Although protein shakes may not directly burn fat from your body, they may be able to indirectly help you lose weight. For example, protein tends to promote satiety, or a feeling of fullness, which can help you eat fewer calories throughout the day. Whey protein seems to be one of the best, if not the best, choices when it comes to weight loss. However, it’s important to understand that a healthy diet and consistent exercise is necessary to lose weight in addition to consuming whey protein shakes. Consult your doctor before you begin taking whey protein supplements; they may not be right for everyone.
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Whey protein is derived from milk and is a byproduct of the cheese-making process. It features the highest biological value of any protein, according to the University of Illinois McKinley Health Center. The biological value of a protein is a measurement of how well it is absorbed and utilized by your body. Whey contains all of the essential amino acids your body needs to promote fat loss, muscle growth and even improve your immune system function. Whey is available in varying qualities; isolates are the highest quality while concentrates are slightly lower quality but also less expensive.
Some research has shown that whey protein shakes promote fat loss. One such study was published in “Nutrition and Metabolism” in 2008. It showed that two whey protein shakes per day helped participants lose about three times more fat over a 12-week period compared to participants who didn’t consume the whey drinks. By the end of the study, the participants who drank the whey protein shakes lost significantly more weight than those who didn’t.
Whey protein is effective at promoting satiety, according to the U.S. Dairy Export Council. It states that protein is far more effective at promoting satiety compared to carbohydrates and fats. The result is you eat fewer calories while feeling satisfied at the same time. Whey protein seems to promote satiety is that it stimulates several gastrointestinal hormones that are involved in the regulation of appetite.
The McKinley Health Center suggests consuming about 20 g to 25 g of whey protein per day for weight loss and improvements in body composition. It’s important to note that simply adding this amount of whey protein to your diet without cutting calories elsewhere will lead to weight gain. Whey protein supplementation does add calories to your daily caloric intake, so it’s important to balance these calories with the calories consumed from whole foods. Speak to a dietitian or your doctor if you have questions about balancing your daily caloric intake for weight loss purposes.