3 Mistakes That Make Your Protein Shakes Unhealthy
Our bodies need protein every day, to keep us going. Without the right levels of protein, our bodies can't put together the structures that make up our cells, tissues, and organs, and neither can they generate the biochemical substances that are essential for cardiovascular function, muscle contraction, growth, and healing. While most of us can get sufficient protein for our daily needs from food, unless we are top athletes or body-builders, our busy lifestyles don’t always allow us time for proper meals, and this is where Protein Shakes can come in very handy.
However, it is easy to turn a healthy Protein Shake into a health disaster and undo all the good things that you are trying to achieve. To avoid this, follow our three great tips further down to make sure that your Protein Shake gives you all the benefits you are looking for.
To start with, decide WHY you are taking a Protein Shake, as this will have a bearing on the different products available on the market today. Most Protein Shakes are taken for one of four reasons:
- Muscle gain: When it comes to gaining muscle, adapting your diet is just as important as putting in those hours at the gym. Protein is the only macronutrient that contributes to the both the development and the maintenance of muscle mass.
- Weight loss: Protein is the most filling of all nutrients, which means that it can suppress your appetite, helping you to feel fuller for longer. This can be a beneficial aid to weight and fat loss.
- Recovery after exercise: Drinking a protein shake directly after a workout can significantly improve your recovery rate, as well as supporting muscle development, rehydrating your body and restore glycogen levels.
- Meal replacement: Missing meals may not only badly affect your health by depriving your body of essential nutrients, but it can also slow down your metabolism. Using a meal replacement Protein Shake can avoid these negative effects on your body.
Once you have decided on the reasons why you are going to use Protein Shakes, avoid these common mistakes to ensure that you get the most out of your Protein Shakes.
1. Choosing the wrong protein for your Protein Shake!
Before deciding to start adding Protein Shakes to your daily routine, spend some time looking at the different options. Protein Powders come in different forms, the most common being Whey, Soy and Rice Protein Powder. Others that are regularly used are Pea, and Hemp. Whey is still by far the most common Protein Powder, but as more and more people find that they are suffering from various allergies and intolerances, it is key to make sure that you are not one of those, otherwise your “healthy” Protein Shake will make you feel bed, as your body tries to cope with the effects of this dairy-based product.
Rice Protein Powder, such as Rice Protein Isolate, is a safer option in this instance. Derived from Brown Rice, this plant-based Protein Powder is also ideal for vegetarian and vegan lifestyles. It has a neutral, clean taste, making it ideal to add to a variety of fruit and vegetables for a great Protein Shake.
2. Turning your Protein Shake into a full-fat Milkshake!
Many of us start out with the best of intentions, but are soon tempted by the myriad of delicious recipes that can be found on the internet for any number of shakes or smoothies. Before you know it, you have added some sweetened almond butter, some milk, some high-sugar fruit or a scoop of two of full-fat ice-cream! Unless you are actively looking to gain weight, this can have exactly the opposite effects of what you are trying to achieve. Where possible, go for raw, natural or unsweetened ingredients, and beware of recipes that have more than a handful of different ingredients in them too, so you can keep an eye on what you are drinking.
3. Expecting too much from your Protein Shake!
While Protein Shakes are a great way to top up your protein intake, they are not the answer to life, the universe, and everything (with apologies to Douglas Adams). In themselves, they will not make a significant difference to your life. You still need to see them as part of a healthy lifestyle, or a balanced workout regime. Filling yourself up with only Protein Shakes will eventually mean you don’t get enough other nutrients, and you could end up piling on the pounds too. Equally, your Protein Shake will not be as effective when taken at the wrong time. People who use their Protein Shakes as a way to recover after exercise should drink their shake ideally about 30 minutes after their training or workout, for best results. For weight loss, experts believe that a Protein Shake in the morning is a good way to wake up the body, and slow-release proteins such as Rice Protein Powder will help you feel full for longer.
Why not try this recipe for a great, low-fat, healthy Protein Shake:
•6 ice cubes
•1 cup strawberries
•1 handful blueberries (optional)
•250 ml unsweetened rice milk
•1 serving (30g) Vanilla Rice Protein Powder
Put rice milk, fruit, Rice Protein Powder and finally ice cubes in a blender and blend until well mixed. Drink immediately.
|Data based on vanilla flavour||ND Naturals WPC||Rice Protein Isolate||Pea Protein Isolate||Soy Protein Isolate||ND Natural WPI|
|Protein per serve (g)||23||23.6||24.1||25.4||26.2|
|Type of protein/s||Whey||Vegetable||Vegetable||Vegetable||Whey|
|Carbs per serve (g)||4.2||4.8||2.5||1.8||2.2|
|Fat total per serve (g)||1.3||0.6||2.0||0.4||0.6|
|Sugars per serve (g)||3.4||0.6||0.6||1.0||1.6|
|Serving Size (g)||Stevia||Stevia||Stevia||Stevia||Stevia|
|Serves per kilo||Choc, Vanilla||Choc, Vanilla, Natural||Choc, Vanilla, Natural||Choc, Vanilla, Natural||Choc, Vanilla|
|Additional Premium Ingredients||30||30||30||30||30|
|Flavours||All natural flavours and sweetener||Vegetarian, all natural flavours and sweetener||Vegetarian, all natural flavours and sweetener||Vegetarian, all natural flavours and sweetener||All natural flavours and sweetener|