Is Whey Protein Safe for Teenage Athletes? Dietitians Recommend

An athlete doesn’t matter his age, but he needs explosive power to do his athleticism. To gain this much power, an athlete needs to take a certain amount of Protein. Protein is important for athletes, and protein supplements are often an easy way for athletes to fit in their post-workout Protein to help repair and build muscles. But for the teen, protein supplements are not always a wise choice. 

There are very few protein powder brands that provide safe and acceptable protein powder for teenagers. However, most teen athletes do not need additional Protein. They have to focus on getting appropriate nutrition for growth, physical activity, and development. It is highly advised that teenagers must avoid most supplements, including protein powders, and get their nutrients through whole foods.

There is a choice for teenagers to get Protein without having any side effects problems. Whey protein is a well-known and highly used protein powder because it can easily be digested and absorbed to build your muscles. Here are some tips for teenagers about protein powders, how much Protein a teenage athlete needs, and some of the best protein powders and shakes for teens.

What is Whey Protein?

Whey protein is a protein in whey, the water component of milk that separates cakes from cheese. Whey protein is widely used to improve athletic performance and increase strength, but evidence to support this use is compounded.

Some processing steps with whey liquid go through until it becomes powder that can add with meal replacement shakes, protein bars, and more. Whey protein is not so good in taste; that’s why it is usually flavored chocolate, vanilla, even cookies and creme or berry.

We can call whey protein a complete protein because it contains all the important amino acids to build proteins in your body. There is no problem with that in digesting procedure. Whey protein contains little fat, little lactose, and it has an efficient way of digesting quickly.

There is an important matter to look at that if you can’t tolerate lactose or have a problem with dairy foods, you should avoid taking whey protein. Because whey isolate or hydrolysate may work for you, but probably not whey concentrate, which contains amounts of lactose.

Most teen athletes or bodybuilders take whey protein as a protein supplement. But it is not recommended to take without proper caution and knowledge.

Benefits of Whey Protein

Is Whey Protein Safe for Teenage Athletes? Dietitians Recommend
  • Complete Protein- contains all essential amino acids that your body cannot make.
  • It is easily digested.
  • It may help you feel “full” and reduce appetite, which could help you lose weight.
  • Rich in branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs). Leucine, a BCAA, helps promote muscle growth and recovery after exercise.

Is Whey Protein Safe For Teenage Athletes?

Teenagers tend to see a big guy in the gym; they want to be like them as soon as possible. Even they want to take extra Protein, thinking that it will help them. But in the long run, it doesn’t help them much. They want to become bigger, stronger, and faster on the field using protein powder. But most likely, they don’t need it. It could even be harmful to teenagers to take extra Protein above a teen’s recommended amount.

The best idea to choose a supplement that is just whey protein without other additives. It is important to know that whey protein is made from milk, and whey itself is likely fairly safe when purchased in this natural form from a high-quality manufacturer.

The Dangers of Protein Supplements for Teens:

A common label in the protein powders has been printed in their body that says “intended for healthy adults over 18.” The reason behind it is that these supplements are not strictly regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. These products are not tested for teenagers because whey proteins are intended for adults over age 18. So, it can be very harmful in some cases.

As protein powders are not highly regulated, some have been found to contain substances that are not allowed or contaminated with toxic chemicals and harmful ingredients in children and children (heavy metals such as cadmium, mercury, arsenic, lead, or other toxins such as BPA are found in protein supplements). After some years, it will become dangerous for healthy children as they grow and develop and pass through adolescence. That’s why a teen athlete needs to very conscious about it and take it after reading its ingredients. 

Some protein drinks are not enough to fulfill your needs for Protein. They also have extra added sugars and also contain many unsafe ingredients for teens. After summarizing these negative sides, you can’t take protein powders as your go-to for increasing Protein in a diet plan.

Excess Protein:

There is proves that an athlete must take more Protein than a normal non-active teen. The reasons behind this are many. One of the main reasons is to gain explosive power. A teen athlete sometimes fails to judge how they take proper limits of Protein. Some teens could benefit from a protein supplement. But there are always some risks, including risks related to excess protein intake.

In the case of Protein, it isn’t easy to make a good diet plan for it. Because just eating healthy foods doesn’t provide all the Proteins that a teen needed. Teens tend to take protein powders to fill that protein gap. But it adds too much Protein for them. A diet too high in Protein for a teen can cause dangerous side effects such as dehydration, liver problems, kidney problems, and calcium losses (weak bones), and many more.

We have many teens get fat after going a plan of the excess level of Protein. They take that to make their body stronger and athletic. But they don’t know that eating too much Protein also equals excess calories that are usually stored in fat, which equals unwanted weight gain. Although a teen can consume excess Protein as it is an essential nutrient. This consumed protein body can use so much Protein, so any extra won’t result in muscle and greater health. These extra calories from Protein are stored as fat.

Too much whey protein can also have unwanted side effects such as diarrhea, pain, nausea, flatulence, and cramping.

The doctor suggests getting extra Protein is through food for teenage athletes. It’s enough for teens to get enough diet through their diet, even if they are trying to put on muscle. Foods like lean meats, dairy, fish, eggs, nuts, and seeds will provide plenty of protein without going overboard. Many teens are getting most of the Protein in their diet through regular foods.

As we see, it’s kind of tough to make a proper diet plan for the youth. But there must be a place for protein powder in a teenage athlete’s diet. If a teen athlete doesn’t take their daily protein target, it can be harmful to their overall growth and development.

Some teens who are high-carb eaters, vegetarians, and some underweight kids need protein powders necessarily. Because after taking proper diet they can’t fulfill their need of protein. In these cases, a teen athlete can take safe protein powder with a doctor’s approval.

The above number of cases is very rare. It’s better to ask a doctor before taking any supplements. Consulting with a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist to determine protein intake goals is a very good idea for a teen athlete.

My advice:

Every teen athlete doesn’t need to take protein powders. A well-balanced protein-rich is much more efficient than protein powder. There is no tension for any side effects; rather, it will benefit a teen a lot more than protein powder will ever will. So, my suggestion for you to stick to whole foods to get enough protein in your diet. You can use small amounts of protein powder if you do need a little extra protein. Please use a protein powder without artificial sweeteners and flavors.

Why Athletes Need Protein

For an athlete, his physical shape and the ability to exercise tough training sessions are very important. Protein help athletes to build, strengthen, repair, and maintain muscle other body tissue after a workout. That’s why Protein intake is especially important for an athlete.

Athletes need more protein than sedentary individuals. Occasionally, athletes need to fulfill the need for protein using the supplement.

How Much Protein Do Teenagers Need?

Non-athlete teenagers need less Protein than athlete teens. Normally teens need about 0.3 to 0.4 grams of protein per pound of body weight (about 0.85 grams per kilogram). So, depending on size, a teen needs to take 40 to 60 grams of protein per day. To get this, it is not necessary to take extra protein powder or any supplements. They can get that through whole foods.

How Much Protein Do Teen Athletes Need?

At the age of 13 to 19, a child called a teen. Normally this time is called the years of growth and development. That’s why they need a lot of protein, whether they do athletics or not. But teenage athletes need even more protein than those who aren’t physically active. There is also some parameter to measure protein like age, gender, activity levels, and weight.

A teenage athlete has to take about 0.45 to 0.6 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight to stay fit. Those who aren’t doing any athletics need slightly less protein, depending on size.

There are enough natural food items to fulfill the need for the protein of teen athletes. They can meet their protein requirements by including protein foods a few times regularly spaced throughout the day. Mainly animal and plant sources provide protein. But the high-quality protein is coming from animal products such as meat, fish, eggs, poultry, milk, and dairy products. You can also get protein through some soy products. These are the best protein sources teens can include in their diet.

Teens tend to take 2 to 3 times more than the recommended amount of protein. They think it will help them to grow and strong body fast. Studies have found that young athletes eat plenty of protein. They don’t know that adding extra protein to their diets will not help them build additional muscle.

A teen athlete doesn’t need any extra supplements if he already takes enough protein through meat, fish, eggs, and dairy products. Taking extra supplements will create more problems for them.

Is It OK for a Teenager to Drink Protein Shakes?

Protein shakes another supplement for the teenager who needs extra protein with their diet. Protein shakes are pre-mixed protein drinks. Artificial sweeteners, fat, and other ingredients are added to these protein shakes. These also contain added fillers such as sugars, and it affects the teens negatively. That’s why it is not recommended for teenagers.

A teen athlete can make protein shakes if he likes them the most. He has to blend some greek yogurt, chia seeds, and frozen fruits and vegetables to get 20+ grams of protein. This protein shake is enough for pre-or post-workout. Adding extra protein powder for a protein-packed smoothie or shake is not needed for a teen athlete.

Most teenagers try to build muscle very quickly because of their low knowledge about bodybuilding. To do that, they add some protein shakes. But it is proved that the best way to build such muscle isn’t to load up on protein. It is better to be smart about when they eat protein. Taking a proper amount of protein 3-4 or more times per day will help them building muscle.

A teen can take a protein shake if his physician recommends it to him. He has to find age-appropriate protein powders for him. Pre-made shakes are not that much helpful for a teen athlete. The serving size is typically 1-2 scoops of protein powder per day for anywhere from 20-50 grams of protein. I would recommend only 1/2 scoop per day, but teens can get the protein they need from a healthy diet.

Should 16-year-olds Take Protein Shakes?

There is no need for protein shakes for a 16-year-old teen. A 16-year-old teen only needs 50 grams of protein per day that can be fulfilled by food easily. It would be enough to include protein food at each meal and snack; a teen will get plenty of protein to meet his needs. Protein shakes can sometimes be unsafe for a 16-year-old.

Here’s a sample Menu of More Than 50 Grams of Protein in a Day:

  • Breakfast- Protein shake made with 1/4 cup Greek yogurt, 1 cup milk, one tablespoon chia seeds, one frozen banana, 1/4 cup frozen zucchini, and one tablespoon natural peanut butter. (20 grams of protein)
  • Snack- a small handful of trail mix, string cheese (15 grams of protein)
  • Lunch- 3 oz tuna sandwich on whole-wheat bread, apple, 1/4 cup hummus, carrot sticks, crackers (33 grams of protein)
  • Snack- 8 oz Greek yogurt with 1/4 cup granola (18 grams of protein)
  • Dinner- 1 cup leafy green salad, two bean burritos with salsa (30 grams of protein)
  • Total for the day = 116 grams of protein in a normal day without even trying. Teens need between 40-90 grams of protein per day, which means most teens are getting plenty of protein.

Best Protein Powders and Protein Shakes for Teens

At first, we have to understand that protein powders are not the main provider of protein. Whole foods are the first choice, and it is the best choice for teen athletes because whole foods provide plenty of protein. But if any teen athlete wants to add protein supplements to their diet, they should look for one that doesn’t have added sugars, artificial sweeteners, fillers, supplements, or fats.

My Recommendations for Whey Protein and Vegan Protein for Teenagers:

A teen athlete must check with his doctor before using a protein supplement. The doctor will describe to him how much extra protein is needed for him.

I like this brand Naked Whey Grass Fed Unflavored Whey Protein Powder (on Amazon) because it’s organic, has zero additives, and claims zero contamination from heavy metals and other unsafe ingredients. You have to mix it with your favorite smoothies, oatmeal, or a glass of milk. Because it is pure and simple straight whey protein, but unflavored and probably doesn’t taste very good plain. 

CalNaturale Svelte Organic Protein Drink is a different kind of whey. Svelte is dairy-free and plant-based, made of soy milk for anyone that is lactose intolerant or vegan. It has added vitamins and minerals and is also gluten-free, organic, vegan, low in sugar, and doesn’t use artificial flavorings. You can get it here on Amazon, or you can buy it from any grocery store.

Is Whey Protein Safe for Teenage Athletes? Dietitians RecommendIs Whey Protein Safe for Teenage Athletes? Dietitians Recommend

Orgain Organic Whey Protein Powder is one of the only ones that isn’t sweetened with artificial sweeteners. It has some fiber and no added sugar. Orgain claims it is healthy for adults and kids. They also have vegan plant-based protein powder.

Organic Valley Milk Protein Shake This protein shake is organic, lactose-free, and contains 26 grams of milk protein.

Homemade Protein Smoothie: The best option for protein intake is a homemade smoothie or shake using whole food ingredients. You can experiment with a few options, and you’ll find some delicious shakes. You can fit a lot of protein in a homemade smoothie with the right ingredients. Here’s a customizable sample recipe to get you started:

Is Whey Protein Safe for Teenage Athletes? Dietitians Recommend
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1-2 cups milk
  • 1-2 tablespoons chia or flax seeds
  • 1 cup frozen fruit such as bananas, berries, peaches, mangoes
  • 1 cup vegetables such as spinach, zucchini, kale, celery, beets
  • Any other add-ins: oats, nut butter, cocoa powder, vanilla, ice, etc.

Getting protein from whole food is more beneficial than using supplements. A homemade protein shake can provide 20+ grams of protein without using any protein powder. It’s easy to bring a homemade shake to school for breakfast or before practice in a Blender Bottle. You can get a good price for a set from Amazon here

In Summary

  • Whey protein has many benefits and can help build muscle. However, protein supplements aren’t recommended for teenagers.
  • Unregulated contaminants and unsafe ingredients for teenagers have been found in protein supplements.
  • Protein powders can cause excess protein intake, which is harmful.
  • The best way to have a high-protein diet is to plan a diet of evenly spaced out high-protein foods such as meats, fish, dairy products, seeds, nuts, and beans throughout the day.


How Teen Athletes Can Build Muscle with Protein.

-our editorial board has reviewed this article and has been approved for publication according to our editorial policy.

Best Seller List of Whey:

SaleBestseller No. 1
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein Powder, Vanilla Ice Cream, 2 Pound (Pack of 1)
  • Packaging may vary - New look, with the same trusted quality
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Bestseller No. 2
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein Powder, Extreme Milk Chocolate, 2 Pound (Pack of...
  • Gold Standard 100% Whey - 24g of protein per serving to help build and maintain muscle when taken over time with regular resistance training
  • 5.5g of aturally occurring branched chain amino acids (BCAA) per serving to support muscle recovery
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  • Banned substance tested and the highest quality control measures so you feel comfortable and confident consuming the product
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Body Fortress 100% Whey, Premium Protein Powder, Vanilla, 1.74lbs (Packaging May Vary)
  • NEW LOOK. SAME GREAT TASTING FORMULA: You will receive one 1.74 lb container of Body Fortress 100% Whey, Premium Protein Powder, Vanilla (Packaging may vary. Formula remains unchanged.)
  • POWER PACKED PROTEIN SOURCE: Build your fortress with 30g of protein and 6g of BCAAs (Branched-Chain Amino Acids) per scoop. Train harder, recover faster and crush your fitness goals with this powerful, no-nonsense formula. ◊
  • IMMUNE SUPPORT: Fortified with vitamins C & D plus zinc, Body Fortress 100% Whey doesn't just fuel your muscles – it supports your daily immunity and strengthens all of you. ◊
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  • ADJUSTABLE SERVINGS: For moderate performance goals and to build lean muscle, use one (1) scoop of Body Fortress 100% Whey for daily protein intake. For intense performance goals and big muscle gains, use two (2) scoops of Body Fortress 100% Whey for daily protein intake. ◊
Bestseller No. 4
Nutricost Whey Protein Powder, Unflavored, 5 pounds - from Whey Protein Concentrate
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Bestseller No. 5
Dymatize Elite 100% Whey Protein Powder, 25g Protein, 5.5g BCAAs & 2.7g L-Leucine, Quick Absorbing &...
  • Good pre, post-workout, or anytime for high-quality protein supplementation
Bestseller No. 6
It's Just! - 100% Whey Protein Concentrate, Made in USA, Premium WPC-80, No Added Flavors or...
  • Pure Protein Powerhouse: Our unflavored whey protein concentrate is a premium source of high-quality protein, perfect for anyone looking to boost their daily protein intake. It contains pure undenatured, rBGH/rBST-free whey protein that retains its natural integrity and bioavailability.
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SaleBestseller No. 7
Six Star Elite Series 100% Whey Protein Plus Cookies and Cream 1.8lbs US
  • WHEY PROTEIN POWDER – Formulated with 30g of protein from ultra-pure 100% whey protein and an added immune support matrix, Six Star 100% Whey Protein Plus is the fuel you need after your workout or any time of day
  • MUSCLE BUILDER for MEN & WOMEN – Six Star 100% Whey Protein Plus has 13.4g of total BCAAs per 2 scoops. BCAAs fuel your skeletal muscles during training, which can help give you the edge you need to push your limits
  • IMMUNE SUPPORT – Six Star 100% Whey Protein Plus has an added immunity support matrix, including Vitamin C & Zinc, to help support your immune system
  • PROTEIN POWDER for MUSCLE GAIN – Mix 1 serving (1 scoop) in 6 to 8 oz of water or skim milk, according to taste. For maximum effects take 2 servings daily
  • Please note the label may display 2 scoop 60g serving size or 1 scoop 30g serving size. Total servings and fill weight remain unchanged along with protein content.
Bestseller No. 8
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein Powder, Vanilla Ice Cream, 1 Pound (Packaging May...
  • Packaging may vary - new look with the same trusted quality
  • Gold Standard 100% Whey - 24g of protein per serving to help build and maintain muscle when taken over time with regular resistance training
  • 5.5g of naturally occurring branched chain amino acids (BCAA and 11g of naturally occurring essential amino acids (EAAs) per serving to support muscle recovery
  • Anytime formula – great before or after exercise, between meals, with a meal, or any time of day when you need extra protein
  • The world's best-selling whey protein powder
Bestseller No. 9
NAKED WHEY 5LB 100% Grass Fed Unflavored Whey Protein Powder - US Farms, Only 1 Ingredient,...
  • ONLY ONE INGREDIENT: 100% Grass Fed Pure Whey Protein with zero additives. Naked Whey no artificial sweeteners, flavors, or colors and is GMO-Free, No rBGH or rBST, Soy Free and Gluten-Free.
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  • THE PERFECT WORKOUT PARTNER: Create pre and post workout whey shakes, smoothies and recipes to take your muscle gains and recovery to new heights.
Bestseller No. 10
Muscletech Whey Protein Powder (Milk Chocolate, 4 Pound) - Nitro-Tech Muscle Building Formula with...
  • Ultimate Muscle Builder: MuscleTech Nitro-Tech is the choice protein for athletes, bodybuilders & fitness enthusiasts. Backed by decades of research & innovation, it supports muscle building, strength, and recovery. Milk Chocolate. 40 scoops per tub.
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Bestseller No. 11
Animal 100% Whey Protein Powder – Whey Blend for Pre- or Post-Workout, Recovery or an Anytime...
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Bestseller No. 12
Dymatize ISO100 Hydrolyzed Protein Powder, 100% Whey Isolate Protein, 25g of Protein, 5.5g BCAAs,...
30,419 Reviews
Dymatize ISO100 Hydrolyzed Protein Powder, 100% Whey Isolate Protein, 25g of Protein, 5.5g BCAAs,...
  • Dymatize ISO100 Gourmet Vanilla Protein Powder (20 Servings)
  • Scientifically formulated with fast-digesting hydrolyzed whey protein isolate
  • 25 grams of protein, which includes 5.5 grams of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), & 2.6 grams of Leucine per serving
  • 1g of fat & sugar per serving.
  • Gluten free with less than 1g lactose
Bestseller No. 13
AGN Roots Grass Fed Whey Protein Powder Isolate - Unflavored - Unsweetened - Certified Entire Life...
485 Reviews
AGN Roots Grass Fed Whey Protein Powder Isolate - Unflavored - Unsweetened - Certified Entire Life...
  • ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Certified Grass Fed Whey Protein – We do one thing, and do it well, provide Grass·Fed Whey with the assurances to back it up! AGN Roots is the only Truly Grass·Fed Whey Certified with Informed-Sport & Informed-Choice. Our farms are Certified Animal Welfare Approved by A Greener World - Globally recognized as the only "Entire Life on Pasture-based" Animal Welfare Certification.
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Bestseller No. 14
Grass Fed Whey Protein MuscleTech Grass Fed Whey Protein Powder Protein Powder for Muscle Gain...
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Grass Fed Whey Protein MuscleTech Grass Fed Whey Protein Powder Protein Powder for Muscle Gain...
  • GRASS FED WHEY PROTEIN – MuscleTech Grass Fed Whey Protein delivers wholesome goodness that tastes great, without artificial flavors or colors. It is the right choice for a clean and fast-digesting whey protein source to support a healthy lifestyle
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  • TASTES GREAT & ZERO CLUMPING – Available in 2 great, silky-smooth milkshake flavors: Triple Chocolate & Deluxe Vanilla
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SaleBestseller No. 15
Optimum Nutrition Platinum Hydrowhey Protein Powder, 100% Hydrolyzed Whey Protein Isolate Powder,...
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  • Nearly 9 Grams of Naturally Occurring and Added Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine (BCAAs) per Scoop
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Bestseller No. 16
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Bestseller No. 18
Nutricost Whey Protein Isolate Powder (Milk Chocolate) 5LBS
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SaleBestseller No. 19
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  • Less than 1 gram of fat & sugar per serving
  • Gluten free with less then 1g of lactose.
SaleBestseller No. 20
Levels Grass Fed Whey Protein, No Artificials, 24G of Protein, Chocolate Peanut Butter, 5LB
  • LEVELS WHEY PROTEIN: Each scoop of Levels Chocolate Peanut Butter Whey contains 24g Protein, 5.4g BCAAs (branched-chain amino acids), and no added sugars. Trusted by athletes, fitness enthusiasts and daily grinders everywhere, our whey is crafted for everyone’s lifestyle.
  • NOTHING FAKE: Levels Whey is naturally delicious. That means no hormones, no GMOs, no added sugars, no soy, no gluten, no bleach, no fillers, and no artificial flavors or sweeteners.
  • SIMPLE & CLEAN: No fake peanut flavor here. Levels Chocolate Peanut Butter Whey is made with delicious peanut and cacao powder then lightly sweetened with monk fruit extract.
  • QUALITY FIRST: Quality milk tastes better, way better. That’s why grass-fed hormone-free dairy is the only dairy we use to make our whey protein concentrate. Whey concentrate is the least processed form of whey, which means it’s loaded with high-quality complete protein and essential amino acids.
  • MADE IN THE USA: Levels Whey Protein is made in the U.S.A. and is undenatured to protect bioactivity and naturally occurring growth factors. Each batch is cold-process microfiltered and blended with non-gmo sunflower lecithin for that insanely easy mixing you expect.

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Last update 2022-10-17 at 11:53