Most women might feel that the only people who benefit from protein shakes and supplements are bodybuilders. While it is true these shakes are used to build lean muscle mass, which can benefit every woman, it’s also true that protein shakes stimulate weight loss, reduce appetite, increase metabolism, and deliver important nutrients.
It’s recommended that in order to build lean muscle one should perform strength training and increase protein intake by up to 0.4 grams per pound of body weight. As women age it becomes even more important for them to retain muscle mass and get enough protein because of the increased risk of joint problems and osteoporosis. If you were to get enough protein and do enough strength training, then you shouldn’t need to take protein shakes for muscle. However, you can use protein shakes to get enough protein if you aren’t eating enough of this important nutrient.
Protein shakes make for good meal replacements to help in your weight loss efforts; helping you lose more weight than through a calorie-controlled diet. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition say that a high-quality protein satisfies your hunger more than eating carbohydrates or fats and that proteins can increase metabolism. Another study, this one from Nutrition and Metabolism showed that overweight women lost more fat through protein shake meal replacements over calorie-controlled diets. The women following the diet lost less fat and also lost more muscle mass. The study is slightly flawed because it didn’t take diet balance and nutritional deficiencies into account. You should avoid using more than one meal replacement a day without consulting your doctor first.
Homemade nutritional shakes and commercial shakes contain a lot of fruit, vegetables, and natural proteins. As such they give your body plenty of essential vitamins and nutrients while still tasting great. The protein you get from shakes and food are classed as essential nutrients, which means that it is needed by the body to function properly. The USDA says, for example, that protein can be used to build and repair skin, bones, blood, cartilage and muscle.
Protein shakes can make for a healthy addition to the diet of any woman, but they aren’t something everyone needs. If you eat whole foods and get plenty of protein from your diet then you shouldn’t supplement protein through shakes, especially shakes that contain a lot of sugar and artificial ingredients. It’s also possible to get too much protein. Dietician Katherine Zeratsky of the Mayo Clinic notes too much protein can increase heart disease risk and kidney problems, diverticulitis and nutrient deficiencies. There is also the problem that more protein means more calories, which can cause you to gain weight. Always consult your doctor before including protein shakes in your diet.