Protein shakes are still somewhat taboo. Most people mistake them for steroids, which is totally wrong. However, this misconception is not that surprising, since protein shakes promise almost surreal results over extraordinarily short periods of time.
First of all, protein shakes cannot possibly be bad. Your body is full of proteins as it is and it demands an endless supply of them to keep going and maintain your muscular mass in shape. In fact, they represent one of the three essential nutrients in your body. The other two are fats and carbohydrates. No matter how sturdy your body is, it sometimes needs a helping hand. Coincidentally, that comes in the shape of protein shakes.
They are nothing but natural supplements that people use in order to replenish the energy lost after a workout. Think of them as meals in a cup – a protein shake can be the equivalent of a large stake + a couple of chicken breasts. More often than not, it’s even cheaper than those bought individually.
However – and we’ll mention this throughout the article – they are not something you can live on. You cannot simply drink one in the morning, one in the noon and one in the evening and stop eating solid food. That’s going to lead to malnutrition, and we’re pretty sure you’re not working out to get anorexia.
These shakes are efficient, but don’t expect them to pump your muscles up like spinach did to Popeye. It takes time. You mustn’t forget that they’re food supplements – they will not give any results if your diet and your workouts leave a great deal to be desired. There are a lot of people that are disappointed with these beverages. They expect their muscles to grow in 10 minutes. Still, as with anything else, patience is key. Give them some time and learn how to work out more efficiently.
Protein shakes can be used before a workout or after a workout. Both of them need a timespan of half an hour – you’ll have a pre-workout shake 30 minutes before the training. By contrast, you’ll have a post-workout 30 minutes after the exercises.
This is important because your body must adjust to the intake. Professional athletes and fitness enthusiasts, in general, know that you shouldn’t even drink water 30 minutes before and after the workout. If you do, you won’t be able to perform the exercise correctly because all your muscles will be tensed up.
You should know that there are three types of protein you can find in your shakes. These are mainly included in those that you can purchase, not so much in the DIY ones:
This is intended for vegans, as it is made from the eponymous plant. Soy is a protein bomb, and few other plants can compete with it in this respect. Soy protein is usually used by women since it has been demonstrated that it reduces abdominal fat. The soybean protein has all the amino acids that your body needs. Another thing that makes it fabulous is its price. Soy is one of the cheapest sources of protein in the world
This type of protein is taken from milk as it passes through the process of being transformed into cheese. Whereas “whey isolate” has up to 90% (and even more) protein, “whey concentrate” can have from 30 to 90% protein. This type of protein is recommended after workouts that leave you numb for a couple of days
You’ve been taking casein protein without even knowing it: it is the protein that can be found in milk. It has a slower discharge of amino-acids, which is why it is usually recommended to drink it before going to bed. It takes a couple of hours for casein protein to release all the nutrients in your bloodstream.
There are also proteins that come from peas, rice, and hemp, but they’re rarely used in fitness powders.
Depending on their purpose, protein shakes can be for weight loss or for weight/muscle gain. The former are usually known as low-carb protein shakes. The ones you drink for gaining weight have more calories than their low-carb counterparts.
So it doesn’t matter if you’re skinny or you have an excellent body – some good protein shakes can help nonetheless.In the following paragraphs, we will delve into all the possible types of shakes. Thus, you will know what you’re dealing with before drinking them. Regardless of your weight and the amount of muscle mass you have, you will find something useful for you.
In order for things to be as clear as possible, we’ll divide them into shakes for men and shakes for women. The former category always looks to gain muscles, while the ladies are trying to lose weight.
Normally, you won’t see a man looking for protein shakes that help with weight loss. That is because their workouts are significantly heavier than women’s exercises. So, they usually aim for high protein shakes. There are two reasons for this: they lose a lot of energy during the workout, and their ultimate objective is to fortify their muscular mass. That automatically means that they’re going to lose fat. Or not as much “lose” as “replace.”
Most protein shakes for men are made with whey protein. This is absorbed quickly by the body, and it can be almost pure protein. It is made from coagulating milk, and it typically comes as a powder. Okay, whey protein is fantastic, but what does it do? Let’s see in the following paragraphs.
Of course, there are also men who want to gain weight. It can be for stepping up their workout game in the long run or just to make sure they don’t have to hold on to a pole when the wind blows.
As you can well imagine, the shakes for gaining weight have a rich concentration of carbohydrates. The latter are usually avoided by those who do not want to gain extra pounds. Fats, too, will be an indispensable ingredient in shakes meant to add weight.
There are many supplements on the market that are used for this particular objective, but there are also tons of good protein shakes recipes that you can try out if you can’t afford commercialized ones.
Unfortunately, men are always more prone to taking protein shakes when they really don’t need them. Wait, aren’t they compulsory? No. You don’t need protein powders if you can fulfill the daily protein intake just by eating protein-rich foods. Shakes are especially handy when you don’t have time to prepare your breakfast. Still, although they can replace your meal, do not make the mistake of thinking that you can live solely on shakes. Remember, they are food supplements. Not even the best protein shakes out there will compensate for the lack of a healthy diet. This leads us straight to the next section, which is of utmost importance.
The most obvious answer is: when you can’t reach your daily intake of protein otherwise. Protein powders are great because they’re pure protein, without carbs and fats. This means that you’re drinking full-blown protein that can be easily assimilated by the muscles you’ve damaged during the workout.
Solid food, for instance, is digested slower. Subsequently, the proteins reach those small tears on your muscles with more difficulty. It is not that efficient in providing you the calories you need to keep on going with your workouts, at least not after a couple of hours. Sipping on a cocktail (protein cocktail, of course), ensures you a faster recovery. But then again, if you can make up for all the protein you’ve lost with whole foods, you don’t need any high protein shakes.
There is such a thing as taking protein in excess. Excessive intake can cause bloating, diarrhea, nausea and too much weight gain in a short period. Make sure you know exactly how much protein you need. You can easily do that: you’re supposed to take 1 gram of protein per each pound of your weight. So, if you weigh 100 pounds, you’ll have to take 100 grams of protein on a daily basis. That’s the minimum.
Another great time to use protein shakes is when you plan on becoming vegan. You will give up on many excellent sources of protein, meat in particular. Vegetables are extremely healthy, naturally, but it’s less likely that you’ll get all the protein you need just from them. Combine that deficiency with a workout worthy of Superman, and you’ll be floored, even lacking the energy to get up, let alone to do another set. In this case, you can do your own healthy protein shakes with minimal ingredients. Usually, the best protein shakes are the ones you make yourself, anyway.
Here are two recipes that men can use safely: 1 for weight and muscle gaining and 1 for weight loss. These protein shakes are 100% natural.For weight gain
With this pumpkin shake, you will get 60 grams of protein, 535 calories, 45 grams of carbs and 13 grams of fiber, as well as 13 grams of fat. These specifications are provided if you use water. They’ll be higher if you use milk or yogurt.
For weight loss
Is there anything better than jelly and peanut butter? It’s hard to believe. This recipe will offer you: 228 calories, 23 grams of carbs, 11 grams of sugar, 5 grams of fiber, 1.3 grams of fat (saturated), and 16 grams of protein. You can clearly observe that everything is approximately halved in comparison with the first shake, but what matters the most are the low levels of carbohydrates and fat.
When it comes to bodybuilding, women are not as interested in the subject as men are. There are female bodybuilders, surely, but women drink protein shakes to help them lose weight.
Losing weight is intrinsically connected with cutting back on eating. However, you should know that eliminating certain foods will automatically lead to a deficiency of proteins. This is why protein shakes may actually be more beneficial for women than they are for men.
A low carb protein shake has great chances of becoming a woman’s best friend. Moreover, depriving your body of calories is indicated in weight loss programs, but you’ll need to compensate that lack of calories with proteins. At this point, protein smoothies are not as much of a choice as they are a vital element of any weight loss workout.
Protein shakes for women are not that different from those for men. The single difference resides in the ingredients quantities, which are typically halved for women.
Ladies are often susceptible to a misunderstanding: that consuming additional proteins will transform them into Hulks. That is a long shot from being true. Muscles grow through intense workouts, by no means through smoothies. Sure, proteins help, but they’re not miraculous, they don’t turn your arms into guns overnight.
There’s really no common ground on this. The ancient rule of “Whatever works for you” is absolutely applicable in this case. Lately, whey seems to be the go-to type of protein for both men and women, due to its fast assimilation.
Casein, on the other hand, is assimilated slower than whey. This means that you’re going to feel full for a longer time. This is quite important when you’re trying to lose weight.
So, the vast majority of protein shakes for weight loss are either made with whey protein or casein protein. You should not opt for the first if you plan on replacing your meals with the smoothies. The reasons for this are mentioned above, when we talked about whey. Also, soy protein is especially recommended for vegan women.
The type of protein you are going to use is your choice only. With all these, don’t overlook reading the labels on the powders you’re going to buy! As we’ve said before, steer clear of the ones that have sugars and other bad substances that will just add up to your weight instead of dissolving it.
It’s simple. Proteins satiate more than fats and carbohydrates, which means that your appetite will be reduced. The greatest perk of these shakes in respect with weight loss is that they decrease your hunger while keeping you full.
Another aspect that is affected by shakes is your metabolism. A rich intake of proteins can make your body burn more calories on a daily basis than it would do under normal circumstances. Your body spends huge energy resources to digest and metabolize the protein you’re bombarding it with. And you know what the consequence of that is: a more accelerated loss of fat.
A problem that arises in the process of weight loss is losing muscular mass as well. That’s surely not what you’re aiming at. Training + protein intake can prevent muscular loss, which is one more advantage of using shakes/smoothies.
However, just looking for the best protein shakes for weight loss would not be of much help. Before you start consuming protein shakes, you must conceive a plan: how much weight do you want to lose? What’s the timespan of the diet? There is another thing you need to keep in mind. Don’t use shakes for a while and then start eating junk food as soon as you’re losing some weight.
Here are two weight loss protein shakes recipes for you to try out.
Dark chocolate shake
Nutritional specifications: 3.2 grams of fat, 0.9 grams of saturated fat, 153 calories, 9 grams of sugar, 3 grams of fiber, 13 grams of protein and 20 grams of carbohydrates. It’s true that this shake looks more like a gourmet dessert, but don’t worry. Thanks to its low concentration of fat and sugars, it won’t add up any weight.
Nutritional specifications: 6 grams of fat, 15 grams of protein, 40 grams of carbohydrates, 271 calories and 8 grams of fiber. You cannot go wrong with this protein shake for weight loss since all the ingredients are extremely healthy.
It is one of the best protein shakes you can make at home. It’s also a great low carb protein shake.
You can make yourself a delicious shake with any of the following fruits: pomegranates, oranges, kiwis, avocados, bananas, guavas, apricots, nectarines and passion fruit.
If you’re not into fruits, you can incorporate as many of the following in your diet:
If you do include any of these in your diet and you combine them with shakes, you can rest assured that your body is truly getting all the proteins it needs.
You can make mistakes when preparing your protein shakes. This applies both to men and women. These are three of them:
If you aim at losing weight, this is the greatest mistake you can make. Instead of getting rid of fat, you’ll just accumulate it. Refrain from using sweet fruits in your shakes. If you’re putting too much sugar in your low carb protein shake, that ceases to be dietary.
There are many brands of protein powders that contain fructose and other types of sweeteners, sugar alcohols and all kinds of dangerous preservatives. Whenever you buy powder, read the label carefully. If it says that the product is filled with sugars, don’t buy it.
Whereas whey is gorgeous in general, its fast absorption does not make it a good replacement for your skipped meals. GMO soy, too, is a problem. In this respect, it’s better to discuss the issue with a professional nutritionist. He/she will be able to tell you what type of protein is best for you. It really does not help to just Google “top protein shakes” and choose the very first type of powder you come across.
It doesn’t really matter if you get the best protein shakes in the world or you’re using DIY protein shakes. They are not completely devoid of perils. They can pose some threats to your body if consumed excessively. Still, it all depends on your tolerance for them. These are just a few of the risks that come with drinking protein shakes:
There are certain ingredients in protein powders that can trigger allergies. It would have been fantastic if they were all hypoallergenic, but unfortunately, they are not. Soy, eggs, and milk, for instance, can cause allergic reactions in some people. These will manifest in sudden dehydration, upset stomach, nausea, and vomiting.
It’s utterly simple to exclude genuine physical meals out of your life when you drink shakes day in, day out. Once more, these are food supplements; they do not make up for everything you’re missing on when you’re trying to build up muscle or get rid of fat. Learn to find the perfect equilibrium between healthy meals and healthy protein shakes and keep it that way.
This is a risk for lactose intolerant people. Given that your body lacks lactase, the enzyme that breaks down lactose, it will remain undigested, producing severe abdominal pain, diarrhea and bloating. Pay attention to the kind of powder you’re using. It’s easier to prevent than to cure, that’s for sure.
Too many protein shakes can contribute to kidney problems, osteoporosis, and even cancer.
If you suffer from diabetes, you must always read what’s written on the package of the protein powder. Do not make the mistake of consuming sugar-rich powders. If you do have this condition, you should talk with your doctor first. You may not even be allowed to drink protein shakes.
Protein shakes are often badmouthed and shunned by those who know nothing about them and how they work. Still, they are healthy alternatives for reviving the muscles or losing weight, depending on your purpose.
So, it is quite difficult to say which are the best protein shakes. After all, it depends on the ultimate objective of the user, whether it’s amassing muscle growth or losing fat. 90% of the top protein shakes you’ll find will undeniably offer you some stunning results. Maybe not as fast as the label says, but they will, sooner or later.
However, as you’ve seen, these protein shakes are not completely inoffensive. They have side effects, too, but only when taken in excess. So be careful when using them. If you do decide to start drinking these beverages, do not cross the line of prudent consumption.
Last but not least, there has been mentioned that you don’t really need shakes once you can get all the protein you need just from food. Otherwise, you risk overloading your kidneys, and you’ll do more harm than good.
With all of these being said, we hope you are going to make the best shake-related decisions because now you know all the important aspects about them.