Whether you are trying to bulk up, slim down, or maintain your weight, protein shakes can be a valuable addition to your diet. However, what if you do not see the results you expect? Could protein shakes be making you gain weight instead of losing it?
In this post, we will look at the evidence and help you decide whether protein shakes are suitable for you.
Protein shakes are usually taken before or after a workout. Although they can be taken for other reasons, proteins shakes are mainly taken to increase muscle mass or reduce body fat. Aside from boosting metabolism and helping burn calories, a protein shake can also help build muscle.
Ever since the FDA created the Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs), the market has been bombarded with fortified protein shakes that are not 100% regulated. However, this does not mean that you cannot make a healthy protein shake at home.
What are protein shakes, and how do they work?
Protein shakes are a type of drink that is often made with protein powder. The protein powder can be made from milk, eggs, or soy. Protein shakes are often used by people who are trying to build muscle mass.
They can also be used by people trying to lose weight, as protein shakes can help reduce hunger cravings. There are different types of protein shakes, and each type has its own set of benefits.
Protein shakes work by providing the body with protein. Protein is essential for building and maintaining muscle mass. It is also crucial for maintaining a healthy weight, as protein can help to reduce hunger cravings.
When the body does not get enough protein, it can start to break down muscle tissue to use as protein. This can lead to weight loss, as muscle tissue weighs more than fat tissue. A protein shake can help to ensure that the body gets enough protein throughout the day.
Types of Protein Shakes
Whey protein is a type of protein that is derived from milk. Whey protein is considered a complete protein, as it contains all of the essential amino acids. Whey protein is also high in branched-chain amino acids, which are important for building muscle mass.
Whey protein shakes have more advantages in terms of metabolism, convenience, and versatility. Most professionals advise beginners to take whey protein shakes in moderation for increased growth and muscle mass maintenance.
This type of shake also has many advantages over casein and vegan protein shakes. One notable tick is that it is a quick-digesting protein that many people can easily absorb. This is to note that a whey protein shake can be consumed right after a workout.
In conjunction with low-calorie gain, whey has also been proven to reduce overall body fat, increase metabolism and preserve lean muscle mass as per a published ResearchGate study.
Casein is a milk byproduct / diary-based protein rather than a cheese byproduct. According to the International Society of Sports Nutrition, casein is a slow-digesting protein recommended for endurance exercise than strength training.
The best time to consume casein protein shakes is before a workout. This is because it slows metabolism when compared to whey protein shakes.
If you want a high-protein meal replacement, casein protein shakes are a better choice because they have a much slower rate of absorption and can fill you up faster. Overall, casein protein shakes will also keep you full for longer periods.
A vegan shake is a protein that comes from plant sources. Some vegan protein shakes are made from hemp, peas, bananas, or brown rice. Although whey, casein, and soy are complete proteins and contain every essential amino acid, plan-based protein shakes are not complete. They also tend to have smaller amounts of protein per serving than dairy-based powders or soy.
However, many vegan protein powders are combined with other types of protein powders to form a complete protein powder. This allows for vegans to still get all of the benefits associated with protein shakes. Vegan protein is a protein that is suitable for people who do not eat animal products.
Most protein powders and shakes are made with the dairy-based proteins of whey or casein. Learning more about the pros and cons of each protein type can help you make a good decision about which might be best for you.
Can Protein Shakes Make You Gain Weight Without Working Out?
To add weight, one must either consume high-calorie foods or strength-train. In both scenarios, you will need to increase your daily protein intake. However, you want to be sure that you are increasing your calories with nutrient-rich and high-calorie foods instead of fast foods.
Protein shakes come into play when you want to gain weight by increasing muscle mass. Every time you work out, you do a little damage to your muscles. As these muscles heal, they get stronger, and if exercise is done properly, they get bigger.
However, to attain this fitness goal, your muscles need different nutrients and enzymes. The reason most people choose to use protein shakes instead of a well thought out nutritionally complete and full meal is because of convenience and time.
There is no right or wrong way to gain weight while drinking protein shakes, but there is a more or less effective way of doing it. This will change slightly for every person.
Overall, protein shakes can make you gain weight without working out. However, this weight gain will be due to muscle mass, not fat mass. When the body gets enough protein, it can start to build muscle tissue. This is because protein is essential for building and maintaining muscle mass. When the body builds muscle mass, it will weigh more than fat mass, leading to weight gain.
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Benefits of Protein Shakes
There are many benefits associated with protein shakes. Some of the key benefits include:
- You do not have to cook.
- Protein can help to reduce hunger cravings
- Protein is essential for healthy weight maintenance
- Protein helps the body to burn more calories throughout the day.
- Protein shakes are not heavy on your digestion system unless you are lactose intolerant. Lactose intolerant people should not use whey protein.
- If you cannot consume large volumes of food, protein shakes can help you hit your daily protein goals.
- If you are busy, protein shakes can help you maintain your health. Just add a scoop in the shaker, shake, and have it. No cooking whatsoever involved.
- It helps you reach your goals as easily as it is in powder form, so the absorption speed is good.
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The Pros and Cons of Using Protein Shakes as Your Main Source of Nutrition
Protein shakes are a great way to get protein in your diet, and protein is essential for building and maintaining muscle mass. Protein shakes can be an easy and convenient way to get protein, especially when on the go.
However, protein shakes do not contain all of the other nutrients that we need. This means that protein shakes should only be used in addition to a healthy diet, not as the primary source of protein.
Protein shakes are also available in high-sugar varieties that can lead to weight gain and other adverse health effects, such as diabetes and heart disease.
Difference Between Protein Shakes and Supplements
So, how different is a protein shake from a supplement? A protein shake can be made from natural ingredients, while protein supplements come in many forms, such as pills, powders, or liquids. The most commonly consumed protein powders are casein, soy, and whey powders.
A protein shake can be made at home by using protein powder and mixing it with liquid to get the desired consistency. Protein supplements tend to be stronger than protein shakes, as they contain a higher protein concentration.
Protein supplements also often have added ingredients, such as vitamins and minerals, which protein shakes do not always have. Protein supplements are a good choice for people looking to increase their protein intake but who do not want to consume protein from milk-based products.
Many athletes who want to maintain weight prefer whey protein shakes because of high metabolism, high protein percentage, and low fat. Furthermore, whey protein shakes have all the nine amino acids that the body needs.
There are also vegan protein shakes that are plant-based and made from soy. So, if you are vegan, a vegan protein shake will do the trick.
According to a study published in ScienceDaily, consuming the right amount of protein shakes can help reduce body fat or maintain weight. This is where whey protein shakes come into play: they enhance muscle mass and encourage lean muscle growth.
Overall, protein shakes are a good alternative if you are not getting enough protein in your diet. However, a protein shake, whether made from natural ingredients or fortified, can only be a supplement that gives benefits if your diet is right.
You can never expect a protein shake to increase lean muscle mass when your diet is full of crap.
frequently Asked Questions
Can I Drink Protein Shakes Every Day?
Well, it depends on the following:
- What is in the protein shake: Some protein shakes are just one type of protein (whey/ pea/ casein) and taken in the right quantity for different reasons.
- What time you are taking it: Most protein shakes are best-taken post-workouts. Protein like whey protein can be included pre/post-workout. At the same time, plant-based proteins can also be included in meal preparations. Besides workouts, casein-based protein is best taken for meal replacers or at bedtime. It must be included in the correct quantity and with the right combination of other ingredients or foods.
- Why you are having it: Protein supplements must be included with a purpose and reason to determine the correct quantity.
- How much you are having: Protein intake is dependent on your body weight. If your overall protein intake is within the ideal range for your goals, you can include protein shakes every day.
Can Protein Shakes Replace Meals?
Balanced meals are better than protein shakes. Weight loss is best achieved by building sustainable eating habits. One of the main downsides to consuming protein shakes instead of meals is that your body is not getting all the beneficial nutrients, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals in whole foods.
Can I Drink Protein Shakes While Pregnant?
Maintaining proteins during pregnancy within the recommended levels is the safest for both you and the baby. However, taking protein shakes that contain caffeine, sweeteners and additives are not advised.
This video explains more about protein powder during pregnancy.
If you are struggling to get in enough protein, drinking whey protein shakes during pregnancy will meet the need. But, if you can eat enough high-protein foods, you may want to skip the additional protein powder.
Who Should Drink Protein Shakes?
Protein shakes can be taken by professional athletes, vegans, older adults, teens, and beginners who want to lose body fat, maintain current weight, or increase muscle mass. However, a combination of diet and strength training will be able to make you reach your goals faster.
If you drink a protein shake without any carbohydrates or fats, it may not make you fatter. In fact, a high protein diet may help you lose weight by making you burn out more calories during digestion than a high-fat or high-carb meal.
It is important to note that people who eat more calories than they burn can gain weight.
However, those who eat more calories from protein shakes tend to do better in maintaining weight. The other important thing is that protein shake is not all created equally. A good quality protein would be from hemp, egg, milk, or whey.
If you lift equipment or play sports, you will need more protein to repair your body muscles than inactive people. Also, if you just eat high amounts of protein and do not work out, your kidneys will work harder to remove the extra proteins.