A lot of people have heard of weight loss shakes. A few years ago there was a huge market for ready-to-drink weight loss shakes with the “Slim-fast” line. After a few years this trend died out and a lot of people forgot about weight loss shakes. More recently, a lot of ready-to-eat meal replacement programs such as those that are advertised by celebrities have offered “meal replacement shakes” which are great in concept but they don’t always taste good – and they are really expensive.
Without joining a program and paying dues to buy expensive food that you may or may not like, you can get the benefits of weight loss shakes – by looking for your own protein shakes to lose weight.
Consuming high-quality protein has been shown to increase weight loss. This is because protein, particularly certain types of protein, is thermogenic. This means that more calories will be burned after you take in the protein than you were burning before.
Another advantage of using a protein supplement is that protein helps to maintain and build muscle. If you are looking to gain weight, you don’t want to grow big muscles but keeping what you have is important. Extra protein will help you keep your muscles rather than have them waste away as you lose weight. The more muscle you have in your body, the more your basal metabolic rate will be which means you will burn more calories even at rest.
Advantages of Protein Shakes to Lose Weight
Wondering how to lose weight fast with protein shakes? The best way to lose weight is to replace one of your meals with the shake. This is the same concept that some of the diet plans use but it will be a lot cheaper. Most of the programs that offer meal replacement shakes charge upwards of 3 dollars for each shake. Protein powder shakes should usually cost around a dollar – give or take – per serving.
Protein shakes used as a meal replacement will cut down your calories. Even if you are on a diet, a meal will be at least 400 calories. The protein shake serving can be anywhere from 125 to 250 calories depending on the type, contents and size but will generally be lower in calorie content. It’s a great technique to use in addition to a low-carb diet.
Protein shakes, unlike the regular “weight loss shakes” will naturally be higher in protein which has advantages. Protein is slower to absorb than other nutrients like carbohydrates and will keep your energy levels high for longer periods of time. This will mean that you will feel “full” for a longer period of time. You will also avoid the rebound blood sugar drop which makes people want to eat more. You stay fuller longer – and don’t snack.
So you have substituted a higher calorie meal – even if it is diet with a lower calorie shake and you have cut out snacking. If that weren’t enough, you have also increase your basal metabolic rate – which all helps you lose weight. Calories in (lower) with calories out (higher) = weight loss.
Kinds of Protein in Shakes
Protein shakes are usually made from protein powder. You can buy other powder shake mixes, but you are looking for one that is extra high in protein and low in calories. Protein has about 4 calories per gram – and a serving of protein powder in a shake should be about 25 to 30 grams of protein. With some other ingredients – including flavors – you will still have a low calorie drink that you can use as a meal. Protein shakes can also be used in place of a snack – just make sure that you are watching calories elsewhere.
There are several different sources of protein for protein shakes:
Soybeans are processed and the protein is extracted. Soybeans are known to be high in protein and are made into other high-protein foods such as tofu, soy milk and soy “dairy” products. It is plant based and though it is higher in amino acids – it doesn’t have every single amino acid you need so it is actually an incomplete protein. This isn’t bad, it just isn’t the best. Soy is a good choice for people who wish to avoid animal protein and it is used in a lot of products. One disadvantage of soy protein is that the soy bean itself, has some phytonutrients that are similar to estrogen – giving it hormone like qualities which may not be beneficial for everyone.
Milk protein has been used as a base for protein supplements and powders for a long time. It is an old process – but has been refined to separate milk into its two components: casein and whey and refined to remove all the milk sugars or lactose from the proteins.
One of the protein types extracted from milk. Whey is the thin, transparent liquid made after milk is clotted – as in the “curds and whey” from Little Miss Muppet. Little Miss Muppet was actually eating partially fermented milk with the casein as the curds and the whey as the liquid. Whey protein is easy to digest and provides a faster absorption. It has been shown to help with weight loss and may help with a number of conditions.
The other protein in milk. It clots into solid masses that make the foundation of cheese. Casein is more difficult to digest but is used by many to provide a long lasting energy supply. Casein is more likely to cause an allergic reaction. Most people who claim they are “allergic” to milk are actually lactose intolerance which is an inability to digest lactose that results in diarrhea, gas, and abdominal discomfort. Casein allergy is a true milk allergy which may result in rash, congestion, and difficulty breathing. An allergic reaction to casein or whey protein should be considered a medical emergency but is rare.
Egg protein is sometimes used in protein powders but is more commonly used as part of a mix of proteins.
Flavors and Varieties
There are literally hundreds of protein powders on the market, all of which can be made into protein shakes to lose weight. The only trick is to find the one that is right for you. The only decisions you really need to make before you look is to decide if you have a concern about the type of protein in the shake powder. If so, consider those parameters, if not, soldier on.
When you are looking for a shake mix with high protein, consider visiting a nutrition store. You won’t necessarily buy there but you can take a look at the different types of products, brands, and costs. In general, you are looking to pay about a dollar or so for one serving. This will likely mean that you do have to buy a large container that costs between $40 and $60 but consider that you are buying more than 1 shake a day for a month.
Most brands come in a variety of flavors – what you pick is up to you. The protein itself doesn’t have a lot of flavor and most manufacturers do their best to provide flavor options that taste good but don’t boost the calories too much. Chocolate is the “go-to” flavor for most companies – and most people but there are a lot of choices including fruit flavors, coffee flavors and even some exotics like cookies and cream and pina colada. What you choose is only your choice.
Where to buy
You can buy protein shakes a lot of places including online specialty websites, some of which are great. Remember though that they are there to sell the product – and you can’t actually see it. Amazon has a good variety with some decent reviews but again you can’t see the product. The nutrition and supplement stores let you see the product but may not have the variety and will most likely try to sell you their brand. Grocery or discount stores may have better prices if you know what you are looking for but they probably won’t have much variety. Where you buy it just depends on your specific needs. A “browsing” session at the nutrition store might be a good way to learn about what products are available then you can make your choice.
You may have to try a few brands before you find one you like, or at least can live with. Ideally you will enjoy it and you will certainly enjoy the benefits when you start using protein shakes to lose weight.
Protein Shake Recipes
Looking for some do-it-youself protein shake recipes? Here are a few to try. Making your own protein shakes is simple: just combine all the elements together in a blender and you’re ready to go.
Vanilla Coffee Shake
- 1 1/2 cups low-fat milk
- 2 scoops vanilla protein
- 1/2 cup low-fat, coffee-flavored ice cream
Soy Almond Shake
- 1 scoop protein powder
- 1 cup light soy milk
- 1 tbsp slivered almons
- 1 tsp sugar-free maple syrup
- 3 drops vanilla extract
- 1 handful of ice
- 1 tbsp low-fat Greek yogurt
Quick Start Shake
- Juice from 3 fresh oranges
- 1 scoop protein
- (optional – add sweetener to taste)
Peppermint Oatmeal Shake
- 2 scoops chocolate protein
- 1 cup sugar-free vanilla ice cream
- 1 cup oatmeal
- 2 cups non-fat milk
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 tsp peppermint extract
Iced Breakfast Shake
- 1 cup skim milk
- 1 scoop whey protein
- 2 tsp safflower oil
- 1 handful ice
- 1 banana
- 1 package instant breakfast
Wild Berry Shake
- 2 scoops whey protein
- 8 raspberries
- 4 strawberries
- 15 blueberries
- 2 cups non-fat milk
- 1 handful ice