One of the questions I get most often is, “Can protein shakes help me lose weight?”
The answer is … it depends.
It depends on what your goal is.
A bodybuilder, for example, might manipulate her protein intake in order to pile on more muscle mass and keep overall calories in check to minimize stored body fat.
A 50-year-old dad who sits at a desk all day might have a protein shake after his evening strength workout … and then have a protein-containing dinner 2 hours later to build and preserve lean muscle mass.
The more lean muscle we have, the more effectively we can burn fat … especially as we age.
But there are a few things about protein intake that research has shown when it comes to weight loss:
Decreases hunger and appetite. By triggering the release of fullness hormones, protein can help you avoid the urge to reach for unhealthy snacks between meals
Supports a healthy metabolism. According to this study, two groups were placed on a calorie-restricted diet … one high-protein, and one low-protein. After 6 weeks, the high-protein group gained 2.9 more pounds of muscle and lost 2.4 more pounds of fat than the low-protein group.
Supports fat loss … especially around your midsection. In a 12-week study, women with normal weight but high body fat followed either a high- or standard-protein diet. Those on the high-protein diet lost an additional 3 pounds of body fat and 1 inch in waist circumference.
Minimize regain after weight loss. A recent review suggests that you can minimize weight regain by following a high-protein diet in the first 3–12 months after losing weight.
So … do protein shakes help you lose weight? Well … yes and no.
Getting adequate protein intake each day has been shown to support healthy weight loss … especially around the belly … and minimize weight regain after a period of weight loss.
Including a liquid protein in your diet is an effective way to maximize your protein intake and double-down on the muscle-building switch in your body.
As with anything else, it depends on your goals … and how you execute your plan.