Your pre-or-post-workout protein shake may taste great, but if you’re not careful, it could actually undo your efforts to lose weight and be healthy.
The Pros Of Protein Shakes
PRO: For people who don’t have time to get their protein intake through food or want a quick recovery drink after a workout, protein shakes are a good alternative, according to nutritionist Keri Glassman, R.D.
What’s more, protein can aid in weight loss. Recent research published in the journal Cell found that digested proteins create a chain reaction in the digestive, nervous and circulatory systems that leave you feeling full hours after eating. That long-lasting satiety helps you eat less later on, which can mean a lower-or at least a steady-number on the scale.
While protein shakes can definitely benefit your body, there are some rules you need to follow to make sure your shake isn’t just setting you up for failure.
5 Protein Shake Rules You Should Always Follow
Make Sure There’s Enough Protein In It. Is what you’re drinking actually a protein shake? elebrity dietician Ashley Koff, R.D. That means one with healthy and adequate sources of this important nutrient. “Make sure you’re not compromising on quality, so look at what the source of protein is,” suggests Koff.
Make Sure You’re Using The Right Kinds Of Protein. It’s best to rely on whole food sources of protein whenever possible versus highly-processed forms. Organic soybeans, whole pea, sprouted quinoa, hemp, sprouted brown rice and egg whites are all excellent, healthy protein sources for your shake.
Make Sure You’re Not Using Too Much Protein. When it comes to the amount of protein you should get, more is not always better. Ideally, you want six to 15 grams of protein in your shake. Some will have as much as 20 to 30 grams, but there’s no way your body is going to absorb all of that, notes Koff. Likewise, anything less than six grams is not a decent source of protein.
Make It Yourself Whenever Possible. How can you be sure of what you’re getting? One easy way is to make them yourself. But when a blender, your favorite milk and some fresh produce are not available, pre-packaged shakes or restaurant ones can be a convenient option-just be aware of the ingredients, particularly preservatives and sugar.
Don’t Forget About Portion Sizes
Portion control is also key for healthier drinks. A super-sized protein drink, no matter what the ingredients are, will not necessarily be good for your body, and may end up causing weight gain.
“Many protein shakes have as many calories as a full meal, and some could even have a whole day’s worth,” warns Glassman. “Keep in mind: Are you using a protein shake as a post-exercise snack or as a meal replacement? Take note and monitor what you are drinking.”