What goes into a protein shake? You typically blend or shake up protein powder with liquid if you are pressed for time, or you incorporate protein powders into smoothie recipes. These powders are convenient and they are beneficial for anyone who wants to lose weight or put on muscle. However, most people don’t know when to drink them. This article aims to detail the best time to consume your protein supplements.
The amount of protein you need is dependent on your health goals. Dietitians explain that the recommended daily allowance is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight. That averages to about 20 grams per meal. If you plan on building muscle, you may need to double that amount. Before we get too into the weeds, let’s first explain why the body needs protein.
Why Do You Need Protein?
One could say that protein is very important, given that proteins exist in every human cell. Made up of amino acids, protein is one of the building blocks of life, helping your body repair cells and make new ones. Roughly 10 to 35% of your total daily calories should come from protein, according to the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. That range is due to different diets and activity levels. Generally, though, if you consume 2,000 calories per day, aim to consume 50-175 grams of protein (amounting to 200-700 calories).
Protein shakes are highly beneficial because they can make it easier to meet these nutritional requirements. Depending on your health goals and your choice of protein powder, shakes can be a focal point of your diet. In very simple terms, protein does two things: helps you lose weight and helps you gain weight. Protein is integral for satiety (helping you feel full) and ensures that you minimize muscle loss. Protein helps you tip the scales a bit if gaining weight is your goal.
When Is The Best Time To Take Protein?
The time at which you drink a protein shake depends on your health and fitness goals. Firstly, you have to understand your body’s metabolism and know whether it is in a catabolic or anabolic state. In a catabolic state, the body breaks down muscles, which is why the body is in this state while exercising. In an anabolic state, which is typically post-workout, the body is in a rebuild and refuel state. The window of time after you exercise, when your body is repairing and refueling, is when it can utilize protein in the most efficient way.
Protein is a key element of your diet if you want to lose fat. Focusing on protein can help increase your metabolism and reduce your appetite. This is because protein reduces levels of ghrelin, the hunger hormone, while simultaneously increasing levels of glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), peptide YY (PYY), and cholecystokinin (CCK), all of which are hormones that reduce appetite. Consuming a protein shake between meals may help decrease your overall caloric intake. One study found that people who ate a high-protein yogurt snack in the afternoon consumed 100 fewer calories at dinner than those who ate crackers or chocolate in the afternoon. That means that if weight loss is your goal, consume your protein shakes between your primary meals.
Gaining Muscle Mass
If you want to bulk up and get swole, some research says that you should consume a protein shake between 30 and 60 minutes after your workout. Again, this is based on the knowledge of your body being in that anabolic state post workout. However, studies have shown the results of consuming protein post-workout are inconsistent. Some dietitians argue that nutrient timing is a myth, and when you drink you shake doesn’t hugely affect muscle gain. In fact, new research found that resistance exercise and consuming sufficient protein are more important than when you drink your protein shake. People who workout in a fasted state, though, may benefit from taking protein shortly after completing a workout.
The bottom line is that there is a lot of controversy about what time you should consume your protein shake. The anabolic window, which was previously understood as the best time to consume protein, may not have as big of an impact on your muscle gains. You don’t have to chug your protein shake within seconds of completing your workout, but consuming it within an hour or so post-workout may help. Your body is in need of protein after a workout to aid with muscle repair and recovery. Although protein is important, you don’t have to stress about missing the most opportune moment for consumption. Drink your protein shake when you can, especially if you don’t consume a lot on a regular basis.