Want to find out when to drink protein shakes for weight loss? Well, you’re at the right place.
I never anticipated starting my mornings with a high-protein shake until I quit drinking coffee, but now I can’t imagine my life without them.
Have you tried protein shakes before? Maybe you’ve experimented with the occasional protein bar or energy drink, but haven’t felt confident to go all in and just start downing an entire jug of liquid chocolate (or strawberry) flavored powder.
This post will answer all your questions and will provide you with a guide on when to drink protein shakes for weight loss, including why it’s beneficial that you do so.
So, let’s start with the basics.
What Is An Ideal Protein Shake?
Protein shake is a term for a drink that contains proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals designed to help build muscle mass and/or replace some of the nutrients lost during physical activity.
An ideal protein shake is simply a high-protein meal replacement drink that you consume regularly for weight loss.
You consume them from time to time throughout the day, typically in addition to your regular diet.
Why are they good? They are good for weight loss because of their high protein, fat and calorie content.
They have an extremely low carbohydrate content that makes it perfect for those who want to avoid carbohydrates at all costs such as those on keto diets (low carb/high fat/high protein).
And finally, they have a large water content that keeps you hydrated and full during the day as well as overnight when consumed right before bedtime.
Now, let’s talk about when is the best time to drink protein shakes for weight loss.
1. Wake-Up Time For Protein Shakes
This is probably the most ideal time to drink protein shakes for weight loss because it keeps your body from experiencing blood sugar spikes and crashes.
Your body is in a fasted state, meaning you do not have any food or fluids in your system.
Therefore, it makes perfect sense to consume a shake that will stabilize your blood sugar and feed your muscles after a long night of sleep.
Another benefit of consuming the shake first thing in the morning is that this has been shown to help reduce body fat around the midsection.
For this reason, many women may want to consume their shakes while they’re in bed if they tend to wake up with puffy eyes or have difficulty seeing their toes due to water retention issues from consuming carbohydrates at night.
2. Post-Workout Time For Protein Shakes
Many people who spend hours in the gym day in and day out are tired and fatigued at the end of the day.
They have no energy to do anything but sit down and take a nap until their bodies are able to repair muscles.
For those people, a post-workout protein shake is perfect for replenishing their energy before they can sleep at night.
If you’re a busy person who works long days in an office setting or run marathons on a daily basis, you may want to take advantage of this benefit by consuming your protein shake right after working out or hopping on the treadmill or elliptical for 60 minutes before bedtime.
3. Just before bedtime
This is one of the most important times to drink protein shakes for weight loss because it will help prevent catabolism (muscle breakdown).
It also will make you feel fuller throughout the night, so you won’t wake up in the middle of the night craving for food.
4. In between meals
Depending on your diet, you might consume a shake before or after your main meal of the day.
If you’re on a low-carb or keto diet and cannot consume any dairy products, then this would be the time to have one in between meals.
For those who are not plant-based advocates, consuming protein shakes just before bedtime will help boost recovery and muscle growth during sleep.
According to a study published in The Journal of Exercise Rehabilitation, taking whey protein after exercise was shown to increase muscle glycogen synthesis rates as well as tissue levels of myostatin (a protein that inhibits muscle growth).
5. As a Meal Replacement
If you are very busy and on the go all the time, protein shakes are perfect for you.
They are portable and require no preparation or clean-up. They can be taken just about anywhere you go and you can consume them anytime.
Studies have shown that consuming a higher protein diet versus consuming a lower protein diet can help you gain weight.
If you’re not sure, you can always have one before or after exercising as a meal replacement.
Also, if you’re going through a weight loss plateau and need to switch up your routine, then you may want to try consuming a shake at this time.
6. Between lunch and dinner
If you don’t like to eat heavy meals when it’s hot out, then a protein shake at this time is ideal for you.
Not only does a protein shake taste delicious, but it also helps reduce your appetite without all the guilt.
You can also consume one right before bedtime to prevent blood sugar spikes and crashes since your body is expected to go for 8-12 hours without food or liquids by this time.
7. As a Treat
Have you been so good and have been staying on track with your protein and carbohydrates intake? Well, here’s your reward- a protein shake as a dessert!
What Type of Protein Shake Do You Need To Drink?
It is best to consume a shake that contains:
- 15-25 grams of protein per serving (1/4-1/3 cup)
- 8-10 grams of carbohydrates per serving (1/8-1/4 cup)
- 1 gram of fat per serving (1/4 teaspoon)
- 1.5 grams of fiber per serving (a small handful (about 4 tablespoons)
❗️Hint: You can add Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, or milk to make the shakes more filling and less caloric.
A good rule of thumb is to look for a chocolate or strawberry flavored protein powder if it is in powder form.
Why Should You Drink Protein Shakes?
Protein shakes are a fantastic way to lose weight and build muscle.
They are also a good way to prevent muscle loss while dieting.
The benefits of drinking protein shakes for weight and muscle gain go beyond just losing the pounds. Here are some other benefits:
👉 Protein shakes are extremely healthy for your hair, skin, bones, and nails.
When you’re constantly under a lot of stress or if you have an extremely fast metabolism, it is very possible to lose a lot of hair and suffer from brittle nails and weak bones.
This happens because your body has an extremely difficult time replenishing the vitamins and minerals that are lost through excessive sweating or just by going for long periods of time without eating anything at all.
Especially when you’re on a low-carb diet, fatigue kicks in and the body is under constant stress.
Drinking protein shakes will help replace some of the nutrients that your body is lacking to help give you more energy.
👉 Protein shakes help improve your mood and mental alertness.
If you’re feeling depressed or sad, protein shakes can help lift your mood with a combination of macronutrients that will give you energy and make you feel more positive.
Protein is also known to help balance out some neurotransmitters in the brain that are associated with being happy.
👉 Protein shakes have been shown to decrease anxiety levels since they have been proven to elevate serotonin levels in the brain.
Not only do they do this, but they also don’t contain any caffeine which can sometimes lead to a crash effect and increase in anxiety levels.
👉 Protein shakes are a great source of fiber.
Fiber is essential for a healthy digestive system and it can help your body process and absorb nutrients more effectively.
👉 Protein shakes can help you lose weight and increase muscle mass.
This is because they contain macronutrients that are needed to boost metabolism and promote weight loss.
They are a great snack to have or drink at any time of the day for people who are on low-carb diets or that just want to stay healthy
Also, they contain very little sugar compared to most processed snacks on the market .
What’s the Difference between “Weight Loss” and “Muscle Gain” Protein Shakes?
A weight-loss protein shake is designed for people trying to lose weight.
It contains 15-30 grams of protein and usually only 3-5 grams of carbohydrates.
The fat content in this type of shake usually will be around 1 gram while the fiber content will be about 3 grams.
This will keep you feeling full longer than a regular protein shake and will help reduce your appetite throughout the day.
A muscle gain protein shake is designed for men and women who are trying to gain weight or put on some muscle mass.
It usually contains 30-50 grams of protein per serving, 10-15 grams of carbohydrates, 2-3 grams of fat, and 5-10 grams of fiber per serving.
This type of shake will give your body the macronutrients it needs to help build muscle and keep your carbohydrate intake low.
It’s important to note that these shakes are not designed for bulking up.
They are designed for those who want to lose some fat, put on a little muscle, and be healthy at the same time because it is possible to do this.
However, it is not necessary and you won’t gain any more muscle mass by consuming this type of protein shake vs. a standard weight-loss shake while dieting.
There is no difference when it comes to the amount of weight or fat that you will lose by drinking a protein shake vs. not drinking one.
Well, unless you are drinking a low-carb protein shake, but those are mostly designed to help you lose fat vs. just weight.
It is important to note that the difference in weight loss shakes and muscle gain shakes has more to do with the macronutrients than anything else.
However, every serving of a protein shake should contain at least 15 grams of protein.
This may differ from product to product, but those will be close to the minimum amount that your body needs to function properly .
Another thing that makes weight loss and muscle gain shakes different is the fiber content, which may vary depending on what type of shake it is.
Fiber is an essential nutrient that helps keep your digestive system healthy and can help you remain full for longer periods of time after eating.
Some protein shakes will also contain added fiber.
Lastly, if you are looking for a fat-loss protein shake, it’s important to note that it may be hard to find one without added sugars.
The reason for this is because most people who want to lose weight or even gain weight want their shakes to be very low in carbs (15 grams or less per serving).
This is usually because it makes them feel more full and helps suppress appetite while dieting. But they often contain too much sugar and no protein.
Frequently Asked Questions About Protein Shakes
❓How many protein shakes should you drink per day?
It really depends on your goals and how much you want to gain or lose.
The general rule of thumb is 2-3 shakes per day, but most people can get away with just 1 or 2 if they’re not small eaters or they don’t exercise a lot.
That said, if you’re trying to bulk up as a muscle-builder, it’s best to consume 4-6 protein shakes per day.
❓Do protein shakes have calories?
Yes and no. They aren’t exactly “free” but they are calorie-friendly.
The best protein shakes are ones that provide at least 30 grams of protein per shake. However, some of them may contain a lot of sugar and other unhealthy ingredients.
So it’s best to read these labels carefully before purchasing.
That said, most protein shakes under 250 calories usually don’t have a large amount of sugar in them (a high amount of sugar in a shake can also cause some people to feel sick).
❓How much protein should I get in my diet?
- The general rule for kids, pregnant women, teenagers, and sedentary adults – 0.7 grams per pound of body weight.
- For anyone else, it’s somewhere between 0.8-1.2 grams per pound of body weight .
❓How much protein do you get from one serving of protein powder?
Usually, about 20 grams of protein from one “serving”.
There’s not really a set amount because some people need more, and some don’t need less.
It varies from person to person, but it’s best to read the label to see how many proteins per serving you should get. Some products may contain more or less than this amount.
❓Is it best to use a weight loss protein shake or a muscle gain protein shake?
It depends on your personal needs, but it’s best to know if you’re trying to bulk up or lose weight before you go out and purchase either one of these shakes.
Then you will know exactly what your body needs and if either one of these shakes will help you reach your goal.
❓What is the difference between a whey protein shake and a casein protein shake?
Whey protein powder is extracted from milk, while casein powder is extracted from milk as well.
Therefore, both contain about the same amount of protein (20-25 grams per serving).
However, whey protein is a fast-acting source and casein is usually a slow-acting source. So, if you are trying to gain weight or put on some muscle mass, it’s best to consume whey.
If you are trying to lose weight or maintain your muscle mass, it’s best to consume casein.
❓How many calories are in a protein shake?
This really depends on how many carbohydrates, fats, and proteins a company puts into its “products”.
Some may have around 250 calories per serving while others can have 550+ calories per serving.
Generally, the more calories and sugar a shake contains, the less protein it will have.
That said, some high calorie shakes do still contain 15 grams of protein per serving so you don’t have to sacrifice your goals for anything.
❓Will drinking protein shakes help me lose weight?
Yes and no. Protein shakes can help you lose weight but only if they are low in calories and carbs (and high in proteins).
Drinking a high-calorie, the low-protein shake is going to do more harm than good.
That said, drinking a well-balanced shake with plenty of vitamins and minerals while cutting calories is going to help you lose weight because it’s helping your body function properly with fewer carbohydrates .
❓Will drinking protein shakes help me maintain my muscle mass?
Yes and no. Protein shakes can help you maintain your muscle mass but only if they are low in calories and high in proteins.
Drinking a well-balanced shake with plenty of vitamins and minerals while upping your calories is going to help you bulk up because it’s helping your body build muscles with more nutrients.
❓Is it better to drink protein shakes in the morning or at night?
This really depends on if you are trying to lose weight or bulk up.
If you are trying to lose weight and want this shake does not contain much sugar in it, drinking it in the morning can be best as you will consume fewer carbohydrates throughout the day.
However, if you are trying to gain weight and want your shake to have more whey protein and a lot of carbs, drinking it at night is your best bet.
❓What Are Some “Bad” Substitutions for Protein Shakes?
Many people think it’s a good idea to substitute protein shakes with bars, chips, or cookies.
First of all, protein shakes are far more convenient than these substitutes because they can be taken just about anywhere and on the go! Plus, many protein shakes come with a huge variety of flavors that you can mix into your shake:
- There are also a lot of great benefits to drinking protein shakes that aren’t as obvious:
- They can help you get the proper amount of vitamins and minerals throughout the day .
- They can help you lose weight .
- They can help you gain more muscle mass .
- They can help you get faster. If you are trying to lose weight , drinking protein shakes will help you lose more weight because they keep your body from utilizing all of the carbohydrates and fats in the shake leaving it unutilized – a nice little bonus .
- They can help you build your leg muscles without leaving you feeling hungry. Protein shakes take about 20 minutes to fully digest, which gives your body time to repair and grow – a nice little bonus too!
Bad Substitutions for Protein Shakes
❎ Protein Bars – These have their place in your diet, but they are far from being the best way to get your extra protein.
Besides, they usually contain a lot of carbs and fats which prevents them from absorbing into your muscle tissues as quickly as a protein shake.
❎ Chocolate Milk – While it does have 20 grams of protein per serving, chocolate milk has about 70-80 grams of sugar in it which negates the benefit of drinking this shake for post-workout recovery.
❎ Granola Bars – These bars are great additions to a healthy diet by adding extra fiber and vitamins and minerals.
However, they aren’t ideal because they are usually filled with carbs primarily.
Also, most granola bars have very little protein. The only truly good substitute for this is a protein bar, which contains plenty of protein while being low on carbs .
❎ Protein Chips – Dipping your protein chips into your shake will make for a great snack , but don’t do it!
These usually contain refined sugars and fats which are the worst things you can eat when trying to lose weight because they promote rapid weight gain.
Also, most of these chips have very little protein or carbs . If you want to add more nutrition to your shake, then grab some fruits.
❎ Cookies – These are great additions to any diet by adding extra fiber and vitamins and minerals.
However, they aren’t ideal because they are typically filled with refined sugars and fats which are the worst things you can eat when trying to lose weight because they promote rapid weight gain.
Also, most protein cookies have very little protein or carbs.
Who Makes Good Protein Shakes?
There are some genuine and great companies that have developed some pretty amazing protein shakes that don’t have high levels of sugar.
And of them is Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Isolate. It tastes great (great taste is among the most important factors) and it is a powerful protein supplement that you can drink at any time.
Optimum Nutrition is also a quality brand that makes high-quality products. One of their options is Optimum Gold Standard 100% Whey. Another great option from Optimum Nutrition!
The best part about these products is that they usually contain whey protein isolate, which is one of the best types of protein you can find on the market because it’s easily absorbed by your body and digested quickly.
This quick absorption will lead to leaner muscles as well as faster gains from your workouts.
There are also a ton of other high-quality protein shakes on the market.
You just need to research a bit and you will find what you’re looking for.
Also, if your goal is to lose weight, mixed with exercise and diet, then read some of our guides on how to lose weight faster.
Final Thoughts On When To Drink Protein Shakes for Weight Loss
Protein shakes are a great way to lose weight faster.
Once you have your protein shakes all figured out, you can start losing some serious fat and build some lean muscle mass right away!
However, there are a couple of things you should remember:
- To make sure that your body doesn’t change the way it processes information from your stomach, eat small meals frequently throughout the day. This ensures that your body is getting all of the proper nutrients it needs at all times and will prevent it from feeling hungry and eating more than you need.
- To ensure that your weight loss is as rapid as possible, eat a high protein diet in combination with your protein shakes. This will ensure that you are utilizing the shake for optimal growth potential. If you want to see even more results with weight loss, read some of our guides on how to lose weight faster .
- To get your body used to this new plan, try not to go more than three hours without a meal or a protein shake . This will give your body time to get used to the increased blood flow and nutrients into the muscle tissues which will lead to increased growth in both size and strength!
- You can also take these shakes after workouts because they’re easy on the stomach and contain plenty of essential nutrients that your body needs .
Hope you like this guide on protein shakes, their benefits and when to drink protein shakes for weight loss!