How To Drink Protein Shakes To Lose Weight and Build Muscle

Protein shakes can be nutritious and satisfying. You can drink protein shakes to lose weight and build muscle if used correctly. If not, they can become a high calorie junk food. Shakes can be used as part of your nutritional regimen if you work out or part of a weight loss regimen if you are trying to shed some pounds. Let’s take a look at both uses.

The first thing you need to know is if want to lose weight is this should be used as a meal replacement. That means, it’s an optional choice instead of eating food at the breakfast, lunch or dinner table. Our bodies can only process about 30 to 40 grams of protein every two and a half hours. So, it’s important to not only be aware of the amount of protein in your shake but to also consider any additional protein contained in the food you add to your protein shake. If you add a raw egg, some walnuts, and almond milk, you are adding about 10 extra protein grams to your shake. If you eat more protein than your body can process, it will get stored as fat!

Second, if you are using this as a meal replacement you might want to blend some other ingredients to boost the nutrition, taste, and bulk. You can add yogurt, cottage cheese, fruit, oats, coconut, flax, chia, honey, almond butter, nuts and other sources of nutrition, but you have to be mindful of the calories. Try to keep the carbohydrate count between 20-30 grams. When choosing a liquid, look for unsweetened liquids. Some suggestions are rice milk, coconut water or milk, organic soymilk, almond milk, iced coffee, and water. It is very easy to add a little of this and a little of that and end up with a 400-500 plus calorie meal. If you are very active, this can be okay, if you are not, this can put you over your calorie count for the day. To lose one pound of fat per week, you must burn or reduce caloric intake by 500 calories per day!

Third, if you are drinking protein shakes to lose weight and gain muscle, watch out for the caffeine being added to protein powders being sold as part of weight management programs. The idea is that you will speed up the metabolism and burn more calories. Some people are not sensitive to caffeine and you may like this, but for others this can make you jittery. There are also protein powders that have appetite suppressants added to them, extra fiber, vitamins and supplements, and artificial sweeteners. Try to avoid artificial sweeteners and look for Stevia as an alternative. These added ingredients to your protein powder or low quality protein can cause intestinal distress in the form of bloating, gas, frequent elimination, and overall upset. For anyone with Crohn’s disease or IBS, these additives can trigger an episode.

If using protein shakes to lose weight and build muscle, whey protein is considered to be the king of all protein. Un-denatured whey seems to be able to raise glutathione levels naturally. Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant and is key to boosting immunity and reducing oxidative stress caused by free radical damage. Research has shown that raised glutathione levels decrease muscle damage, reduce recovery time, increase strength and endurance and shift metabolism from fat production to muscle development. So, even if you aren’t a body builder, adding whey to your nutritional program can be very beneficial. A good whey concentrate should have about 70-80% protein with most of the lactose removed. For serious body building, you may want to consider a whey isolate which is over 90% protein. The ideal time to drink your protein shake for muscle recovery is within 55 minutes of a workout.

If you don’t want to use whey, there are plenty of alternatives like soy, pea, and hemp protein shakes to lose weight and build muscle. Not all protein powder is created equal. The quality of protein, processing, fillers, and additives can vary widely. If you don’t want to become an expert in this area then find a reputable source, skim the label, and don’t buy the bargain brand. This is one of those times where you get what you pay for. The processing and sources for high quality protein powder cost more money. I can’t emphasize enough to go by how you feel. Protein powder should not cause such bad gas that no one wants to be in the same room with you. If this happens, change brands or try a different type!

One last word, if you are serious about drinking protein shakes to lose weight and gain muscle, you will probably consume it on a daily basis. Purchasing a NutriBullet or something similar can be a great investment of convenience. They are small, powerful, have single serve to-go cups, and fit on the countertop. Protein shakes can be fun to make, nutritious and delicious. My favorite protein shake is vanilla protein with almond milk, 3-4 frozen strawberries, half a banana, a dash of cinnamon, a dash of vanilla or almond extract, 1T of ground flax and a few ice cubes. In the afternoon, as a snack, blend vanilla protein powder with cold coffee or chai tea, 1T honey, some almond milk, and a couple of ice cubes. Yum!

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