Protein shakes improve weight gain in athletes and bodybuilders. Therefore, many ignore or push them aside as being counterproductive to someone on a weight loss diet. Believe it or not, there are plenty of proven benefits of protein shakes that can help to amp up your diet and bring about better results. In this article, we will provide you with 10 of those proven benefits to help you achieve greater overall wellness.
10 Benefits of Protein Shakes that Amp Up Your Diet
1. Cardiovascular Health
Cardiovascular health is of the highest importance among most people and achieving cardiovascular health through protein shakes is one of its benefits. Australian studies indicated that cholesterol, blood pressure, and arterial issues are significantly improved through the consumption of whey protein shakes by overweight test subjects on a daily basis.
2. Treatment of Asthma
Though it might seem odd to some, protein shakes also have a positive effect on the treatment of asthma. A study conducted at the Montreal Children’s Hospital in Canada showed that the cytokine response, which boosts immunity, increased in children suffering from atopic asthma. Moreover, it improved the asthma symptoms.
3. Builds Muscle
Building muscle, to most dieters, seems counterproductive to weight loss. However, the true goal is reducing body fat content, and protein shakes are beneficial when it comes to that goal. Separate Canadian studies analyzed individuals utilizing whey protein as a means of building muscle and reducing overall body fat. Consequently, they saw greater benefits than those who used soy proteins.
4. Helps Burn Calories
Protein shakes have a thermogenic effect which helps to burn calories. Lactoferrin produced through consumption of whey protein had a significant impact on sustained weight loss and fat reduction while not causing a reduction in energy in the test subjects of a University of Calgary experiment.
5. Aids in Treatment of Diabetes
Another benefit associated with the consumption of protein shakes come in the treatment of type 2 diabetes. In a Swedish study, the consumption of whey protein along with meals helped to moderate blood sugar levels and reduced insulin resistance in test subjects consuming a meal with a high intake of carbohydrates.
6. Fights Cravings
Food cravings usually occur as a result of too much of the hunger-stimulating hormone, ghrelin, in your system. Research conducted in Australia noted that the consumption of protein shakes with whey protein helped to reduce ghrelin, extend the length of time before hunger cravings returned as well as reducing their intensity.
7. Boosts Antioxidants
People often associate chronic diseases and cancer with oxidative stress in the body. The production of glutathione, which is enhanced by the consumption of protein shakes, helps to reduce oxidative stress and boost antioxidants. Canadian test subjects who took a high concentration of whey protein observed an enhancement in the production of glutathione and oxidative stress.
8. Fights Inflammation
Another contributor to chronic diseases and health issues is inflammation and protein shakes have been shown to be a benefit to fighting this issue as well. Chinese researchers found that higher concentrations of protein administered to their test subjects resulted in reducing the inflammation marker known as C-reactive protein (CRP), which resulted in a decrease in inflammatory response as well.
9. Weight Loss
Due to their thermogenic and muscle building properties, which we mentioned earlier, protein shakes also provide additional benefits to overall weight loss. Research conducted at Minnesota Applied Research Center showed that reduced body fat mass was associated with the dietary reduction of 60 grams of carbohydrates (500 calories) and substituting 60 grams of whey protein, but did not reduce overall muscle mass and energy output.
10. Treatment of IBS and IBD
Yogurt, kefir and other fermented milk products have become highly touted for their effects on digestive health, especially those related to inflammatory bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) or Chron’s disease. You can find the same reasons that these products benefit digestive health in protein shakes. Given whey protein along with glutamine, subjects in an Indian experiment indicated an improvement in intestinal permeability as well as overall intestinal morphology resulting in a reduction of inflammatory effects.
A Note of Caution
Not all protein shakes are created equal. Most of the benefits we listed above come from whey-based protein shakes. If you want to obtain the best results, read the labels and understand the source of the protein in a shake. Moreover, remember to check its added sugars and preservatives. Additionally, keep in mind that not everybody makes good use of it. Some people have significant allergic reactions to whey proteins or have an intolerance to it in high concentrations. In such cases, these issues may lead to the following:
- stomach pain or cramps;
- significantly reduced appetite;
- cause or contribute to acne.
As with all refined products, processing involves some risks. However, it’s good to be diligent in searching for products that resemble their original form. As much as possible, try to do so and you can reduce those risks.
The benefits you gain from protein shakes can have a significant impact on your overall health, but they are not all-inclusive cures. Following the advice and treatment of a health care professional, especially when it comes to critical issues of a cardiovascular nature, diabetes, and obesity, is still your best option for overall health.
Some Final Thoughts
In general, people connect protein shakes with weight gain in athletes and bodybuilders. However, we have seen that there are additional dietary benefits you can find in them. If you are looking for ways to improve your overall health it is good to take advantage of the benefits of protein shakes. You can do so in regard to any of the above issues or conditions, as a part of your overall wellness. Additionally, if you know other proven benefits not included above or have questions or comments concerning those we listed, please be sure to add them to the section provided below.
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