Are Supplements necessary? Nope. But when it comes to burning fat and muscle toning, it is important for you consume GOOD calories every 2 1/2-3 hours to keep your body furnace burning at full power. The advantage of Protein Bars and Shakes cannot be understated. Having a protein bar in my pocket anywhere I go and not having to wonder where my next meal is coming from is huge. If I relied on nothing but whole foods I'd look like some travelling tupperware salesman. If you prefer shakes, buy a $2 shaker and add the powder before you leave home. Whenever you need it just add water and...DUN DUN DUN...instant meal. As far as which brands are the best, EAS and ProGrade Strength are two I've used and heard great things about. EAS can be found at HEB. ProGrade you many have to order online. As far as other protein brands just email me and I'll give you my opinion.