No longer just for muscle heads, everyone seems to be drinking protein shakes these days, but what do protein shakes do?
People drink protein shakes for a variety of reasons. When you see someone chugging a protein shake, they may be interested in the following benefits:
- Gaining muscle
- Losing weight
- Recovering from an injury
The high amount of protein in the shake is what benefits your body. Many foods, however, are high in protein such as eggs, milk, meat, seafood, poultry, and legumes. Many people choose protein shakes because the high-protein snack is both portable and convenient.
We break down what makes protein shakes such an effective tool for helping you build muscle, lose weight, and boost recovery.
What Are Protein Shakes?
Protein shakes are a dietary supplement. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) defines a dietary supplement as products that contain a dietary ingredient, such as vitamins, minerals, herbs, and amino acids. Dietary supplements come in many forms. You probably think of capsules when you imagine them, but they can also be liquids or powders.
Protein supplements are most commonly taken as powders and shakes. They provide you with amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein. You can supplement your diet with protein shakes and powders that come from animal or plant sources.
Animal-based protein powders include:
- Egg white
Plant-based protein powders include:
People choose this protein supplement for many reasons. Some drink protein shakes because they are a nutritious and convenient shelf-stable snack that can be kept nearly anywhere. Others may have difficulty getting the protein they need through food alone. It can be easier to drink calories than to eat them. The drinkability of shakes appeals to many people, from the elderly to high-performance athletes to people who just like the taste. Anyone who does not have easy access to high-quality protein sources might consider supplementing with protein shakes.
Are Protein Shakes a Good Source of Energy and Nutrients?
A high-quality protein shake is an excellent source of energy and nutrients. The three macronutrients include fats, carbohydrates, and proteins. Carbohydrates and fats are more controversial ingredients, but protein is widely regarded as an important nutrient. Research shows that protein is the most filling. You need less protein to feel full compared to the other macronutrients. Research also shows that protein increases muscle mass and strength. According to one study, for people who are losing weight, a high-protein intake can prevent muscle loss. High-protein intake boosts your metabolism and increases the calories you burn.
The ideal amount of protein for you will depend on a variety of factors. If you live a sedentary lifestyle, you have relatively low daily protein requirements: 56 grams for men and 46 grams for women. People who are trying to lose weight should aim to get at least 30% of their calories from protein. If you consume 1500 calories a day, that means that 450 of those calories should come from protein. That works out to be 112 grams of protein. There is a lack of consensus among researchers concerning the ideal amount of protein for building muscle. Consuming 0.7-1 gram per pound of body weight is recommended based on the existing research. Based on this recommendation, someone who weighs 180 pounds should eat between 126 and 180 grams of protein
To enjoy the benefits of a high-protein diet, make sure you find a high-quality protein shake. Shakes can vary in quality and nutritional value. Dietary supplements are not regulated to the same extent as food or medicine. There are protein shakes on the market that may contain ingredients you avoid on your diet such as sugar or oil. There are even some that do not match their labels in terms of purity, strength, and ingredient content.
Be sure to look for protein shakes that align with your dietary needs and preferences. If weight loss is a goal, remember that it may take more than simply increasing your protein intake to lose weight. You still have to achieve a negative energy balance. This can be accomplished in three ways:
- Reduce your consumption of calories
- Increase your physical activity to expend more calories
- A combination of reduced-calorie consumption and increased physical activity
Protein can be a helpful tool to help you create a calorie deficit since it makes you feel full for longer. and are made from clean, quality ingredients. If you want to supplement nutrients in your shake in addition to protein, you can find many shakes that will meet your needs. For example, vegans, who need to supplement B12 through fortified foods or supplements to meet their daily nutrient needs, might want to find a plant-based shake that includes vitamin B12.
Do Protein Shakes Help Support Muscle Growth?
Protein shakes were first used by athletes who wanted to build muscle and improve their performance. As many gym-goers know, pairing resistance training and protein shakes has many benefits. It increases muscle mass, promotes recovery, and boosts performance.
Both high-protein intake and resistance training trigger muscle protein synthesis. Protein shakes deliver amino acids in a form that your body can easily absorb. When you drink a shake with high-quality protein, it causes the level of amino acids in your bloodstream to rise. This results in improved muscle synthesis. Many athletes and physically active people like having protein shakes around for times when they do not have access to a kitchen or the time to make a snack or meal.
Even if you are not looking to gain muscle, your muscles may benefit from drinking a protein shake. Maintaining a calorie deficit is great if you want to lose weight. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to lose weight without also losing muscle mass. Retaining your muscle mass is beneficial to your health. A high-protein diet helps you retain muscle while still losing weight.
One study demonstrated that people who follow a high-protein diet and engage in strength training and cardio lose more fat and build more muscle.
You can see why so many people turn to protein shakes to help them achieve their fitness goals.
What Are the Main Types of Protein Used?
You have many options when it comes to choosing a protein source for your shake. We have already detailed the many kinds of proteins from both animal and plant sources. Whey and casein, both animal-based proteins, are the most popular and come from milk. If you do not eat dairy, you have many plant-based proteins to choose from such as soy, pea, hemp, and rice.
You do not need to make your protein shake yourself to enjoy the benefits. There are much high-quality ready-to-drink protein shakes on the market. Look for shakes that are unsweetened and have a short ingredient list.
At Powerful Nutrition, we know all about the benefits of a high-protein diet and how vital protein shakes can be for fueling an active lifestyle and achieving your fitness goals. Protein shakes are a convenient, nutritious, and tasty way to deliver quality nutrients and energy to your body.
We are proud to offer a range of protein shakes from animal and plant sources to help you reach your goals. If you want to enjoy the benefits of both protein and probiotics or if you enjoy the tang of Greek yogurt, try our high-protein shakes with Greek yogurt. Our customers asked us for plant-based shakes, and we were happy to comply! Our plant-based protein shakes are a great option for anyone who does not consume dairy. Made with high-quality pea protein, drink it after your workouts to help you recover and build muscle. If you want to try different shakes, try the protein shake bundle and the plant-based meal replacement shakes variety pack.