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Obesity and Weight Management

Shakes and loosing weight

09/18/2006

Question:

I am trying to loose weight by dieting and exercising. I want to drink protein shakes after I workout but which ones are best for loosing weight? I notice many of them have high calories.

Answer:

First, I’d like to commend you for your desire to lose weight through both following a balanced diet and physical activity.

However, the first question I would ask is why you are wanting to consume protein shakes after your workout? Indeed, athletes do tend to need more protein than non-athletes, but if you are consuming too much, the excess protein will not be stored as protein, but will be broken down and stored as fat. Unlike carbohydrate and fat, there is no appreciable storage form of protein or amino acids in the body.

If you are getting adequate protein through dietary sources (beef, chicken, eggs, milk, cheese, beans, etc), which most of us do, you may not necessarily need a protein shake to supplement your diet. The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein is 56 grams per day for men age 19 and above, and 46 grams for females age 19 and over. That equates to approximately 10-20% of your daily calories coming from protein sources.

The bottom line is, that although you may have heard that consuming protein shakes can lead to weight loss, there has been little evidence to show this in the scientific literature. Successful weight loss can be achieved by controlling the amount of calories you consume and burn through physical activity. Thus, you have already made two positive changes. As long as you are consuming a well-balanced diet, I don’t believe a protein shake is necessary.

Remember…these shakes contain calories and too many calories can hinder, not help your weight loss efforts!

Good luck!

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Response by:

Jaime  Ackerman Foster, MPH, RD, LD Jaime Ackerman Foster, MPH, RD, LD
Extension Nutrition Associate
College of Education and Human Ecology
The Ohio State University