Are protein powders bad for you? I hear some people say they are like roids.
Protein powders are not bad for you, and they are nothing even remotely close to steroids.
Protein powders are, in essence, a relatively easy way to meet your daily protein needs. While for many lifters protein supplements are somewhat useless, many lifters find protein supplements useful because they tire of cheaper sources of protein (beans, eggs, etc) and because they don’t like to spend the money on good meat or fish. Thus, the overriding principle of protein supplements are simple: if you need them, feel free to use them, but keep in mind they don’t do anything beyond provide you what you could get from a carefully managed diet.
I will say, however, one nice thing about protein powder is it’s freaking efficient — usually (but not always), the protein to calorie ratio is pretty damn good, meaning you get more protein for the calories you intake. In contrast to some protein sources (fattier meats, etc), protein supplements are a great way to get protein when you’re trying to maintain a calorie deficit. If you do choose to get a protein supplement, look around carefully and don’t just buy the crap at Wal*Mart — find something well reviewed, tasty, and cheap.
As for the whole steroids thing, that’s just a joke people say because many people consider protein powder to be some sort of illicit, steroid-like substance. Similarly, supplements like creatine do not come close to steroids — they’re just supplements. Steroids are not sold at your local CVS.