So are you looking to lose a little weight? There’s lots of weight loss advice, diets, clubs, plans and products out there, and some of them may help. But the best way to lose weight and keep it off is by creating a calorie deficit every day. This simply means that you are taking in fewer calories than you are burning off. You can do this by eating fewer calories, burning more calories through regular exercise or better still by doing both together.
It’s important to remember too that weight you lose quickly hardly ever stays off and eventually comes back. Focusing on healthy eating habits that you can stick with long term are more likely to bring you long-lasting weight loss. In fact, this could lead to a steady weight loss of one to two pounds a week, which is recommended as the most sensible way to lose weight.
Once you’ve got your body used to a calorie deficit, increasing your protein intake will also help your weight loss programme. And lean protein shakes can help with weight loss quickly, easily and tastily.
How do protein shakes help with weight loss?
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 which can help with weight loss like meat, fish, dairy products, eggs, nuts and soya, beans, peas and lentils. You’ll also find protein in grains and cereals.
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. They're quick and easy to drink when you want a fast protein hit. And there are lots of protein shakes on the market to help you do this.
But how does increasing your protein intake help you lose weight?
1. It helps you control your hunger and feel more full
When you start eating less, you inevitably feel hungry or unsatisfied, and can be tempted to raid your special treats box or drawer! Protein helps you stay fuller longer, which can support you in eating less to lose weight.
2. It boosts your metabolism
Your body burns more calories when it’s digesting and using protein compared with carbohydrates or fat. So boosting your protein intake is actually like a mini workout!
3. It helps maintain your muscles
When you lose weight, you also tend to lose fat and muscle. Protein can help you counteract your muscle loss. In fact, consuming extra protein alongside your regular exercise and resistance training can help you maintain your muscle mass whilst you’re burning fat.
How many grams of protein do you need?
According to the NHS, you should take in 56g of healthy protein every day if you’re a sedentary man - which means you’re not doing that much exercise. For a sedentary woman who doesn’t exercise much either, that figure is 46g of protein every day. So how much extra protein do you need to take in? If you’re exercising more as part of your weight loss programme and want to maintain muscle mass too, you'll need to consume more protein. But how much more?
One study recommends that 1, 1.3, and 1.6 g protein per kg of bodyweight per day is adequate if you’re doing minimal, moderate or intense physical activity, respectively. If you’re trying to really build up your muscles and support your weight loss goals, you can consume protein at 2g per kg bodyweight per day.1
When should you drink them?
Combining lean protein shakes with healthy, balanced, nutritious foods and regular exercise will help with weight loss. The basic idea is that you replace some of your less healthy or sugar-packed snacks with a protein shake. This will curb your cravings when you get hungry and help you feel fuller for longer.
Of course, it’s up to you when you have your protein drinks. If you’re aiming at weight loss, you could choose those times of the day when you feel most hungry and tempted to hit the biscuits, crisps or chocolate! The quick protein boost will keep you feeling fuller for longer. You could also drink one before or after a workout to help your muscles recover.
The best protein powders for weight loss
Protein powders are basically concentrated sources of protein from animal or plant foods, such as dairy, eggs, rice or peas. As a convenient and tasty way to increase your protein intake, protein powders also help you control your appetite. A mix of proteins is used in each protein powder, and some are better than others for weight loss and building up muscle. It depends on which proteins are combined in the protein powders which make up the shakes.
Here are the seven best protein powders for weight loss.
1. Coffee-flavoured protein
Coffee-flavoured protein powders that contain coffee grounds are packed with caffeine, which is renowned for boosting your metabolism. It also increases your stamina during workouts, allowing you to burn more fat and calories. This makes coffee-protein shakes the perfect snack 30 to 60 minutes before you exercise.
2. Whey protein
Whey protein is probably the most popular protein powder today and is one of two milk proteins — the other being casein. Research has shown that whey protein is very effective for weight management, as it helps you feel full longer and reduces your appetite.2
In fact, a review of nine studies showed that overweight or obese people who consumed whey protein lost more weight and gained more muscle mass than those who didn’t.3
3. Casein protein
The second milk protein casein, is digested much slower than whey and can also help you eat less by reducing your appetite. In one study, 32 men consumed either a carbohydrate drink or casein, whey, egg or pea protein 30 minutes before eating a normal meal. Researchers found that casein had the biggest effect on fullness and resulted in the fewest calories consumed.4
4. Soy protein
Soy protein is one of the few plant-based proteins that contain all nine essential amino acids necessary for our health. It’s also been shown to have an effect on appetite. In one study, men were given pizza one hour after eating whey, soy or egg white protein. Soy protein was more effective than egg white protein at decreasing appetite, and reducing the number of calories consumed.5
5. Protein fortified with fibre
Plant-based foods such as vegetables, fruits, legumes and grains are the best sources of dietary fibre. Like protein, fibre has also been shown to decrease food intake — and body weight. Some mixed plant-based protein powders are fortified with fibre. Here, the protein and fibre work together to boost weight loss more than the two ingredients separately.
6. Egg white protein
If you don’t like or can’t tolerate milk proteins, egg white protein is a good alternative. The effect of egg white protein on your appetite is not as strong as that of whey or casein — but research still suggests it can help you eat fewer calories, aiding your weight loss efforts.
7. Pea protein
Like soy protein, pea protein contains all nine essential amino acids, making it a complete protein. It’s hypoallergenic too making it a safe choice if you have intolerances or allergies to milk, soy or egg. In short, it’s a good plant-based alternative to dairy-based proteins for weight loss.
Want to try some protein shakes and powders? Check out our protein-packed Mighty Human range.
Mighty Protein is our range of products which are a 100% vegan blend of proteins, super greens and vitamins, created to power you all day long. It’s the perfect vegan weight loss protein powder giving you 20g of high quality plant protein per serving.
We also offer a different range of lean, low calorie, vegan protein shakes which will also help with weight loss. There’s a choice of two Mighty M.lk shakes, Chocolate and Banana and Oat, each one packed with 11g of protein but only 155 calories, and is a scrummy dairy-free milkshake alternative.
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.