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Four Things to Know About Protein Shakes
Many weight-loss regimens swear by the wonderful elixirs known as protein shakes. Here’s a basic rundown of why protein shakes can be part of an effective program.
1. Losing weight is (mostly) about intake. The key to losing weight is burning more calories than you consume. There are two ways to accomplish this: reduce the number of calories you take in or burn calories through physical activity. By filling in for certain meals, protein shakes can reduce your total calorie intake, thus helping you lose weight.
2. Protein shakes can help with your diet. Protein (and exercise, for that matter) reduces levels of the hunger-stimulating hormone ghrelin, resulting in a lower appetite. This gives you a longer-lasting full feeling that can help stave off cravings for foods high in sugar and fat.
3. Whey pairs well with workouts. Protein shakes can also help you burn calories more effectively. Though they can be made of soy or casein powder, protein shakes most commonly consist of whey combined with flavoring and blended with ice and water into a milkshake-like consistency. Why whey, which Ms. Muffet relied on to shape her tuffet? Because it dissolves easily in water and functions as a complete protein, meaning it contains all nine amino acids essential to human health. One of the chief jobs of amino acids is to repair and build muscle, so whey can help make muscle leaner—which means a faster metabolic rate and an increased ability to burn calories.
4. Protein shakes are not a substitute for healthy eating. Merely increasing your protein intake—whether it’s via shakes or whole foods—will not lead to weight loss alone. As always, an effective weight-loss program combines healthy eating and exercise.