How to Select the Best Protein Shake For Weight Loss
Here's how to select the best protein shake for weight loss. If you're serious about losing weight and obtaining all the benefits of protein shakes, then you must become aware of how to use them correctly, when are the best times to use them and how to identify the best protein shake for weight loss.
We all know that if you are serious about losing weight, improving your health and boosting your energy, then you should endeavour to have 5 or 6 small meals each day: breakfast, mid-morning, lunch, mid-afternoon, dinner and perhaps supper as well.
Unfortunately, since we are all so busy with work, family and various other commitments, it is almost impossible to fit in all the meals. This where using a protein powder can help.
Protein shakes are quick, easy, convenient, portable and cheap. They also make it easy to control the portion size of your meals. They can be used 2 or 3 times a day to ensure all your meals are consumed. Most people use them for their mid-morning, mid-afternoon and supper meals rather than their breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Skipping meals as many people do either because they incorrectly think it is an efffetive way to lose weight or simply because they are busy forces their body to kick in its 'Anti-Starvation Response'. This results in a slowing of their metabolism, a loss of precious lean body tissue, particularly muscle, an increase in appetite and an increase in the activity of fat-storing enzymes. Having a small meal every 2-3 hours throughout the day prevents this from occurring.
Since it is obvious that the best protein shakes for weight loss should be used by virtually everyone, it is important to know all the benefits of protein shakes, how to select the right one for you, when you should take it, what ingredients it should contain and what ingredients it shouldn't contain.
Firstly, any nutritional strategy you choose to incorporate into your lifestyle must be sustainable. This means you should be able to do it for the rest of your life. If any strategy is not a sustainable lifestyle option for you then you shouldn't use it.
That is why even the best protein powder should really only replace the 'snacks' rather than the main meals. For most people, replacing the 'main' meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) with shakes it not a sustainable strategy and therefore should not be used; the exception being those people who find it difficult to eat first thing in the morning. In that situation a shake can be used for breakfast but then a 'whole-food' meal should be consumed for their mid-morning meal.
High Protein, Low Fat, Low Carbs
If you are interested in losing weight or simply improving your health and energy level then the
best protein shake for weight loss is one that is low in fat, low in carbohydrate and high in protein.
If you want to put on weight then higher carbohydrate and fat levels are okay. For best results choose
shakes that contain the following macronutrient profile:
15g-30g of protein, 2g-10g of carbohydrate and 2g-5g of fat per serve.
The primary protein source should be whey protein powder because it is the highest quality protein source available mainly because it contains the highest amount of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) per serve. Avoid using shakes that contain inferior quality protein sources like skim milk powder, milk protein isolates or soy isolates. Of course, these are much cheaper for the manufacturer.
If you happen to be dairy intolerant to some extent it is worthwhile using a pea and rice protein blend instead. One of the best products on the market is BCN's ProBlend Dairy Free.
The carbohydrate should come from maltodextrin, which is a complex carbohydrate, or should be derived from the protein source. Avoid shakes that use cheap sugars like glucose, glucose syrup or high fructose corn syrup. It is also best to avoid plain fructose as a carbohydrate source too. Even though it is a low Glycaemic Index carbohydrate, fructose can be easily converted into body fat by the liver.
The fat usually comes from the protein source and as long as it is contains 5 grams or less per serve that is fine. Always make sure the level of saturated fat per serve in the shake is less than 2 grams per serve.
The best protein shake for weight loss should also contain added vitamins and minerals. These are fine but are not essential. It is best to use a multivitamin and mineral supplement every day anyway simply because the amounts of vitamins and minerals tend to be higher in a tablet or capsule compared to the levels contained in shakes.
If your goal is to lose weight then it is best to mix the shake in water rather than milk because the milk will increase the carbohydrate content of the meal too much. If you goal is simply to improve your health or energy, then mixing the shake in low-fat milk is fine.
Taste, Mixability, Cost
Other factors you need to consider when examining all the benefits of protein shakes are: taste, mixability and cost.
It is essential that the best protein shake for weight loss tastes nice in order for it to be a sustainable lifestyle option for you. If the taste of the shake is not appealing, or at the very least bearable for you, then it is highly likely you won't stick to using it long term.
The mixability of the protein shake is important too. Since shakes are supposed to be convenient they should mix instantly. You must be able to stir them with a spoon or put them in a shaker cup and have it prepared in a matter of seconds. There shouldn't be any need to use a blender. Once you've finished mixing up the powder in the liquid there should not be any lumps remaining.
The cost of the shake is also a major factor to consider. They need to be a cost-effective meal option. $2-$4 per serve is a reasonable price to pay for a shake, espcially when you consider it is one of the 5 or 6 meals you have in a day.
The best protein shake for weight loss come in a powdered form and is available in tubs, buckets or sachets. Any of these are fine to use. The sachets have the added advantage of being portable because they can be put into your handbag and carried around with you during the day.
However, it is far more cost-effective to simply buy the tubs or buckets so you don't have to pay for additional packaging. Then, if you need the powder to be portable simply put a scoop or two into a sealable sandwich bag and carry it around that way.
Meal replacement shakes are rapidly becoming the fast food of the new millennium because more people understand the benefits of having small, frequent meals and the ease that comes with using the best protein shake.
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