk to your doctor before incorporating protein supplements into your lifestyle.

According to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), it's best to avoid taking any dietary supplements without consulting a physician first. This is especially true if you have any preexisting health conditions. Unlike prescription medication, supplements do not require approval from the FDA, so they may contain ingredients that are not safe for all users.

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