Do Protein Shakes Help You Lose Weight?

by Mara Welty March 10, 2023 7 min read

 woman measuring her waist


For decades, protein shakes have been a popular fixture in the routines of fitness-minded individuals looking to build muscle or recover after a workout. But can protein shakes help you lose weight? Within the context of a structured meal plan, protein shakes can play a major role in helping you to lose body fat while maintaining a healthy lean muscle mass.

With the demands of the modern workweek, it can be challenging to find the time to hit your macronutrient goals while reducing your overall caloric intake. That’s where protein shakes come in. 

Starting your day or finishing a workout with a helping of protein can help you to feel satiated for longer and provide the boost you need to stay on target with your weight loss goal.

Protein Shakes Can Benefit Your Weight Loss Routine

So why the emphasis on routine? Consistency and structure are the most effective tools in your approach to losing body weight. Protein drinks are an especially useful addition to your daily routine particularly because they’re so easy to stay consistent with. Can a protein shake replace a meal, 

With the right ingredients, just a scoop of protein shake powder and a shaker bottle, you can experience a range of benefits that may positively impact your weight loss journey, such as:

  • Feeling fuller for longer – A 2016 analysis of over 30 studies found that greater intake of protein in certain circumstances can increase feelings of fullness.
  • Accelerating weight loss – A 2020 study comparing a high protein diet to a standard protein diet found that participants in the high protein group experienced more weight loss and reduction of waist circumference than the standard protein group. 
  • Maintaining muscle while losing fat – A 2017 analysis notes that adequate protein intake in tandem with a maintained caloric deficit can help maintain healthy muscle mass while reducing body fat. 

How Protein Shakes Can Accelerate Weight Loss

In basic terms, your body loses weight when you maintain a caloric deficit — meaning you consume fewer calories than you burn throughout the day. So, can a protein shake replace a meal, and can you drink protein shakes every day? Protein drinks can be helpful in maintaining a caloric deficit: Because a high-protein diet can leave you feeling fuller compared to a high-carb diet, you’re likely to find that you have an easier time resisting the urge to snack between meals.

As with any weight loss tactic, the most important factor is consistency. You can incorporate protein powder or shakes into your daily routine in one of three ways:

  • Included with a meal (breakfast in particular), protein shakes can help stave off hunger before lunch.
  • As a snack between meals, protein shakes can make for an especially filling and low-calorie treat.
  • Before a workout, protein shakes can help your muscles recover and stabilize your metabolism to help reduce the urge to binge eat afterward.

How Much Protein Do You Need to Lose Weight?

There is no magic number when it comes to your daily intake of protein. An effective weight loss diet depends on two factors: Maintaining a caloric deficit and consuming a healthy balance of macronutrients. If this sounds overwhelming, don’t worry – the basics behind it are pretty simple. Protein is one of three macronutrients, or “macros,” and you’ve probably heard of the other two: fats and carbohydrates. 

Women’s Health recommends a macronutrient ratio of 50% carbs, 35% protein and 15% fat. In other words, on a full day, about half of your calories should come from carbs, about a third of your calories should come from consuming or drinking protein and the remainder should come from fat.

The Truth About Counting Macros

Unfortunately, counting calories and tracking your macro intake in this way can lead to early burnout with your modified diet or even unhealthy habits around food. Instead, the best advice is to start with small, sustainable changes.

Most modern diets are higher in fat or carbohydrates and lower in protein than the recommended ratio for losing weight. Rather than counting your calories and macros, start by replacing a high-fat snack or carbohydrate-rich portion of your meal with a high-protein alternative.

Protein shakes are a compelling option in cases like this because they don’t require a lot of prep time or planning, making it easier to consistently make healthy choices without developing unhealthy habits.

How Long Does it Take to See Results?

Protein shakes should be incorporated as part of a broader weight loss strategy — and because strategies and diets can vary widely, it can be challenging to predict exactly how long before you see results.

One study, in particular, might shed some light on the kind of timeframe we can reasonably expect with the protein-replacement strategy outlined above: Scientists measured weight loss and caloric intake in a group of participants after increasing their protein intake from 15% to 30% of their daily diet. For twelve weeks, participants stuck to a diet with the following conditions:

  • A consistent macronutrient ratio with 30% of their daily calories coming from protein
  • No daily calorie limit, just eat until you feel full

After twelve weeks, participants lost an average of 11 pounds. Despite having the freedom to eat as much as they wanted, the higher protein intake had led participants to eat 440 fewer calories per day on average.

Tracking Results: A Pound Per Week

Extrapolating from the data mentioned above, a pound per week is probably the fastest you can hope to lose weight without resorting to daily calorie restrictions. To reach this goal, your best bet is to slowly replace high-fat foods in your diet like potato chips, with high-protein options like protein shakes.

As you increase your daily protein intake, you might find yourself feeling more satiated throughout the day, leading to a lower consumption of calories without having to go to bed hungry every night.

What Should You Look For in a Protein Shake?

Once you’ve decided to take the next step and add a protein supplement like a protein shake to your weight loss routine, you might be overwhelmed to discover the sheer number of options on the market today. 

Besides factoring in questions of a brand’s reputation and the cost of their protein supplements, you need to consider what kind of protein you want in the first place — whey, soy-based and brown rice protein are all popular options — and what kind of added supplements you’d like to include, if any.

Types of Protein

To start off with, consider the advantages that various kinds of protein supplements have to offer:

  • Whey protein – A 2011 study found that compared to soy protein, a group given whey protein isolate saw a greater reduction in their average waist circumference. Researchers concluded that whey protein isolate may alter body composition to a greater degree than soy protein.
  • Soy protein – Though it may not be as effective as whey protein when it comes to losing fat, soy protein offers a cheap alternative for individuals who have trouble digesting lactose. Whey protein that isn’t highly refined may cause problems for individuals with lactose intolerance, as it has a higher lactose content.
  • Brown rice protein – As reported by Healthline, brown rice protein may not be as well-suited to building or preserving lean muscle as whey, owing to brown rice’s low lysine content. That said, it’s a good plant-based alternative to whey and soy should you wish to avoid them for dietary or allergy-related reasons.

What Else Should a Protein Shake Offer?

Beyond the base protein, many shakes on the market today include additional ingredients to help you achieve your health and fitness goals. Should you choose to use protein shakes as a supplement or even a replacement for snacks and meals, you’ll want to ensure that your shake can provide the nutrition you might otherwise miss out on by forgoing other foods.

First and foremost, look for ingredients that can aid your digestion. Good health starts in the gut, and protein can be harder for your body to digest than the simple carbs you might be accustomed to. Probiotics, prebiotics, digestive enzymes and fiber can all aid in digestion without adding too many calories.

Secondly, look for plant-based ingredients that can help you reach your daily recommended vitamin intake. Green veggies, in particular, are rich in vitamins A, K and C.

Superfood Shake: A Protein Shake that Delivers

Fortunately, you don’t have to spend countless hours researching to find a shake that checks all the nutritional boxes. INVIGOR8 has formulated a shake mix that delivers and gets delivered to your door.

Superfood greens to help you hit your recommended vitamin intake? Check. Probiotics, digestive enzymes and a prebiotic fiber complex to help balance your digestion and leave you feeling full? Got it. 

INVIGOR8’s Superfood Shakes even include flaxseed, chia and coconut oil for essential fatty acids that can promote healthy brain function and stabilize your blood sugar to help you maintain healthy eating habits.

With a grass-fed whey protein complex, Superfood Shake puts the latest research to work on your weight loss goals and boasts a more delicious taste and texture compared to grain-fed whey.

Lose Weight Without Losing Sight of What’s Important

Looking for proper weight loss support in the age of the internet and social media can feel daunting. With so many fad diets and influencers recommending harsh or restrictive lifestyle changes, it’s hard to know where to start.

INVIGOR8 started with a straightforward mission: Offer people easy access to healthier choices. All it takes is one small, sustainable change to your diet and routine to start along your path to wellness and vitality — and with products like Superfood Shake, making that change has never been easier.

From natural appetite suppressants, collagen peptides powder, and superfood ingredients, start your weight loss journey with healthier choices from INVIGOR8.


Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The Effects of Increased Protein Intake on Fullness: A Meta-Analysis and Its Limitations

The British Journal of Nutrition. The effect of 12 weeks of euenergetic high-protein diet in regulating appetite and body composition of women with normal-weight obesity: a randomised controlled trial.

Advances in Nutrition. Preserving Healthy Muscle during Weight Loss

Nutrients. Consumption of a High-Protein Meal Replacement Leads to Higher Fat Oxidation, Suppression of Hunger, and Improved Metabolic Profile After an Exercise Session

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. A high-protein diet induces sustained reductions in appetite, ad libitum caloric intake, and body weight despite compensatory changes in diurnal plasma leptin and ghrelin concentrations.

The Journal of Nutrition. Whey protein but not soy protein supplementation alters body weight and composition in free-living overweight and obese adults.

Journal of Sports Science and Medicine. Protein – Which is Best?

About the Author

 Mara Welty
Mara Welty

Mara Welty is a copywriter who specializes in health, wellness and CBD topics. With a background in journalism, she aims to deliver engaging, research-based content that builds trust and engages readers through informative storytelling.

The INVIGOR8 Weight-Loss Family

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