Protein shake is popularly used by athletes for decades, due to the reason that they contain nutrients like amino acids that help athletes in repairing damaged muscle tissue and gradually promote the production of tissues as well.
But nowadays, protein shakes are demanded by individuals who are not really engaged with the hectic sporting activities. For instance, those who want to gain body weight or the ones who want to shed some pounds. They particularly want to know how many protein shakes a day can be consumed to reach their goals.
Those wishing to gain healthy pounds can drink protein shakes to satiate the feeling of fullness, promote lasting energy, and regulate insulin levels properly. By drinking protein shakes they can also prevent themselves from unhealthy snack cravings. On the other hand, people who want to lose weight can also associate themselves with healthy drinks, however, protein shakes are not something that is always recommended.
So, in both cases how many protein shakes a day should you take? Keep reading the article to know the benefits of the product and the safe number of shakes to drink per day.
What are Protein Shakes?
Protein shakes are drinks with a creamy texture which is a product of protein powder. Many protein powders contain whey (the milk plasma) as their main ingredient. Whey primarily is a byproduct of cheese; it is the liquid that separated from the milk when it is curdled to make cheese. That unprocessed and pure whey has an acidic flavor that is incredibly rich in nutrients such as protein, Vitamin B, minerals, glucose, beta-glucans.
There’s no evidence of fat in this fresh whey, but contains a high amount of glycine, amino acids, and glutamate which is essential for your body in the production of glutathione. Glutathione is an antioxidant that prevents telomeres from shortening, where telomeres ultimately aid the body in slowing down the aging process.
Nutrition in a Scoop of Whey Protein
The nutritional fact can differ and depends specifically on the manufacturer, source (for instance, the milk came from the organic grass-fed animals or the grain-fed ones), and whether the liquid is isolated or concentrated.
One scoop of protein offers 4 calories per gram, a normal scoop has 30 grams per serving, so the protein powder provides you 120 calories in total. Similarly, a smaller scoop will provide you fewer calories but if the added ingredient contains MCT oil, the calories count might boost up to 130cal or so.
In order to have the best flavor and nutrient value of protein, go for a product with fewer preservatives, fillers, and additives. Try to stick to a rule of thumb, be conscious about the size of your scoop, plus, never get a protein powder that provides protein less than 20 grams per 30 g scoop serving.
It shows that the more amount of protein you get per serving the more it would be better to isolate whey ingredients.
How many Protein Shakes a day can you add to your Diet?
If you are taking protein shakes to replace your convenient meals or just to meet your protein goal for the day, you can drink the shake anytime when you opt to normally eat your meal.
But you have to add other macros to satisfy the fat requirement (such as avocado, nuts, or oil) or carbohydrates (like any of your favorite fruit) so as to replace your meal entirely. On the flip side, it depends on the goal settings you have in your mind to come up for the reason how many protein shakes a day should you add to your daily routine.
Using Protein Shakes to Lose Weight
You have to keep in mind that protein shakes are not something that you should rely on in your weight management purpose. In other words, adding shakes in your diet to lose weight will not help you in shedding some extra pounds over the night. But, they can be used to gain the three beneficial purposes in order to help you in weight loss.
- It will help you in reducing your appetite which eventually restrain you from eating unhealthy junk foods.
- Help in boosting your metabolic rate through the TEF – thermal effect of food.
- Enable you to keep lean mass when you are on strength training.
However, some studies have reported dramatically weight-changing results when some individuals take protein supplements for their 25-30 % of calories.
Thus, if you normally take 2000 calories in a day, replacing them at least with 125-150 g of protein can result in better weight loss. To hit your target, you can go for one or more than one shakes a day, but try to keep a check on calories.
A protein shake in the breakfast would give you a boost to hit the day as you have gained enough protein, whereas a protein shake at the night will restrict you to consume extra calories.
While adding protein shakes to your diet will not instantly change your body shape without making some more changes, one to three shakes a day will help you feel fuller, improve your metabolism, and motivates you to keep your body in shape.
How to consume Whey Protein to Build Muscle Mass?
Consumption of whey protein with weight training can help your muscles to get stronger, to build lean muscles, and in recovering from the damaged tissues fast.
In muscle gain, there are three significant ways where whey protein can help:
- Enhancing muscle protein synthesis
- Boosting your training readiness and speed up your recovery
- Making sure that you are hitting the daily requirements for protein in order to maximize the results.
The first two benefits can be maximized when you have your whey protein shake before your workout.
You have to be certain that you are taking daily protein requirements when you are in muscle making mode and replacing your meals with shakes. You can have whey protein shakes any time throughout the day when you have missed your meal, or add some whole foods along the day to boost your protein needs.
It is recommended to get 40g (depending on the type of body and training) of whey protein in post-workout routines when gaining lean muscle is your aim. If you feel that you’re not taking enough protein you can increase your calories from protein up to 25-30% so as to gain muscle mass.
Thus, 160-190 g of protein in a day is suggested if you consume 2,500 calories to shape muscle mass.
On weight lifting days, you can cut down the number of shakes a day and take a single shake or more to ensure that you are taking enough protein.
3 Mistakes that must be avoided in Protein Intake
1. Neglecting Whole Foods
On long busy days, we all forget to eat food and have the shakes more often to meet the need of the day. But you should not make it your habit. You eventually miss your target by consuming nothing other than protein supplements.
Relying only on protein supplements will not help you single-handedly. So, no matter how nutritious the protein supplement is, you should not make it your single-stop solution.
2. Consuming Excessive Protein
Do you know that too much protein can actually go bad for you?
It may sound daunting, but unless you have a history of kidney issues or you feel dehydrated, high protein intake isn’t bad for you at all
When you aim to build muscle or lose weight, it is obvious that you get prone to calorie intake along with protein intake. In order to have the best results, try balancing them out, adjust your calories whenever you adjust your protein intake.
To find the optimal amount of protein, you can experiment with the percentage of calories that go along with protein intake. Once you find the percentage that works for you, stick to it until you need to change them again.
3. Relying Completely on Supplements before Exercise and Diet
It’s not a secret anymore how high-quality supplements like whey enhance your performance and boost your metabolism to achieve your goals.
But eventually, these supplements can only help you in supporting the energy you put in. Therefore, if you want your body to show up great results, don’t skip these key factors:
- Sufficient calorie intake (not recommended in weight loss goals, a surplus in gaining lean muscle)
- Exercise (aerobics, intervals, and resistance)
- Macronutrients other than protein (fat for calorie burn, carbs to boost performance, etc.)
- Periodization (adhering to an exercise program)
- Sticking to recovery practices (active recovery, massage, stretching, sleep)
Use protein shakes undoubtedly to enhance your workout performance and stick to these pointers to gain ultimate results.
The Closing Thoughts
Keep in mind that the number of nutrients you need to stay alive and the number of nutrients you need to hit your target are two separate things. You should not afraid of adding up some extra protein in your meals along with the shakes to see the difference.
If you don’t want or cannot consume animal products, dairy goods, or have some ethical or environmental issues taking them, there are still the lights beaming at the end of the tunnel. Talk to your dietitian and bring out a healthier way either to gain lean muscle, recover them, or to find alternative weights to add protein in your diet to lose weight.