Healthy Living

Protein Shakes For Weight Loss, Muscle Gain: Do They Work?

Protein is one of the essential macronutrients that is needed by and spread throughout the body -- in the muscle, bones, skin, hair and all other body parts and tissues, with at least 10,000 different types making you what you are and keeping you that way. These also make up the enzymes that are responsible for the numerous chemical reactions in the body and the hemoglobin that brings oxygen to your blood. In other words, protein aid you in improving and maintaining your muscles and weight.

Protein is made from over 20 building blocks called amino acids. Because our bodies do not store amino acids, they are made either by scratch or by altering others. Nine of these, known as essential amino acids, must come from food.

There are many food sources of protein, and one of them are protein shakes. Rich in amino acids and like most food, protein shakes have upsides and some issues especially when they are used for losing weight and gaining muscles, broken down in detail: 

Weight Loss 

A high protein diet activates different weight-loss-stimulating pathways, and protein shakes help you get the protein you need daily.

Increase Feeling Of Fullness 

Protein seems to influence the production of multiple hormones that play a role in appetite stimulation and control. Two of these are the hunger-suppressing hormones peptide tyrosine-tyrosine (PYY) and glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1), both capable of reducing appetite, with the latter delaying the exit of the stomach's contents. Levels of both hormones have been shown by studies to increase after a meal when practicing a high-protein diet. 

Boosts Metabolism 

A high-protein diet (and by extension, protein shake intake) amplifies calorie burning in two ways: 

  1. Diet-induced thermogenesis - a metabolic response to food that sees protein, rather than carbs or fat, being metabolized in order to burn more calories.
  2. Gluconeogenesis - the process of producing protein- or fat-based (but not carb-based) glucose for burning extra calories.

Helps You Lose Belly Fat 

A diet high in protein also helps you burn off the fat on your tummy. Evidence suggests that increased protein intake from high-quality sources, including protein shakes, may be associated with reduced visceral (abdominal) fat, the fat on the midsection, resulting in reduced insulin resistance and lowered heart disease risk.

More Effective When Combined With Other Factors

Though protein shakes and powders aid you in your health and fitness goals, they by themselves do not guarantee instant weight loss. That is because even though protein lets you eat fewer calories without feeling hungry, it contains four calories per gram that contribute to the daily total. In other words, too much protein can prevent you from achieving your fitness goals.

Along with taking protein shakes, losing weight requires a calorie deficit, meaning that the calories you burn is more that what you consume. It is achieved by either consuming fewer calories, expending calories through physical activities or a combination of both.

Muscle Gain

If you are either an athlete, aiming for an olympic-level form or simply wanting to lose extra fat and build some muscle, then you will consider protein shakes your trusted friends. 

When combined with resistance training, protein shakes not only may promote muscle growth, but also enhance your physical performance and post-workout recovery. That is because together with increased high-quality protein intake, resistance training revitalizes muscle protein synthesis. 

Protein shakes provide amino acids that your body easily absorbs. Protein shake intake has been believed by researchers to increase the bloodstream's amino acid levels, triggering a more significant muscle synthesis response as a result. Furthermore, protein shakes have been suggested by some studies to help retain muscle and may promote muscle gain even when following a weight loss diet.

protein shake Protein shakes are helpful for packing muscle and cutting fat. Kamil Kaczor/ Flickr

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