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Do Protein Shakes Make You Gain Weight?

Written by Decyry Jhoy Serrano, RPh

The use of protein powder can help in building muscle.

According to a study from Australia, even a high-whey protein diet can also help promote weight loss.

But, some people still wonder, can these supplements increase body weight?

In this article, you will learn the benefits of protein powders, why the use of protein powders can lead to weight gain, and how to avoid gaining unhealthy mass on these supplements.

Do Protein Shakes Make You Fat?

The Benefits of Protein Powder

Before we start answering the question: how can protein powder make you increase your body weight, we will tackle the benefits of protein powders first.

As we all know, these protein supplements affect lean muscle mass positively and negatively, depending on how users take them.

1) Reduce Body Fat

The use of a protein powder is beneficial for those who want to lose weight. In one study from the USA, it was reported that protein supplementation can reduce the total fat mass of obese patients.

2) Boost Metabolism

Always remember that the faster the metabolism, the more calories burned. Regarding protein powders, they work by increasing your metabolism.

Eventually, this could increase the number of excess calories you burn.

In a clinical trial from Arizona, it was reported that a high protein intake can reduce around 8-100 more calories per day.

In a randomized control trial from Florida, it was found that those who took a daily intake of a high protein diet were able to reduce 260 more calories than those who took a low one.

3) Essential Amino Acids for Muscle Recovery

A protein powder is rich in essential and branched-chain amino acids.

These amino acids a.k.a the building blocks of proteins aid in repairing your injured muscle fibers.

Aside from increasing muscle mass, the use of protein powders can also support muscle recovery after extensive physical activity.

Research suggests that protein supplementation by simply drinking protein shakes was shown to improve the athletic performance of athletes and bodybuilders.

4) Enhance Muscle Growth

Consuming a protein powder is an effective way to enhance muscle growth.

These protein supplements may come in different sources such as whey, concentrate, isolate, hydrolysate, or pea protein. 

Take note that each of these provides different grams of protein per serving but can equally help you achieve your fitness goals as long as you have a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle.

While taking a protein shake, it is highly recommended to do strength training for better results.

Reasons Why Protein Powder Cause Weight Gain

There are some impressions that the use of a protein powder can make you gain weight.

However, the common reason why users start gaining weight on these supplements is that they take too much protein than required.

Sometimes, a protein powder user is unaware that taking protein foods together with these supplements can already cause an oversupply of protein in the body.

Eventually, this can cause side effects.

Because of this, it is essential to know how to properly calculate the protein intake required for every individual.

A protein shake users base their intake on nutrition labels.

1) Protein Powders Are Used as Meal Replacement

Many protein powder users take these supplements as a meal replacement shake.

Some users do not feel full after taking these supplements so, the tendency is that they will consume solid food without realizing that they are snacking on extra calories!

Protein powders contain calories.

So, when you snack on food, your calorie intake becomes higher and this causes an increase in body mass.

In case users want to eat more, eating healthy food with low calories is highly recommended.

2) Incorrect Measurement of Powders

When you buy a protein powder, a tub usually comes with a measuring cup. But, did you know that this may also make you gain weight?

On product labels, you will see how many grams of protein you get per serving.

But, some companies offer smaller measuring cups where you have to scoop 2x to get the amount of protein stated.

Although one scoop is fine, this becomes an issue when your protein powder is mixed with your favorite smoothies.

Your beverages contain carbs, calories, and sugars and you add protein powder to balance the nutrition. 

However, when you only get to add smaller amounts of protein powder, you are giving your body more of the carbs, calories, and sugars, causing you to gain weight.

3) Inflammation Caused by Protein Concentrate

When you consume food more than your body can process, you are increasing your risk of building up inflammation, and one of the major protein sources that can cause this inflammation includes protein concentrate.

Although this protein is a great source of amino acids with less saturated fat, it is usually not lactose-free.

Those who are lactose intolerant are at a higher risk of experiencing inflammation when taking these supplements.

But how can a protein powder make you gain weight?

Eventually, this inflammation can be mistaken for weight gain. To avoid this, choosing plant-based proteins is highly advised.

Final Thoughts

Indeed, having enough protein in the body offers many health benefits such as muscle enhancement, metabolism improvement, and even immunity support. 

However, some people may still wonder, how can protein powder make you gain weight?

Well, the culprit is when you take extra protein more than your body can digest. Fat starts to build up and so does inflammation.

To avoid this from happening, it is highly advised to know how much protein is required from your body.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What happens when you don’t work out after taking proteins?

This could increase your body mass and increase fat buildup. The calories from these proteins will not be burned as well.

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