How to Lose Weight With Protein Shakes

Protein Shake

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

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Many people try to lose weight with protein shakes. There are many protein powders, pre-measured mixes and commercial drinks that might make this strategy an easy choice. But can you really lose weight with a protein shake diet plan? And if so, what's the best protein powder for weight loss?

What Is a Protein Shake Diet?

A typical protein shake diet will replace one or two meals per day with a pre-purchased shake or one you prepare yourself using a soy-based or whey protein powder and some form of liquid. Many dieters use water because it doesn't add calories, but you can also use milk or juice.

Let's take a look at one popular protein diet meal plan and consider a few points that may help you decide whether or not it's right for you.

Protein Diet Daily Meal Plan

  • Two protein shakes (usually 200–300 calories each)
  • Three small snacks (usually 100 calories each)
  • One full meal such as dinner (400–500 calories)

Should You Try This Diet?

Making the choice to follow a liquid protein diet plan is a highly individual thing. In short, yes, you can lose weight with protein shakes. A diet that reduces caloric intake will help you to slim down regardless of whether the calories come from solid food or liquid food.

And because the protein shakes usually have fewer calories than the meals you would typically consume, you will probably see results.

In addition, when you boost your protein intake with shakes or smoothies, you help your body to maintain muscle mass. You might even gain muscle if you are also doing strength training workouts at home or at the gym. A body with more muscle will burn more calories all day long than a body that has more fat.

Best Protein Powders

There are different types of protein powder you can use in your weight-loss shake. The type you choose can make a difference in whether or not your slim-down plan is successful. Why? Because some protein powders are more calorically dense than others and may not be conducive to weight loss for every individual.

Whey protein powder is one of the most popular types of protein powder. The following nutrition information is provided for one scoop (32g) of whey protein powder:

  • Calories: 113
  • Fat: 0.5g
  • Sodium: 50mg
  • Carbohydrates: 2g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Sugars: 3g
  • Protein: 25g

For example, Body Fortress Whey Protein Powder provides 210 calories and 30 grams of protein per single-scoop serving. Consumers are advised to combine a single scoop or a double scoop (420 calories, 60g protein) to their favorite beverage and blend. If you add the powder to 240ml of low-fat milk (101 calories), then your weight loss smoothie will either provide 332 calories or 542 calories.

But since this brand provides no hunger-busting dietary fiber, you might choose to add some fresh fruit. Your weight loss smoothie could total 400–600 calories, more than a typical diet-friendly meal. And it is very possible that you will get more protein than you need.

So what is the best protein powder for your weight loss shake? Calories matter. So check the nutrition facts label beforehand—you may need less protein (and fewer calories) than some brands provide. Popular protein powder options include:

  • Whey: Whey is a milk protein that provides both essential and branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) that are helpful for building muscle. Whey powder is 11-15 percent protein. Whey concentrate is 25-89 percent protein and whey isolate is at least 90 percent protein. You'll see that many popular protein powders for bodybuilders are made from whey isolate. 
  • Casein: Casein also comes from milk and provides a slow release of amino acids to help repair and build muscle. For this reason, some exercisers use this protein powder before bed for a slow-release through the night.
  • Soy: If you need a lactose-free or vegan protein powder, then soy might be your best choice. Soy provides all essential amino acids, including branched-chain amino acids.
  • Pea: It's another popular option for people who want a lactose-free, vegetarian, or vegan product.

As you compare labels to find the best protein powder for you, remember that more protein is not always better. Get the right amount of protein for weight loss and muscle maintenance, but not so much that the extra energy eliminates your daily calorie deficit.


The first thing you must ask yourself is if you can manage your daily schedule if you eat only one real meal each day. A protein shake isn't a meal; it's a meal replacement. It can be a shock to your system to go from eating three meals a day to drinking two of them.

You should also consider how long you can maintain this type of liquid diet. A reduced-calorie diet will result in losing 1–2 pounds each week, depending on your deficit. So, for example, if you have 40 pounds to lose, that means you'll face at least five months of eating this way. Also, can you take the time and effort to plan calorie-controlled meals and snacks?

It is critical to the success of your diet that your snacks and your daily meal are nutritious and healthy so that you maintain a strong body.

You'll need to continue to buy a number of groceries in addition to protein shakes or protein powder. Lastly, you simply must ask yourself if you have the willpower to stick to it. When you have consumed your shake, you probably won't feel as if you have eaten what you are used to eating.

It takes a lot of courage not to reach for another snack food, especially if you are surrounded by other foods at work or at home. There isn't much point to drinking protein shakes once or twice a day if you overeat the rest of the time.

A Word From Verywell

In the end, trying to choose the best diet for you is a personal decision that only you can make. Every diet plan has its own pros and cons. Some people actually like a protein shake diet because it is convenient and you don't have to decide what to eat twice a day.

For others, protein powder weight loss isn't sustainable and they quit the program before they see results. If you decide to go on a liquid protein diet or any other restrictive diet plan, consult your doctor first or speak to a registered dietitian to make sure you are getting all of the important nutrients that you need.

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9 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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