How to use protein shakes to maintain muscle and lose weight?

Protein is an essential ingredient for overall health and weight loss. It allows you to repair and grow muscle, heal wounds, prevent muscle loss as you age, and even act as an anti-aging supplement.


What is protein?

Protein is like the building blocks of your body. They are made up of smaller units known as amino acids, which are necessary for tissue repair, muscle growth, enzyme and hormone production, transport of nutrients around the body and even immune system function. Protein is essential for keeping your body working properly, as well as for staying healthy.


How much protein do you need?

This depends on several factors such as your age, sex and how much muscle you have and your activity levels. A 25 year old man who is quite muscular and doing regular weights at the gym is going to need more than a 50 year old woman who walks for an hour 4 times a week. A safe starting point is the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of protein which is 0.8g/kg of body weight.

How can protein help with weight loss?

According to research, having more protein than the RDA may help you lose weight. The amount of protein used in the studies varied. One study found that eating 1.3g/kg of protein led to more weight loss (about 2 more kg over 6 months) in those who were actively trying to lose weight through a small decrease in calories. If you are over the age of 65, there may also be benefits from having 1.3g/kg as a recent small study found this was the sweet spot for preventing age-related muscle loss (which will also help your metabolism). When it comes to maintaining your weight loss, as much as 1.6g/kg of body weight may help. This study found that the extra protein may help people stick to their new eating patterns which may be due to feeling fuller for longer.  A dietitian can give you a more accurate figure once they have considered your body composition, lifestyle, medical history, and exercise habits.

What are the benefits of adding a protein powder to my diet?

- Convenience: One of the best things about protein powder is how easy it is to use. It's a quick and easy way to get more protein especially if you need to add an extra protein hit at mid-meal snacks.

- Versatility: Protein powder is very flexible and can be added to foods to make them higher in protein. For example, breakfast can be a little low in protein if you are not basing it around eggs. Protein powder can be added to your smoothie, cereal or added to your coffee to go with your morning piece of toast.

When to consider using a high protein meal replacement

If you are using meal replacement shakes, you may notice that there is sometimes a high protein version on offer, like the Tony Ferguson High Protein Shake. So, when is a good time to use these versions over the regular shakes?

  • Fit in protein needs within a low calorie intake: These higher protein versions may be beneficial if you are trying to reach a high overall protein intake and you can’t fit in the extra protein at snacks (due to your total calorie goal, appetite or time for example) or you perhaps would like the shakes to keep you feeling fuller for longer.
  • Muscle Growth and Repair: Protein is what muscles are made of, so if you are doing a lot more weights in the gym, a higher protein shake or snack may help both growth and repair. Doing more weight resistance exercise can help you maintain more of your muscle mass during weight loss.
  • Feel fuller for longer: Adding extra protein powder to your meals and snacks can help you feel fuller because it takes longer to digest and stimulates fullness hormones.
  • Convenience: Unlike meat or dairy goods, which are common protein sources, protein powder doesn't need much preparation and is easy to carry around. So, this type of shake can be a great choice for busy people who need a quick and healthy source of protein on the go.

    Protein powders can be a useful and flexible food product that can help people of all ages and fitness levels in many ways. Adding protein powder or using higher protein meal replacement shakes to your diet may help you build or maintain muscle, lose weight, or just make your health better in general.
June 13, 2024