Are Protein Drinks Safe Meal Replacement Options?

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Importance of Protein

Protein is an important nutrient which helps with body growth and prevents the loss of muscle mass. It also helps in boosting the immune system and strengthens the heart and the respiratory system. Protein is also needed for healthy bone growth, not to mention healthy hair and nails.

On the whole our diets provide us with enough protein for healthy living. However, some of us don’t get the amount of protein our bodies need. When this happens, fatigue sets in and we may suffer from frequent colds or even hair loss.

High Protein Diet

What if you consume more protein than your body needs? According to Katherine Zeratsky, RD, LD, writing in the Mayo Clinic website, a diet high in protein doesn’t cause any harm for healthy people in the short term. However, in the long term, some diets high in protein may result in the insufficient intake of fiber. This could lead to certain conditions like constipation and even increase the risk of cancer.

Protein Drink Tips

With that in mind, let’s take a look at whether protein drinks are safe meal replacement solutions. According to information from livestrong.com, you can safely replace up to two meals with protein drinks for a few days. The protein drink you consume must have adequate amounts of not only protein but also carbohydrates, fat and other important nutrients.

If you intend to go on protein drinks as a meal replacement option for more than that duration, you’re advised to seek the advice of a qualified health practitioner before committing yourself. This is because protein drinks, while generally good for health, may actually contain more carbohydrates than protein, not to mention added sugars.

To prevent this, you ought to study the nutrition facts of the protein drink you intend to consume. If you’re interested in knowing how much protein you need daily, you should take your weight in pounds and multiply it by 0.36g.

Also when checking out a protein drink, you should be careful not to choose one which comes with caffeine, excessive calories or added sugars.

Protein Drinks and Weight Loss

Protein drinks are popular among those undergoing a weight loss program. Caution must be observed although protein drinks are a great help when it comes to reducing your daily calorie intake which in turn helps with weight loss. If you consume protein drinks in addition to a regular diet, you may end up taking more protein than you actually need. This increases your daily calorie intake and strikes at the core of your weight loss program. So, if you’re on a regular diet which contains an adequate amount of protein for your bodily needs, there is no reason for you to consume protein drinks.

At the end of the day, an effective weight loss program should focus on burning the calories you consume. A good way to get started is consume healthy foods like fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean sources of protein. Most importantly you have to be active physically.

So, are protein drinks a safe meal replacement option? Yes, only for the short term.

References

General information on protein - https://huhs.harvard.edu/Resources/HealthInformationByTopic/Nutrition/ProteinNutrition.aspx

Protein drinks for meal replacement - https://www.livestrong.com/article/361938-are-protein-drinks-a-safe-meal-replacement/

Information on protein drinks and weight loss - https://www.mayoclinic.com/health/protein-shakes/AN01332