PROTEIN POWDER FOR WEIGHT LOSS: A BEGINNERS GUIDE
So, you’ve heard that protein shakes and smoothies are great for weight loss and you’re about to dive deep into a rabbit hole of low-calorie protein powders and an endless selection of delicious recipes. But before you swap out your lunch for a banana protein smoothie, be sure you know how to avoid a calorie blowout, so you’re not affecting your weight loss efforts. Whilst protein shakes can provide a suitable meal replacement and can keep you feeling fuller for longer periods, knowing how to manage the ingredients is crucial.
Despite the fact that you may be filling your blender with healthy elements such as fruits and nut butters, you could still be doing more harm than good if weight loss is the aim. If too many calories are consumed, you could be adding on a bunch of unnecessary calories or undoing all the hard work that you’ve put in at the gym. On the contrary, if you are not adding enough of the right ingredients and balancing your macronutrients, you could be left feeling hungry and end up snacking in between meals. The aim is to provide an adequate mix of macronutrients to keep you feeling full and satisfied.
In this blog, we’re going to look at what’s the best protein powder for weight loss, why adding a protein powder into your daily diet can help you lose weight, and how to create delicious protein shakes and smoothies that will help you reach your weight loss goals.
Some of the key nutrients we will look at in detail, to help create a protein drink that helps with weight loss include:
- healthy fats
HOW IS PROTEIN GOOD FOR WEIGHT LOSS?
Using protein powder daily can help with weight loss if used correctly, along with consuming a healthy, well-balanced diet. It’s important to still eat whole foods regularly, to look after both your physical and mental well-being. Remember, creating healthy habits is essential!
Protein is considered the most hunger-reducing macronutrient and using it as a meal replacement—such as having a protein smoothie for breakfast or a protein shake throughout the day—can minimise your cravings and need for snacks quite significantly. The benefit of using a protein powder is that whilst it can help you to lose weight, it also helps to build and maintain lean muscle mass.
WHAT IS THE BEST PROTEIN POWDER FOR WEIGHT LOSS?
Figuring out which protein powder is best for weight loss can be a daunting task and with so many brands and options on the market, choosing the right protein powder for you can be as overwhelming as starting your weight loss journey.
If you are looking to lose weight, opt for a protein supplement free from artificial colours, flavours and preservatives. Unnecessary fillers will not only drive up your protein shake or smoothie's calorie count, but they may also lead to sugar cravings throughout the day. Adding protein powder into your smoothie is an effective way of ensuring satiety and provides a meal replacement that will keep you feeling fuller for longer. When combined with the right ingredients, it will help send signals to your brain that you’re not hungry and will help keep your sugar levels stable.
In addition to choosing a clean product, you should consider your dietary requirements. Vegan protein powders offer a suitable alternative for vegans, vegetarians, and those who are lactose intolerant or experience digestive issues when consuming a dairy-based protein.
If you’re wanting to enjoy daily protein shakes to help you lose weight, Happy Way’s protein powders are a great supplement choice. They’re not only filled with tonnes of vitamins and minerals, but they also contain all of the essential amino acids that are necessary to maintain healthy bodily function—which makes them a complete protein.
Using a protein supplement for weight loss that contains all 9 essential amino acids will assist with controlling weight as they’re absorbed rapidly by the muscles in our bodies, rather than being broken down by the liver. This provides a great source of energy during exercise, enabling you to train for longer periods, resulting in the loss of weight and a decrease in fat.
Happy Way protein powders are also 100% natural and filled with high-quality raw superfoods and antioxidants. They’re also made without any artificial flavours, preservatives or sweeteners, which means they provide optimal health benefits for both your physical and mental well-being. Our whey protein is sourced from NZ pasture-fed cows, and our vegan varieties are made with a plant-based blend of rice and pea protein or hemp protein. They all use a combination of certified organic and organically grown ingredients and are also considered gluten-free.
ARE THERE ANY SIDE EFFECTS WHEN USING PROTEIN POWDER FOR WEIGHT LOSS?
Incorporating protein powder into your daily routine can help you to lose weight, but it shouldn’t be looked at as a ‘magic weight loss powder’—it needs to be consumed along with a healthy diet and regular physical activity. Whilst a higher intake of protein can allow you to eat fewer calories and not leave you feeling hungry, having an excessive amount of protein and not burning calories through exercise can affect your weight-loss efforts.
When using a protein supplement for weight loss, it’s important to ensure you’re balancing your diet with the necessary vitamins and nutrients gained from whole foods. Being mindful that you’re getting enough fibre and nutrients from fruits and vegetables will help to maintain regular bowel and digestive health, preventing constipation.
LET’S TALK PROTEIN SMOOTHIES FOR WEIGHT LOSS, MACRONUTRIENTS AND MEAL REPLACEMENTS.
If you are using protein powders for weight loss and as a substitute for a daily meal, your smoothies should aim to have the following mix of nutrients:
- 5-10 grams of fibre
- 15-20 grams of protein
- 40-50 grams of carbohydrates
- 10-15 grams of healthy fats
LET’S TALK FIBRE
Fibre is one of the most important ingredients to add to your smoothies and shakes if weight loss is the result you’re looking for. Not only is it beneficial for heart health and digestive health, but fibre also works to help stabilise your blood sugar levels and will leave you feeling fuller for longer. Not sure where to start? The below sources are packed full of wholesome sources of fibre.
Hemp seeds and protein powders combined pack a punch when it comes to weight loss benefits. A single serving of hemp seeds offers 8 grams of fibre and between 15-20 grams of protein. The added benefits include magnesium, which will help your muscles relax post-workout, and mood-boosting omega-3 fatty acids.
Don’t let the size fool you because chia seeds are amongst the healthiest and hardest working seeds on the planet. Not only are they packed full of fibre—6 grams per tablespoon—but they’re also filled with protein, helping to satisfy your food cravings for longer periods. Chia seeds also help flush out toxins from your system and speed up the weight loss process.
GREENS & VEGETABLES
Leafy greens contain around 5-6 grams of fibre per 2 cups. They’re also a great way to fill your protein smoothie with nutrients and vitamin-rich ingredients that are low in calories. Spinach, kale, leafy greens, salad and even green herbs all make for a great fibre addition to your smoothie.
LET’S TALK CARBOHYDRATES
When we think of carbohydrates we often think of starchy sources such as bread and pasta, which is why this word receives a bad reputation in the realm of weight loss. However, carbohydrates are in fact in everything that we eat—our fruits and vegetables included. As an example, a cup of chopped fruit usually contains anywhere between 15-20 grams of carbohydrates. What’s important to recognise is that not all sources of carbohydrates are made equal, and that complex and wholesome sources can in fact support your weight loss journey.
As the backbone of many smoothie recipes, bananas form a staple in many fitness devotees diets. However, when it comes to shedding kilos or weight management, bananas are not the favoured fruit! But contrary to popular belief, they can in fact aid in weight loss. Studies have found that bananas not only help reduce bloat and belly fat but they’re also packed full of potassium which helps reduce water retention. Also, a good source of fibre, a banana in your smoothie will help keep you feeling fuller for longer, cutting out the need to snack.
Oats are also a great way to add carbohydrates into your protein smoothie, with half a cup containing around 27 grams of carbohydrates. Oats are not only packed full of fibre and are low in calories, but they’re also a great source of protein and will help you feel full and satisfied after your smoothie.
It’s easy to see why a delicate balance of macronutrients is required when you’re making a protein smoothie to help with weight loss. Combining both a banana, oats and fruits can easily bump up the carbohydrates and lead to a calorie blowout. However, carbohydrates are necessary if you are looking to use a protein shake or smoothie as a meal replacement, and you don't want to be left feeling hungry, flat and more importantly, grumpy throughout the day.
LET’S TALK HEALTHY FATS
Almond butter is a weight loss superstar! While it may be tempting to assume that fats lead to weight gain, healthy fats such as almond butter can in fact help keep you feeling fuller for longer periods without contributing to weight gain. Packed full of fat-burning compounds that limit the amount of fat absorbed by the body, almond butter passes through the digestive system largely unabsorbed. Moreover, almond butter is packed full of protein which will help contribute to lean muscle mass.
When it comes to high achievers, avocado takes the crown. While avocados are high in calories—a medium-sized avocado contains around 350 calories and 30 grams of fat—they’re packed full of monounsaturated and oleic fats, which all work to help reduce belly fat. Moreover, avocados are known for their appetite suppressing qualities, with studies linking regular consumption to an overall lower calorie intake. A study published by the Nutrition Journal found that individuals who consumed half an avocado every day reported a 40% decrease in appetite throughout the day. If that’s not enough to make it a diet staple, avocados also help to boost metabolism and increase endurance during exercise, making it the perfect addition to your pre-workout shake or smoothie.
LET’S TALK SUGAR
When it comes to the sugar content of your smoothie, it’s important to track the fruits you are adding to your smoothie combo! Low sugar fruits include raspberries, strawberries, blackberries and kiwi, all of which have between 5-10 grams of sugar per cup.
Although it may be tempting to add honey, dates and even dried fruits into your smoothie, these healthy albeit calorie-dense additions can easily drive up the calorie count. Just one Medjool date contains 16 grams of sugar, whilst a tablespoon of honey contains around the same amount. These two ingredients alone can account for your entire sugar allowance, meaning you wouldn’t be able to include a banana or any additional fruits in your smoothie, without going over your recommended intake.
WHAT ARE SOME GOOD PROTEIN DRINKS FOR WEIGHT LOSS?
To make a nutritious protein drink—whether it be a smoothie with whey protein powder or a vegan protein shake for weight loss—is super simple! Protein shakes and smoothies are an efficient way to ensure you’re meeting your daily protein requirements and are made with minimal fuss—perfect for post-workout or as an easy on-the-go breakfast!
There are so many ways to incorporate protein powder into your diet and at Happy Way, we’re always creating delicious recipes that not only taste amazing but provide the body with a tonne of nutritional benefits.
For a protein shake, simply add a scoop of your favourite Happy Way protein powder to a shaker, and combine with ice, chilled H2O, or your milk of choice. If you’d prefer a protein smoothie to help with your weight loss goals, you can be a little bit adventurous and change up anything from the fruits, liquid or flavoured protein powder added, to create a different meal in a cup each time! At Happy Way, some of our favourite protein smoothies for weight loss include our Super Green Protein Smoothie, Banana Bread Smoothie and our Ultimate Energy Boosting Smoothie.
For a selection of delicious Happy Way recipes subscribe to our YouTube channel!
HOW MUCH PROTEIN SHOULD I HAVE FOR WEIGHT LOSS?
There are no strict rules as to how many protein shakes or smoothies you should have per day. However, it’s important to understand that consuming more protein each day than what’s recommended won’t help you build more muscle or lose weight faster. Your body can only use a limited amount of protein at any given time—the rest will be naturally excreted from the body or stored as glycogen and fat.
It’s recommended that women 19 years and over have 46 grams of protein daily and 56 grams for men of the same age. Happy Way protein powders offer approximately 21 grams of protein per 30 gram serve and around 70 grams of protein per 100 gram serve.
It’s important to take the recommended dosage on the packaging or seek advice from a healthcare professional if you’re unsure if protein powder is suitable for you and your diet.
WHEN’S THE BEST TIME TO DRINK A PROTEIN SHAKE FOR WEIGHT LOSS?
When it comes to using a protein powder for weight loss, it’s important to consider the best time to have it throughout the day, to ensure you’re getting the maximum benefits. We recommend having a protein shake or smoothie roughly 30-45 minutes prior to exercise, which will help to boost energy levels and therefore allow you to burn more calories.
Consuming a protein shake or smoothie within 30 minutes post-workout will provide the body with essential amino acids that will help promote muscle growth, as well as aid in muscle repair. This will allow your body to rest and recover well, which is ideal for those that have weight loss goals and want to train frequently.
New to the smoothie and shake world? Not sure how to make delicious protein drinks to help with weight loss? Read some of our tips and tricks below, to help you create delicious protein shakes and smoothies every time!
- When making a protein shake or smoothie, ensure you add your Happy Way protein powder after your liquid of choice (water, milk, yoghurt etc).
- Invest in a good blender, bullet or protein shaker bottle and blend or shake all your ingredients together well. This will help you get a good consistency and flavour.
- If you’re using a shaker bottle, choose one with a mesh screen or metal ball whisk as this will help keep out the lumps.
- Get adventurous with the ingredients in your smoothies! Follow our tips from this blog to ensure you’re creating protein drinks that help with your weight loss goals, but try adding nuts, fruits, oats and of course Happy Way protein powders, to create nutritious smoothies you can enjoy at home, work and on the run.