Do protein shakes help you lose weight is one of the most common questions asked on the google machine. (In fact, when this article was written about 17,400,000 people asked to be specific!).
In this article I am going to break down, in the most simple fashion, the answer to this question.
I feel as if there is a lot of mumbo jumbo out there in the fitness sphere with someone trying to sell you something or giving out information but not telling the whole story.
Well that won’t be the case here buttercup.
I am going to give it to you straight with no BS or strings attached.
If that is something you are interested in, then this article is going to be for you.
Just be sure to give the article a full read.
95% of people won’t read this whole article because #shortattentionspan in this modern technology world we live in.
Be apart of the 5%, would ya?
It is only going to help yourself see better results anyway.
Alright 5%’er, let’s dive in!
Do Protein Shakes Help You Lose Weight
How Do You Lose Weight?
Before even diving into if protein shakes help you lose weight or not, we first must identify what you need in order to lose weight.
Bare with me as I need to make sure people who aren’t familiar with my content and end up reading this for the first time get educated just like you did.
But simply put, there is only one true way to lose weight.
It isn’t keto.
It isn’t intermittent fasting.
It isn’t taking some detox pill that makes you pee out of your butt.
It is intaking less calories than what your body burns.
This is called being in an overall calorie deficit.
Calories are a unit of measurement of energy. Your body needs energy to survive and this energy comes in the form of calories.
Therefore if you are intaking less energy than what your body burns, this means your body has to go to stored energy.
Stored energy is body fat.
Therefore your body burns stored body fat for energy, thus this is how you lose weight.
How Do I Know How Many Calories My Body Burns?
Truth is, you don’t. You can get rough estimates, like finding out your maintenance calories or using a TDEE Calculator using a quick google search.
But simply put what you are going to have to do is track the calories you are intaking, measure progress, then see from there.
If the calories you are intaking is not leading to fat loss progress, well then you are not in a calorie deficit. This means you would have to eat less calories.
If the calories you are intaking is leading to fat loss, then bingo, you are in a calorie deficit.
Now your next question is probably going to be “well how can I find out how many calories I am supposed to eat then?!”.
I have a totally free calorie calculator HERE If you to check that out.
Then from there I need to make this very clear as well.
I said above “well then you need to eat less calories”. I do not mean starve yourself or only eat chicken and broccoli.
That is why I put the calorie calculator there above. You don’t need to over restrict yourself or eat next to nothing to lose weight, despite what some instagram influencer or random article you read told you (not this article tho, this one is good!).
Also, 95% of people do not track their calories accurately.
I am not trying to be negative it is just true. I have had people tell me they were eating 500 calories and not losing weight.
If you were eating 500, 1000 calories, you would be skin and bones. That is next to no calories.
There is no such thing as eating too few calories and not losing weight.
Think about people who are in third world countries starving. Are any of them overweight?
No, they are skin and bones, because they are actually starving.
Therefore, to avoid tracking calories inaccurately, head HERE To learn how to count calories after finishing reading this article.
Now, how do protein shakes help you lose weight then? Not to worry my young Padawan, let’s dive into that now.
Do Protein Shakes Help You Lose Weight : The Truth
When it comes to protein shakes and losing weight, we just learned that in order to lose weight you need to be in an overall calorie deficit.
Now, how do protein shakes help you lose weight?
There are a few main reasons how, let’s go over them now.
Protein Keeps You Full
Protein is the most satiating macronutrient.
Satiating means it makes you full and satisfied.
Macronutrients are protein, carbs, and fats. This means that out of those 3 macros, protein helps keep you full the longest.
Whenever someone tells me they can’t stop over eating, or their cravings are through the roof, the first thing I go to is their protein intake.
If you are consuming a very low number of protein grams per day, your chances of being hungrier and having more cravings sky rocket.
Therefore if you are always hungry and having cravings, that makes it much easier to eat more calories.
If you are consistently eating more calories, then you are more likely to not stick to your calorie deficit.
If you don’t stick to your calorie deficit, you aren’t going to lose any weight sweetheart.
Thus inserting protein shakes.
If you can start to incorporate a protein shake during your day, that is going to help keep you more full and satisfied.
If you start to become more full and satisfied, then you are typically going to eat less calories overall.
Eating less overall calories leads you to be in an overall calorie deficit, thus leading to you losing weight.
So do protein shakes help you lose weight? For this reason yes they most certainly do!
Protein Has The Highest TEF
TEF stands for Thermic Effect Of Food.
When your body digests food, it has to burn calories to do so. Out of the 3 macro nutrients (protein, carbs, and fats) protein has the highest thermic effect of food.
Essentially what this means is when you eat protein, your body has to burn more calories digesting it than it would carbs or fats.
If you burn more calories, you essentially have a higher metabolism.
Side note: people ask me all the time about “How do I increase my metabolism Eric!”.
Sadly when I tell them to eat more protein, they look at me like I have 3 heads. Yet when someone else wants to sell them a pill, they throw their money at them.
What the heck man?
The higher your metabolism, the more efficient your weight loss is going to be leading back to our initial conversation on eating less calories than your body burns.
Not only will protein help fill you up which in turns makes you eat less calories, but also it will burn more calories for you.
This is massively beneficial for creating this calorie deficit and losing weight.
Therefore yet again do protein shakes help you lose weight? Well you can bet your bottom dollar they do.
Protein Helps Build & Retain Lean Muscle Mass
Protein is the only macronutrient that helps build and retain lean muscle mass.
If you are trying to lose weight lean muscle mass is massively beneficial for you.
I have heard some people be afraid of drinking protein shakes because they are afraid to get big and bulky.
No, just, no.
Trust me, I wish it was as easy as drinking a protein shake to get big and bulky. I would be freaking massive.
Drinking a protein shake is just like eating a chicken breast essentially. It’s just protein.
Please do not concern yourself with that or listen to anyone who tells you that.
Now, moving right along.
Lean muscle mass is important because the more lean muscle mass you have, the higher your metabolism is.
Lean muscle mass requires more oxygen to get pumped to it. More oxygen pumped = more calories burned.
More calories burned = higher metabolism.
Higher metabolism = more weight loss.
Therefore if simply adding in a protein shake or two can help keep you full, speed up your metabolism, and build more lean muscle mass.
I think the answer to ho protein shakes help you lose weight is an astonishing, big, fat, YES!
Do Protein Shakes Help You Lose Weight : More Info
Now I want to get a bit deeper on protein shakes to help you out a bit more.
First let’s talk about which protein shake is “the best”.
The Best Protein Shake
First and foremost, there is no “best”.
When it comes to protein shakes what I have found are a few main staples I like to inform my online coaching clients on that I can share with you as well.
First, look at the calorie to protein ratio.
A good calorie to protein ratio would be per 1 serving, it should have around 100-150 calories with around 20-25g of protein.
This means there isn’t a bunch of extra calories, carbs, and fats. Just pure, lean, low calorie protein.
Second, look at the type of protein you are getting.
There are different types of protein shakes. Whey protein, plant protein, pea protein, milk protein, etc.
Generally speaking, if you are not lactose intolerant, whey protein is going to be the best choice for you.
More specifically speaking, a whey protein isolate or hydro isolate. That is the form of whey protein, you can find out if a protein shake has this by looking at the “ingredients” section of the label.
If you are lactose intolerant, you may want to opt for a more plant based protein shake.
Though I will say I have had clients in the past who have had issues with dairy who were totally fine with whey hydro isolate, so maybe check for yourself (just be near a bathroom?!).
Those are really the two main criteria I tell my clients to look for when selecting a protein shake.
Now I can link some of my personal favorite ones here below, but I don’t want to tell you that you HAVE TO get any specific one because there are so many out there.
And again, it isn’t “special”. It is just helping you get more protein into your diet in a quick and easy fashion to get all of the benefits we mentioned above.
I like the entire legion brand because of the owner Mike Matthews. He is a very smart and respectable human inside the fitness space.
His products are awesome and his protein powders taste great.
This is by far my first go to option for protein powders.
If you want to try out legion, simply head to their website HERE, and you can use my code “ERIC” at checkout to receive 20% off your order!
A lot of my clients enjoy these, especially those who are super busy.
Could you get better quality? Possibly, but the convenience and ease of these are second to none.
And that is the name of the game for me. Something is better than nothing, so if you know you want a grab and go shake, these are a great option.
When To Take Them?
I get asked often “when should you have a protein shake?!”.
Before workout? After workout? In the morning when you wake up?
Again, remember. There is nothing special about a protein shake. It is just extra protein in your diet, it is just like eating a chicken breast but eating it (which, I wouldn’t recommend.. Have done before, not very tasty!).
The best time in my opinion to have a protein shake is when you know you won’t be able to get a good quality source of protein (like chicken, steak, eggs, etc) but you know you need to have some extra protein in your diet.
A lot of my clients use them in the morning as part of their breakfast or throughout the day as a snack.
Also, when it comes to having a protein shake after your workout.
There used to be this myth that you needed to have a protein shake within 15 minutes of finishing your workout or the whole workout was a waste!
Yea, that is just not true. You aren’t wasting a workout, ever.
Now generally speaking it is a good idea to get some protein after your workout because again, like we learned above, it is the only macronutrient that helps build and retain lean muscle mass.
Therefore getting protein post workout can help kick start the recovery process to help you recover from workouts.
I would say look to get some sort of protein within 30-120 minutes post workout, whether it is a shake or your post workout meal.
But don’t overly freak out about trying to chug a protein shake with hot water out of your sink faucet within 5 minutes of your workout… speaking from experience here, don’t do that. It sucks.
Will You Get Big & Bulky?
I have sprinkled this in throughout the article, but just want to make sure I cover this by itself one more time.
Some people think taking a protein shake will automatically make you big and bulky. That could not be farther from the truth.
We talked earlier about being in an overcall calorie deficit to lose weight.
In order to get “big and bulky” you need to eat in a calorie surplus, which means you are eating more calories than what your body burns.
You also need to be lifting very heavy weights for a very long period of time.
It doesn’t happen overnight, just like you don’t get skinny overnight.
Plus, the people you are thinking of in your head who are “big and bulky” have either been training 2+ hours per day everyday for years on end, or are taking performance enhancing drugs, or probably both.
Protein shakes do not make you big and bulky. They are just a very simple, very effective way to get more protein into your diet.
How Many Per Day?
By now you have seen that do protein shakes help you lose weight? Yes, yes they do.
But protein shakes are a supplement, meaning they are supposed to supplement your current diet.
Aka, your entire protein intake for the day should not be coming from protein shakes. You would be missing out on so many key vitamins and minerals like zinc, b12, iron, etc.
Generally speaking I tell my online coaching clients to not have more than 60g of protein from protein shakes.
Make the rest of your protein during your day come from real, nutrient dense, whole foods.
If you need more help on how to get more protein into your diet, check out this video HERE .
This way you can work in some protein shakes to help you, but you aren’t depending your entire diet on protein shakes.
You are still getting in proper nutrients for your overall health.
Do Protein Shakes Help You Lose Weight? Final Word
Well there you have it.
I told you at the beginning of this article that 95% of people wouldn’t finish it, so if you did, congrats 5%’er.
I also told you that this article would be a simple, no bs, way to answer the question of do protein shakes help you lose weight.
I think I did just that for you, feel free to let me know in the comment section below though.
Either way, I hope this article helped you.
If you are interested in coaching with me, feel free to head HERE to fill out my application form to see if we may be a good fit.
Other than that, wish you well, and chat soon.