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A Guide to Choosing and Preparing the Best Protein Shake

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Have you ever wondered what your friend or colleague might be sipping in a cool, shaded bottle? What might be the magic potion they drink during the day or the workout session that keeps them fit? You are probably acquainted with the term ‘protein shake.’ This term is constantly buzzing around on every fitness YouTuber’s page or any other diet and exercise concerning page. 

The catch is that the modern lifestyle is rapidly drifting into a much more toxic version than ever. Health issues like obesity, anxiety and depression are prevalent in people from all age groups. Most of your acquaintances, health experts, dieticians, or physicians would suggest you adopt a new lifestyle. They offer a routine life where you make a healthy choice at every other moment, including your diet, sleep, and exercise routines. 

When you are hit consistently with more than one problem, you ultimately decide to step forward toward better and healthier choices. These choices may be a fixed sleep routine, a nutritious diet, skipping junk food, or switching to protein shakes. 

But, which are the proteins that will help you in weight loss? And, which ones will help you gain muscle? Are there alternatives to market-based protein? There are a few things one must remember before switching to protein shakes. So, let us dive deeper into the body’s protein requirements and how to consume them healthily.

Protein Powders: What Are They?

Protein powders are available in a variety of shapes and sizes. Whey, soy, and casein protein are the most popular. “Whey is the most often used since it is a water-soluble milk protein, “It’s also a complete protein, so it has all those benefits,”   (Complete proteins are made up of all nine amino acids required for human nutrition.) Vegans may prefer soy protein, while many point out that it has a more disagreeable flavour and doesn’t dissolve as well in water.

The Various Sources of Protein and Their Daily Requirement Levels

Protein, for decades, has been recognised as a weight-loss ingredient and a muscle-gaining supplement. However, this and certain other myths associated with protein consumption are prevalent. 

Here are a few common myths allied with eating protein:

Only people who eat non-veg are making themselves accessible to protein supplements. The vegan and vegetarian diets lack protein.Eating more protein helps you lose extra pounds.Proteins develop muscles only. Market-based proteins are the best way to eat protein. 

Little do you know, all these claims are scientifically baseless and not to be believed. It is a silly concept that only meat-eaters have exposure to various protein sources. Studies reveal that rice, soy chunks, peas, and dairy products like tofu are successful protein precursors. Proteins are involved in the overall development and maturation of the human body. They aren’t restricted to merely spot-reducing fat or developing muscles only.

Below are some examples of proteins obtained from animal sources: 

FishBeefBaconEggsChicken breasts

All of the animal food sources mentioned above are exquisite sources of protein. But, there are specific vegetarian alternatives to them as well. Vegan/Vegetarian sources of protein are:

Green veggiesNuts (like cashew nuts and almonds)Tofu/ PaneerPulses RiceQuinoaHemp seedsBeans/Legumes

Daily Protein Requirement

The daily protein intake depends on various factors like age and disease condition of an individual. However, research reveals that, on average, a human needs 0.6g of protein/kg of their weight. Furthermore, the daily protein intake for adults, teenagers, and older people vary accordingly. One should get 10% to 35% of daily calories from protein and not more than that unless your lifestyle factors specify that.  

Protein requirement for adult males: 56gProtein requirement for adult females: 46gProtein requirement in teens: 46-52gProtein requirement in pregnant and lactating women: 50gProtein requirement in elderly citizens: 2g/kg body weight 

Two of the essential functions of the human body are to create new cells and repair damaged ones. Proteins are the building blocks for the proper functioning of these two steps. Plus, proteins are involved in the making of lean muscles. Thus, protein shakes are a highly essential part of any person visiting the gym or undertaking any physical activity. 

Types of Proteins and Their Impact on Your Health

Protein shakes have several proven benefits, says research. For example, a protein shake will help you increase satiety and reduce your food consumption. Also, protein helps improve the recovery speed of cellular damage in your body. 

Another common benefit of drinking a protein shake is that it acts as a fat-killer by boosting your metabolism. Also, proteins promote the development of muscle cells and help produce lean muscle. In addition, protein shakes can enhance your immunity and cell development processes. However, you might be wondering which type of protein you will need as per your body type. Most of the protein combinations work similarly. 

So, here’s a quick guide for selecting the best protein for yourself.

Protein Powders for Weight Loss

1. Whey Protein

Whey protein works best in promoting weight loss. It is a quickly absorbing protein supplement that enters blood circulation rapidly. Once it enters the blood, it releases amino acid leucine, that aids in protein synthesis. The process of protein synthesis results in the usage of excessive calories and therefore promotes weight loss. 

2. Casein Protein

The mechanism of action of casein protein is much simpler. This protein stays in the digestive system longer than other proteins. This occurrence increases satiety and prevents you from feeding unnecessarily. Therefore, casein protein helps reduce weight by decreasing the cravings you might be experiencing. Also, it acts as a great post-workout supplement. 

3. Soy Protein

Soy protein contains an isoflavonoid compound that prevents fat accumulation in the belly area. Thus, soy protein is good for reducing fat and overall body weight. 

4. Protein with Caffeine Content

Protein powders having caffeine as an ingredient are a brilliant way to burn calories. It is because caffeine helps to stimulate metabolic processes of the body. This way, it uses up all the extra calories in your body and helps you lose weight. 

Proteins to Help Build Muscles

1. Soy Protein

Soy protein contains safe amounts of amino acids that help to build muscles. It will raise satiety levels and promote muscle cell development as well.

2. Animal Protein

Animal protein sources are home to a maximum number of essential amino acids. For example, one of the essential amino acids, leucine, required for muscular development is present in animal proteins abundantly. These essential amino acids make animal protein an excellent choice for building lean muscle.

3. Plant Protein

Plant proteins like maize and quinoa protein are exceptional cases of protein levels in plant phylla. They are exceptionally rich in protein content and help increase satiety. Therefore, if you are a vegan, you can switch to plant proteins to develop lean muscle. 

Do-It-Yourself Protein Shake Recipes

Protein shakes always taste better when they are home-cooked. Thus, you can drink the readymade protein formulas or make your healthy protein formula with these easy recipes! In addition, there are two recipes for people targeting fat loss with a protein shake and two for targeting muscle gain.

Blueberry-Banana Protein Shake (Muscle gain)

Servings: 1

Cooking time: 2 minutes

Ingredients

Frozen banana: 1 pc.Frozen blueberries: 1 cup Spinach: 1 cupChia seeds: 1 tspHemp seeds: 1 tsp Protein powder: 2 tbsp Almond milk: 1 ½ cup 

Method of Preparation

Add all the ingredients to a blender. Give them a nice mix till all the ingredients are thoroughly combined and have a smooth texture.Your protein shake is now ready to serve!

Banana-Peanut Butter Protein Shake (Fat Loss)

Servings: 1

Cooking time: 2 minutes

Ingredients

Frozen banana: 1 cupOats: 1 cupPeanut butter: 1 tbsp Almond milk: 1 cup Ice: 1 cup Chia seeds: 1 tsp

Method of Preparation

Grind all the ingredients together in a mixer/juicer. Your go-to protein shake is ready. You can enjoy this drink both pre and post-workout as per your choice. 

Oats-Peanut Butter Protein Shake (Muscle Building)

Servings: 1

Cooking time: 2 minutes

Ingredients

Oats: 1 cupPeanut butter: 2 tspHoney: 1 tspProtein powder: 2 tbspAlmond milk (or other of your choice): 1 cup 

Method of Preparation

In a blender, blend all the ingredients to make a fine shake. Viola! You are ready with a perfect muscle-building shake.

Banana-Cinnamon Oats Protein Shake (Fat Loss)

Servings: 1

Cooking time: 2 minutes

Ingredients

Frozen banana: 1 cupOats: 1 cup Cinnamon powder: 1 tsp Maple syrup: 1 tsp Protein powder: 1 tbspChia seeds: 1 tspMilk of your choice: 1 cup 

Method of Preparation

Combine oats, frozen banana, cinnamon powder, and all the ingredients in a blender. Mix them and serve. 

Avocado-Banana Protein Shake (FL)

Servings: 1

Cooking time: 2 minutes

Ingredients

Frozen avocado: 1 cupFrozen banana: 1 cupProtein powder: 1 tbspCocoa powder: 2 tspVanilla essence: ½ tsp Hemp seeds: 1 tsp Chia seeds: 1 tsp Cinnamon powder: 1 tsp Honey: 1 tsp Milk: 1 cup 

Method of Preparation

Mix all the ingredients in a grinder. You will get a thick protein shake that tastes like a chocolate milkshake!

Convenient Grab & Go Protein Shakes

If you aren’t much into protein powders or run out of them unknowingly, some quick alternative recipes are available. You can make these recipes with all the staple ingredients readily available in your kitchen. 

Apple Walnut Banana Protein Shake 

Servings: 1

Cooking time: 2 minutes

Ingredients

Chopped apple cubes: 1 cup Banana: 1 pc.Walnuts: ½ cup Chia seeds: 1 tspFlaxseeds: 1 tspSunflower seeds: 1 tspMilk of your choice: 1 cup Ice: 1 cup 

Method of Preparation

Blend all the ingredients. Take it out in a glass and enjoy your protein shake.

Orange Almond Protein Shake 

Servings: 1

Cooking time: 2 minutes

Ingredients

Orange: 1 wholeAlmonds: ½ cup Banana: 1 cup Hemp seeds: 1 tsp Melon seeds: 1 tsp Greek yoghurt: 1 cup Maple syrup: 2 tsp Ice: 1 cup 

Method of Preparation

In a juicer, add all the above ingredients. Give them a nice mix and relish your homemade protein shake. 

Strawberry Cashew Nut Protein Shake 

Servings: 1

Cooking time: 2 minutes

Ingredients

Frozen strawberries: 1 cup Cashew nuts: ½ cup Banana: 1 pc.Pumpkin seeds: 1 tsp Sunflower seeds: 1 tsp Chia seeds: 1 tsp Milk: 1 cup Ice: ½ cup 

Method of Preparation

Add all the ingredients and mix well. Serve in a glass or protein shaker. Top it off with dry fruits like chopped walnuts or almonds. (NOTE: You can add 4- 5 mint leaves for a refreshing flavour.)

Blueberry Spinach Protein Shake 

Servings: 1

Cooking time: 2 minutes

Ingredients

Spinach: 1 cup Blueberries: 1 cup Chia seeds: 1 tspHemp seeds: 1 tsp Cinnamon powder: 1 tsp Honey: 2 tsp Nuts of your choice: ½ cup Almond milk: 1 cup Ice: ½ cup 

Method of Preparation

Combine all the ingredients in a juicer grinder. Transfer it to glass when you see a smooth paste-like texture, and enjoy!

Mango Cherry Protein Shake

Servings: 1

Cooking time: 2 minutes

Ingredients

Mangoes chopped: 1 cupCherries: 1 cup Chia seeds: 1 tsp Cashew nuts: ½ cup Cherry juice: ½ cup Coconut water: 1 cup Ice: ½ cup 

Method of Preparation

Mix all the ingredients properly in a juicer and serve the mango cherry protein shake with mango and mint toppings. 

The Flipside of Your Favourite Protein Shakes

Some of us have a protein shake as a shortcut to weight loss. However, a protein shake without a change in lifestyle by bringing in exercise is not a great way to approach weight loss. Most protein shakes in the recommended quantity provide 30-35 grams of protein. However, if you know your body’s requirements and understand the protein component in foods, you can get the same amount from food-based protein sources. 

Whole foods are always a better source of fibre. It slows down digestion and keeps you satiated for longer than a liquid protein shake. Therefore, the objective should be to have protein-based whole foods to get maximum nutritional benefits. However, protein shakes are good for you if you go to the gym regularly or are elderly, and due to health requirements, you need protein. Sometimes illnesses cause a decrease in appetite and, therefore, protein shakes in the liquid form are easier to ingest. 

Choosing the right powder for your needs

Based on the results you want, here are some broad guidelines:

Build muscle – Choose a protein powder with a high biological value for muscle building (a value that measures how well the body can absorb and utilise a protein). Your best alternatives are whey protein and whey isolates.

Weight loss – Choose shakes without added sugars or dextrins/maltodextrins for weight loss (sweeteners made from starch). Those with additional branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) should be avoided because they encourage muscle growth and weight gain.

If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, avoid milk-based protein shakes (such as whey or milk proteins) and instead choose 100 percent plant proteins such as soy, pea, or hemp.

Patients with diabetes should choose protein drinks without added sugar (protein powders with sugar mentioned as one of the first three components should be avoided). It’s also a good idea to opt for a shake that’s low in carbs ( 5-15 grams per serving).

People with kidney illness can’t tolerate a lot of protein at once, so keep protein to a minimum. Stick to protein powders with a reduced protein concentration (10 to 15 grams per serving).

Patients with irritable bowel syndrome or lactose intolerance should avoid powders that contain lactose sugars, artificial sweeteners, or dextrins/maltodextrins to avoid gastrointestinal issues. If you have a gluten sensitivity or allergy, avoid powders that contain gluten.

Summary

Protein shakes are semi-solid to liquid preparations of protein powders with milk or water. These drinks help prevent weight gain and help lose fat all over the body. These shakes can be of two types. Either they will help you to lose weight or help you gain muscle. Thus, a protein shake isn’t only for overweight people or ‘gym freaks.’ Lean people can use it, too, and those looking to increase their routine protein intake. Protein shakes can be either marketed products or homemade DIYs; the same benefits remain. Every person needs to consume a stipulated amount of protein in their day-to-day lives for their body to function correctly. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. Is it good to drink protein shakes?

A. Yes, it is beneficial to drink protein shakes. The process involves synthesising protein shakes or protein powders in a way that they provide you with your daily protein requirements. Protein shakes are a tasty way to fulfil the protein demand of your body. If taken adequately, they can help you lose weight and gain muscle quickly. 

Q2. Are protein shakes good for you every day?

A. Excess of anything is destructive. Similar is the case with protein shakes. Although these drinks will help you lose weight and gain muscle, they can show unavoidable side effects if taken in inappropriate portions. These side effects may include excess weight gain, bloated abdomen, headaches, etc. 

Q3. Do protein shakes make you gain weight?

A. Practically speaking, protein shakes are incorporated into the diet to lose weight. They help build muscle, but they do not facilitate weight gain. However, when taken in larger amounts daily, they will make your abdomen region bloated. Plus, the calorie intake of your body will rise. Therefore, it will eventually result in weight gain. 

Q4. Does protein cause belly fat?

A. No, protein doesn’t lead to an increase in the accumulation of belly fat. Instead, protein helps in the elimination of excess fat in the body. Unfortunately, protein will make you feel bloated and full when taken in the wrong doses. There are chances you will regard bloating as belly fat. But, that’s not the case. 

Q5. How much protein should I eat a day?

A. The recommended amount of protein intake daily is calculated by a standard formula. The formula is to multiply 0.8g by a person’s weight (in kilograms). The number that comes from this equation is the amount of protein you need to consume daily. 

Q6. Can I drink a protein shake without a workout?

A. Yes, you can drink a protein shake without a workout. But, in that case, the results obtained from the protein shake would take longer than usual to appear. If you combine drinking a protein shake with scheduled workout sessions, you can benefit more. 

Q7. When should I drink protein shakes?

A. It entirely depends on you. If you feel less energised during exercising, you can drink a protein shake before beginning the workout. This beverage acts as a pre-workout supplement. On the contrary, if you feel hungry post-workout session. Then you can savour a protein shake post-workout as well. 

Q8. Which protein is best for weight loss?

A. ‘Whey protein’ is the best alternative supplement that aids in weight loss. It has an appropriate quality of protein and easily provides fullness. This way, you can prevent yourself from eating unnecessarily. 

Q9. Can too much protein make you fat?

A. Yes, as a matter of fact, it can. Excessive protein consumption leads to an indirect increase in the consumption of calories. Therefore, it will lead to an accumulation of fat rather than getting rid of it. 

Q10. Do protein shakes help you lose belly fat?

A. It would be more appropriate to say that protein shake aids in weight loss. It won’t drastically affect your belly fat. Moreover, no ingredient can specifically target or spot-reduce belly fat. However, protein shakes will fasten your metabolic rate, make you feel full, and help you gain muscle. All of these will indirectly help in losing fat. 

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