Can protein shakes really help with weight loss?

November 12, 2012

Can protein shakes really help with weight loss?

There is a lot of hype at the moment associated with protein shakes and their ability to aid in successful weight loss. Rick Rubin is a famous record producer and co-president of Columbia Records who went through a publicised weight loss. He managed to lose nearly 60 kilograms, which he claims is thanks to a vigorous work out schedule and a diet of fish and protein shakes, causing many people to jump on the protein shake bandwagon. Protein shakes have for a long time been popular in the health and fitness world where they are considered to be an excellent way to repair muscle tissue. They usually consist mainly of powdered supplements and are often promoted by body builders such as the previous Mr. Olympia winner Jay Cutler. Even the actress Hilary Swank paid credit to protein shakes, which she drank every morning whilst trying to get buff for a recent movie in which she played a boxer. The benefits provided to the average dieter or person hoping to get fit, however are doubted by many personal trainers and fitness experts. If you do not have an incredible demanding work out regime, then the increased protein in take may actually be more damaging than beneficial. Too many protein shakes could not only lead to weight gain but could even cause some potential health problems including dehydration and kidney problems. Trainer’s advice that in the case of normal people who are just aiming for a healthy level of fitness should concentrate on getting a balanced diet instead.

Protein shakes should be thought of as a quick fix rather than a long-term method of weight loss because they make you feel fuller, quicker but as soon as you return to eating food, your weight will increase again. Most people already have too much protein in their diet without realising it and the body can only break down roughly 5-9 grams of protein per hour turning it into energy. Any excess will either be excreted or stored as fuel (also known as fat). Consider that there is up to 40 grams of protein in each shake and how much exercise you would have to do work all of that off.

Unless you lead a very active lifestyle it is recommended to stay clear of protein shakes. The extra pressure put on your livers from excreting great quantities of protein can be damaging. It can also lead to weak bones and osteoporosis as calcium is taken from the bones to aid the process.

Not only this but certain shakes have even been found to be toxic. A recent investigation found that in 15 shakes that were tested, all of them contained at least one sample of lead, mercury, cadmium and arsenic. While the levels discovered in most of the tested shakes ranged from low to moderate, there were some cases where by if anyone was drinking 3 or more servings a day, they would be over the limits proposed by the US Pharmacopeia, who set recommended standards for health products. The best advice is to continue to eat a balanced diet, drinking protein shakes to supplement it but not to replace it.

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