We all know protein shakes are a great way to build up your muscles and body. But have you ever wondered what the best time to drink a protein shake for meal replacement is? While many people consume protein shakes for weight loss at different times of the day, the question of when these protein shakes should be taken is still a debate.
You must first analyze your goal to determine the best time to drink protein shake. Are you trying to lose weight? Or do you want to build your muscle? Once you are clear about your end goal, it will be easy to decide when you should consume protein shakes as a meal replacement.
Meal replacement shakes can be used as breakfast replacements, during lunchtimes, or as mid-day energy boosts. Regardless of when you take these meal replacement shakes, they are a good source of energy you need for the whole day. You can take a look at the 7-day protein shake diet results for more information. We take a look at what is the best time to drink protein shakes for meal replacement.
What Is A Meal Replacement Shake
A meal replacement shake is a beverage that replaces your breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Often filled with nutrients, meal replacement shakes contain fewer calories than a proper meal. Packed and rich in nutrients, a meal replacement shake for dinner, lunch or breakfast is ideal when you know you don’t have time to cook elaborate meals. They are even high in protein, which means they fill you up without loading you with extra calories. You can take meal replacement before and after a workout, breakfast, or lunch. It depends on whether you want to lose weight or build your muscles.
Types Of Meal Replacement Shakes
There are different types of meal replacement shakes you can consume or make yourself.
SlimFast meal replacement shakes are designed to lose weight by providing your body with needed nutrients and fiber to give a ‘satiated” feeling. The difference is that SlimFast does not contain any excess sugar or calories, which might lead to weight gain. This way, you can cut calories from your diet, leading to intended weight loss.
Considered as complete meal shakes, Soylent contains all macronutrients and micronutrients your body needs to function optimally throughout the day. Depending on your routine, you can use these shakes to replace meals as you want. This means you can consume these shakes in place of your breakfast, lunch, or simply when you are in a hurry and have no time to eat a whole meal.
Self-Made Replacement Shakes
You can make these shakes by calculating your micronutrients and macronutrients needs. In addition, you can choose to mix up your desired meal replacement or protein shake for weight loss by combining ingredients such as fruit smoothies, whey, or soy protein.
How Do Meal Replacement Protein Shakes Work
Meal replacement protein shakes contain a high amount of protein, which you can substitute for your meals at breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Since these replacement shakes have fewer amounts of calories and are packed with the nutrition your body needs, they are an excellent source of gaining energy without putting on extra weight. You can opt to take meal replacement before or after a workout, during your breakfast, lunch, or even between meals.
Pros Of Meal Replacement Shakes
Packed With Nutrients
Meal replacement shakes are a way to ensure you have a healthy alternative for all those times you are too busy to make complete meals. While it might be easier to grab a bite in a restaurant when you are short on time, the options available are not nutritious and may load up more calories than meal replacement shakes.
Rich In Fiber
Meal replacement shakes are often high in fiber content, which gives you the feeling of being satiated and full. In addition to that, they help with healthy digestion, so you don’t feel bloated. Fiber is effective to improve your digestive health and these meal replacement shakes are filled with fiber to ensure no indigestion occurs.
Contain Low Calories
If you want to lose weight, consuming meal replacement shakes is an ideal option. Since these shakes contain low calories and are rich in fiber, they can help you lose weight without feeling drained or hungry.
Lead To Weight Loss
According to proven research, meal replacement shakes can aid in weight loss, as they are high in protein and low in calories. A person seeking a healthy alternative to regular meals can get all the required nutrients without piling up the calories.
Cons Of Meal Replacement Shakes
May Contain Artificial Ingredients
Most of the time, meal replacement shakes contain many artificial ingredients as they are processed, especially in powder. These synthetic ingredients are also included to preserve the product. Moreover, many of these shakes contain excessive sugar for a better taste.
It Might Not Have The Right Quality
Some meal replacement shakes boast of being effective but does not have the desired quality. It is essential to choose meal replacement shakes with at least 3 grams of fiber, high protein, and carbohydrates in your shakes.
Side Effects Of Meal Replacement Shakes
Fiber Intake Is Reduced
Many protein replacement shakes do not contain an adequate amount of fiber, an essential component for healthy digestion. Moreover, these shakes may lack beneficial nutrients such as antioxidants which protect your body against heart and liver diseases.
Many meal replacement drinks contain whey protein from whey concentrate powder. Whey is not lactose-free and may lead to digestive discomfort if taken in large doses. Moreover, it can cause bloating and reactions in persons who are lactose-intolerant.
May Make You Gain Weight
Although meal replacement shakes are intended to make you lose weight, they can lead to weight gain if you add them on top of your regular diet. Even if you want to gain lean mass, drinking meal replacement shakes alone won’t help. You will have to work out regularly to maintain your weight.
Why Is The Timing Of Protein Shake Consumption Important?
Whether consuming protein shakes before bed, during mealtime, or between meals, it all comes down to your end goal. Taking protein before or after a workout will benefit you if you want to gain muscle mass. Some people want to know whether they can take protein shakes at night for weight loss or not. According to research, taking protein before bed effectively promotes muscle mass since protein consumed before bed is digested and absorbed, leading to increased strength and improved muscle performance. If you want to lose extra weight, taking protein shakes as a meal replacement at breakfast, lunch, or dinner may benefit you immensely.
When Is The Best Time To Take A Protein Shake For Meal Replacement
What is the best times to consume protein? The best time for consuming a protein shake is a debated topic that has attracted much speculation. It all comes down to what you want to achieve. Before you decide what time is best to take a protein shake, consider your lifestyle factor. For example, when you don’t have time to stop and take essential nutrients from a meal, consuming protein shakes will be best for you.
Protein Shake In Breakfast
If you intend to lose extra weight, the best time is drinking protein in the morning. Protein taken at breakfast can reduce levels of a hunger hormone called Ghrelin as well as increase levels of hormones that make you feel satiated. You will successfully achieve your weight loss goal by consuming a protein shake for breakfast, followed by a nutritious lunch and dinner combined with adequate physical activity. Drinking protein shake in the morning is one of the best time!
Protein Shake Before Exercise
Many endurance athletes consume protein shakes before exercise to maintain their energy levels during exercise. Studies have shown that consuming protein before exercise can improve overall endurance and performance while minimizing muscle damage.
Protein Shake After Exercise
According to the dietician’s suggestions, the optimal time for a protein shake is after exercise. Here, the type of consumed protein matters more than the timing. Whey, one of the two proteins found in milk, is preferred after exercise because it is absorbed quickly. The best time for whey protein is after a rigorous workout routine. Taking a protein shake containing whey protein post-workout can boost energy, increase muscular strength and help to gain nutrients lost during workouts.
Protein Shake Before Bed
There are certain benefits of taking protein shakes before bed. Consuming protein before bed can improve overnight muscle synthesis and enhance skeletal muscle performance. But you may want to choose the type of protein you ingest before bed. Casein is digested more slowly than whey protein, which means your body can benefit from higher amino acid levels for up to five hours. One of the best times to have protein shake is just before bed!
Hopefully, we answered your queries about when to drink protein shakes!
How Many Protein Shakes Should You Take In A Day
Protein shakes are a healthy and convenient way to increase your protein intake. But remember, while protein shakes can be a part of a healthy diet, they are not complete meals but mere supplements. This is why taking two protein shakes in a day, as consuming more than that is likely to affect your diet negatively.
Nevertheless, the number of protein shakes you should take in a day depends on two things:
- Your body mass
- Your physical activities and your routine
If you are active and go to the gym daily, two protein shakes are enough to build your body mass. In case you want to lose weight, supplementing protein shakes at mealtimes twice daily would be enough for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
A meal replacement shake is an ideal drink to replace your meals. For weight loss, you can consume a protein shake as a meal replacement during breakfast, lunch, or dinner. But if you are an athlete, drinking a meal replacement shake before and after a workout will suit you best. However, it is essential to remember that the best time to drink protein shakes for meal replacement are just “replacements.” They do not contain the nutrients in whole meals and won’t provide all the nutrients in a healthy and well-balanced diet.