Manufacturers of protein shakes may claim that their products help decrease body fat or promote weight loss, but protein shakes aren't a magic bullet for weight loss.
Replacing meals with protein shakes may help you reduce your daily calories, which can help you lose weight. But eventually you will need to start eating solid food again, which may cause excess weight to return if you don't choose wisely. And if you rely too heavily on protein shakes to replace regular meals, you'll miss out on the nutritional benefits of whole foods.
Since protein contains calories, consuming too much can actually make losing weight more difficult — especially if you drink protein shakes in addition to your usual diet, and you're not exercising.
The average adult needs 46 to 56 grams of protein a day, depending on weight and overall health. As long as you're eating a healthy diet, adding extra protein — either through protein shakes or other sources — isn't necessary.
Remember, the key to losing weight is burning more calories than you consume. Choose healthy foods — such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean sources of protein — and include physical activity in your daily routine.
April 13, 2018
- Dennis EA, et al. Beverage consumption and adult weight management: A review. Eating Behaviors. 2009;10:237.
- Bertenshaw EJ, et al. Dose-dependent effects of beverage protein content upon short-term intake. Appetite. 2009;52:580.
- Looney SM, et al. Behavioral lifestyle intervention in the treatment of obesity. Health Services Insights. 2013;6:15.
- Koohkan S, et al. The impact of a weight reduction program with and without meal-replacement on health related quality of life in middle-aged obese females. BMC Women's Health. 2014;14:45.
- 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines. Accessed April 5, 2018.
- AskMayoExpert. Weight management (adult). Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2017.
- Colditz GA. Healthy diet in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Feb. 16, 2015.
- Zeratsky KA (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Feb. 18, 2015.
- Kjolaek L, et al. Protein supplements after weight loss do not improve weight maintenance compared with recommended dietary protein intake despite beneficial effects on appetite sensation and energy expenditure: A randomized, controlled, double-blinded trial. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2017;106:684.