Protein shakes for weight loss

Saad Rana Jul 20 2014

What are protein shakes?

Protein is one of the body’s main building blocks for muscle, bone, skin and other tissues. Protein shakes come in many combinations of proteins, carbohydrates and fats. They can range from 100% protein to mostly carbohydrates and a little added protein and fat. Protein shakes come in powdered forms of protein such as soy or whey, which is a by-product of the cheese making process. Flavoring is added to the powder so that when it’s blended with water or milk, it resembles a milk shake style drink.

Which protein type is good for me?

  • Whey protein – Whey protein provides good satiety and digests easily. It makes a good base shake ingredient and contains about 130 calories and 25g of protein per serving. Whey  isolates are fat free, very low carb and lactose free but slightly more expensive than whey concentrate which have an extra 1-2g of carbohydrates. Whey is also one of the best muscle building proteins
  • Casein protein – Found in milk products, it is slow digesting and can help you feel full longer. Many protein blends combine whey and milk proteins so you get the benefit of both. A straight casein protein is popular when taken at night due to its longer satiating effect.
  • Meal replacements – Meal replacement powders are larger serving sizes of protein powder that provides 250-300. They contain a blend of whey and milk proteins and have added carbs, vitamins and fiber.
  • Egg, soy or plant proteins – These sources are good for those who like to avoid dairy products or have specific milk allergies.

I’m trying to lose weight. Could protein shakes help?
Replacing certain meals with protein shakes may help you reduce your daily calories, which can help you lose weight. A protein-rich intake from protein shakes can help lower the levels of the hunger-stimulating hormone ghrelin, effectively suppressing your appetite. However, if you rely on protein shakes, to replace regular meals, you’ll miss out on the nutritional benefits of whole foods. And since protein contains calories, consuming too much protein can make losing weight difficult, especially if you drink protein shakes in addition to your usual diet. 
Protein can reduce appetite when its volume is increased in meals and it may help to reduce hunger pangs. But diets that use only protein shakes for weight loss only work because you reduce the amount of kilojoules you consume in a day. It isn’t the protein in shakes themselves that cause you to lose weight, but the fact that you’re eating fewer kilojoules often by cutting out carbohydrates.

The average adult needs 46 to 56 grams of protein a day, depending on weight and overall health. As long as you’re eating a healthy diet, adding extra protein, either through protein shakes or another source, isn’t necessary.

So do protein shakes really facilitate weight loss?

In conclusion, The key to losing weight is burning more calories than you consume. Choose healthy foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean sources of protein. A protein shake itself does not help in weight loss. Rather, you need to incorporate a resistance and cardio regimen and go on a low carb diet. Only then will you lose those pounds off the waist.

Saad Rana

Saad Rana:

As a current dental student at Ziauddin University, Saad takes an interest in health, fitness and nutrition. He writes articles based on research through on-line publications as well as consulting various doctors and nutrition and fitness experts. When he's not writing for Health TV, you can find him studying, exercising or watching some of his favourite TV shows.