There are lots of vegetarians and vegans out there – like me – and we often consider using whey protein for weight loss. Why? Because all of the weight loss research concludes that the more muscle we have, the easier it is to be lean. And if you don’t eat animal products, whey protein drinks are a great way to get protein. But in fact, whey protein and weight loss are NOT kissing cousins – some weight lifters use whey protein to GAIN weight. Horrors!
What, Exactly, Is A Whey Protein Supplement?
Whey protein products are derived from milk and are marketed in a powder form. Yeah, I know – I’m a vegan and technically whey protein powders aren’t vegan. So, I cheat! I love my whey protein shakes and they’re great for protein so I drink them anyway. Whey protein mix can be added to milk, juice or water – keep in mind that, if you’re a calorie counter, the milk or juice adds extra calories. I never use juice in my drinks because I don’t want all that extra sugar.
Benefits Of Whey Protein
Obviously, the biggest benefit is the extra protein. No protein = weak or little muscle. The more muscle we have, the more fat we burn just to exist and go through our daily lives.
If you do strength training, as I do, the extra protein makes my workouts more effective.
Some folks add their whey protein powders to baked products to raise the protein content.
They’re "friendly" to our health and any weight loss effort. The one I use has:
104 calories per serving …
Only 6 calories are from fat …
A serving is 27.5 grams, only 8 of which are carbohydrate …
16 grams of protein …
They’re e-a-s-y to prepare …
The powders are inexpensive …
The one I use is absolutely delicious, which is no small thing …
My Favorite Whey Protein Recipe
I’ve given my favorite shake recipe elsewhere on this site, but here it is again:
One serving of my chocolate whey protein mix
8 ounces of almond milk (you can use any kind of milk, of course)
1 cup of cherries
1 envelope of stevia
Throw it all in my vitamix and yum, yum, yum! A guilt-free, chocolate-cherry shake that "costs" less than 250 calorie, is healthy and promotes weight loss.
Whey Protein For Weight Loss – Or Weight Gain?
Some folks focus totally on whey proteins benefits and forget about the calories – leading to weight gain, rather than weight loss. Start throwing in tons of high sugar fruits, yogurt, honey or sugar, etc. – and you have a nice way to gain weight.
It’s also important to note that some people, desperate to lose weight, have simply eliminated all food except for a serving of whey protein powder, mixed with water, as a meal replacement twice or three times a day. This is definitely not a good idea. Taking in only 300 calories or so a day is very detrimental to your health. Having said that, though, I am surprised that so many pay a much higher cost for products like "Slim Fast"? The cost of these whey protein drink powders is much less and you can create your own flavors if you don’t happen to be a chocolate~cherry freak, like I am.
The Verdict On Whey Protein & Weight Loss
Simply drinking whey protein products may not help you lose weight – although they can be a great assistant – if you replace one meal a day with a shake. But these drinks absolutely will increase your protein which can increase your muscle. More muscle ==> burn more fat ==> lose weight.