Home Nutrition Can You Drink Protein Shakes Without Working Out?

Can You Drink Protein Shakes Without Working Out?

Written by Decyry Jhoy Serrano, RPh

In a study from Sports Medicine, the use of a protein shake can help you gain muscle mass.

These supplements work by stimulating muscle protein synthesis. But, what happens when you drink protein shakes without working out?

Can protein intake without exercise support proper muscle growth and weight loss?

Learn more about the benefits of drinking protein powder shakes without working out.

What Happens if You Drink Protein Shakes Without Exercising?

Who Can Use Protein Shakes

Protein shakes are dietary supplements used to build muscle and repair muscle fibers.

They are commonly used by athletes to speed up their muscle recovery and others use them to promote weight loss. 

Aside from these professionals, these lean protein shakes are also used by the following groups of people:

  • Bodybuilders
  • Gym enthusiasts
  • Individuals with limited access to protein whole foods
  • Vegans with organic food cravings
  • Individuals who are looking for on-the-go, nutrient-dense protein foods
  • Those who want to manage a healthy weight

There are different forms of protein shakes.

These may be sourced from whey protein isolate, whey protein concentrate, or hydrolysate protein.

Plant proteins are also available and these are the ones being used by vegans.

Either plant or animal protein, both of these can help you build muscle.

Benefits of Drinking Protein Shakes

Generally speaking, protein shakes, either used as a meal replacement or for adding extra protein to the diet, offer many health benefits such as weight loss.

Some of these health benefits of lean protein will be discussed in this section.

1) Muscle maintenance

Protein shakes are used to enhance muscle growth and repair muscle tissues.

These supplements are rich in essential amino acids, branched-chain amino acids, vitamins, and minerals.

Generally, they work by stimulating muscle protein synthesis.

With or without exercise, these supplements, just like a high-protein diet, help you maintain your muscle health. 

2) Healthy fat loss

If you drink protein shakes, you help your body burn body fat. But, this can only be achieved when you work out while taking these supplements.

Working out after you drink a protein shake can help you burn extra calories.

These supplements also contain branched-chain amino acids and essential amino acids.

One of the essential amino acids includes lysine and this one produces l-carnitine, a chemical that can promote weight loss.

Of course, some protein users do not only rely on these protein shakes but also eat a healthy diet, foods with healthy fats, to avoid fat gain.

3) Appetite suppression

Protein shakes are also used as appetite suppressants.

They increase your feelings of fullness.

In a randomized control trial from the USA, if you drink a protein shake, the hormone ghrelin in your body reduces.

This hormone is responsible for stimulating appetite.

Remember, when your appetite is suppressed, you no longer have the cravings to indulge in extra calories!

Eventually, this can help you prevent weight gain as long as you regularly exercise while taking extra protein either from shakes or a standard protein diet.

If you want to achieve weight loss, you can consider using these supplements together with a proper diet and regular exercise.

4) Enhanced metabolism

If one drinks protein shakes, you are boosting your metabolism and this metabolism is done in two different ways.

The first one is by metabolizing protein, carbs, and fats, and the second one is by stimulating gluconeogenesis. This process is believed to burn extra calories.

Take note that the faster the metabolism, the higher the chance of achieving weight loss.

What Happens When You Drink Protein Shakes Without Working Out

As stated above, if you drink a protein shake together with exercise and a proper diet, you can achieve proper weight management and other health benefits.

But still, can you drink protein shakes without working out?

1) Increased energy

Even without exercising, drinking protein shakes can increase your energy levels. Just imagine, when you drink protein shakes in the morning, your insulin levels increase.

Eventually, this can also increase your energy.

2) Satiety

Drinking lots of protein shakes even without exercising can reduce your appetite but this does not mean it can prevent fat gain.

Always remember that you will only lose fat when you take these protein shakes together with exercise.

3) Increased source of fiber

Protein shakes are very advantageous to the elderly. In one research published in the journal of Nursing Older People, this group of people usually experience reduced appetite.

Thus, they fail to get the nutrients they receive from whole foods.

Fortunately, protein supplementation through protein shakes can help them fill their bodies with fibers that can prevent muscle mass loss.

4) Ineffective muscle gain

A protein powder made into a protein shake is generally used to stimulate muscle protein synthesis and build muscle.

However, those who take these protein shakes without proper exercise such as resistance training, will not get these benefits.

Without working out while on protein shakes, there would be no substantial muscle growth.

5) Protein Shake and Weight gain

Typically, protein powders being used for a regular protein shake contains 90-120 calories per serving.

Just imagine what would happen when you put these calories in your body without exercising – you will be gaining unwanted weight!

In a randomized controlled trial from Mexico, those with metabolic syndrome who took protein powder shakes with exercise were able to lose weight compared to those who took protein shakes without any exercise. 

So, if you want to lose weight while taking these protein powder shakes, you have to, at least, do some exercise such as resistance training.

6) Kidney, bone, and other problems

The kidney metabolizes excess proteins.

However, when you take extra protein, either by using protein powder or eating chicken breast, more than how much your body can tolerate, you are slowing your kidney’s metabolism.

This means that the more protein intake, the higher the risk of kidney problems.

Additionally, too much protein intake without exercising can also increase your risk of developing osteoporosis and cancer.

Because of these, you should know how much protein you should be giving your body to avoid unwanted health events.

To know how much protein is required for you, you can calculate your protein intake based on your body composition, and body weight, or base your dosage on the label of the protein powder you choose.

7) Enhanced aging process

Taking excess protein can make you acidic and tamper with your body’s aging process.

Aside from giving you discomforts such as stomach pain and nausea, these can also make you age faster.

One of the best ways to avoid these from happening is by making sure that you are buying the best protein powders with a complete protein profile in the market.

These supplements not only help you avoid weight gain but also improve your immunity and overall wellness.

Final Thoughts

Losing weight may be a lot easier by simply using protein powder shakes as a meal replacement.

Aside from weight loss, there are other benefits as well. 

Many users may wonder, can you drink protein shakes without working out?

The answer would be yes.

However, the benefits of a protein shake can be optimized when one takes a protein shake together with regular exercise such as resistance training. 

If one takes a dose of protein powder without exercising, the person is at risk of increasing his or her body weight.

This is a hundred percent opposite to what a protein shake offers – weight loss.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are the side effects of drinking too much protein shakes?

When one drinks too many protein shakes as a meal replacement, side effects such as increased bowel movement, acne, nausea, bloating, and tiredness can be seen. Too many protein shakes without exercising can also cause a person to gain weight. Because of these, it is important to calculate the right protein intake.

How can you calculate proper protein intake?

Users can base their protein intake on body weight, protein powder nutrition labels, or body goals. Most of the time, health conditions are also considered. Protein powder dosages are adjusted depending on how much protein the body can tolerate.

What are the quality protein powders in the market?

Some of the quality protein powders in the market that are rich in lean protein include Orgain Organic, Bulk Supplements Whey Protein Isolate, and Crazy Bulk Tri-Protein.

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