Did you know that “when” matters just as much as “what” when it comes to nutrition for weight loss?
Protein shakes are a hugely helpful tool to help regulate appetite and cravings, both of which can ultimately help you lose weight.
This guide will explain the ideal timing for protein shakes during the day to help you achieve your weight loss goals.
Protein Shakes & Weight Loss: Everything You Need To Know
The Power of Protein for Losing Weight
Eating or drinking protein plays a role in weight loss because protein helps us feel satisfied.
Protein increases how full we feel (also known as “satiety”) because of its effects on our appetite-regulating hormones.
That means that when you’re getting enough protein, you’re less likely to find yourself craving sweets or snacks throughout the day.
While it’s definitely normal and healthy to eat a few snacks per day, finding yourself constantly nibbling will get in the way of your weight loss goals.
Eating protein has benefits for weight loss beyond satiety.
For one, it provides long-lasting energy, so we’re empowered to move through our day and have the stamina to exercise.
Protein also has a neutral effect on blood sugar.
When we eat protein, we’re less likely to get a blood sugar spike followed by a blood sugar fall that causes cravings, especially for quick carbs.
Why Use Protein Shakes for Weight Loss?
Protein shakes can be a gamechanger for helping people with their weight loss goals.
Let’s agree that getting protein from a variety of healthy foods is important.
Foods like legumes, nuts, seeds, fish, eggs, dairy, chicken, beef, and turkey are all packed with protein.
Including at least one protein-rich food every time you eat is key – not just for maximizing weight loss benefits, but also to ensure your body is getting a variety of amino acids to maintain skin, bones, hair, and hormones.
However, a shake can be a super easy alternative to mix it up from food-based protein.
Do you say “that’s me!” to any of these?
- For busy people, protein shakes can supply a meal’s worth of protein in just a minute of prep time.
- For active people, supplemental protein after a workout helps with weight loss and fitness goals.
- For vegans and vegetarians, using a plant-based protein powder is an easy way to help make sure you’re meeting your protein needs without animal products.
- For travelers, a protein meal replacement shake ensures you’re never without nutrition.
Pairing Protein with Exercise
If healthy weight loss is your goal, you need to ensure that you’ve got a plan for movement.
Exercise, fitness, physical activity – whatever term you prefer, it’s vital to move your body for both your physical and your mental health.
Exercise is necessary to both build and maintain lean muscle mass, which is the only way we can intentionally increase our metabolism.
Your “metabolism” describes how many calories your body needs to function.
By increasing muscle mass, you increase your body’s calorie needs.
Over time, this helps create a calorie deficit that favors weight loss.
Moving your body can also bring about positive emotions, which can actually help improve nutrition.
Since many people are prone to eating when they are sad, anxious, or stressed, addressing those emotions by getting your blood moving with exercise is a piece of this puzzle.
If you’re planning your protein shake around your work out, when is the ideal time?
The 3 Most Important Times for Protein
Here’s a breakdown of the “when” for your day-to-day routine.
Keep in mind that this list refers to the most important times to have protein from any source, whether it’s food or protein shakes.
As mentioned earlier, it’s important to mix up your protein sources so that you’re getting as varied a diet as possible!
Toast, potatoes, waffles, bagels – these typical breakfast foods are convenient yet lack protein.
Many people neglect to include protein in their breakfast, probably due to the quickness factor when rushing out the door in the morning (or in the work-from-home scenario, rushing to log-on for the day).
Including protein in your breakfast is a critical way to help promote satiety – and therefore, weight loss – from the day’s get-go.
Blending a protein shake with fruit, coconut milk, and any other fun add-ins is an excellent way to start your morning with balance.
Another critical time to include protein is after your workout.
This not only helps your muscles recover, but it also helps maintain the stable blood sugar that prevents crashes and cravings later on.
All of this can directly and indirectly help support your weight loss goals.
Pairing protein with carbohydrates is important for recovery, since the carbs will help replace the short-term fuel (called glycogen) that your muscles store.
Combine a protein powder with banana, ice, and milk for a refreshing recovery meal or snack.
Spread throughout the day
A very common mistake many people make is loading all of their protein into one meal or shake.
If you’re consuming a full day’s worth of protein in one sitting, you’re missing out on its benefits for satiety.
In other words, it’s not going to help you feel full unless you’re eating it at least a few times per day.
Twenty to 25 grams of protein in one sitting is considered an upper limit of what your body can absorb.
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Try a protein shake at any one of the time options above and see how full and energized you feel!
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