Can whey protein shakes be a meal substitute?
If you’re trying to lose weight or simply want to save some time getting ready for work in the morning, replacing a meal with a whey protein shake may seem like a very tempting idea. However, not all protein shakes are created equal, nutritionally speaking. So, it pays to do your homework and study the list of ingredients in the supplement of your choice to make sure that it will help you reach your goals.
If weight loss is your goal, using a whey protein as a meal substitute can decrease your hunger and appetite in two ways. Protein helps you to feel full for a longer period of time. It also increases the levels of appetite-reducing hormones while, at the same time, reduces the levels of the “hunger hormone”, ghrelin.
Conversely, whey protein shakes provide a high quality, highly absorbable protein for individuals who are suffering from an illness or undergoing some type of medical treatment in which gaining weight is critical.
While whey protein shakes may be a short-term solution for weight management, they can’t replace a healthy, well-balanced diet of whole foods which contain important nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and fiber needed to maintain your overall health.
Your health goals
Since most whey protein shakes contain significantly fewer calories than a full meal, drinking them as a replacement for a full meal on daily basis can aid in weight loss if that’s one of your health goals. But, in general, they contain fewer total nutrients than a complete meal, so are best used as a meal substitute on a more occasional or weekly basis.
Balance is the word that you need to keep in mind when you’re choosing meal substitute shakes. A healthy meal should consist of a good balance of protein, carbohydrates, and fats. Whey protein shakes provide a way for you to increase your daily protein consumption while being low in calories and, by themselves, are optimal for post-workout recovery because they help to repair muscle.
But, if you want to make the perfect meal substitute shake using whey protein, you’ll want to add good sources of both carbs and fats to your shake. An example of a healthy fat would be nut butters, coconut oil, or avocado. Healthy carb choices include:
- Fruits — blueberries, raspberries, bananas, mango, pineapple
- Vegetables — spinach, kale, broccoli, cucumber, other leafy greens
Your specific case
Drinking a whey protein shake as a meal substitute is a convenient way to get a healthy, low-cal meal if you’re trying to accomplish your goal of losing weight or if you need a meal on the go. And, it’s ok to drink whey protein shakes on an empty stomach, especially at breakfast, because they can help you to feel fuller throughout the day.
FlexFitPro whey isolate protein is low cal, low carb, and comes in two delicious flavors. When mixed into shake with other nutritional combinations, it can be a great addition to your regular diet and help you to start achieving your weight loss goals.