How Protein Shakes Can Help You Lose Weight

Written by Resurchify | Updated on: January 09, 2023

How Protein Shakes Can Help You Lose Weight

Although it is a frequent method, using protein drinks to lose weight is not always the best option. Even though protein is necessary for numerous body processes and makes you feel satisfied and full for longer than meals based on carbohydrates or fats, there are certain things to keep in mind.

To assist you to make the best choice for your health and weight reduction objectives, the following information about the benefits and potential drawbacks of using protein shakes for weight management is provided.

Losing weight is not always required and being healthy is not the same thing. The number on the scale doesn't tell the whole health story, and not all weight loss techniques are good for your well-being.

Losing weight is not always required and being healthy is not the same thing. The number on the scale doesn't tell the whole health story, and not all weight loss techniques are good for your well-being. It is crucial to understand that nutrient density supersedes calorie intake. Always talk to a healthcare professional before beginning any diet or weight loss program.

What are Protein Shakes?

If you've ever visited a GNC or looked for protein shakes online, you know how wide and seemingly unending the world of protein shakes is. For every conceivable dietary requirement, they are available in a plethora of varieties, flavors, and formulas. Protein powder or pre-mixed, ready-to-drink bottles are both available.

There is some evidence to support the claim that protein drinks can substitute meals in aiding weight loss. Due to its ability to fill you full, protein may aid in appetite suppression by bringing your imbalanced hunger hormones under control. Popular shake diets usually involve substituting one or two meals a day with shakes, with your third meal being brief and low in calories.

Some severe "diets" require you to just consume shakes for a few days (Take note: Most health professionals do not recommend this method, for many many reasons). Protein shakes can be a useful tool for your weight loss journey when drunk in moderation. However, they must be combined with other long-term lifestyle modifications if they are to be genuinely successful and healthy. When you make a long-term commitment to living a healthy lifestyle, weight loss is most successful. So they might just work for you if you can picture yourself aging with protein shakes at your side.

Types of Protein Powder

The market is flooded with different kinds of protein powder, including both plant- and animal-based solutions. While some protein powders are made to absorb quickly, others are engineered to deliver protein more gradually.

To offer all of the required amino acids that aren't typically found in a single plant-based source, protein-rich components from different sources are frequently combined in plant-based powders. All of the necessary amino acids are present in animal sources of protein powder, which is frequently created from a single type of protein. Collagen powder, which is not a complete protein, is an exception to this rule.


Protein powder with a whey-based base is made from milk and contains branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), which have been shown to help with muscle growth and maintenance. 1 The average whey protein powder contains 11% to 15% protein.

Whey Concentration: Another type of whey protein powder that has undergone processing to increase its protein content by weight is whey concentrate. Protein ranges from 25% to 89%.

The most highly concentrated form of whey protein, whey isolate contains 90% or more protein. It costs more than the other whey protein powder varieties.


Casein protein, which comes from milk as well, digests more gradually. This kind is made to deliver a constant flow of amino acids over time to help with muscle growth and repair. To aid in muscle repair throughout the night, casein protein powder is a common choice for evening or midnight protein consumption.


Soy is a lactose-free and vegan protein powder. One plant-based protein, soy, contains all the necessary amino acids as well as the popular branched-chain amino acids. 


Pea protein, a plant-based protein powder, is just as effective as protein powder made from milk. It is easily digested and hypoallergenic. Other protein powder options include hemp, bone broth, beef, and other mixes, among others. Before making a choice, read the labels and take into account your dietary preferences.

To find the powder that best meets your requirements and tastes, you might need to experiment.

May Decrease Hunger And Appetite

Protein has been demonstrated to aid in reducing appetite and hunger. One important factor is that, in comparison to other macronutrients, protein typically makes you feel fuller for longer. In part, this is caused by the release of the satiety hormones GLP-1 and PYY. Additionally, studies reveal that eating more protein may lead to reduced hunger throughout the day.

One small study found that older women who had a high-protein breakfast consumed up to 135 fewer calories later in the day than those who had a low-protein breakfast or skipped breakfast.

High protein consumption and feeling more satisfied were both linked in one meta-analysis of five trials. However, the authors issued a warning that the experience of fullness is influenced by a variety of factors, including body weight, eating habits, and other health conditions.

Furthermore, according to another study, consuming more than 35 grams of protein at once tends to have the best impact on things like decreased hunger, decreased appetite, and increased sensations of fullness. Only a few research have directly examined protein shakes and hunger.

In a short trial of nine obese young women, whey protein drinks were found to actively suppress hunger. In a different study, people who consumed a high-protein shake before working out reported feeling less hungry afterward than those who consumed a shake with a lower protein content but the same number of calories. The effects of protein shake on appetite and hunger may thus vary, notwithstanding the positive findings.

Who Needs to Add Whey Protein to Their Diet?

One of the many alternatives for including enough protein in your diet is whey protein. Protein, one of the three essential macronutrients, is crucial for the development of muscle as well as the health of blood, enzymes, and antibodies.

For every kilogram (kg) of body weight, 0.8 grams of protein per day are advised. Your daily recommended protein intake is calculated by multiplying your weight in pounds by 0.36. Your required daily intake of protein will be determined by your body mass. For instance, if you weigh 150 pounds, your daily protein requirement is roughly 54 g. Your physician can assist you in determining your optimal intake based on your age, health status, and degree of activity.

The majority of Americans consume an adequate amount of protein, but if you have a health issue that makes it difficult for you to meet that goal, talk to your doctor to see whether adding whey protein to your diet could be beneficial.

May Support Healthy Metabolism And Lean Muscle

You can gain muscle with a high-protein diet, especially if you also do strength exercises. Building muscle is a fantastic approach to maintaining a healthy metabolism because it helps with energy production and metabolism. This is especially true if you are trying to lose weight and are on a calorie-restricted diet. This is due to the possibility that severe calorie restriction will cause muscle loss in addition to fat loss. When you stop the restrictive diet, this loss of lean muscle may cause your metabolism to slow down, making it simpler to put the weight back on.

On the other hand, eating enough protein and doing strength exercises may help stop this muscle loss and the ensuing metabolic slowdown. An additional 20 grams of protein per week (in the form of a shake) helped obese older adults lose 2.8 pounds (1.3 kg) more muscle mass than those who consumed less protein, according to 13-week research.

Additionally, participants in the 6-week research had either a high or low-protein diet, which included smoothies. Calorie limits were imposed on each diet. Especially noteworthy, individuals who followed the higher-protein diet gained 2.4 pounds (1.1 kg) more muscle and shed 2.9 pounds (1.3 kg) more fat.

Additionally, protein requires more energy for your body to digest than fat or carbohydrates, which results in increased calorie expenditure. The thermic effect of protein is an effect that may somewhat speed up metabolism.

Benefits of Protein Shakes for Weight Management

In addition to being quick and simple to prepare, protein shakes can help you with your weight loss efforts in a variety of ways. Here are a few possible advantages of protein shakes.

Hunger and Satedness

Being highly satiating, protein makes you feel fuller for longer and curbs your appetite. A protein shake might make you feel fuller longer than non-protein-containing meals. It has been demonstrated that eating fewer calories is aided by feeling full. It might also lessen the desire to snack between meals on less nourishing foods.

Metabolism and Muscle Growth

Protein aids in both muscle growth and repair. Additionally, it aids in keeping muscle that could otherwise be lost during a diet. Your metabolism might also rise if you eat more protein. The fact that muscle is a metabolically active tissue contributes to this rise, but the thermic effect of food may also have an impact.

Protein requires more energy to digest than fats or carbohydrates, therefore it uses more calories just to be processed. This effect has an impact on your overall calorie expenditure even if it is quite insignificant in the context of calorie balance and metabolism.

Calorie Control

Consuming protein may help you eat fewer calories overall since protein fills you up. If you concentrate on calorie-balanced protein shakes, you might discover that including shakes can lead to a reduction in daily calorie intake. This frequently results in weight loss.

Choose your Weapon… er, Protein

Protein shakes are rather simple to incorporate into your weight-loss routine. Of course, choosing the type of protein you'll use is the first step. Vegetarian or vegan? There are several choices available, including soy, rice, peas, and hemp. Whey is an excellent place to start for the majority of people.

Next, choose whether you'll make your shakes or buy them already produced. Be prepared to pay a little more if you purchase prepackaged. You'll need a blender or a blender bottle to make them, along with milk or plant-based milk and other shake ingredients.

You must be aware of your daily protein requirements. Based on a variety of variables, including age, body composition, and health, protein requirements might vary significantly.

For the majority of people, 20 to 25 percent of calories must come from protein, or roughly 0.5 grams per pound (or 1 gram per kilogram) of body weight (although some people need much more protein than others). Multiply your weight by 0.5 if you're using pounds, or by 1 if you're using kilograms, to figure this out.

More isn't always better, too! In patients with pre-existing renal illness, eating too much protein can be demanding on the kidneys. Additionally, your body will excrete extra amino acids, which are the protein's building components, and will store extra protein as fat.

If you consume multiple protein shakes each day, you are likely wasting a lot of money on pee and jeopardizing your attempts to lose weight. You might be able to substitute a protein shake for one meal per day, depending on how many calories it contains. However, bear in mind that many protein drinks have far too few calories to serve as a genuine meal replacement.

Frozen berries, nut butter, or avocado can be added to your smoothie to make it satisfying and nutritious. A protein shake should not be used to replace more than one meal each day. Some programs advise substituting smoothies for two meals a day, but this will only lead to burnout.

Making gradual modifications that will lead to long-lasting weight loss is preferable to cutting back on food too drastically, which frequently results in binges and rebound weight gain.

Finally, to maximize the advantages of your new protein shake habit on growing muscle and boosting metabolism, think about starting some resistance training, even if it's simply performing squats in front of the TV.

How To Use Protein Shakes For Weight Loss?

According to Mir B. Ali, MD, Medical Director at MemorialCare Surgical Weight Loss Center at Orange Coast Medical Center, protein drinks should be substituted for at least one meal a day to aid with weight loss. For instance, analysis from 2021 discovered that people lost more weight when they had 40% of their acceptable calorie intake from other meals and 60% from meal replacements. It's crucial to choose a protein shake with low calories and no added sugar if you're using them to lose weight. The use of excessive added sugar is associated with diabetes, heart disease, and weight gain.

How to Make Protein Shake 

While most health food stores sell protein shakes, Veltkamp asserts that making your protein shake at home is the best way to ensure that it is nutrient-rich. This is how:

  • One frozen banana and 1/8 teaspoon of cinnamon should be added to a blender for flavor.
  • Then mix in 1/2 cup of plain, full-fat Greek yogurt and 1 cup of a calorie-free, unsweetened beverage like water or almond milk.
  • Use one scoop, or around 25 grams of protein, from a low-sugar protein powder, advises Veltkamp.
  • Blend until smooth while adding as much ice as is required.
  • To assist you to create a calorie deficit, use the drink to replace a meal like lunch or dinner.

Whey Protein Nutrition Facts: What’s in the Supplement Exactly?

Depending on the whey protein product you choose, such as a powder or bar, the precise nutritional information varies. However, since the version utilized in exercise drinks is the powdered variety, this is what most people imagine when they think of whey protein. Three scoops of whey protein isolate powder contain the following nutrients:

  • Calories: 309
  • Protein: 50 g (100 percent daily value)
  • Fat: 1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 25 g
  • Fiber: 0 g (0 percent DV)
  • Sugar: 1 g
  • Calcium: 600 milligrams (mg)
  • Iron: 1 mg (6 percent DV)
  • Magnesium: 200 mg (48 percent DV)
  • Phosphorus: 500 mg
  • Potassium: 750 mg (16 percent DV)
  • Sodium: 320 mg
  • Zinc: 7.5 mg
  • Vitamin C: 30 mg (33 percent DV)
  • Cholesterol: 10 mg

May Help You Lose Weight And Belly Fat

Researchers generally concur that high protein diets are an efficient approach to losing weight and body fat, even if just a few studies specifically employ protein shakes.

A high-carb or high-protein, the calorie-restricted diet was combined with a resistance training regimen for women who were overweight or obese in a 14-week study. Those who consumed more protein than those who consumed more carbohydrates reduced their body fat by 1.7 times more.

In a 12-week research, women who were of normal weight but had a high body fat percentage either consumed more protein or the recommended amount. A further 3 pounds (1.4 kg) of body fat and roughly 1 inch (2.2 cm) of waist circumference were reduced by those following the high protein diet.

Additionally, compared to the women on the regular protein diet, the high protein diet group's participants kept much greater muscle mass.

New analysis also indicated that eating a high-protein diet for the first three to twelve months after losing weight will help you avoid gaining it back. Long-term research is required to determine whether this impact persists after the first year, though. It is challenging to make a clear association between protein shakes and weight loss since there are so many lifestyle and ingredient variables at play in weight loss research. However, a tiny study discovered that people with extra weight lost more weight when they drank low-sugar protein shakes as part of a diet plan.

Protein Shake Cautions

Although protein smoothies can help you lose weight, there are a few things you should think about before giving them a try. The following are a few things to consider while using protein shakes as a weight-management aid.


Any dietary modification that depends only on a meal or beverage that you generally dislike is unlikely to last. Additionally, if you drink protein shakes in place of meals, you can get tired of them after a while. It's unlikely that relying solely on one kind of meal can help you lose weight or improve your nutrition in general.

Lack of Whole Foods

There are numerous ways to add more nutrients to a protein shake when making it. You risk missing out on whole meals that include the vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants your body requires if you only use protein powder and liquid to prepare your shakes or if you only rely on pre-made drinks. In addition, even if foods include protein, eating them in their entire form may result in a meal that is less satisfying or filling.

Nutrient Balance

Protein shakes should be consumed in moderation, especially if you're attempting to lose weight. This is especially true of pre-made protein drinks. They might also be lacking important nutrients like fiber and healthy fats.

Additionally, when on a calorie-restricted diet, consuming a lot of protein shakes may cause you to overdo it on the protein, leaving less room for other nutrients. For those who already have specific medical conditions, this can be especially dangerous.

People who have kidney problems, for instance, should consume less protein than average. It is imperative to see a healthcare professional first if you are thinking about including protein shakes regularly in your weight-maintenance regimen.

When in Doubt, Ask a Professional

It's difficult to lose weight, but you don't have to do it by yourself. Find a trained nutritionist (to guarantee that you keep up a healthy eating pattern) or a licensed personal trainer if you need assistance navigating the ocean (or, more correctly, a black hole) of advice you find online (to come up with an effective and safe workout routine for weight loss).

Whether you choose to use protein shakes or not, these experts can assist you in creating a healthy and long-lasting weight loss plan that is right for you.

Which Type of Protein is Best?

Different protein sources may have different effects on your body. For instance, casein and whey are often absorbed more quickly. It is hence ideal for encouraging muscle protein synthesis following exercise. In the short run, it might also aid in decreasing your hunger.

Whey protein has been demonstrated in some short trials to be more effective than soy and other plant-based proteins for weight loss, although other small studies have found no discernible difference. To lose weight or achieve other goals, lifestyle choices made by an individual may therefore be more significant than the type of protein consumed.

The kind of protein you buy is a crucial component to take into account.

Casein, soy, and whey are regarded as complete proteins. This indicates that they provide your body with all the essential amino acids it requires at adequate levels.

However, for some people, these three may cause an allergic reaction. Although rice protein is low in the important amino acid lysine and pea protein is low in the essential amino acids cysteine and methionine, both proteins are frequently thought to be less allergenic.

Furthermore, hemp protein is thought to be less allergenic. Additionally, it has adequate amounts of each necessary amino acid. As a result, it qualifies as a complete source of protein.

Choosing incomplete proteins in your protein shake shouldn't be a problem as long as you consistently eat a variety of protein sources. The best course of action, however, is to see a physician or qualified nutritionist before introducing any new supplements to your diet.


Depending on your goals, protein timing might be a worthwhile consideration. For instance, protein smoothies could be useful in assisting you in consuming the recommended daily intake of protein. Reaching for a shake could help you achieve the required quantity of protein if, by the end of the day, you have not consumed enough.

According to research, ensuring that your breakfast contains protein may help you meet your protein targets and keep you feeling fuller for longer throughout the day. Better outcomes, including reaching protein intake targets, may arise from consuming protein at each meal and spreading it throughout the day.


Protein shakes can be a helpful tool to aid with weight loss because they can enhance metabolism, keep you satisfied for longer, and encourage the development of lean muscle. Instead of just including extra protein in your diet, which would only raise your calorie intake and obstruct weight reduction, the idea is to substitute a meal or snack with a protein shake.

While shakes might speed up weight reduction, eating entire foods like fruits, veggies, and lean meats is the most effective method to lose weight and keep it off. However, Veltkamp cautions that protein drinks are not a miracle cure for weight loss. "A nutritious diet is the best way to lose weight and maintain long-term health,"



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