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Is Protein Powder Natty? (Find Out If You’re Natural!)

Many gym goers take whey protein powder to help improve their muscle size and strength.

In my opinion, it’s an excellent supplement as it’s safe, cheap and effective.

But can you take whey protein powder in natural bodybuilding competitions, and is it classed as natty?

Is Protein Powder Natty?

Whey protein is natty since it’s allowed to be taken in natural bodybuilding competitions. But a small subset of bodybuilders believe that to be natty, you can’t take any supplements.

In this post, we will define what natty means, whether whey protein is a steroid, whether whey protein is banned, and much more.

What Does Natty Mean?

‘Natty’ is a slang term used by bodybuilders to describe something/someone as natural.

But depending on which bodybuilder you speak to, natty can mean different things.

Some people think that no supplements are considered natty.

But to me, this makes no sense.


Well, many supplements like amino acids and caffeine are natural found in food and drink.

So you can’t really call something unnatty if it’s part of what humans consume on a daily basis.

On the other hand, most people agree that to be natty, you don’t take any banned PEDs (Performance-Enhancing Drugs).

I.e., your physique is achieved solely by diet, resistance training and supplements that are approved by the world anti-doping agency.

Is Whey Protein A Steroid?

When discussing steroids in the weightlifting community, people are usually referring to anabolic steroids, like Deca, Dianabol and Anadrol.

These are synthetic versions of male testosterone, which help increase size and strength.

Whereas whey protein is a natural substance that’s derived from cheese production.

So no – whey protein isn’t a steroid.

Is Whey Protein A Drug?

Well, it depends on how you define the word drug.

According to

A drug is a chemical substance used in the treatment, cure, prevention, or diagnosis of disease or used to otherwise enhance physical or mental well-being.

So by their definition, you could argue that whey protein is a drug since it enhances physical well-being.

Whereas define a drug as:

A chemical substance, such as a narcotic or hallucinogen, that affects the central nervous system, causing changes in behaviour and often addiction.

By this definition, whey protein is not a drug as it doesn’t affect the central nervous system.

Is Whey Protein A Banned Substance?

Whey protein isn’t banned by the 3 large sport’s governing bodies – the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), the International Olympic Committee (IOC), or the NCAA.

4 Examples of Unnatty Bodybuilding Substances

Ok Robb… So if whey protein is considered natty, then what isn’t?

I’m glad you asked!

Here are 3 substances that are most certainly not natty.

Hormone Precursors

The WNBF (World Natural Bodybuilding Federation) has banned hormone precursors like DHEA, which converts into testosterone in the body.

Growth Hormones

Growth hormones include Insulin, HGH (Human Growth Hormone) and IGF-1 (Insulin Growth Factor-1).

These are also banned by the WNBF.

Anabolic Steroids

There are many different varieties of anabolic steroids, including:

They are all banned from natural bodybuilding competitions as they help spike your T levels.

Interestingly, Testosterone itself is banned in most forms.

(It’s often sold as gels, cream and patches.)


These are substances which work very similar to anabolic steroids in the body.

SARMs are not natural as they are prohibited by WADA and USADA.


Wrapping up, most people would class whey protein as natty.

It’s a safe, natural and effective supplement that just about every natty bodybuilder should be supplementing with.

Well, that’s all for today folks!

Thanks for sticking with me to the end of this article.

I really hope I’ve answered your query as clearly as possible, but if you have any additional questions regarding whey protein use, I’ll get back to you in the comments below.

Speak soon.