Protein shakes are one thing that comes to mind when we mention weight loss or muscle building. A lot of people went gaga over this and supplement manufacturers didn’t disappoint with their products. But the question is this: are protein shakes effective?
This is a hotly debated question and the answer usually lies on how you take the protein shake.
Timing is everything, even with your whey protein intake.
Some argue that you should gulp it down after working out while others insist that it’s better to chug a shake before starting your routine.
The protein shake hype
Before protein supplements are heavily commercialized, it’s usually reserved for athletes and bodybuilders who need a higher protein uptake to recover. It lets them consume more muscle-building protein without the need to worry about excess calories from food.
Soon enough, protein powders became a hot commodity in the fitness world. Almost everyone who hits the gym thinks that they can achieve a sculpted by simply chugging bottle after bottle of these shakes.
Even if it’s the case, protein is still an important component of our diet. However, we have to understand that there’s only a specific amount that our bodies can handle. Yes, whey powders are great choices to meet your protein needs, but never go blind on its dose.
Calculating your protein needs
You have to know your RDA or Recommended Daily Allowance first. For protein, the RDA is 0.8 grams for every kilogram of our body weight. Still, the RDA is just the minimum amount we need.
It will be a different story if we factor in some physical aspects. Let’s say that I am a 23-year old female with a height of 5 ft. 2 in. and a weight of 136 pounds. In a sedentary lifestyle, I would need around 49 grams of protein.
As you see, it’s not just about the weight, it’s also crucial to determine the person’s level of physical activity and age.
So should you eat a whole 49-gram protein from whey powders? Nope!
Remember that each food item will have varying protein levels. For example, a 52-gram chicken breast will have 16 grams of protein, 50 grams of cottage cheese will have 6 grams of protein, and so on. You have to adjust your protein intake from whey accordingly.
When to take protein shakes?
Now that you know the amount of protein you can include on your shakes, the next question is when to take it.
According to Barbara Lewin, a sports nutritionist who worked for the NFL, NHL, and NBA, the following are common periods where you should take protein shakes:
>When you’re increasing your workout intensity. The more you train your body, the more you’ll need to recover from the muscle damages. In this case, you will need the opinion of a dietitian to consume the safe amount without taxing your liver or kidney too much.
>When you’re still growing. Teens have fast-growing bodies that need a higher protein intake. However, they need the guidance of medical professionals when taking whey.
>When you have an injury. Protein is proven to help the body recover from injuries. The amino acids it contains aid the muscles and tissues to repair and grow more fibers. This is true, especially for athletes and bodybuilders.
>When you stick to a vegan diet. Vegans don’t eat dairy, poultry, fish, meat, and other similar food items. For some, they will take exception with protein supplements like whey powders to augment their protein deficiency.
>When you’re about to start a new workout program. Those who are trying to lose weight and grow muscles will need more protein when they are going to start a new routine.
>When you’re getting old. Advanced age is directly connected to sarcopenia or muscle loss. By consuming more protein, it can help reverse the condition if paired with enough exercise. Whey powder shakes are a good choice for this.
Common protein shake mistakes
It’s relatively safe to incorporate protein shakes on your diet but you have to do it right. However, you should avoid the following pitfalls:
>Overcomplicating your protein shakes
Of course, you have the freedom to pair your whey powders with fruits. But make sure that you’re not overdoing it or you’ll consume more calories than what you intend.
We suggest that you opt for low-sugar whey powders and water for a simple drink. You can also use milk as you wish. This is easy to prepare and you will dodge the extra calories.
>Choosing the wrong protein powder
There are tons of protein powders in the market but not each one is made equal. If it’s cheap, it’s probably low in quality and packed with fillers.
Always invest in your health. If your choice of whey powder is suspiciously affordable and boasts an amazingly long shelf life, you may want to check the label. It might be packed with carbs and artificial substances.
If you’re looking for a whey protein powder, we have three suggestions below that make a perfect shake ingredient.
>Going beyond two scoops
Most whey powders nowadays have a 1-scoop serving for a bottle of shake. Others will have a maximum of 2 scoops. But aside from this dosage, you have to factor in the protein you’ll get from your meals.
Two scoops might be the recommended serving, but if you’re eating lots of meat products, you might be consuming more protein than what you actually need.
>You’re not getting all the glory of whey
Buying cheap protein powders means you’re going to miss the important BCAAs, L-Leucine, and peptides that will contribute to your muscle’s recovery after working out.
BCAA triggers muscle growth while Leucine stimulates muscle protein synthesis. You should keep your eye on these two little guys aside from the whey isolate itself.
The proper way to take protein shakes
So the question is this: how should you take protein shakes? What is the right schedule for it? Here’s a short guide that you can use:
As a post-workout snack. After we exercise, our muscles will sustain tears. At rest, our body will repair these damages. With a fast-digesting protein shake, our muscles will have enough fuel to patch up the damages and make more muscle fibers.
As a meal replacement. For those who are trying to lose weight by cutting back on their calorie intake, you can use whey protein shakes as meal replacements. It’s ideal to use it for breakfast since it’s easy to prepare and the protein content is highly satiating.
As a snack. To arrest hunger in between meals, you can spread your protein shake intake all throughout the day. You can also bake or cook with your choice of whey protein powder.
As a way to increase protein uptake. For seniors, athletes, and other individuals who need to increase their protein intake, whey protein shakes are a great addition to their diet.
Before bedtime. Taking protein three hours before going to bed is proven to boost muscle growth and repairs.
Top 3 Whey Protein Isolates for Protein Shakes
Isopure Low Carb Protein Powder
The Isopure Low Carb Protein Powder is a decadent choice for your protein shakes. Aside from its 6 delicious flavors, it’s also packed with 25 grams of protein in each serving. Since it’s low-carb and only contains 110 calories per serving, it’s very keto-friendly.
This powder from Isopure is an all-around protein source that you can take for breakfast, snack, or at any time of the day. For those with intolerances, this powder is guaranteed to be lactose-free.
It’s blended with minerals and vitamins as well as the much-needed glutamine for muscle recovery. This is also perfect for seniors who need to increase their protein uptake.
Since this comes in a variety of flavors, you have the option to blend it to your desserts or snacks. Just be reminded that this contains soy lecithin which could be a problem for those with allergies.
Regardless if you’re working out, trying to lose weight, recovering from an injury, or you just need more protein, the Isopure powder is an unbeatable choice.
Another thing we love about this whey powder is it mixes easily without clumps. You only need a shaker bottle and you’re good to go.
Dymatize ISO 100 Whey Protein Powder Isolate
The Dymatize ISO 100 contains 25 grams of high-quality protein, 2.7 grams of Leucine, and 5.5 grams of BCAAs that all help muscle growth and recovery. This protein is hydrolyzed so it’s way faster to absorb that typical whey.
Moreover, it contains only less than one gram of fat and sugar and it’s lactose and gluten-free. What you’ll get is a clean and all-around formula that can be used as a post-workout, snack, and meal replacement shakes.
Another benefit you’ll enjoy is the chance to pick from 12 different flavors. You can also add this on your baked goods to make protein-rich snacks at home.
Each serving of this protein powder only has 120 calories which are very manageable even for those with strict diets. Make sure that you don’t have allergies to soy since this powder used soy lecithin to achieve a creamy texture.
Overall, this whey powder has no frills. Those who are building muscles and trying to lose weight will benefit from the Dymatize whey isolate. Since it’s fast-digesting, this is a champ as a post-workout drink.
This whey powder is formulated to crush your goals. Be it getting ripped, losing weight, or fighting muscle loss, you can count on Dymatize’s benefits.
OUR TOP PICK
Product Name: Six Star Whey Isolate Plus Protein Powder
Product Description: If you need to increase your protein intake, don’t miss the Six Star Whey Isolate Plus Protein Powder. Every serving of this whey isolate contains 30 grams of pure and complete protein. It’s also infused with fast-absorbing glutamine and BCAAs that help your muscles toward recovery.This formula is clean that it only contains 2 grams of sugar, 1 mg of cholesterol, and no fats. Aside from that, Six Star received the Gold Medal for Superior Taste award from the American Masters of Taste.Each serving of this protein powder contains 150 calories and 130 mg of calcium. Still, you have to watch out since this may contain soy lecithin which can trigger allergic reactions to some users.
Another great thing about the Six Star whey isolate is it’s easy to mix in water or milk even without a blender or a shaker. This is hands down the best whey protein for those who are beginning to adopt a new workout.
This whey isolate is made for athletes, those trying to lose weight, and for people who want to build more muscles. Its clean formula is perfect for everyone who wants accelerated recovery from their routines.
Lastly, this whey isolate is available in chocolate and vanilla cream flavor.
-Loaded with BCAAs and glutamine
-No trans fat
-Mixes well without a shaker or blender
Whey powders are staples of every workout routine. It’s also helpful in increasing protein uptake of those who need an extra dose of amino acids.
So are protein shakes effective? It is effective as long as the shakes are taken at the right time and with the proper amount. Make sure that the amount of protein you ingest is within what your body can handle.
Aside from protein shakes, you can also bake and cook with your whey isolates. Here, we have some snack recipes that you can try together with our whey powder recommendations.
If you have lingering conditions, make sure that you ask the opinion of your attending physician before integrating whey protein to your diet.
Most of all, don’t buy cheap powders. Invest in your health with premium products proven to support your wellness.