In recent years protein shakes have started to gain popularity as a means to shed some unwanted pounds. But do protein shakes really work? Unfortunately, scientific evidence is not forthcoming on whether a protein shake is an effective solution for weight loss on its own. However, as a complementary part of a weight loss program there is anecdotal evidence to suggest that protein shakes may in fact help with the struggle against weight gain. So what is the best protein shake for weight loss, and what is the most effective way to use a protein shake?
To answer the question on “What is the best protein shake for weight loss?”, we first need to define exactly what a protein shake is and why you would use it for weight loss. It should be established that a pure protein shake is not a meal replacement. Instead, they provide a way to obtain high quality proteins without also having to consume a lot of unwanted carbohydrates and fats. There are however, protein shakes designed for the dieter who would like to use them as a meal replacement as well.
The best protein shakes for weight loss should ideally be less than 300 to 400 calories per serve and should contain protein from pure protein sources. Whey has long been known as an excellent protein source, as is egg white protein, and soy protein. These pure protein sources are known to have the correct balance of other minerals and nutrients the body needs without the extra carbohydrates and fats.
An effective weight loss method is to consume not less, but more meals per day. We are not talking full sized meals here, but instead the dieter should consume small meals at regular intervals. Having 5 or 6 small meals a day has long been a favorite method for bodybuilders to burn off as much fat as possible before a competition.
If it works for bodybuilders it can work for dieters as well. What you are doing with this method is bypassing the bodies inbuilt system of going into ‘famine mode’, which causes the body to start storing fat in preparation for leaner times. Surprisingly, the body will enter this phase after only about four hours without food. It makes sense then to avoid this phase altogether and eat many small meals a day, effectively keeping your metabolism at its peak. This can be difficult for the busy lifestyle so a protein shake diet plan can help with a quick meal replacement while on the go.
Diet protein shakes will usually come in powder form which you can then add to a liquid. Each serve of protein powder will ideally have between 14 to 24 grams of protein. Any liquid such as soy milk, water, rice milk, cows or goats milk should be fine to use, but fruit juices should be avoided due to their high content of carbohydrates. Low fat yoghurts may be preferred if you feel the need to have something a bit more substantial.
The best protein shake for weight loss can be used to replace any meal during the day, but there are certain times to use them which can make them more effective for weight loss. Regular exercise should always be a part of any weight loss regime. If the dieter has foregone such things as eggs, cheese and meat, in order to avoid fat and carbohydrate intake, they will more than likely need a boost in proteins. A protein shake taken right before a heavy workout will aid the body in its recovery, as it uses the protein to repair any muscle damage that may occur during the workout.
Building muscle is also another well known aid to weight loss. Muscle is metabolically active, whereas fat is not. In simple terms this means that to maintain muscle mass the body needs to burn calories, but it does not need to burn calories to maintain fat. In essence, if you build up enough muscle, you will still be achieving some modicum of weight loss even while watching television. Who does not want that? The best protein shake for weight loss will help you achieve your goals by helping you build muscle mass if that is part of your goal for a leaner body. No, we are not talking about a massive increase in size, just enough muscle to fill out the curves in all the right places.
As with any other dietary supplement, care should be taken with the use of protein shake diet plan. The best nutrients always come from whole foods such as eggs, milks, cheeses, meats and others. Once you have achieved your goals of weight loss many dieticians will recommend that you re-introduce as many whole foods to your diet as is proper for maintaining weight, and phasing out the protein shakes you were using while shedding the pounds.