How Protein Shakes Help You Lose Weight and Belly Fat

Protein is an important nutrient for weight loss.

Getting enough can boost your metabolism, reduce your appetite and help you lose body fat without losing muscle.

Protein shakes are an easy way to add more protein to your diet, and have been shown to help with weight loss.

This article explains everything you need to know about protein shakes and how they affect your weight.

What Are Protein Shakes?

Protein shakes are drinks made by mixing protein powder with water, although other ingredients are often added as well.

They can be a convenient addition to the diet, especially when access to quality high-protein foods is limited.

Although most people don't need them to meet daily protein requirements, they can also be useful if you need to increase your intake for some reason.

You can buy protein powder and mix it yourself, but you can also get many different brands of pre-made liquid shakes.

Some of the most popular types of protein powder on the market are:

  • Whey protein: Quickly absorbed, dairy-based. Contains all the essential amino acids (1).
  • Casein protein: Slowly absorbed, dairy-based. Contains all essential amino acids (1).
  • Soy protein: Plant-based and contains all essential amino acids. Also contains soy isoflavones, which may provide some health benefits (2).
  • Hemp protein: Plant-based and high in omega-3 and omega-6 fats, but low in the essential amino acid lysine (3).
  • Rice protein: Plant-based and low in the essential amino acid lysine (3).
  • Pea protein: Plant-based and low in the non-essential amino acids cystine and methionine (4).

Some brands contain a mix of different types of protein powder. For example, many plant-based brands combine types to complement each other's amino acid profile.

BOTTOM LINE:Protein shakes can contain different types of protein, each with its own characteristics.

Protein Shakes Decrease Hunger and Appetite

Protein can decrease hunger and appetite in two main ways.

First, it increases levels of appetite-reducing hormones like GLP-1, PYY and CCK, while reducing levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin (5, 6, 7, 8, 9).

Second, protein helps you feel full for longer (10, 11).

In one study, a high-protein breakfast helped participants consume up to 135 fewer calorieslater in the day (12).

In another, overweight men who had been on a weight loss diet increased their protein intake to 25% of total calories. This increase cut cravings by 60% and late-night snacking by half (13).

Increasing protein intake from 15% to 30% of total calories helped participants in another study consume 441 fewer calories per day without actively trying to limit their portions (14).

What's more, by the end of the 12-week study period, they had lost an average of 11 lbs (5 kg) (14).

These shakes can be a convenient way to add extra protein to your diet. However, keep in mind that too much can still lead to excess calories.

Another study found that shakes containing 20-80 grams of protein all decreased hunger by 50-65%, regardless of the amount of protein in their shakes (15).

So if you're trying to lose weight, 20 grams per shake seems sufficient to reduce hunger.

BOTTOM LINE:Protein can decrease your appetite by affecting your hunger hormones. It can also help you feel full for longer, which can help you eat less and lose body fat.