Fitness goals come in all shapes and sizes - just like the people making them. Some people want to lose weight, some people want to build muscle, some people want to run fast, some people want to run a marathon. Protein powder has been popular with people wanting to gain muscle for obvious reasons - protein is the building block of muscle! The question is, can protein powder help you achieve goals other than getting swole? Let’s answer the question on everyone’s lips: can protein powder help you lose weight?
Calories in vs calories out
The basic formula for weight loss is calories in < calories out. There is a whole lot more theory behind it, but basically you have to expend more calories than you are consuming. So in theory, you could lose weight by eating only McDonalds - as long as you stuck to a daily calorie limit that was less than what you are using in your daily activities. However, this may feel like an unsatisfying amount of food, so you are better off eating high quality, nutritious food. You will feel fuller for longer and less likely to binge on your favourite foods.
All calories are not created equal
It is true that all calories provide the same amount of energy. However, the way that they behave in the body is vastly different. The human body is a highly complex machine and different foods have different effects on hunger and eating behaviour. This is where protein powder will be most beneficial for weight loss. Protein takes longer to digest than carbohydrates, and will therefore cause you to feel fuller for longer, and make it easier to consume less calories overall in a day.
This is important, because surviving a diet on willpower alone will make you more likely to give up. When it comes to weight loss, the more weapons you have in your arsenal - the better.
Muscle and metabolism
Another bodily system that will have a huge effect on your weight loss is your metabolism. Fat uses more energy at rest than muscle does. How much more? Almost double! So, when you are aiming to lose weight, you should really be aiming to lose fat and keep as much of your lean muscle mass as possible. This is another way that protein powder will assist your weight loss. Providing your muscles with adequate protein will help them stick around while your body is burning off that unwanted fat.
OK, so now we have answered a few questions about the relationship between protein powder and fat loss. Let's answer a few common questions about how protein powder will help you lose weight.
Will protein powder make me gain weight?
If you add protein shakes into your diet without changing anything else, then you may find yourself gaining weight. This is due to the calories in = calories out equation. Although not a whole lot, protein powder does contain calories. Therefore, adding it on top of your existing diet means more calories, which will lead to weight gain.
How will protein powder help me lose weight?
There are two main ways that protein powder can help you lose weight. First of all, it helps your body keep muscle while you are in a calorie deficit. This is important, because muscle burns more weight at rest than fat. You want to hold on to all that beautiful fat burning muscle! Secondly, a high protein snack will help keep you feeling fuller for longer than those carby biscuits you reach for at 3pm.
What protein powder is best for weight loss?
Put simply, the best protein powder for weight loss is the one that you like! You aren’t going to be motivated to drink your protein shake if you have to choke it down every day! The most popular protein is whey, but there are also vegan alternatives, or dairy free collagen alternatives. So, the rule of thumb is, choose one that will fit in best with your diet
In saying that, there are some rules you should follow when choosing a protein powder for weight loss. Let’s look at a few important factors and discuss which protein powder is best to help you lose weight.
Of course all protein powders are going to be high in protein, but some are better than others! Whey protein Isolate is very high in protein, but is also very fast absorbing so may not be best for that feeling of fullness that you crave. To help find a protein powder with a nice high protein content, look at grams of protein per 100g, not at grams of protein per serve. Serving sizes may vary, making it hard to compare accurately. A good benchmark for a high protein content is 70g, making it more than 70% protein.
Some protein powders have a higher calorie content than others. If you are looking for a protein powder that will help you lose weight, you want to aim for one that is low on calories. This will help you fit it into your diet and still maintain a deficit. Be careful, some protein powders are known as mass gainers, and have added carbohydrates to help you put on bulk - not what you are after if you want to lose weight. A good benchmark to aim for is between 100 and 150 calories per serve. This will make it great to use as a low calorie snack to have between meals.
Stick to water
One downfall of the classic “protein shake” is that it is made with milk. If you are aiming to use your protein powder to help you lose weight, this is a big no-no. To get the best results, mix your protein powder with water. Luckily, there are many protein powders out there that taste great with water! Our favourite is Oxywhey, which mixes up creamy with only water. There are also collagen protein powders available that mix up similar to a cordial - with no creaminess at all.
If you are looking to lose weight, getting adequate protein is a must. It will help you retain muscle and ward off cravings while you are in a calorie deficit. There are so many choices of protein powder out there that you are sure to find something that will suit you. Have a look at our collection of protein powders and take the next step in achieving your weight loss goals! And while you are there, have a look at our other supps that can aid in your fitness journey.