Proteins are essential macronutrients, which cannot lack in daily nutrition. Fortunately, we find proteins in many foods and for this reason it is really difficult to suffer for a protein deficiency ( very popular these days…), if you follow a balanced diet.
Proteins become part of muscle mass, but they also play many other functions in our organism: they are precursors of hormones, antibodies and are enzymes that take part in all the reactions that occur in our cells.
WHAT’S MY DAILY PROTEIN REQUIREMENT?
Protein requirements vary depending on needs, age and body weight.
The protein requirement of a healthy adult is about 0.8g/kg/day; an elderly person needs about 1-1.2g/kg/day; while the athlete need varies between 1.2-1.4g/kg/day and 2g/kg/day depending on the type and duration of activity.
Compared to carbohydrates, proteins provide the same calories intake (about 4kcal/g) but have the advantage of being much more satiating and having a much smaller impact on insulin production. This is why proteins became very popular, especially for low-calorie diets, for promoting weight loss.
Beyond that, thanks to their fundamental structural role, proteins increase muscle mass.
Proteins are key nutrients for weight control, maintain and increase muscle mass, and also for older people, in which sarcopenia (decrease in age-induced muscle tissue) can cause malnutrition and different pathologies.
To achieve all these goals, proteins should be found in all meals, including breakfast and also snacks, to promote optimal absorption and use of the amino acids.
For those who follow an omnivorous diet, the increase of protein intake could lead to excessive consumption of meat and unhealthy fats; while in people who follow a flexitarian, vegetarian or plant-based diet it could lead to increased consumption of fiber, causing, in the most sensitive people, intestinal discomfort.
SO WHY PROTEIN SHAKES?
Protein shakes can be used to boost protein intake in your diet. Compared to whole foods they have several advantages, including having a very low fat and/or sugar or fiber content, being more digestible, convenient, easy to use and versatile.
HOW CAN I USE A PROTEIN SHAKE IN MY DIET?
Protein shakes can become a great friend of your health and well-being if you combine them with a well nutrient-balanced diet ( it’s not a secret Crownhealth is all about real food and complete, healthy and balanced nutrition). Thanks to the protein content of a serving dose of 30g (12-15g) it delivers a great satiating sense and can be a tasty, healthy and convenient option for breakfast or as snack to nourish yourself and satiate hunger in the afternoon or mid-morning.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF ADDING PROTEIN SHAKES TO MY DIET?
We have always said how important the distribution of proteins throughout the day is, in order to keep the glycaemic peaks under control, avoid hunger attacks and energy blackouts that would inevitably lead us in search of sweets, or less healthy foods / junk foods.
ARE THESE PROTEIN SHAKES FOR VEGANS ONLY?
For those who follow an omnivorous diet, including protein foods in each meal (breakfast, lunch and dinner) and in two snacks every day, could mean exceeding with foods of animal origin. Those who follow a plant-based diet, on the other hand, especially at the beginning, could find themselves eating the same foods and following a monotonous diet.
In both cases protein shakes are ideal and allow you to make different recipes every day, by simply using different ingredients or recipes (plant based milk, yoghurts, preparing a smoothie, a porridge…) balanced from a nutritional point of view, very healthy and low in unhealthy fats.
If added to a balanced diet, protein shakes don’t make you gain weight even if you don’t practice regular physical activity.
ARE PROTEIN SHAKES GOOD FOR ATHLETES?
If you practice regular physical activity, or you are an athlete who trains intensely and wants to increase muscle mass, protein shakes can be extremely useful.
To increase muscle mass, they can be helpful to integrate protein needs within a high-calorie dietary regimen and also rich in carbohydrates.
Also remember that proteins are essential to promote muscle repair within thirty minutes of the end of an intense training, and allow us to prepare for the next training, minimizing the risk of injury. Again, due to the greater digestibility compared to solid foods, protein powders are advantageous and allow us to recover faster and tastefully.
CAN I USE PROTEIN SHAKES FOR WEIGHT LOSS?
Protein shakes are widely used in low-calorie diets in order to facilitate weight loss through the reduction of carbohydrates and fats, keeping protein intake unchanged or slightly increased. In this type of diets, very restrictive, protein shakes are used as substitutes for one or more meals. Weight loss is rapid, which is why this type of diets are increasingly popular, but it is also true that they can have negative effects on health and several contraindications. For these reasons it is absolutely important to avoid "yourself-diet" and ALWAYS get advice from an expert and trusted nutritionist, who are able to assess whether, and for how long it is possible to follow these highly restrictive regimes and how to use protein shakes for weight loss.
Try one of our delicious recipes, always plant-based and rich in proteins, vitamins and minerals precious for your health. You can find them in our blog!
AUTHOR: PHD FRANCESCA DERIU
Vitale K, Getzin A. Nutrition and Supplement Update for the Endurance Athlete: Review and Recommendations. Nutrients. 2019 Jun 7;11(6):1289.
Jäger R et al., International Society of Sports Nutrition Position Stand: protein and exercise. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2017 Jun 20;14