If you are a fitness aficionado, you might have come across protein shakes. For the general public, protein shakes are something that fitness addicts consume in order to keep their physique in tip-top shape. But that is not all, as protein shakes has the added benefit of helping you lose weight.
What are protein shakes?
Protein shakes consist of protein powder mixed with liquids such as water, although at times other ingredients are added as well. Having protein shakes are a convenient way of having more protein in your diet, in case you do not have access to quality high-protein foods.
Most people would generally not need protein shakes for their daily dose of protein. But when you do not have the time to consume protein in your diet, then protein shakes in a quick and easy way to fulfill the daily protein requirements without relying on food alone.
You have two choices when consuming protein shakes, whether buying protein powders then mixing it yourself or you can purchase premade liquid shakes.
Some of the most popular types of protein powder on the market are:
- Whey protein: quickly absorbed, dairy-based, contains all the essential amino acids
- Casein protein: slowly absorbed, dairy-based, contains all essential amino acids
- Soy protein: plant-based, contains all essential amino acids, also contains soy isoflavones that may provide some health benefits
- Hemp protein: plant-based, contains all essential amino acids, rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fats, has a high arginine content
- Rice protein: plant-based, lower in the essential amino acid lysine
- Pea protein: plant-based, contains all essential amino acids, potentially is a less allergenic alternative than protein derived from soy or wheat
Some protein powders or drinks contain a mix of different types of protein. For instance, plant-based brands combine the types to complement amino acid profiles. Other dairy-based protein powders combine whey and casein to provide both immediate and longer-lasting effects on muscle synthesis.
Effects of Protein Shakes
Weight loss: A combination of effects that protein causes to the body can result in weight loss. For that reason, getting enough protein is crucial in the weight loss journey and weight maintenance. One of the benefits of drinking protein shakes is that it is makes you fuller for longer, as protein is more filling than carbs.
Appetite control: As mentioned before, protein shakes create the feeling of fulness in the body. Not only people who are on a diet, but those who have appetite problems can benefit from protein shakes. The reason is protein is good for controlling appetite is because it is dense and takes longer to digest. This means that you will remain full for much longer and wouldn’t eat in that period. Protein also controls appetite by regulating ghrelin, which is the hunger hormone.
Stable blood sugar levels: Protein has the effect of stabilizing blood sugar levels. At times. blood sugar dips between meals. This can be prevented by including more protein in your meals.
Building muscle: Protein is one of the effective ingredients for building muscle growth. Adding whey for instance, can help build muscle growth. Pair it with resistance training and you will have accelerated muscle growth. As a result, your body will be leaner and have more stability.
Metabolism: Another effect of protein is that it increases thermic effect (metabolic rate) of food. Thermic rate refers to the to the number of calories you burn by digesting what you eat. An increase in metabolic rate means your chances of losing weight are also very high.
Risks And Side Effects
- As much as meal replacement shakes get marketed for containing the full packaged nutrients, it could not replace a healthy, balanced diet. If you insist on replacing meals with protein shakes, it could prove to be harmful as there is no way you can get all the essential nutrients from just a single food source. As a result, you may end up losing more weight than you anticipated or even leave your body vulnerable to disease.
- When the body does not get enough calories and nutrients, there is an increased risk of metabolism problems. This will slow down or disrupt your weight loss plan. Furthermore, eating a varied diet reduces your chances of having obesity.
- Some protein shakes use large amounts of sweetener to improve the flavor, which could trigger blood sugar spikes.
- Having a protein shake to boost your protein levels is fine, however too much is not good for the body. It may cause you problems in the kidneys and bones and even increase the risk of certain cancers.
- Be more aware of the ingredients within the protein shake, for some contain unsafe levels of contaminants such as mercury, arsenic, lead, and cadmium. These ingredients can cause serious health problems, some of which are life-threatening.