What Are Protein Shakes
Protein shakes are drinks made by mixing protein powder with water or another liquid, although other ingredients are often added as well.
They can be a convenient addition to your diet, especially when your access to quality high-protein foods is limited.
Although most people dont need protein shakes to meet daily protein requirements, they can be useful if you need to increase your intake or have trouble meeting your needs through food alone.
You can buy protein powder and mix it yourself, or you can get many different brands of premade liquid shakes.
Some of the most popular types of protein powder on the market are:
- Whey protein: quickly absorbed, dairy-based, contains all the essential amino acids (
Certain protein powders and drinks contain a mix of different types of protein.
For example, many plant-based brands combine types to complement amino acid profiles. Some dairy-based protein powders combine whey and casein to provide both immediate and longer-lasting effects on muscle synthesis.
Protein shakes can contain different types of protein, each with their own nutrient profiles and possible benefits.
Protein has been shown to help .
One key reason for this is that protein generally helps you feel satisfied for longer than other macronutrients. This is due in part to the release of satiety hormones GLP-1 and PYY (
Protein may decrease your appetite by affecting your hunger hormones. It may also help you feel full for longer.
Can Protein Help You Lose Weight
Increasing your protein intake beyond that might be helpful for those looking to shed some pounds as long as it does not mean excess calories. “It can help with weight in that it can balance satiety, or our fullness factor,” says Melissa Majumdar, M.S., a registered dietitian at Emory University Hospital and a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. While calorie restriction is typically required for weight loss, loading up on protein-rich foods can help you feel satisfied even within those caloric constraints.
This relates to hormones, which can trigger the body’s cues for both hunger and fullness. “When we eat a meal and it gets into our small intestines, we release hormones to tell us to stop eatingand protein is the best at ,” explains Fujioka. To be specific, protein is better as a satiety signal than its fellow macronutrients, fat and carbohydrates.
Moreover, that fullness factor isn’t fleeting. “Studies show that it’s both with a single mealso if your meal contained protein, then it would create more fullnessbut also a 24-hour period,” says Majumdar. “So, over the course of the day, if there was more protein incorporated, that can control hunger better.”
Then there’s the fact that protein is a key player for creating muscle mass. “Whenever we lose weight, we naturally lose some of our lean muscle mass, and protein can help preserve that,” says Majumdar.
The Best Protein Sources
Choose protein sources that are nutrient-rich and lower in saturated fat and calories, such as:
- Lean meats
- Nuts and seeds
It’s a good idea to change up your protein foods. For instance, you could have salmon or other fish that’s rich in omega-3s, beans or lentils that give you fiber as well as protein, walnuts on your salad, or almonds on your oatmeal.
How much protein are you getting? Here’s how many grams of protein are in these foods:
1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese: 12.4g
3 ounces tofu, firm: 9g
1/2 cup cooked lentils: 9g
2 tablespoons natural-style peanut butter or almond butter
3 oz skinless chicken breast: 26g
3 oz fish fillet : 17-20g
1 ounce provolone cheese: 7g
1/2 cup cooked kidney beans: 7.7g
1 ounce almonds: 6g
4 ounces low-fat plain yogurt: 6g
4 ounces soy milk: 3.5g
4 ounces low-fat milk: 4g
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How Does A High Protein Diet Help You Lose Weight
Protein foods help you lose fat and build lean muscle mass. How so? Protein is hard for us to digest, so when we eat it, we burn more calories and feel fuller for longer, which makes it easier to eat less in a day. Studies show that high protein diets increases thermogenesis and satiety and leads to a reduced subsequent energy intake.
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Older Adults And Bone Health
Older adults in particular may need more protein to support good health, promote recovery from illness, and maintain functionality, particularly when it comes to maintaining strong bones.12
In the past, experts thought increased protein could harm bones because higher protein diets seemed to result in higher calcium levels in the participants urine. But with more advanced techniques, researchers found dietary protein helps increase absorption of dietary calcium, so there is more calcium available for bone-building and more left to be excreted.13
So far, no quality evidence has been found to indicate increased protein damages bones.14 On the contrary, older adults, who are at the greatest risk for bone loss, need to make sure they get enough protein.
Older adults tend to eat fewer calories overall, and this can mean they also eat less protein. Older women, especially, may not meet even the low intake levels of the Recommended Daily Allowance .15
The RDA for protein is 0.8 grams per kilo of reference body weight.16 But, as we explain in this guide to higher protein diets, this amount is likely too low for most people who want to improve their health.
Because older adults do not metabolize protein as well as younger people, researchers believe if you are over 65 years of age, you need a protein intake at least 35% higher than what the RDA recommends to preserve lean body mass and maintain bone health.17
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Foods And Beverages To Consume In Limited Quantities
The foods on this list can be included, but they shouldnt be the main focus if you want to lose weight. Although many of them are nutritious, their protein percentages arent high. Depending on what you like and the way you eat, you can enjoy them in small quantities on a frequent or even daily basis.
- Cheese: Cheese is delicious, low in carbs, and a great source of calcium. However, it doesnt provide a lot of protein per calorie. Additionally, some people find that eating cheese causes cravings for more.22If you follow a keto or low-carb diet, feel free to have a small portion daily, if you like.Protein percentage range: 39% to 20%
- Nuts: They provide crunch, flavor, and enjoyment at meals and when snacking. Unfortunately, they dont provide much nutrition per calorie.Also, once you start eating nuts, it can be difficult to stop. Eating too many nuts can increase your caloric intake, making weight loss more difficult.23Aim for no more than a small handful no matter what type of nut you choose. Also, portion them out and eat them in a small bowl rather than from the container.Protein percentage range: 18% to 4%
- Low-protein processed meats: Yes, theyre flavorful and convenient. But foods like bacon, sausage, and salami contain far less protein than other meats. Can you still lose weight if you include them in your diet? Absolutely. But try to choose the processed meats listed in the foods to eat section most of the time.Protein percentage range: 23% to 14%
Which Type Of Protein Is Best
Different types of protein may affect your body in distinct ways.
For instance, whey is absorbed quicker than casein. This makes it optimal for promoting muscle protein synthesis after exercise and could possibly help you feel less hungry in the short term .
While some small studies have shown whey protein to be more effective than soy and other plant-based proteins when it comes to weight loss, there are other small studies that show no real difference.
This seems to support the idea that individuals and their individual lifestyle factors are more important than the type of protein when it comes to weight loss or other desired outcomes (
As long as you are consuming a variety of protein sources throughout the day, these deficiencies likely wont cause a problem. But its always a good idea to talk with your doctor or consult with a registered dietitian before incorporating any new supplements into your diet.
The exact type of protein powder you use for protein shakes shouldnt make a major difference in fat loss, which means its more important to consider your individual health factors and dietary preferences.
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What To Eat On A Protein Diet
Animal proteins are first-class proteins as they provide all essential amino acids that the body can utilise fully. Fish, meat, eggs, and dairy products like curd, milk, paneer and tofu will help you meet your daily protein requirements. There are enough options for vegetarians too.
Here is a comprehensive list of foods you can include in your daily meals.
How Protein At Breakfast Can Help You Lose Weight
Protein is a key nutrient for weight loss.
In fact, adding more protein to your diet is the easiest and most effective way to lose weight.
Studies show that protein can help curb your appetite and keep you from overeating.
Therefore, starting your day with a high-protein breakfast may be an effective weight loss tip.
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Mechanisms Of Satiation With A Short
Sustained satiety is a key component to induce a negative energy balance and to promote weight loss. An ideal weight loss strategy would promote satiety and maintain basal metabolic rates despite a negative energy balance and reduction in fat-free mass. Satiety is multifactorial and influenced by many components including but not limited to the endocrine system, the cognitive and neural system as well as the gastrointestinal system. A diet high in protein seems to be able to influence certain systems. The hierarchy for macronutrient-induced satiating efficiency is similar to that observed for diet-induced thermogenesis : protein is the most satiating macronutrient followed by CHOs and fat, which is least satiating . This satiating effect is most significant after high-protein diets . Based on a visual analogue scale , which comprises a standard tool to measure subjective appetite and satiety , satiety was significantly greater after a 60% protein meal than after a 19% protein meal . These findings were confirmed by Crovetti et al. who reported significantly greater satiety after consumption of an isocaloric meal containing 68% protein compared with a 10% protein meal . Increased satiety helps to decrease energy intake, which is a requisite for successful weight loss. In general, increased satiety has been observed after meals with a protein content in the range of 25% to 81% .
Plasma amino acid levels
What Does Protein Do
The food we eat has two primary purposes:
The carbohydrates and fats in food provide most of our energy for the first purpose.
Protein is different. Protein is an inefficient energy source for the body.1 But it is essential for the bodys structure and function. These include obvious things such as muscle tissue and include less obvious components, such as enzymes, hormones, and bone.
Nearly half the protein in your body is skeletal muscle, and protein is the most important nutrient for maintaining and building it.2 Evidence indicates most people would improve their lean muscle mass by making sure they have adequate protein intake.3
For people who want to add muscle, getting enough protein is a must. Athletes who are breaking down and rebuilding muscle need more dietary protein to aid in this process.4 If you are interested in building muscle mass, check out Diet Doctors guide to improving your body composition for more on this topic.
Even if youre not interested in building muscle, youll want to maintain the muscle you have for general good health. An important part of doing that is making sure you get enough protein.
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How Much Protein Per Day To Lose Weight
If you want to lose weight, aim for a daily protein intake between 1.6 and 2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight . Athletes and heavy exercisers should consume 2.2-3.4 grams of protein per kilogram if aiming for weight loss.
My practical recommendation to people is that if you carry a BMI of over 30 or a body fat percentage above 25-30% it makes more sense to base your protein recommendations off of your goal weight.
For the correct amount of protein to gain muscle, check this resource out.
Protein Preserves Lean Body Mass
In addition, protein has another benefit on weight loss: it helps preserve lean body mass during periods of caloric restriction.
One study compared the effect of low protein intake to high protein intake on lean body mass over a short term caloric deficit. On average, the low protein group lost about 1.6 kilograms of muscle mass while the high protein group only lost 0.3 kg of muscle mass .
Another similar study compared 0.8 g/kg per day against 1.6 g/kg per day and 2.4 g/kg per day and found that the two higher intakes spared more lean body mass than the 0.8 g/kg per day diet. They also found that there was no real benefit to 2.4 g/kg per day over 1.6 g/kg per day .
Currently, most evidence suggests that ~1.6 grams of protein per kilogram, or .73 grams of protein per pound is a recommended daily target for protein intake to spare lean body mass loss during periods of weight loss.
How Much Protein Do You Need For Good Health
How much protein you need depends on several factors, such as how tall you are or whether you are male or female. You can use this chart to estimate your daily protein requirements.
High-protein diet minimum daily targets
Aim for approximately this much protein every day.
If you are older, very active, trying to lose weight, or have a metabolic condition, such as diabetes, you may want to increase your protein target by around 20 to 30 grams more per day.
Protein Makes You Lose Weight Even Without Conscious Calorie Restriction
Protein works on both sides of the calories in vs calories out equation. It reduces calories in and boosts calories out.
For this reason, it is not surprising to see that high-protein diets lead to weight loss, even without intentionally restricting calories, portions, fat or carbs (
In this study, the participants lost an average of 11 pounds over a period of 12 weeks. Keep in mind that they only added protein to their diet, they did not intentionally restrict anything.
Although the results arent always this dramatic, the majority of studies do show that high-protein diets lead to significant weight loss .
A higher protein intake is also associated with less belly fat, the harmful fat that builds up around the organs and causes disease .
All that being said, losing weight is not the most important factor. It is keeping it off in the long-term that really counts.
Many people can go on a diet and lose weight, but most end up gaining the weight back .
Interestingly, a higher protein intake can also help prevent weight regain. In one study, a modest increase in protein intake reduced weight regain after weight loss by 50% .
So not only can protein help you lose weight, it can also help you keep it off in the long-term .
Eating a high-protein diet can cause weight loss, even without calorie counting, portion control or carb restriction. A modest increase in protein intake can also help prevent weight regain.
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Tips To Help You Lose Weight
Eating more protein for the purpose of weight loss works best under certain conditions. A 2020 study published in Advances in Nutrition found that people primarily benefit from a higher protein intake when they’re also cutting calories and exercising. Simply adding more protein to your diet and calling it a day won’t deliver the weight loss you’re looking for. With that in mind, here’s how to do it right.
What Is A High
A high-protein diet is one where you work on getting plenty of protein probably more than you are used to getting as the first focus of your eating patterns. Protein-rich foods include eggs, meat, seafood, legumes, and dairy products. These foods are not only high in protein but high in nutrients in general. That means a high-protein diet is also a high nutrition diet.
Increasing protein can be very helpful for weight loss because protein can help tame your appetite.1 It also supplies plenty of the raw materials needed to maintain your muscles and your metabolism, both of which help ensure that youre burning calories at an appropriate rate.2
For people who want to build muscle, getting more protein than is typically recommended is a must. Current recommendations, known as the RDA or the recommended dietary allowance, are designed for healthy people and meant to prevent malnutrition they arent meant to help increase muscle mass or improve medical conditions such as type 2 diabetes.3
Diets with increased protein can have a positive effect on the treatment and prevention of type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome, and possibly even heart disease.4 Higher protein intake also helps prevent sarcopenia, which is a loss of muscle mass that can occur as you age, and a related condition, osteoporosis, which is a loss of bone mass.5
More high-protein guides
You can read more about how much protein most people are eating now in our expanded section here:
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