How Many Protein Shakes Do You Need a Day? A Dietitian Has Answers

How Many Protein Shakes Do You Want a Day? A Dietitian Has Solutions

Protein shakes are nice. They’re straightforward to make—it may be as straightforward as shaking water and powder collectively—and handy for if you’re on the health club, on the go, or simply not within the temper to grill a hen breast or fry a number of eggs.

Sure kinds of shakes, notably these made with whey and casein, are full proteins (they’ve all 9 important amino acids) with excessive organic worth (your physique can take in and use all of those amino acids), which signifies that they comprise high-quality protein much like the sort you get from meat, fish, and eggs.

As beforehand reported by Males’s Well being, males ought to purpose to get between 1.2 and 1.6 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight every day; for a 185-pound man, that’s roughly 90 and 120 grams per day. And positive, you could possibly get that by chugging 4-5 scoops of whey protein powder. However relying so closely on protein shakes isn’t the perfect thought, neither is it essential.

In the event you’re at present ingesting protein shakes like they’re going out of favor, it’s most likely time to sluggish up. Keep in mind that protein shakes are dietary dietary supplements—which means they need to complement the meals in your weight-reduction plan, not substitute it altogether. (Plus, the style and texture get tremendous monotonous after some time.)

Sure protein shakes is likely to be a supply of full protein, however they’re not an entire substitute for protein-rich meals.

Questioning what number of protein shakes is an excessive amount of every day? We obtained you.

What’s in a typical protein shake?

Consider it or not, the Cambridge Dictionary lists an official definition for the time period protein shake: “a drink made by mixing protein powder (=a powder containing a substance that makes the physique develop and be robust) with milk or water.”

protein powder

Photographer, Basak Gurbuz DermanGetty Photographs

Positive, some folks may make protein shakes by mixing protein powder with liquid, fruits, greens, and different elements in a blender—however actually, that’s a smoothie.

For the sake of this dialogue, let’s use the dictionary definition. A protein shake is just a scoop of protein powder, which usually accommodates 20 to 30 grams of protein, blended with water.

Now, not all protein powders are created equal. Animal-based protein powders (like whey and casein, which come from milk) comprise all 9 important amino acids, as do some plant-based proteins, like pea protein and soy protein. In the event you’re utilizing protein powder in lieu of different protein sources, you need to go for people who comprise all of the important amino acids.

What function ought to protein shakes play in your weight-reduction plan?

“Protein shakes can present many vitamins for post-workout restoration for an energetic individual,” Megan Byrd, a a dietitian and blogger at The Oregon Dietitian. A 2018 evaluation revealed in Frontiers in Vitamin backs this up, discovering that protein supplementation pre- or post-workout can enhance each restoration and efficiency. The authors discovered that the quantity of protein wanted for this enhance diversified by individual and relying on the exercise, however usually it ranged from 20 to 40 grams.

Protein shakes can even fill gaps in your weight-reduction plan. “They’re a good way to get a lift of protein for many who do not usually get sufficient or who’re susceptible to muscle loss,” like older adults or folks with sure diseases, Byrd says.

What number of protein shakes must you eat on a median day?

Whereas there’s nothing inherently incorrect with protein shakes, ingesting too many may imply that you just’re not getting sufficient vitamins from different meals.

male athlete drinking protein shake while sitting in gym

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“In my thoughts, meals ought to come first,” Byrd says. “However, in case you have a meals intolerance or battle to get sufficient protein in your weight-reduction plan naturally, protein shakes are a good way to get a lift of protein every day.” Nevertheless, Byrd doesn’t advocate utilizing a protein shake alone to switch a meal, because the nutrient profile doesn’t come near what you need to be getting from a full meal.

“Essentially the most I might advocate to a median individual is 2 per day, just because something past that time goes to chop into your weight-reduction plan in a damaging method,” she says. In the event you work out usually and also you’re attempting to construct muscle, two protein shakes per day is loads. And if you happen to’re not that energetic, you probably don’t want a couple of protein shake per day.

In the event you’re extraordinarily energetic (a couple of exercise per day, or extraordinarily lengthy coaching classes), three protein shakes per day is likely to be acceptable, Byrd says.

The underside line? Protein shakes are dietary supplements, not meals.

Protein shakes are a handy and reasonably priced approach to up your protein consumption, and so they can actually be a part of an general nutritious diet. However bear in mind: Protein shakes aren’t meals, and also you shouldn’t be counting on them too closely.


Christine Byrne, MPH, RD, LDN, is a registered dietitian and the proprietor of Christine Byrne Vitamin, a non-public apply serving shoppers in Raleigh, NC, and nearly throughout the nation.

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