So, are protein shakes good for weight gain?
We give you the lowdown.
Looking to put on weight and bulk up your muscles? Here’s an easy and tasty way to get there. Protein shakes. They’re packed full of extra calories, nutrients and muscle-building proteins which will help you gain weight and grow new muscle. But first, what is protein and what does it do exactly?
Protein is the building block of every living cell in your body and it has a big impact on your muscles, your energy levels and how full you feel. There are loads of high protein foods like meat, fish, dairy products, eggs, nuts and soya, beans, peas and lentils. You’ll also find protein in grains and cereals.
But if you’re trying to increase your protein intake, you might find that eating more of these foods can be hard going. That's what makes protein shakes such a great alternative. They're quick and easy to drink when you want a fast protein hit.
So what are protein shakes? They’re tasty drinks made from powdered protein which usually comes from eggs or milk, soybeans or rice. They might also have vitamins and minerals, artificial flavourings, thickeners and sugar.
How do they work?
We know that taking in extra energy and working to achieve a calorie surplus is the key to putting on weight. Protein shakes can help you do this by giving you easy-to-consume calories. Simple. And there are lots of protein shakes out there to help you do this.
In fact, bulking protein powders and shakes are the go-to when you’re trying to gain weight. But to achieve the high-calorie content they are often high in fat and sugar. So, it’s worth checking the nutritional side of things before you buy to make sure it’s right for your goals.
How many grams of protein do you need?
The NHS say that you if you’re a sedentary man (which means you’re not doing that much exercise) you should take in 56g of protein every day. If you’re a sedentary woman (who doesn’t exercise either) you should consume 46g of protein every day.
So how much extra protein do you need? Obviously, it needs to be over 46g or 56g depending on your sex. But how much more? A dietary intake of 1, 1.3, and 1.6 g protein per kg of bodyweight per day is recommended if you’re doing minimal, moderate or intense physical activity, respectively. Or if you’re trying to maximise your muscle growth, you can consume protein at 2g per kg bodyweight per day over a long period.*
How many protein shakes should you drink for weight gain?
If you’re looking to bulk up, it’s important to drink your protein shakes alongside your regular meals - not as a replacement. This means you could have a protein shake several times a day. It’s a good idea to read the packaging of your protein shake for advice on how much to drink. Or you could see your GP to make sure you’re doing it safely.
What are the best protein shakes for weight gain?
Combined with a healthy diet and regular exercise, protein shakes can really help you gain extra weight and muscle. But it can depend on which proteins are used in the protein powders which go to make up the shakes. Protein powders are simply concentrated sources of protein from animal or plant foods, such as dairy, eggs, rice or peas. A mix of proteins is used in each protein powder, and some are better than others for weight gain and building up muscle.
1. Whey protein
This comes from milk and is high in protein. Research has shown that whey protein can help boost muscle mass and strength. In fact, one study in young men showed that whey protein increased new muscle by 31% more than soy protein and 132% more than casein protein after resistance exercise.**
2. Casein protein
Like whey, casein is a protein found in milk. It’s more effective at building up muscle than soy and wheat protein — but less than whey protein.
3. Egg protein
Eggs are an excellent source of high-quality protein which is easily digested. Egg-white protein could be a good choice if you have dairy allergies and prefer a supplement based on animal protein.
4. Pea protein
Pea protein powder is especially popular among vegetarians, vegans and people with allergies or sensitivities to dairy or eggs. In a 12-week study in 161 men doing resistance training, pea protein helped to grow muscle just as much as whey protein. ***
5. Hemp protein
This is another plant-based supplement that is becoming more popular. It’s rich in beneficial omega-3 fatty acids and several essential amino acids and is easily digested.
6. Brown rice protein
Protein powders made from brown rice have been around for some time, but they are not as good as whey protein for building muscle.
7. Mixed plant proteins
Some protein powders contain a blend of plant sources to provide your body with all the essential amino acids. These are usually a blend of two or more of these proteins - brown rice, pea, hemp, alfalfa, chia seeds, flax seeds, artichoke or quinoa.
Want to try some shakes and protein powders? Check out our protein-packed Mighty Protein range.
Mighty protein is our range of products which are a 100% vegan blend of proteins, super greens and vitamins, designed to power your body right through the day. Mighty Human is the perfect post-workout vegan protein powder giving you 20g of high quality plant protein per serving.
We also offer a different range of plant-based, on-the-go protein shakes which will help with weight gain and muscle gain. Packed with 11g of protein each they’re perfect as a quick post-workout drink. There’s a choice of two Mighty M.lk shakes - Chocolate and Banana and Oat – and both are smooth, rich and creamy, dairy-free milkshake alternatives.
Want to know more about our Mighty Protein range and how they can help you with weight gain and muscle gain? Check out the range here
With over 40 years in the business, Jamie Hudson is one of the most experienced copy and content writers in the UK. He has worked both in-house and freelanced for a variety of digital, content, advertising, marketing and design agencies around the country. He’s written websites, blogs, email campaigns, social media, ad campaigns, brochures, TV and radio commercials and all kinds of marketing materials for a wide range of high street names.
These include Asda, Argos, Fox’s Biscuits, Aunt Bessie’s, Dolmio, American Express, RSPB, English Heritage and the Woodland Trust.
* Dietary protein intake and human health by Guoyo Wu- PubMed(nih.gov)
*** Pea proteins oral supplementation promotes muscle thickness gains during resistance training