Protein shakes for Weight Loss
Drink two whey shakes a day and lose 5 pounds of fat
A clinical trial published in the Journal of Nutritiontracked the body weight of 90 overweight men and women during 23 weeks of drinking two shakes a day. No other instructions on what to eat were given. They drank either whey protein (28g of protein each), soy protein (28g of protein each) or carb shakes. Each shake contained about 200 calories. They drank them around breakfast and dinner. The whey group lost 4 pounds of body weight and 5 pounds of fat mass, as well as reduced their waist circumference and fasting hunger hormone (ghrelin) levels. The soy group lost 2 pounds of body weight and 2.4 pounds of body fat. The carbohydrate control group showed minimal changes.
Drink two MRPs a day and lose 6 pounds of fat
In a study of 38 overweight and sedentary male and female adults published in Nutrition and Metabolism, researchers looked at the effects of a meal replacement powder (MRP) totaling 300 calories per serving (40g protein from whey, casein and milk protein isolate, 25g carbohydrate, 6g fiber, and vitamins and minerals). Subjects drank this MRP once daily for 2 weeks, then twice daily for 8 more weeks. They also exercised 3 times per week and were compared to an exercise-only group and a control group who did not participate in an exercise plan.
After 10 weeks, the MRP-exercise group experienced an average of 6 pounds of fat loss and a 2-pound increase in lean body mass. The exercise-only group lost 2.4 pounds of fat and gained 1.8 pounds of lean body mass. The control group experienced minimal changes.
Of the three groups, only the MRP-exercise group experienced a 12% reduction in cholesterol and 13.3% reduction in LDL (“bad” cholesterol). Also, the time to exhaustion during a standardized treadmill test improved by 21.2% in the MRP-exercise group compared to a 9.8% increase in the exercise-only group and a 1.4% in the control group. For reference, during the last 8 weeks of the study, each day the MRP-exercise group consumed 131g of protein, 190g of carbohydrates, 63g of fat and an average of 1,854 calories.
25 pound weight loss difference over 5 years with one MRP a day
In one study conducted over a 5-year period, overweight subjects who consumed a meal replacement shake lost about 10 pounds compared to others who gained 15 over the same time period, resulting in a 25 pound difference in weight between them. The value of a meal replacement may be the structure of having a prepared meal, which can reduce the temptation to eat the wrong foods.
Manufacturers of protein shakes may claim that their products help decrease body fat or promote weight loss, but protein shakes aren’t a magic bullet for weight loss.
Replacing meals with protein shakes may help you reduce your daily calories, which can help you lose weight. But eventually you will need to start eating solid food again, which may cause excess weight to return if you don’t choose wisely. And if you rely too heavily on protein shakes to replace regular meals, you’ll miss out on the nutritional benefits of whole foods.
Since protein contains calories, consuming too much can actually make losing weight more difficult — especially if you drink protein shakes in addition to your usual diet, and you’re not exercising.
The average adult needs 46 to 56 grams of protein a day, depending on weight and overall health. As long as you’re eating a healthy diet, adding extra protein — either through protein shakes or other sources — isn’t necessary.
Remember, the key to losing weight is burning more calories than you consume. Choose healthy foods — such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean sources of protein — and include physical activity in your daily routine.