These dietician-approved secrets will help you get the most out of your protein shakes and even help you lose weight.
A diet high in protein is good for you, but more importantly, it’s also good for your waistline. Studies have shown that eating a bunch of protein on a daily basis can help keep the pounds off while simultaneously giving you the nutrition you need to stay at peak health.
How much protein is enough? It depends on body weight, but experts recommend 0.54 to 0.68 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day to help with weight loss. So, for a normal 180-pound male, that’s at least 97.2 grams of protein, or just shy of a quarter pound.
So, eat a quarter pound burger a day and you’re set, right? Not so fast. The eat in a hamburger is usually around one-fifth protein, so you’d actually have to eat five burgers to get your required amount of protein. No dietitian on Earth will recommend a diet of five burgers a day.
A much better way of getting pure protein without a side of tomatoes, ketchup, and two buns is in the form of a protein shake. A scoop of the good stuff can really help out a healthy diet in reaching those hard-to-get protein goals. But be careful! There are plenty of pitfalls to avoid when playing the protein shake game.
The first is protein powders sweetened with refined sugar. Everyone knows that sugar is bad for your workouts and your waistline, and should be avoided at all costs. According to Jillian Kubala, a dietician speaking to PopSugar, the best protein mixes to get are unsweetened or sweetened with Stevia.
"Avoid protein powders with artificial flavors, colorings, and preservatives," she said. "Pea protein, whey protein, collagen peptides, brown rice protein, and hemp protein are all excellent choices. The fewer the ingredients, the better."
For gaining muscle, it’s usually best to have your protein shake after a workout to replace those lost calories. For losing weight, it might be better to have your protein shake when you’d normally have a snack. Having a protein shake for breakfast is also a great idea if you don’t normally eat breakfast or usually have a light breakfast.
But a scoop of protein is pretty lame for a shake, so you gotta add some healthy ingredients to that blender. Berries, greens like kale or spinach, and unsweetened almond milk are great ideas, as is nut butter, chia seeds, flaxseed, and unsweetened coconut.
While a protein shake can help you reach your protein goals, to lose weight you’ll still need to stay in a calorie deficit, so make sure your protein shake isn’t putting you above your daily calorie goals.