The popularity of protein shake diet has skyrocketed in recent years and cannot be easily denied. This is evidenced by the overwhelming number of protein shake supplements found on supermarket shelves and advertisements found in many health and fitness magazines. Add to that the protein shake advocates who discovered that mixing your protein shake in a blender is not only a cheaper option but also a tastier one since they have the freedom to choose which ingredients to mix together for the shakes. Protein shake diet is founded on the idea that eating protein-rich foods leads to successful weight loss. However, is this type of diet really effective in reducing weight? If so, how exactly does it work?
For several years now, the protein shake diet fad has swept not only the United States but also many countries in Europe and even Asia. A quick glance at grocery-store shelves filled with all types of protein powders confirms the widespread appeal and popularity of this diet. There is no doubt that the diet pendulum has already swung from low-carb diet to high-protein diet.
Promoters of protein shake diet claim that such a diet triggers weight loss because protein – not carbohydrates – helps the body shed more calories. The moment this macronutrient leaves your fork, protein starts narrowing your waistline. It takes more energy to digest, metabolize, and consume foods high in protein; thus, more calories are burned trying to process them. When protein converts to glucose in a process known as gluconeogenesis, a large amount of calories are burned off.
Protein also aids in weight loss because it has a high satiety value. Compared to carbohydrates, it takes longer for proteins to leave the stomach. Because of protein’s high satiety value, it makes a person feel full faster and longer. Protein seems to act as an appetite suppressant, which can significantly curb or reduce the calories people might consume from snacks between major meals.
Additionally, protein shake diet advocates argue that such diet regimen helps people shed pounds because it triggers a state known as ketosis, whereby a person’s metabolism switches from a carbohydrate-burning metabolism to a fat-burning metabolism.
When the body is in need of energy, it always turns to stored carbohydrates first. If the required carbohydrates are not present, the body’s next option is stored fat. By limiting your intake of carbohydrates, therefore, you force your body to turn to fat for energy, which in turn leads to further weight loss. The body also begins converting protein into glucose for energy, and studies show that it takes far more energy to synthesize protein than carbohydrates and fats. The combination of burning fat and protein instead of low-carbohydrate diet is a very successful formula to rapid weight loss.
Not only do protein shake diets lead to weight loss, but they provide health benefits as well. Protein is essential to the body for normal functioning. It is the building block of almost every cell in the body and is a key component in body tissues such as blood, skin, bones, and of course, muscles. It is also responsible for building and repairing damaged tissues in the body.
Protein, just like carbohydrates and fat, is considered a macronutrient, which means the body requires large amounts of it in order to function properly. The body stores both carbohydrates and fats, but it does not store protein. It is essential, therefore, to consume foods rich in protein so as to supply the body with the nutrients it needs.