THE PROTEIN SHAKE DIET. If you are looking to lose weight in a way that benefits your health, you may want to go onto a protein shake diet. Protein is made out of essential amino acids that you need from the diet to build new tissues, balance blood sugars and stabilise metabolism. Though most people eat high-protein foods with their main meals, protein powders have a much higher protein content per 100g, which assists with weight loss without having to starve the body of food.
How The Protein Shake Diet Works
In the protein shake diet, you replace anywhere from one to three main meals with shake or smoothie, made up of your chosen protein powder and water. In order to avoid malnutrition, you may want to add other ingredients into your shake, such as fibre (flaxseed, psyllium, LSA, green leafy vegetables, slippery elm, etc), fat (healthy fats that support weight loss, including Greek yogurt, flax oil, fish oil, etc), minerals (kelp powder) and vitamins (berries, fresh fruit, dried fruit, etc).
Over time, the high protein in the daily diet helps to balance the body in a number of ways. Research shows that ingesting protein shakes regularly has a significant effect on body weight and lean muscle mass, in a way that has nothing to do with caloric intake.
The Protein Shake Diet Supports Weight Loss by:
• Balancing blood sugar levels and sweet cravings;
• Improving lean muscle mass (thus increasing calories you burn just from walking around) ;
• Stimulating increased thermogenesis/metabolism for fat burning.
While the protein shake diet may not be recommended as a long-term meal replacement, as there are concerns about malnutrition by excluding important food groups, it is an effective method of weight loss that benefits and balances the health of the body.
Types of Protein Powder
Whey protein is the most common source of protein powders for use in protein shakes for weight loss. Whey is a byproduct of the dairy industry, and has been shown in numerous trials to be effective as both a digestible protein and as a thermogenic agent that stimulates weight loss. Whey protein can contain anywhere from 75% to 90% pure protein containing all the essential amino acids needed for tissue building. During one double-blind study in 2008 by the Glanbia Research and Development Centre in Idaho, USA, obese volunteers taking whey protein shakes lost on average 6.1% of their body fat mass, while retaining lean muscle.
But whey protein is not the only source of good protein available to people who want to use shakes for weight loss, muscles building, and improved health. In a study by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 2003, researchers determined that soy-based protein shakes used for meal replacements in 90 overweight volunteers was associated with a hugely significant loss of weight.
For those out there not interested in soy or dairy-based protein, other options of whole and digestible protein include rice protein, pea protein, and sacha inchi (a South American nut powder with about 65% protein content). Spirulina powder, a blue/green freshwater algae, is 40% protein, while also containing vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
It is impossible to just drink smoothies and shakes 24/7. That is why is important to understand high protein foods and their role in the daily diet. If you are just having one or two protein shakes each day, then the rest of your protein must come from foods containing whole, digestible protein. Meat, chicken, fish, eggs, soy beans, rice, quinoa, carob and seaweed contain whole protein. Many other seeds, nuts, legumes and grains contain only partial protein which is not well absorbed. On the other hand, some studies may suggest that protein found in plant-based foods may be better for your health than animal-based protein. Adults require 40 to 60g of protein every single day, so you are going to require a wide range of foods to get there. Two eggs for breakfast, 8 pieces of salmon sushi for lunch, and 150g of grilled chicken for dinner would provide approximately 78g of protein.
Safety and Toxicity
While this diet is beneficial for overall health and nutrition and weight loss, it is like all things — too much of a good thing may be a bad thing. Protein is an acid-forming substance that can put pressure on the kidneys when protein intake is too high for a long period of time. Anyone with kidney problems should take this into consideration before replacing meals with protein shakes. In addition, many protein shakes (especially whey protein) contain artificial sweeteners, flavorings and other additives that may cause problems in some sensitive individuals. Balance your protein shakes with other alkaline foods (fruits, fresh vegetables, juices, etc) and take breaks from the protein shake diet every once in a while