The benefits of protein shakes extend to pretty much anybody with fitness goals, whether it’s building muscle, losing weight, or ensuring you get enough protein to support overall health.
There’s a reason why you see so many people — and not just gym rats — carrying shaker cups filled with protein powder.
“Although I always suggest whole foods first, protein shakes may allow you to target specific types of protein [such as plant-based proteins] and may offer a convenient option when pressed for time,” says cookbook author, registered dietitian, and certified athletic trainer Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC.
But that’s not all. Here are five benefits of drinking protein shakes.
1. Protein Shakes Are Convenient
Whole foods should be the cornerstone of any healthy diet, but they aren’t always the easiest option, especially if you’re traveling or on-the-go between the gym, the office, and home.
For instance, it can be impractical to carry a cooked chicken breast in your bag and keep it refrigerated, and often harder to find a restaurant that serves healthy, high-protein meals.
On the other hand, you can almost always find access to water to pour into a shaker cup and mix with protein powder, and many ready-to-drink protein shakes are shelf-stable and will keep for a few hours unrefrigerated.
2. Protein Shakes Support Muscle Growth
In a review published in Frontiers in Nutrition, researchers concluded that daily caloric and protein intake matters most when it comes to muscle protein synthesis (a.k.a. muscle growth).
So, in addition to following the right workout regimen, building muscle also requires consuming adequate amounts of protein, which is made easier and more convenient with protein shakes like Beachbody Performance Recover.*
And if you’re wondering if you should drink your protein shake before or after your workout, it depends on the kind of protein shake.
A shake made with whey protein is absorbed by your body more quickly, so it can help speed muscle recovery after a workout.* A shake made with pea protein takes longer to digest, however, so it can be consumed just about any time during the day — but, ideally, not immediately before a workout.*
3. Many Protein Shakes Are High in Protein
Each person’s protein needs vary based on their weight and level of activity, but studies suggest that you need 20 to 30 grams of protein in a sitting to help maximize muscle protein synthesis. (Here’s how to figure out how much protein you need.)
Protein shakes vary, but most deliver protein within this range at about 100 to 200 total calories, which is a lot of protein for relatively few calories!
Plus, a formulated shake makes it easy to calculate how much protein you’re getting, since it says so on the label! Just pour a serving into your shaker cup, add water, shake the heck out of it, and enjoy.
4. Protein Shakes Can Help Support Weight Management
Protein in general may help make it easier to manage your weight by helping to keep you feeling fuller longer, White explains. “Making it a part of most meals and snacks may help curb hunger and cravings, which can help with weight management.”
In one study, when adults increased their protein intake from 15 to 30 percent of their total daily calories, they ate about 441 fewer calories each day and lost an average of 11 pounds in 12 weeks.
In another study, 50 adults followed a reduced-fat diet (30 percent of calories) that was either high in protein (25 percent of calories) or that provided moderate protein (12 percent of calories).
After a year, both groups had lost about the same amount of weight, however, the high-protein dieters lost 10 percent more visceral fat (the deeper fat) and more of this group also lost more than 22 pounds.
And weight loss may be one of the benefits of protein shakes in particular. In a study published in the FASEB Journal in 2017, people reported that drinking protein shakes helped decrease hunger and the desire to eat.
5. Protein Shakes Give Vegans Another Protein Option
Vegans and vegetarians often struggle to get enough protein in their diets, especially because the protein in plant sources is often less bioavailable than that in animal sources.
Plus, sometimes you don’t want to eat two cups of black beans in one sitting.
Protein shakes made with plant-based protein sources like pea, soy, and/or hemp give vegans and vegetarians (or anyone trying to eat a more plant-based diet) another way to get some protein into their diet.
Any way you shake it, protein shakes may fit into your plan to help you reach your fitness and health goals.
*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.
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