If your body were a car, protein would be its fuel.
Protein is an essential macronutrient that powers your cells, and essential amino acid compounds are the building block of your bones, muscles, skin and cartilage.
While your body depends on protein to function, it can’t produce it on its own. So, you must obtain it through your diet. And, since it’s a macronutrient, you’ll need plenty of protein for your body to function optimally, especially if you’re trying to meet health and fitness goals.
While you could eat high-protein, animal-based and plant-based foods, some people prefer the faster, more convenient option — a protein shake.
But can you drink protein shakes every day?
Today, we’ll discuss drinking protein shake products and how they can impact your health.
What Is Protein?
What’s the “protein”in a protein shake?
Protein is an all-encompassing word that describes more than 10,000 types of large, complex molecules within the body — each one serves a different yet vital purpose, supporting muscle mass growth, immune response, metabolism and more.
Proteins are composed of hundreds, if not thousands, of smaller amino acids, which combine in extraordinarily long chains. And most of their work occurs at the cellular level. According to MedlinePlus:
“There are 20 different types of amino acids that can be combined for protein synthesis. The sequence of amino acids determines each protein’s unique 3-dimensional structure and its specific function. Amino acids are coded by combinations of three DNA building blocks (nucleotides), determined by the sequence of genes.”
Chemically, these amino acids are primarily made up of carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen and sulfur. And most proteins will fall under one of seven categories:
Antibodies – Also known as immunoglobulins, antibodies are defensive proteins produced by the immune system in response to the presence of foreign (and potentially hostile) substances known as antigens. Antibodies serve to identify and neutralize antigens such as viruses and toxins.
Contractile proteins – These proteins play a critical role in muscle contraction and generation of force and are typically separated into one of two groups: actin and myosin.
Enzymes – These protein molecules catalyze specific chemical reactions in the body, increasing the rate and efficiency of the reaction, thus enabling the body to perform important metabolic processes faster and more efficiently.
Hormonal proteins – These signaling molecules help cells (largely endocrine cells) communicate with one another and trigger physiological functions. The protein is transported through the bloodstream to the target cell, where it attaches to the receptor, which then initiates the downstream cascade effects.
Storage proteins – Storage proteins — such as casein in milk or gluten in bread — are a type of protein that’s synthesized and then stored in various cells for later use, thus enabling a steady stream of essential nutrients to the body.
Structural proteins – This type of protein provides structural support to cells, tissues and organs, playing an important role in maintaining the shape and integrity of the body’s structures. The most common structural protein is collagen.
Transport proteins – This class of proteins helps move molecules across cell membranes or through body fluids and helps maintain the ideal balance of nutrients, ions and other molecules in and around the cells.
Can I Drink a Protein Shake Every Day?
Protein is a necessary component of a healthy and balanced diet. And protein shakes can be a convenient and effective way to increase your protein intake.
Generally speaking, most individuals can consume a protein drink daily without significant adverse health effects; however, just because you can doesn’t mean that you should.
In truth, the answer to this question depends on you. Specifically, you need to consider several factors:
Your current health and fitness
The type of protein supplement you’re consuming
The other ingredients in the shake
Factor #1 Your Current Health and Fitness Status and Goals
The US Department of Agriculture recommends that 10% to 35% of a person’s daily caloric intake comes from proteins. But how much protein you require depends on your age, sex and physical activity levels.
According to Jessica Crandall, a registered dietitian nutritionist, educator and national spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: “A safe level of protein ranges from 0.8 grams of protein per 2 lbs of body weight, up to 2 grams of protein per 2 lbs for very active athletes. But most Americans truly need to be eating about 1 to 1.2 grams of protein per pound of body weight."
Three types of people will typically benefit the most from daily protein shakes:
Athletes – For athletic people that work out frequently and have clearly stated nutritional and physical goals, a daily protein shake may be necessary to ensure that you’re receiving as many calories as needed to foster muscle growth and fuel recovery.
Individuals with dietary or allergic preferences – If you’re unable or unwilling to consume many of the high-protein foods — such as meat or dairy — you may needto consume at least one protein shake per day to ensure that you’re not running a protein deficiency.
Pregnant mothers – Pregnant mothers may also benefit from supplementing their diet with protein shakes since they now have two mouths to feed.
Before you start incorporating a daily protein shake, you need to carefully consider your current and desired fitness levels, build out a nutritional plan and then track your macros to align with these goals.
Factor #2 The Type of Protein in the Shake
Most protein intake comes from a normal, well-rounded diet. There are dozens of foods that an individual can incorporate to ensure they are meeting their daily protein thresholds, including:
Meat, poultry and fish
Dairy (milk, cheese and yogurt)
Legumes and beans (lentils, black beans, kidney beans and chickpeas)
Nuts (almonds, walnuts and pecans)
Seeds (Chia, pumpkin, sesame and sunflower)
Whole grains (Quinoa, bulgur and barley)
Plant-based protein alternatives (Soy protein, pea protein, hemp protein)
But protein shakes often derive their protein powder from other sources. Common ingredients include:
Here’s where the waters can become muddied. Different protein sources can have different nutritional profiles and, as a result, unique impacts on a person’s body.
For instance, whey protein is a cheap, fast-acting, well-rounded protein, making it ideal for muscle recovery and growth, whereas casein is a slow-digesting protein that’s useful for weight management and blood sugar control.
As a result, you must carefully consider the type of protein that will be in your shake and whether that protein’s profile matches your specific needs –– especially if you’re asking the question: can protein shakes help you lose weight?
Factor #3 The Type of Protein Shake
Can a protein shake replace a meal? Some protein shakes are one-note, offering just the additional protein. As such, they’re not a total meal replacement and could even contain undesirable ingredients.
But then, there are fitness shakes precisely manufactured to be a comprehensive meal replacement. As such, they won’t simply contain protein; instead, they’ll also incorporate various other ingredients meant to support nutritional health.
Total protein complex – 20g of premium grass-fed whey protein.
Prebiotic-fiber complex – 3g of chicory root extract.
Green veggie complex – 2.5g of chlorella algae, alfalfa grass, spinach leaf, kale leaf and broccoli head.
Essential fatty acid complex – 2g of flaxseed, chia seed and coconut.
Digestive enzyme complex – 653 mg of amylase, lactase, neutral protease, lipase, bromelain and papain.
Immunity support complex – 500mg of bovine colostrum.
Cognitive complex – 200 mg of l-theanine and bacopa monnieri.
Probiotic complex – 1.2 billion lactobacillus acidophilus and bifidobacterium bifidum.
Before you begin adding a daily protein shake to your health, wellness and vitality routine, you should first find a protein shake formula that will fully support your nutrition needs and fitness goals.
Benefits of Daily Protein Shakes
When protein shakes are consumed as one part of a balanced diet, they can provide several potential benefits, including:
Speed and convenience – There may be instances when you have neither the time nor inclination to prepare and cook a healthy, protein-laden meal. Protein shakes provide a fast and easy source of high-quality protein on the go.
Improved muscle mass – Incorporating daily protein shakes with high-quality protein sources like whey into your diet, along with regular, intense exercise, can help support muscle growth and repair leading to an increase in muscle mass and strength over time.
Better recovery – After an intense workout, your muscle tissue may be sore and fatigued, but consuming a post-workout protein shake can aid your body in repairing the damaged muscle tissue, thereby accelerating the recovery process and improving your overall fitness.
Increased satiation – As one of the more satiating macronutrients, protein is digested more slowly than carbs and fats. Consuming a protein shake as part of your diet can make you feel full and satisfied, thus promoting weight loss or weight management goals.
Healthy weight gain – If you have difficulty gaining healthy weight or have dietary limitations that prevent you from getting sufficient nutrition, incorporating daily protein shakes into your diet can be an effective way to supplement your nutrition intake.
Daily Protein Shakes With INVIGOR8
By adding a daily protein shake to your diet, you can quickly and easily boost the amount of protein your body needs to rejuvenate and recharge. When consumed as part of a well-balanced diet, a daily protein shake can be a safe and welcome addition to your overall health, wellness and vitality routine. But it should not replace whole food sources of protein.
And for optimal results, you should consider factors such as your current fitness levels, the type of protein in the shake and the other ingredients in the shake.
At INVIGOR8, our meal-replacement shakes are packed with the protein and nutrients you need to build muscle, burn fat, control hunger and increase vitality. There are no gluten, soy or artificial ingredients. To get started, simply scoop, shake with water or your favorite milk and then enjoy.
Our weight-loss products all work great on their own, but they work even better together! Try our Superfood Shake in combination with our Collagen Peptides or Fat Burner to promote healthy weight loss.