Is Protein Powder Good for Weight Loss?

Is Protein Powder Good for Weight Loss?

Jason Nista
5 minute read

Is Protein Powder Good For Weight Loss?

You may have encountered various fad diets and weight loss products in your fitness journey. You then wonder which ones are worth a try. Then, you heard about protein powders. Are they worth the try? Is protein powder good for weight loss?

In this article, you’ll get to know more about protein powder and its role in weight loss. Perhaps, this might be your next diet must-have.

What Is Protein Powder? 

Protein powder is popular among athletes and bodybuilders to build muscle and improve performance. 

This dietary supplement is made from the extraction of protein from either animal or plant sources. The process of protein isolation removes other nutrients such as carbohydrates, fats, minerals, and fiber from the finished product.

What Are The Different Types of Protein Powder? 

Animal protein powder 

Whey protein

Processed from cow’s milk, whey is known for its role in building muscle and helping the body recover following strenuous exercise. 

Casein protein

Also extracted from the same source as whey, casein makes up 80% of cow’s milk. Compared with whey, casein is digested more slowly and is ideal for consumption before fasting states such as sleeping. 

Plant-based protein powder 

Pea protein

Made from yellow split peas, this protein powder is packed with essential amino acids (EAA) and minerals. It is beneficial for building muscle, weight loss, and protection from cardiovascular diseases (CVD). 

Brown rice protein

Brown rice powder is rich in EAAs and branched-chain amino acids. It is known to help lower lipid levels and speeds up metabolism.

Soy protein

Soy protein is another excellent source of EAAs and is known for many health benefits, such as protection against CVDs and some types of cancers. Research also suggests its role in weight loss. 

Hemp protein

This plant protein is derived from the seeds of a cannabis plant called hemp, which is high in protein. Once the shells are removed, hemp seeds can be eaten whole or ground into a powder.

Is Protein Powder Good For Weight Loss? 

Protein foods, in general, contribute to satiety which is why these are commonly recommended by nutritionists to be included in meals. Individuals with weight goals can benefit from the use of protein powder to help shed some extra pounds. 

A review of various studies shows how whey protein powder can improve the body weight of obese and overweight individuals. Similarly, a study placing individuals on a calorie-reduced diet supplemented with protein powder reduced fat mass while maintaining lean muscle mass.

However, overusing protein powder can result in adverse health consequences such as weight gain and kidney problems. 

How Do Protein Powders Work? 

1. It controls appetite

A meta-analysis showed that high-protein meals promote satiety. It was also revealed that adequate protein in the diet can help control blood sugar levels post meals. In addition, protein intake helps regulate ghrelin, a hormone responsible for signaling the body when it is time to eat. You may think of it as a “hunger hormone.” 

If your intake of natural protein sources is lacking, consuming protein powders can help suppress your appetite. These can help you control your caloric intake and curb those unhealthy food cravings that only lead to weight gain. 

2. It builds muscle

The goal of a healthy weight loss is losing only the excess fats in the body and not the muscle. A scientific review points out how whey protein powder improves body weight while preserving lean muscle mass. This could be beneficial for obese and overweight individuals looking for a way to healthily lose weight. 

A systematic review further supports the role of protein powders in increasing muscle gains and improving muscle strength among individuals doing resistance training. The older population can also benefit from protein powders, as suggested by studies. The elderly have increased protein needs, poor intake of food, and little physical activity. Thus, protein supplementation can help them prevent muscle loss. 

3. It speeds up metabolism 

There is a reason why protein is coined as an “expensive nutrient.” Compared with carbohydrates, protein takes much more time to digest and uses more energy to be broken down into amino acids. 

Protein boosts the thermic effect of food. This refers to the calories burned during the process of food digestion. The more calories are burned, the higher the calorie deficit. When more calories are expended than consumed, weight loss is sure to follow. Consuming protein powder can help speed up metabolism and help one lose weight. 

How To Use Protein Powder For Weight Loss

The best time to consume protein supplements depends on one’s health goals and lifestyle. For those aiming to lose weight, consuming protein drinks in the morning is recommended. A study showed that consuming whey protein before breakfast helps decrease caloric intake during lunch meals among the younger population.  

Similarly, protein powder can also be used as a healthy snack alternative. Researchers suggest that high-protein snacks can promote satiety and prevent the consumption of heavy meals, therefore, reducing caloric intake. For those with goals of building muscle, it is good to consume protein beverages before or after a workout. 

Take Away 

You can try protein powders and add them to your weight loss diet regimen. You can choose from many types of protein powder, depending on your preference. As backed up by science, protein powder can be used for weight loss by controlling the appetite, building muscle, and speeding up the metabolism. You may consider consulting a nutritionist-dietitian for the best time for you to consume protein supplements. 

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