As a strength training beginner, you will hear all about the benefits of protein shakes. After all, it is the easiest way to supply your body with the necessary amino acids for muscle hypertrophy.
However, the frequency of taking these shakes is often a topic of controversy. One coach will you to take them before exercising, whereas another recommends post-workout protein shakes. Moreover, some people take this one step further and only drink protein shakes on a daily basis.
In this article, we will cover everything you need to know about the frequency of drinking protein shakes.
How protein shakes help your body
Research about the optimal time and frequency of taking protein shakes is mixed.
In fact, some studies even questioned the real benefits of drinking protein shakes around the time of your workout.
For completeness’ sake, a few clinical studies showed some benefits of taking protein shakes during the pre or post-workout periods. However, others did not reach the same conclusions.
To put an end to this discussion, researchers analyzed 23 studies that covered the effects of consuming protein around the time of exercise.
The results were surprising! There was no evidence that supports the benefits of drinking protein shakes around the time of working out.
Instead, the strongest predictor of muscle growth was the amount of protein intake per day. In other words, the primary factor that determines muscle hypertrophy (besides exercise) is the overall intake of protein.
For this reason, it may be safe to drink protein shakes every day as long as you are not exceeding the recommended amount (1.5 grams of protein per kilograms).
However, excluding protein-rich foods means you will be missing out on a lot of benefits, including:
- Hormonal regulation
When your body has appropriate levels of protein, hormones such as GLP-1, peptide YY, and cholecystokinin will get upregulated, which eventually leads to the suppression of ghrelin.
Ghrelin is responsible for triggering hunger feelings, which explains why high protein intake reduces caloric intake (you’ll be full all the time).
Hormonal regulation will also contribute to muscle hypertrophy when you engage in resistance training.
- The high thermic effect
The energy required to digest protein is multiple times that of other macronutrients.
This means that whenever you consume protein-rich foods, you’ll be burning calories in the process, which eventually contributes to weight loss.
- Prevention of metabolic slowdown
The slowdown of basal metabolic rate (BMR) is a normal process that occurs as we age.
Fortunately, protein will stimulate the right metabolic cascades to keep your liver and skeletal muscles functioning at peak performance, reducing caloric intake and maintaining a fast metabolism.
- No more late-night cravings
In one study, researchers compared a normal diet to a high-protein diet in overweight men to see which one contributes more to weight loss.
The results of the study showed that the group of men who consumed large amounts of protein had a 60% decrease in late-night cravings of food.
Note that researchers settled for 25% protein intake from the total daily calories, which is not above the recommended ratio.
Drinking protein shakes every day while respecting the recommended amount is probably safe. However, you will miss out on a myriad of benefits that stem from consuming protein-rich foods.
Hopefully, we managed to answer the questions you had about the frequency and safety of drinking protein shakes.
If you have a personal experience with protein shakes that you want to share, please do not hesitate to do in the comment section below.