Shake It Up! Deciding Whether To Include Protein Shakes with Food And Fitness
Starting a fitness journey can be challenging — and confusing. It’s a lifestyle change that involves adjusting both your exercise and eating habits. But with so much information out there on health and nutrition, it can be hard to know the best course of action to take.
One thing fitness experts and dieticians can agree on is that protein is a necessary component in your nutrition plan. Getting enough of it for your body to function properly and to build a healthy physique can be easier said than done. One of the most encouraging ways to consume sufficient amounts of protein is by drinking protein shakes. But how good of an idea is that? Is drinking protein shakes really healthy?
In order to answer these questions, we need to fully understand the components of a protein shake. The majority of protein shakes targeted to the weight loss and fitness community come in the form of protein powders that can be mixed with water or milk. The source of the proteins vary from animal-based, such as whey, casein and egg, and plant-based, such as soy, rice, and pea. Each variety of protein processes differently in the body and helps to accommodate food preferences and allergies in the user.
Getting enough protein is essential to metabolism, appetite suppression and retaining muscle as you lose body fat. With protein being so important a nutrient for weight loss and muscle building, shakes can be a convenient way to increase your protein intake. They are especially beneficial when your food alone isn’t getting the job done. You can drink them on the go, whether it’s immediately preceding or following a workout session or it’s during travel time.
Protein shakes are easy to assemble and transport, which makes replenishing the body with important nutrients an easier task. Some shakes also come pre-made and packaged ready to drink, which is even more convenient. One thing to be cautious of, though — check the ingredients of the shake or powder mix. Manufacturers can add artificial flavors or even extra sugars that, while they might enhance the taste, could set back any progress with weight loss.
Protein shakes are not inherently bad; in fact, drinking your protein is a quick and convenient way to get nourishment and essential nutrients into your system. The danger lies in using these shakes as meal replacements, completely replacing solid food. A balanced diet of protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals is the key to a healthy weight loss process and fitness journey. When starting a new, healthier meal plan, it can be pretty tricky to determine what foods to include and how much of them to consume to get your metabolism jump-started. A common mistake people make in trying to lose weight is restricting the amount of food they eat. This is an impractical and unrealistic choice for several reasons:
Protein Shakes Don’t Contain Every Nutrient Essential To The Body’s Function.
Protein shakes are formulated to contain various supplemental nutrients and often contain many necessary amino acids that are sometimes hard to find in whole foods. Conversely, by focusing too much on protein shakes, you can wind up missing a few nutrients. It’s always better to have a balance, and most people do well with a combination of protein powder and whole foods.
A Liquid Diet Is Not Sustainable Over A Long Period Of Time
Unless it’s medically mandated, maintaining a diet of only shakes could be more detrimental to your health and fitness progress, not to mention a serious test of willpower. Can you imagine socializing with friends and family at parties and special occasions surrounded by an assortment of tasty food, watching everyone else indulging while you nurse a shaker bottle? That would be a large task, indeed.
Dependence On Protein Shakes Could Lead To Dehydration
In drinking your meals exclusively, you could run the risk of not including the most important liquid to your fitness quest: water. Plain water helps to flush the body of toxins and keep the cells hydrated. Once mixed with a protein powder, it loses its capacity to do these things effectively.
The recommended dietary allowance for protein is about 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight each day, which translates to 54 grams for a 150-pound person. Adding more than the recommended amount of protein won’t positively affect your training progress; in fact, it could cause health problems such as nausea, fatigue, cramps, bloating or headache.
Protein shakes can help you reach your daily protein target — the keyword being help. The total amount of protein you consume each day is more important for muscle growth and strength than the timing of when you eat it. You should create a specific plan with what fitness goals you want to reach, then balance solid meals and shakes around those goals. While protein shakes around workouts and between meals are helpful, make sure you’re getting enough throughout the day. Both foods and protein shakes can help you meet your goals with a solid, balanced plan.
Sensible Meals can help you manage a balanced meal plan that fits your lifestyle and your budget. You can check out the various options on their website.