3 Reasons Why Protein Shakes Can Help You Lose Weight

3 Reasons Why Protein Shakes Can Help You Lose Weight

When working to shed some pounds, protein shakes for weight loss could be your new go-to strategy. Tasty, portable, and quick to make, they provide a number of benefits, like helping keep you full while still staying on track with your goals.

Research backs up this approach: A 2015 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition noted that over the past 20 years, diets higher in protein have consistently proven successful to help with weight management. Consistent intake of protein (as part of a balanced diet that also includes adequate amounts of carbs and beneficial fats) can help with metabolism, appetite, and calorie control, the researchers concluded.

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Weight Loss and Protein Shakes

protein shake weight loss - protein powder bottle

1. They can help you feel full.

Protein helps provide satiety, says dietitian Natalie Allen, RD, MS, a professor of biomedical sciences at Missouri State University. That means it can help you feel full for longer, and when that happens, you should be able to control the amount you eat more easily. That’s different than a drink like a fruit-only smoothie, which might fill you up for a brief amount of time, but then leave you hungry not long afterward.

2. They’re low-calorie.

Although it’s possible to make a protein smoothie into a high-calorie drink, many protein shakes are low in calories, Allen notes. That makes it easier to stick to your calorie goals for the day but not feel deprived.

3. They help you maintain and build muscle.

When you exercise and do strength training, you create microscopic damage in your muscles, and the amino acids in protein help repair that micro damage, which, over time, can make your muscles stronger. Protein shakes (like this tasty Thin Mint Protein Shake) are an easy way to help with this process, Allen says.

That’s especially true with a product that focuses on recovery, such as Openfit Recovery, which helps increase muscle protein synthesis and reduce post-workout muscle soreness.*

 

What Protein Is Best?

“Food is always your best bet for protein, as the nutrients and fiber in foods are key,” says Allen. Lean protein foods include options like chicken breast, white fish, pork loin, plain Greek yogurt, and tuna.

There are also plenty of vegan protein sources such as tofu, tempeh, buckwheat, edamame, hemp seeds, beans, and nuts.

But it can also be challenging to get all the protein you need from foods, especially when you’re busy. Because of that, boosting your daily protein intake with a protein shake is an effective way to help ensure you’re getting enough, according to Allen.

You have numerous options when it comes to protein. Whey and casein are both dairy-based protein sources, and egg whites are an option. Openfit Recovery, for example, contains quick-release whey protein isolate to help speed amino acids to your muscles to promote muscle protein synthesis and repair.

If you’re interested in a plant-based option, you might consider pea protein, brown rice, hemp, quinoa, flaxseed, or alfalfa. Openfit’s new Plant-based Protein Shake (which happens to be deliciously chocolately) is made with pea protein.

 

How Much Protein Do You Need?

protein shake weight loss - woman drinking protein shake

Your protein needs depend on your goals. If you’re active and you’d like to customize your protein intake to meet your specific needs, aim for 0.5 to 0.9 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight. The more you exercise, the more protein you need to maintain and build muscle.

“Generally, women need 60 to 70 grams of protein per day, and men need 70 to 80 grams per day, but this amount is dependent on activity and weight,” says Allen. “Also, it’s ideal to spread out protein throughout the day. For example, if your protein needs are 60 grams a day, then aim for 20 grams at each meal.”

Protein shakes can help you meet these numbers, and allow you to space out your protein so it’s more effective and filling. Happily, you don’t have to decide between losing weight and having a great-tasting shake, either.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Elizabeth Millard

About

Elizabeth Millard has written for Men's Health, SELF, Prevention, Runner's World, and several other health and wellness publications. Based in Northern Minnesota (yes, it's just as cold as you've heard), she's also a rock climber, obstacle course enthusiast, and registered yoga teacher. Follow her on Twitter.

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