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Mailbag: Protein shakes to lose weight or build muscle?

December 5th, 2008

What have you heard about protein shakes?

What have you heard about protein shakes?

Dear AllStarHealth,

One thing I’m still confused about with protein shakes is whether they are going to make you slimmer or bulkier?

Thanks,

Shireen

Dear Shireen,

It’s not really as simple as that; protein shakes won’t make you slimmer or bulkier just by virtue of you drinking them; that depends on your exercise habits and what else is in your overall diet.  Protein shakes don’t make you or break you in terms of weight gain or weight loss – you’ve got to be doing other things, too – but they’re still a good idea regardless of which direction you want to go:

1) People who are dieting to lose weight use protein shakes to help preserve their muscle and lean body mass, so that any weight they lose comes mostly from body fat.

2) People weight training for muscle strength and size use protein shakes to help build muscle.

But even if you’re not concerned with weight or building muscle, and no matter how you exercise, and even if you don’t exercise you still need your protein for health.  Protein shakes give you a lot of high quality protein, all the protein of a big sit-down meal, but at a fraction of the calories.  So nearly everyone can benefit from them and that’s why they’re so popular.

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