What is a Protein Shake?
Protein shake, to put it simply, is a shake which provides your body with a required amount of protein while limiting the amount of fats and carbohydrates according to your needs. Protein shakes are made by mixing protein powder (which can be of a variety of types, read below) with water, milk (usually low fat/skimmed) or juices.
Protein shake is widely considered the most effective way to give your body a good part of its daily need of proteins, primarily because regular diets and eating habits do not give the body all the protein that it needs.
Importance of Proteins
Proteins are the most important building blocks of the body. Proteins help a body become strong by building up muscles. We all know that a majority of the human body is made up of water. However, what most of us don’t know is that Proteins are the next most abundant molecules in our bodies after water. This fact makes proteins extremely important for the maintenance and growth of the human body.
Think about it. Any activity that the human body does involves proteins in a major way. Even while breathing, protein plays a crutial part to ensure that everything in the body functions well. The body uses protein to produce hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is the part of the red blood cells (RBC) that carries oxygen to every part of the human body. And what is the human heart, the machine behind the blood pumping mechanism of the body? You got it – it is a muscle built up of proteins.
In fact any activity that humans do involves the use of muscles in a major way. Walking, running, talking and any other activity that you can think of can only be performed with the help of the muscles.
Because proteins are so important to the human body, it is essential to keep feeding protein to the body regularly in the correct amount. And this ‘correct’ amount varies from person to person. It would be a false generalization if one were to mention a fixed amount of protein that is required by everyone. Depending on your body type and activity levels, your protein needs will be unique to you.
Types of Protein Shakes
Protein shakes are available in a variety of forms and using different types and sources of proteins. Different sources of proteins would suit different people. For example, some people might be looking for protein to be absorbed by the body quickly while others would want protein shakes that would let the body absorb proteins slowly over a period of time.
Whey Protein Shake
Whey protein shake is make using protein powder that is extracted from whey. Whey is the liquid that is created during the cheese production process. Due to its source, whey protein shakes should be avoided by people who are lactose intolerant.
The major forms of whey proteins are whey protein concentrates, whey protein isolates and whey protein hydrolysates.
Whey protein shakes made from whey protein concentrates have a low level of fats and cholestrol. Whey protein isolates do not contain any fat as the fat is removed almost completely during the whey protein isolate extraction process. Whey protein isolates have a very high percentage of proteins (typically over 90%).
Whey protein shake helps the whey proteins get absorbed very quickly by the body as the body doesn’t require a lot of time to process the proteins from whey. Because of this, it is generally taken immediately after resistance/weight training to aid effective and faster muscle rebuilding.
Casein Protein Shake
Casein protein shakes are made using protein powder that is extracted from milk. Just like with whey proteins, people who aren’t tolerant to milk products should not ingest casein and should instead use a protein shake that uses protein powders which are extracted from non milk sources.
Unlike whey proteins, which are absorbed quickly by the body, casein is absorbed by the body slowly over a longer period of time. This property encourages the use of casein protein shakes in between meals to supply the body with a constant source of protein and prevent hunger pangs.
Egg White Protein Shake
Protein shakes made with powdered egg whites are a great alternative for people intolerant to lactose or dairy sources of protein. The egg white powder is extracted from the albumen of the eggs (the transparent liquid part of the eggs).
Just like casein proteins, proteins from egg whites protein shakes are absorbed slowly over an extended period of time making egg white protein shakes a great breakfast or mid meal snack.
Rice Protein Shake
Rice protein shakes are a great source of proteins for vegetarians in particular. For some people however, the distinct taste of rice protein powder is some sort of a turn off, especially because this unique flavor is not completely masked by various flavors that rice protein powders come in.
Nevertheless, a lot of people have grown to like rice protein shakes over a period of time.
Protein Shake Recipes
Protein Shake Breakfast/Snack Recipes
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Protein Shake Lunch Recipes
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Protein Shake For Weight Loss
Protein shakes have been known to greatly and effectively help in weight loss by reducing hunger pangs and cravings for unhealthy junk food. However, protein shake by itself will not achieve anything. It needs to be accompanied by healthy eating and appropriate physical activity.
Protein Shake Side Effects
The most common side effects of protein shake arise due to the intolerance that people have for the source of the protein powder used in the protein shake. For example, people intolerant to lactose and dairy products should avoid whey protein shake and casien protein shake. Similarly, people allergic to egg whites should avoid protein shake made from powdered egg whites.
Apart from this, an increased intake of proteins by means of a protein shake should always be accompanied by a measured increase in the intake of water. The body needs additional water to break down and use up all the protein that it is getting. Lack of adequate hydration can result in kidney stones and other side effects.
Ideally, you should consult a dietitian or your doctor before you increase your protein intake via protein shake or any other means.