Protein Shakes 101: Benefits, Usage, And Recipes


You have most probably heard of protein shakes. Perhaps you have even stumbled upon a protein shake product at one point, even if you are not yet too fond of using it back then. It comes either in power form or in a ready-to-drink pack that is perfect for people on the go. It also comes in different flavors and in different compositions that are fit for the specific needs and preferences of every user.

One of the most common misconceptions about protein shakes is that it is only used by people at the gym who are aiming to build bigger muscles as they workout. While it is true that the best protein shakes do help in the muscle build-up, it has way more benefits than that.

With so many variants, so many choices, and so many different types of protein shakes to choose from, it can get really overwhelming and sometimes even perplexing to find the right product for you. So, with that in mind, here are the things you need to know about protein shakes--what it is, how it works, its benefits, and its possible side effects on your health, too.

What are protein shakes?

Protein shakes are supplementary products that provide an extra amount of protein to the body. Normally, our body can sustain its average protein needs with a proper and balanced diet. Natural sources of protein include meat, eggs, milk, and other dairy products. However, some people either need it for athletic purposes, while some need it to treat and prevent protein deficiency conditions in their bodies.

The use of healthy protein shakes to aid in athletic performance dates back to the days of ancient Greece, where athletes were given more meat and other foods rich in protein to help strengthen their physical body, with the hopes of it giving them more power to overcome their adversary.

The use of protein shakes in bodybuilding as most people know it today can be traced back to Eugene West in the 1910s. Considered to be the first bodybuilder of the West, he pioneered the concept of boosting physical strength and performance through the use of protein, Back then, what he used was meat extract. This concept would eventually pave the way to other protein shake recipes and eventually lead to the long line of products that we have right now.

The 1950s saw the first commercial protein shake that was sold, which was an egg protein product. Soon after, whey protein was introduced and it was advertised as a supplement in muscle building, in weight loss, and as a daily food additive for people with various other protein needs. Eventually, other products from other protein sources emerged in the market including soy protein, pea protein, pumpkin probation, and quinoa protein.

While most protein products have a natural origin, it still also went through several processes and combination, which also means that certain additives may have been added into some products along the way. This is only one of the reasons why it is always best to consult with your doctor or dietician for better professional advice on which of the best protein shakes you can get based on your needs.

What are the benefits of protein shakes?

Apart from being tasty and refreshing beverages, one of the foremost reasons why a lot of people enjoy taking protein shakes is because of the many health benefits it can give you.

If you regularly consume higher levels of protein, whether be it from a high-protein diet or through the aid of supplements, it can help your body burn more calories on an average per day.

This is because protein aids in building more muscle for the body. Muscle, in turn, burns more calories than fat. Another way it can help in burning more calories is that it requires more calories for digestion and metabolization. In other terms, it has a higher thermic effect of food or TEF than other energy sources, such as carbohydrates.

 Are protein shakes good for weight loss?

Since you now know that protein shakes can help in boosting your overall metabolism, you might wonder: “are protein shakes also good for weight loss?” The answer is yes, healthy protein shakes are also a viable option if you are looking to trim some unwanted pounds off.

This is because aside from boosting your metabolism, high protein intake also helps increase your feeling of fullness. This, in turn, would lead to you eating less frequently therefore removing unwanted and unnecessary daily calorie intake.

A high-protein diet is also linked in the loss of fat, specifically belly fat or also known as visceral fat. This is because it helps in fat oxidation and therefore helps burn it more with proper exercise.

On the other hand, in the same way that there are protein shakes for weight loss, there are also protein shakes for weight gain. This is because the muscle has more mass than fat and therefore, muscle-building can lead to weight gain--although, this type of weight gain is healthy and efficient. People who are working out or those who are underweight and need to gain more mass may use supplements for this purpose.

Can I drink a protein shake every day?

Although most protein shakes, be it for men or for women, are generally safe as they are approved by the FDA, it doesn’t hurt to be careful and cautious about what you take to your body, too.

Keep in mind that most of these products and supplements often come with additives such as sugar, flavoring, food coloring agent, and other ingredients that may pose certain risks to your health. In fact, a nonprofit group called the Clean Label Project reported earlier this year that certain protein supplement products were found with traces of toxic materials such as lead, cadmium, mercury, and BPA.

At the end of the day, the best step to take before making a purchase of any supplement is to consult with a medical professional for proper advice and guidance.

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