Protein Shakes for Losing Weight: What to Look Out for with Protein Powder?

Protein powder diet drinks can help people with weight problems lose weight faster. The nutrition docs also occasionally use such protein shakes – individually tailored.

The range of protein shakes, also known as formula diets, is hardly manageable. They are praised as a miracle weight-loss drug: They are said to boost fat burning and ensure that the pounds just tumble. The proteins are also good for muscle building. So are they a good choice before the start of bikini season or when starting a diet?

Adjust protein powder for formula diet individually

“Healthy weight loss is usually achieved through lower calorie intake and more exercise,” says diabetologist Matthias Riedl. In this way, the body slowly but surely burns off excess fat.

In individual cases, however, protein shakes made from protein powder can be a useful meal replacement for a short period of time. In fact, they often speed up weight loss a little bit. “For people who are very overweight or have a fatty liver, this is sometimes an option,” says nutritionist and internist Anne Fleck, “but always in consultation with an experienced nutritionist.” Because the use of such products should follow an individual, precisely defined plan that is based on the initial weight, basal metabolic rate, and, in particular, possible concomitant diseases and their medication. “The formula must not be overdosed or underdosed. Otherwise, the weight loss will not occur – or the hunger will not be satisfied enough and muscle loss will occur,” says Riedl. For this reason, nutritionists regularly monitor weight loss success using body fat and muscle measurements (BIA).

Last but not least, allergies to certain proteins – such as soy or milk – should be taken into account.

Ideal mix: High-quality protein, low in carbohydrates and sugar

The protein shake should be selected from a competent source because there are numerous quality criteria to consider. “The important thing is that you take a shake that has a lot of protein and possibly fat, but few carbohydrates and no sugar,” explains internist and nutritionist Jörn Klasen. A good quality protein shake should have a maximum of seven grams of carbohydrates per 100 grams of powder – “otherwise it will hardly keep its promise to lose weight”.

The protein content should be about 70 percent. There are proteins of animal origin (milk, whey) and vegetable origin (soy, wheat). “The quality of the protein contained is crucial,” says nutritionist Anne Fleck. A mixture of different proteins makes sense, which the body can use best. Fleck advises against whey protein as a protein basis, and soy too. “However, soy-based shakes can be an alternative for people with lactose intolerance,” says Riedl. Wheat protein is considered to be of lesser quality.

A protein shake should contain fiber, minerals, and vitamins

Additives are also important. Since the protein shake is intended to replace a main meal, it must contain fiber (such as inulin), minerals such as magnesium and calcium, trace elements such as zinc and selenium, and vitamins. What, on the other hand, should contain as little as possible are artificial flavors, sugar, sweeteners, and sugar substitutes – “because sweeteners damage the intestinal flora and irritate the intestinal-associated immune system,” warns Anne Fleck.

Diet change is better than a formula diet in the long run

The experts from the nutrition docs sometimes prescribe protein shakes temporarily, but emphasize: A formula diet does not replace a solid change in diet that suits the individual and is also viable in the long term. “We should find a balance in everyday life that supplies the body with high-quality protein through natural foods,” advises Anne Fleck. “The best way to do this is to eat lots of vegetables and combine eggs, fish, meat, and dairy products in moderation.”

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