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Losing weight is hard, and there are no shortcuts. It takes long-term commitment, dedication, and sustained lifestyle changes, like following a healthy diet and exercising regularly.
Even the best protein shakes aren’t magic drinks that promote weight loss without other efforts, but they can help you meet your protein needs, contribute other macro and micronutrients to your diet, and keep you full in between meals—all things that can collectively help you meet your body composition goals.
To find the best protein shakes for weight loss, our GGR team, which includes certified personal trainers, certified nutrition coaches, and professional athletes, tested two dozen pre-made options and about 70 different protein powders. We rated them on various factors, including:
- Amount and type of protein
- Nutritional stats
- Side effects
- Customer service
After weeks of testing, we crowned the following nine options our winners.
Medical disclaimer: This article is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for medical advice. For health advice, contact a licensed healthcare provider.
Best Protein Shakes for Weight Loss
- Best Protein Shake for Weight Loss Overall: Orgain Organic Protein Grass Fed Protein Shake
- Best Protein Powder for Weight Loss: Transparent Labs Casein Protein Powder
- Best Vegan Protein Shake for Weight Loss: Ripple Vegan Protein Shakes
- Best Vegan Protein Powder for Weight Loss: KOS Vegan Protein Powder
- Best Plant-Based Protein Shake for Weight Loss: Evolve Plant-Based Shakes
- Best Gluten-Free Protein Shake for Weight Loss: OWYN Plant-Based Protein Shakes
- Best Meal Replacement Shake for Weight Loss: Huel Ready to Drink Meal Replacement Shakes
- Best-Tasting Protein Shake for Weight Loss: XWERKS Grow
- Best Organic Protein Shake for Weight Loss: Aloha Organic Protein Shakes
Best Protein Shake for Weight Loss Overall: Orgain Organic Protein Grass-Fed Protein Shake
Good for: Those who want a high-quality whey protein with organic ingredients
- Organic and non-GMO ingredients
- Made from all grass-fed protein sources
- No artificial preservatives or carrageenan
- Low in sugar and high in protein
Pros & Cons
- Clean ingredients
- Great taste
- Widely available
- One flavor option
- Contains erythritol
The Orgain grass-fed protein shakes really just have everything going for them. For one, they’re made with grass-fed whey protein, which is higher in essential fatty acids1, like omega-3s, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA)2, and alpha-linoleic acid, than conventional proteins. They also have a clean ingredient list, especially for a pre-made protein shake.
Instead of artificial sweeteners, they’re sweetened with a combination of erythritol and stevia and flavored with natural ingredients and cocoa. Many of the ingredients are organic, too.
Erythritol is a sugar alcohol, so it may cause some digestive upset, like gas and bloating, for some, but it’s typically more well-tolerated than other sugar alcohols. It also doesn’t have as strong of an aftertaste as stevia or monk fruit, so many people will likely find these protein shakes more appetizing than some of the others that use stevia.
Certified personal trainer (CPT) and GGR Senior Editor Nicole Davis said she could pick up on a slight aftertaste, but it wasn’t off-putting. She also called out the creaminess as one of the things she loves about this protein shake.
“They’re very creamy—similar to whole milk. This was what sold me on these. You just can’t really achieve this consistency with protein powder at home (unless maybe you are mixing with whole milk, which I would never do),” she says. Nicole rates the texture a perfect 5 out of 5.
They’re also low-calorie—Creamy Chocolate Fudge only has 160 calories per serving—with a high amount of protein, or 26 grams per serving. This makes it easy to fit them into a weight loss diet while still enjoying nutrient-dense whole foods.
Right now, the grass-fed version only comes in one flavor, so you do have to like chocolate, but hopefully the line will expand at some point.
|Flavor(s)||Creamy Chocolate Fudge|
Best Protein Powder for Weight Loss: Transparent Labs Casein Protein Powder
Good for: Anyone who prefers to make their own healthy protein shakes
Best Protein Powder
- 100% grass-fed casein protein
- 3rd-party lab tested
- Chocolate flavor
Pros & Cons
- Subscribe and save 10%
- No artificial sweeteners, coloring, or preservatives
- 3rd-party lab tested
- Transparent ingredients
- Extremely positive reviews on taste
- Only available in 1 flavor
- May be sold out
- Comparably expensive
- Limited reviews
Pre-bottled shakes generally need more fillers and ingredients to help maintain consistency and increase shelf life. But making your own protein shakes gives you more control over the ingredients. And as long as you’re starting with a high-quality protein powder, like this casein protein powder from Transparent Labs, you’ll be in a good spot.
It has five ingredients—grass-fed micellar casein, cocoa powder, natural flavor, himalayan rock salt, and stevia for some sweetness. It only comes in chocolate, but certified nutrition coach (CNC) and GGR Senior Writer Amanda Capritto says it mixes in really well, and unlike most casein powders, she didn’t find it difficult to break up clumps, giving it a 4.5 out of 5 for solubility.
RELATED: What is Casein Protein?
It has a really fine texture to make it more soluble, so it can get messy. Amanda says it kind of “poofs” everywhere when scooping it, but this isn’t a huge deal if you’re careful. Amanda notes it kind of “poofs” everywhere when scooping it, but this isn’t a huge deal if you’re careful with it.
Amanda also calls out that choosing a protein powder over a pre-made shake gives you the opportunity to get creative with your protein intake.
“Once upon a time, when I was obsessed with clean eating and macros, I learned to make pudding with casein. All you do is mix it with less liquid than usual. Let me tell you: This stuff tastes damn near like Jell-O chocolate pudding out of the little plastic tubs when mixed to mimic pudding. It’s so good! I actually crave this,” she says.
Transparent Labs Casein Protein has a nice macronutrient breakdown, too: There are 25 grams of protein, 120 calories, 0.5 grams of fat, and 4 grams of carbohydrates per scoop.
Best Vegan Protein Shake for Weight Loss: Ripple Vegan Protein Shakes
Good for: Those looking for a complete plant-based protein option
Best Vegan Shake
- Pea protein is more sustainable than other proteins
- Vegan and free from lactose, soy, and nuts
- 30% of your daily recommended intake of iron
- Great calcium source
- Certified B Corp company
Pros & Cons
- Contains phosphorus
- Gluten and soy free
- Low in sugar
- Many customers said they received expired product
- Only 3 flavors
Most protein shakes have a whey protein base. But the Ripple Vegan Protein Shakes are made with pea protein, one of the only plant-based proteins considered a complete protein3 (it contains all nine essential amino acids). However, pea protein is quite low in one amino acid, methionine, so it still doesn’t quite stack up to the whey protein powder.
It does have a good amount of total protein, though, especially for a vegan option. There are 20 grams per drink.
RELATED: Best Pea Protein Powder
Certified personal trainer and GGR Staff Writer Lauren Strong gave it a 5 out of 5 for both taste and flavor. She tried the chocolate and said it’s just the right balance of creaminess. It’s not too thin or too thick.
“For a vegan shake, I was blown away. [The] chocolate flavor was smooth and not overly sweet. Both my husband and I liked these and drank them willingly,” she says.
The Ripple shake comes in three flavors—chocolate, vanilla, and coffee—all of which have more ingredients than we typically like to see. But as far as vegan protein shakes go, it’s still pretty decent. There is organic cane sugar, which bumps the calories and carbohydrates up pretty significantly, so you’ll have to be aware of that.
For the chocolate flavor, there are 200 calories per bottle—most protein shakes (not meal replacement shakes) have around 120—and 13 grams of carbohydrates, 9 grams of which come from added sugar.
Knowing that, we think this shake is best used as an occasional protein supplement when you’re having trouble meeting your macro goals instead of a daily go-to.
However, Lauren did say she felt satisfied after drinking it, and thought it curbed her hunger and cravings, so it can serve as more of a meal replacement than a regular protein drink.
|Flavor(s)||Chocolate, Vanilla, Coffee|
Best Vegan Protein Powder for Weight Loss: KOS Vegan Protein Powder
Good for: Those who want to make their own plant-based protein shakes at home
Best Vegan Powder
- Multi-source vegan protein powder
- USDA-certified organic, soy-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, non-GMO
- Digestive support via DigeSEB to help maximize absorption
Pros & Cons
- Manufactured in the USA
- 20 g protein per serving
- Chocolate flavor is rich
- Enhanced with digestive support enzymes
- Under $1.50 per serving
- Customers say it has a gritty/chalky flavor
- Some users reported protein gave them stomach issues
- Reports of strong sweetness and bad aftertaste
The KOS Vegan Protein Powder is more of a superfood powder than a standard protein shake. It has a protein blend that combines pea protein, flax seed, quinoa, pumpkin seed protein, and chia seeds. This makes the protein powder a complete protein, and ensures that you’re getting all the essential amino acids.
It also has a bunch of other health-supporting ingredients, like fruit and vegetable powders, mushroom extracts, vitamin and mineral blends, and digestive enzymes. This bumps up the micronutrient and antioxidant profile so you’re not just getting protein—you’re getting other important nutrients too.
Some other callouts are that it’s made with mostly organic ingredients, and it’s gluten-free, dairy-free, lactose-free, and soy-free. It’s sweetened with stevia, monk fruit, and coconut sugar which bumps up the sugar and carbohydrate content slightly. But it still only has 2 grams of sugar and 9 grams of total carbohydrates, which is pretty balanced for a shake that’s supplying so many other nutrients too.
It comes in a variety of flavors. There’s your basic chocolate and vanilla flavors, as well as salted caramel coffee, chocolate peanut butter, and unflavored. Amanda Cappritto, CPT, CES, CNC, CF-L1, says, “This protein powder is the only vegan option I have that I’ll willingly drink. It’s definitely different from the whey protein I’m used to gulping, but it’s not bad.” She gave it a 3 out of 5 for taste because, while not bad, she has tried other vegan options she preferred more.
One thing to note is that the serving size is two scoops. Most animal-based proteins provide a similar amount of protein in just one scoop, so this one might be a little harder to mix in since you need more to get the same amount of protein. That being said, reviewers rave about the taste and texture so the extra effort is probably worth it for those who prefer a plant-based protein powder.
For more, read Amanda’s in-depth KOS Vegan Protein review.
|Flavor(s)||Chocolate, Vanilla, Salted Caramel Coffee, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Unflavored|
Best Plant-Based Protein Shake for Weight Loss: Evolve Plant-Based Shakes
Good for: People who want a protein shake with a higher fiber content
- Plant-based protein shake
- 20 g of protein
- 10 g of fiber
- No artificial flavors and non-GMO
- Available in four flavors
- Contains all essential amino acids
Pros & Cons
- Good amount of protein
- No artificial flavors
- Pea protein is a complete protein, but low in methionine
- Some customer reviews noted a strange aftertaste
The Evolve shakes are another plant-based option. Overall, these scored a bit lower than the other picks on our list, but GGR editor Freida Johnson gave them a 5 out of 5 for taste and 4.5 out of 5 for texture. She tried the Mocha flavor and liked it.
“It’s not flavored exactly like a mocha, but I can tell what they’re going for, and it doesn’t just taste like chocolate milk,” she says.
She also says that the texture is good, but the protein drinks are better cold. The first one she tried was a little grainy at room temperature, but when it was cold, it was creamy and smooth. The Evolve shakes lost some points for side effects—Frieda gave them a 3 out of 5.
“I do have a little bit of GI distress after drinking this, which honestly isn’t surprising considering that it’s 20 grams of pea protein and 10 grams of fiber. That said, it isn’t too bad; I’m mostly just bloated and gassy the rest of the afternoon. Not the worst thing, but something to consider depending on what you’re doing that day!” she says.
She did feel satisfied after drinking the shakes, but said it wasn’t overwhelming trying to get them down. They are more filling because of the fiber but still only contain about 140 calories per drink, depending on which flavor you get.
The fiber does also contribute to the overall carbohydrate count. There are 16 grams total, which is much more than the others on the list, but fiber is important for weight loss4 and can help keep you regular5, so there’s benefit there.
|Flavor(s)||Chocolate, Vanilla, Chocolate Caramel, Mocha|
Best Gluten-Free Protein Shake for Weight Loss: OWYN Plant-Based Protein Shakes
Good for: Those who want a gluten-free option with added micronutrients from greens
- Formulated with allergen-friendly ingredients
- All Owyn Shakes contain Superfoods Greens blend
- Free from artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols
- Provides all nine essential amino acids
Pros & Cons
- Plant-based and vegan
- Contains 535 mg omega-3s
- Independently tested for allergens
- Low carb
- Refrigeration not required
- Some flavors had mixed reviews
- No returns allowed if you don't like it
The OWYN shakes are another plant-based protein option that also relies on a protein blend to ensure there’s enough protein per serving—and that the protein is high quality and rich in essential amino acids. It mixes pea protein with organic pumpkin seed and organic flax oil, which provides some healthy fats, too. And, of course, it’s gluten-free.
This one didn’t score as highly in the flavor department as some of the other options on the list. Certified personal trainer and GGR Performance Editor Anthony O’Reilly tried the Cookies and Creamless flavor, saying it was a bit watery and he picked up more “cream” than cookie flavor. However, he says it wasn’t really bad; he was just expecting something a little thicker. He gave the flavor and texture a 3.5 out of 5.
There was no aftertaste, though, and Anthony says he didn’t get any weird lingering mouthfeel that sometimes comes with other protein shakes.
There’s also a greens blend (broccoli, spinach, and kale) snuck in, so not only are you getting a protein-rich drink, you’re also getting more micronutrients, like calcium and potassium, and some antioxidants, too. Anthony doesn’t call out any grassy or earthy undertones, so it’s well hidden; you won’t be getting something that tastes like a greens powder.
The exact macronutrient profile depends on which flavor you pick, but you can expect around 170 to 180 calories and 20 grams of protein per bottle, which is in line with other plant-based protein drinks.
There is some organic cane sugar in these too, so that bumps up the carbohydrates and sugar content a bit—you’ll get about 4 grams of added sugar and 9 to 10 grams of carbohydrates per bottle.
|Flavor(s)||Dark Chocolate, Smooth Vanilla, Strawberry Banana, Cookies and Creamless|
Best Meal Replacement Shake for Weight Loss: Huel Ready-to-Drink Meal Replacement Shakes
Good for: Anyone who wants a higher-calorie meal replacement
Best Meal Replacement
- Formulated to be a meal replacer
- 27 essential vitamins and minerals
- Contains no animal products or lactose
- Slow-release carbs to help maintain your energy
Pros & Cons
- Balanced macros
- Naturally sweetened
- Low glycemic index
- Nutritionally complete
- Reviews mention products received close to expiration
Huel is a true meal replacement shake, meaning it’s designed to provide the adequate nutritional value of a regular meal. They contain 400 calories per bottle, but Amanda stresses that the point is to replace a full meal, so this is a good thing for that purpose. And they’re very filling.
“They are truly nutritionally complete with ample fat and carbs, as well as a ton of micronutrients. These are extremely filling, and to date, I’ve not finished a single bottle in one sitting. I do like to have 1/4 or 1/2 of a bottle before a morning-long run in place of eating solid food! It’s hard for me to eat before morning training, so these help a lot,” Amanda says.
The Huel shakes were one of the highest-scoring options during our testing, too. Amanda rated them a 4 out of 5 for taste and a 5 out of 5 for effects since they were so filling.
She did note that, as someone who primarily drinks milk protein shakes, she could pick up on an aftertaste that’s typical of plant-based protein shakes—and that was true of all the flavors she tried.
RELATED: Plant-Based Protein Powder vs. Whey
However, she said that if you are vegan or vegetarian and are used to these types of proteins, you’ll probably find them tasty. And after drinking the shakes for a few months, she actually grew to like the flavors even more.
“I don’t LOVE them, but I love the effect of these shakes so much that I tolerate the ‘eh’ taste. These have seriously become a lifesaver for me in terms of getting in all my calories during Ironman training, especially before early morning workouts when I just don’t want to eat yet,” she says.
The ingredient list in the Huel shakes is quite long, but there’s a lot of good stuff packed in. The protein comes from a blend of gluten-free oats, tapioca, pea protein, brown rice protein, and flaxseed. There are also medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) from coconut oil that can provide a quick-acting source of energy6.
There are no artificial flavors or sweeteners, and the drinks are gluten-free and non-GMO.
|Flavor(s)||Vanilla, Berry, Salted Caramel, Cinnamon Roll, Chocolate, Iced Coffee Caramel, Banana, Strawberry|
Best-Tasting Protein Shake for Weight Loss: XWERKS Grow
Good for: Anyone who wants a basic protein whey protein isolate powder
- Natural, healthy, convenient, and tasty way to get protein
- Uses a microfiltration process to preserve critical biological nutrients in raw whey
- Removes unwanted fats and carbohydrates
- All flavors are naturally sweetened
- Nicely flavored, easily digested, and low-carb protein powder
- Promotes muscle growth and repair
Pros & Cons
- Naturally sweetened
- Sourced from naturally raised grass-fed cows
- Tastes great
- Soy- and gluten-free
Let’s be real: The taste of ready-to-drink protein shakes is pretty hit or miss. Some of them are good, but you can almost always make a better-tasting drink if you’re willing to make it yourself.
The XWERKS Grow protein powder has rave reviews for taste—earning a 5 out of 5 from GGR Performance Editor Anthony O’Reilly—and its nutritional breakdown makes it a true protein shake. It has 25 grams of high-quality protein per scoop, and just 110 calories, 1 gram of carbohydrates, and no fat, which makes it suitable for more restrictive dietary needs, like low-carb and keto lifestyles.
It contains only a handful of ingredients: grass-fed whey protein isolate, natural flavors, xanthan gum (which acts as a thickener, emulsifier, and preservative), and stevia.
Like mentioned above, grass-fed whey is not only higher in essential amino acids, it also contains all three branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs). Potential BCAA benefits include, helping you reach your weight loss and body composition goals7, improving athletic performance, and aiding in muscle recovery.
Another benefit of a whey protein isolate is that, because it’s a pure protein, it’s lower in milk sugar (lactose) than whey protein concentrate. Because of this, some people who are lactose intolerant can drink it without digestive side effects.
Because this is a protein powder and not a pre-made drink, it’s also one of the least expensive options on the list. It breaks down to $1.97 per serving (giving it a 3.5 out of 5 in our price category), and you can just mix it with water for a great-tasting protein drink. It comes in four flavors—chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, and peanut butter—all of which have similar macro breakdowns and ingredient lists.
|Flavor(s)||Chocolate, Vanilla, Strawberry, Peanut Butter|
Best Organic Protein Shake for Weight Loss: Aloha Organic Protein Shakes
Good for: Those who are willing to pay a little more for organic ingredients
- Organic, plant-based protein drinks
- Comes in Coconut, Vanilla, Chocolate, And Iced Coffee flavors
- 20 g of protein in 12-oz shake
- Gluten-free, non-GMO, dairy-free, stevia-free, and soy-free
Pros & Cons
- No artificial ingredients
- Some reviews complained that texture was too thick
- Some added sugars
The Aloha Organic Protein Shakes are a certified organic, non-GMO, and fair trade-certified option with an impressive ingredient list. These are vegan protein shakes, so the protein comes from a blend of pea protein and brown rice protein.
They also have a coconut milk base instead of water, and have added MCTs. This makes them a little creamier than water-based shakes, but also gives them some healthy fats that have been shown to help promote weight loss8, too.
GGR Staff Writer Lauren Strong says they’re super tasty, especially for a vegan shake, and compares them to the Ripple shakes, which she also enjoyed. “There is a nice rich chocolate flavor (which is the one I got), and it’s not too sweet. Yes, it tastes different from whey protein, but it’s not overly earthy or plant-like,” she says.
Lauren also thought the texture was just-right. They’re not super creamy, but they’re also not thin and water-like. She says this is exactly how she likes a shake to feel, and said they were totally satisfying and helped curb her hunger in between meals. Both texture and flavor receive high marks of 5 out of 5 from Lauren.
Aloha Organic Protein Shakes are sweetened with a blend of coconut sugar and stevia, so they have about 5 grams of added sugar (depending on the flavor), but they’re still fairly low in calories—just 170 per bottle.
|Flavor(s)||Coconut, Coffee, Vanilla|
Other Protein Shakes We Tested and Researched
- SlimFast High Protein Shakes: SlimFast is arguably one of the most well known protein/weight loss shakes, but it’s full of filler ingredients, canola oil, and artificial sweeteners and flavoring. It didn’t taste good either (GGR staff writer and professional athlete Caine Wilkes gave it a 1.5 out of 5 for taste). With some many better quality options out there, we say skip this one.
- FairLife CorePower: GGR Performance Editor Anthony O’Reilly likes how FairLife CorePower tastes—he rated it a 5 out of 5 and said it had a very milk-like texture—but it contains two types of artificial sweeteners. One of those is sucralose, which may negatively affect your immune system9 and DNA10. Granted, very high amounts were used in these studies, but with so many other options out there, we think there are better choices.
- Premier Protein Shake: This is the same story as the others. It has a good macronutrient and micronutrient profile, but it’s full of artificial ingredients and artificial sweeteners.
- Pure Protein Shakes: The Pure Protein Shakes taste good and have a creamy texture, according to GGR Staff Writer Lauren Strong, but have artificial sweeteners, like acesulfame K.
- Labrada Lean Body: At the risk of sounding like a broken record, the ingredients in this one aren’t great, although the protein is very high. It’s also kind of high in carbohydrates for a protein shake—this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but if you’re looking for low-carb protein shake, this probably isn’t the one for you.
- Iconic Grass-Fed Protein Shakes: The ingredients in the Iconic Grass-Fed shakes are great, and it has a good macronutrient breakdown, albeit the carbs are a little on the higher side. There’s nothing inherently bad about this shake, but some people might get an aftertaste with the stevia and monk fruit sweetener combo.
- Muscle Milk Genuine Protein Shakes: Muscle Milk has a good macronutrient profile, but it’s got a few too many artificial and filler ingredients, like artificial sweeteners, flavors, and canola oil.
- Ora Organic So Lean, So Clean Protein Powder: Ora has an impressive ingredient list, but the protein is plant-based. Again, not inherently a bad thing, but research does show that animal-based proteins like whey are more bioavailable, so we generally recommend them over plant-based products.
How We Picked and Tested the Best Protein Shakes for Weight Loss
Our testers, which include a team of certified nutrition coaches, certified personal trainers, and professional athletes, tried most of these protein shakes over the course of several weeks. They rated each shake on various factors, including price, ingredients, nutritional stats, taste, flavor options, and customer reviews.
Here are some more details about what we considered, specifically.
Ingredient quality is one of our biggest considerations. Many pre-made protein shakes are made with a long list of artificial ingredients and fillers. While these drinks may prompt weight loss as part of an overall calorie-restricted diet, they don’t do much for your overall wellness.
When trying to lose weight, we think it’s also important to think about what kinds of ingredients you’re eating so you can feel your best. That being said, we chose options with cleaner ingredient lists—and the better the ingredients, the higher the rating.
Some of them may be a little higher in carbohydrates and sugar, but we opted for natural sugars and sweeteners over anything artificial.
Type and Amount of Protein
This ties into ingredient quality a bit, but we also thought about the type and amount of protein. Typically, whey protein is considered the gold standard for protein supplements, but we know that everyone has different goals and preferences.
Because of this, we included whey protein options, as well as plant-based choices. For the plant-based drinks, we made sure they were made with a high-quality plant-based protein or a combination of proteins that supply all the essential amino acids necessary for building muscle.
All of the options on our list contain at least 20 grams of protein per serving.
Taste is obviously important, too. Losing weight shouldn’t be a miserable journey—you can enjoy the foods and drinks you’re consuming. On that note, we tried most of these protein shakes ourselves and rated them on a scale of 1 to 5. We recommended only the ones that we enjoyed (a 3.5 out of 5 or higher rating).
RELATED: Best Tasting Protein Powder
Most protein shakes we recommend range from about $2.50 to $3.50 per serving, which we think is reasonable. For comparison, our favorite protein powders cost about $1.25 to $2 per scoop, but you’ll pay a little more for the convenience of a grab-and-go protein shake.
The options on our list got a higher rating if they had a lower cost-per-serving or if you could purchase them in bulk for a lower price on Amazon.
Benefits of Protein Shakes for Weight Loss
Yes, protein shakes may help you lose weight (as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle), but there are other benefits, too.
They Help Keep You Full
Protein is often called the satiety nutrient because, calorie for calorie, it can help keep you fuller11 than fat and carbohydrates. Most protein shakes have at least 20 to 25 grams of protein, so they’re a good way to fill you up between meals or before or after workouts. This is also the recommended per-meal amount of protein for muscle synthesis.
They Can Help With Muscle Growth
Protein is important for fat loss and building lean muscle mass12. You can reach your weight loss goals (i.e. you’ll see the numbers on the scale go down) without much protein, but if you really want to change your body composition, you need to hit your protein goals daily (and incorporate resistance training).
You can certainly do this with meal prepping and eating balanced whole foods, but protein shakes help you get there a little easier. They’re also a good pre-workout option if, like Amanda Capritto, CPT, CES, CNC, CF-L1, and GGR Senior Staff Writer, you don’t like to eat solid food before intense exercise.
RELATED: Best Pre-Workout Food
When trying to lose weight, it’s important to have healthy meals and snacks at-the-ready. This helps keep you on track and makes it less likely that you’ll reach the point of ravenous hunger, which can trigger cravings and binges.
Protein shakes are easy to grab and go. You can throw them in your gym bag or take them to work so you have a macro-balanced option on-hand. Protein powders aren’t as convenient as ready-made protein shakes, but if you get a good one, you can easily shake them up for a similar effect.
They Provide Other Nutrients, Too
Depending on which protein shake you choose, they can provide other nutrients. Yes, they have carbohydrates and fat, but many have additional ingredients, like greens, digestive enzymes, and/or mushroom extracts, that bump up the micronutrients too. Basically, they can act as more of a supplement for an otherwise healthy diet.
Dosing and Interactions
The right “dosing” really depends on your goals, but getting 20 to 25 grams of protein per meal13—or in one sitting—seems to be the sweet spot for muscle protein synthesis. If you have high protein needs, the best approach is to spread that protein out throughout the day into several smaller meals and snacks.
RELATED: Protein Snack Ideas
Some people experience some gastrointestinal side effects, like gas, stomach cramps, diarrhea, and bloating, when consuming too much protein, but this generally settles down as your body gets used to it.
Because protein shakes are considered “food” and not supplements, third-party testing doesn’t really come into play. There are some shakes that are organic and/or non GMO-certified, so we considered that when choosing our top picks.
Protein Shakes for Weight Loss: FAQs
Are Protein Shakes Good For Losing Weight?
Protein shakes may be helpful for losing weight if you choose good, well-balanced ones. You want to make sure you’re getting around 20 to 25 grams of protein and under 200 calories per shake (unless it’s a meal replacement shake). That said, to lose weight, you’ll need to aim for a calorie deficit and, ideally, follow a regular exercise routine.
Can You Lose Weight Drinking Two Protein Shakes Per Day?
You can, if you remain in a caloric deficit. But you shouldn’t only drink two protein shakes per day. This would reduce calorie intake too much and potentially put you at risk of other nutritional deficiencies. Protein shakes should be a way to supplement your protein intake or give you a quick source of protein pre- or post-workout. They should not take the place of nutrient-dense foods.
Can You Lose Belly Fat By Drinking Protein Shakes?
Maybe. Research shows14 that following a high-protein diet may help reduce belly fat—usually the deep, problematic abdominal fat known as visceral fat—but protein shakes alone won’t magically slim your midsection. You need to also make sure you’re in a calorie deficit15 (expending more calories than you’re consuming) and eating plenty of healthy, whole foods.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any diseases.
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