If your goal is muscle repair and recovery, you should drink protein shakes within two hours of exercise [1
]. If you’re trying to lose weight, a protein shake can be beneficial when you find it hard to get enough protein at mealtime.
When combined with a healthy diet, protein shakes are a convenient and cost-efficient way to boost protein intake and meet your nutrient needs.
Protein shakes for muscle building and recovery
According to the International Society of Sports Nutrition, consuming 20-40 g of high-quality protein shortly after exercise stimulates robust increases in muscle protein synthesis that can benefit both performance and recovery [1
However, research shows that your total protein intake matters more than whether or not you have a protein shake after a workout [1
]. Therefore, meeting your daily protein goals–preferably by consuming smaller amounts of protein every few hours–should be your first priority.
Protein shakes for weight loss
Research suggests consuming 25-30 g of quality protein at breakfast, lunch, and dinner may benefit weight loss by improving energy metabolism, protein synthesis, and appetite control [2
While Americans typically eat plenty of protein with lunch and dinner, evidence suggests protein consumption at breakfast is generally well below the 25-30 g/meal mark [2
]. If you’re trying to lose weight and are not getting at least 25-30 g of protein at breakfast, drinking a protein shake in the morning may help your weight loss efforts.