Liquid protein supplements can help you drop pounds if they also help you cut calories.
Drinking your protein can be a quick and convenient way to get in a post-workout energy boost or a calorie-controlled meal replacement. Whether a protein drink will help you lose weight, though, is dependent upon a variety of factors. When you’re considering the options, pay careful attention to nutrition labels, your existing protein intake and your long-term health goals.
Some studies have proven a link between liquid protein supplements and weight loss. Mayo Clinic nutritionist Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D., notes that drinking protein shakes often helps people cut calories from their diet, which leads to measurable weight loss. In one study published in a 2011 issue of the "Journal of Chiropractic Medicine", subjects who consumed high-protein meal replacement shakes successfully lost weight and lowered blood cholesterol levels over a short, 28-day period.
Scientists are still in the process of researching why protein-rich products might encourage weight loss, but a leading theory has to do with satiety. According to a 2008 paper published in "The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition", protein more successfully produces feelings of lasting satiety than either fats or carbohydrates. An important point to make, however, is that studies linking protein drinks and weight loss have also subjected participants to reduced-calorie diets, thus making them more likely to lose weight even without the drinks.
Adding liquid protein to your diet will only help you lose weight if it helps you reduce your total daily calorie intake on a consistent basis. If you drink protein shakes in addition to your normal meals, for example, you may end up gaining weight instead. Protein drinks may also negatively impact the nutritional balance and quality of your diet. Whole foods almost always offer superior nutrition to supplementary products, according to the Mayo Clinic, because they contain protective substances and natural fiber that can’t be artificially replicated. And even though high-protein shakes are filling, they may be less so than real food. According to a study published in the journal "Obesity" in 2012, chewing solid foods for extended periods of time made participants feel fuller than not chewing at all.
Get approval from a registered dietitian or your doctor before you add regular liquid protein supplements to your diet. Unless you aren’t getting enough protein in your diet, it may be better for you to eat nutritious solid foods or make your own shakes made with natural ingredients. This way, you may enjoy optimum nutrition without sacrificing taste, food quality, or your health.