How many protein shakes a day

Shake Senora: How Many Protein Shakes A Day Is Too Much?

Protein is all the rage for losing weight and building muscle but how many protein shakes a day is too much? Find out the optimal protein shake intake here.

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Whether you’re following your favourite health and fitness blog (hello!!), exercising to an epic YouTube workout, trying to lose some of those lockdown pounds or trying to bulk up, you’ll probably notice that protein is all the rage lately. It’s no big shocker as to why. 

Protein is a key nutrient that helps you to build lean muscle, maintain a healthy body and regulate your body’s key functions. What’s more, protein helps to repair your body and enables it to recover after strenuous workouts.

Protein shakes have significantly grown in popularity with those cutting and bulking. It’s a quick and easy way to hit your macro targets and aid recovery. 

It’s so easy to knock a protein shake together, but you might be wondering “how many protein shakes should I drink a day?” Is there too much of a good thing? Can you go overboard with protein? How many protein shakes a day is too many?

Why Do We Need Protein?

Firstly, you might be wondering why do we need protein? What exactly does it do for us? And how can it benefit us?

Well, protein is one of the three essential macro nutrients that helps to energize our bodies. The other macro nutrients being Carbohydrates and Fats.

Protein helps us in a variety of ways, it builds muscle and repairs damaged tissues and bones, and also makes hormones, enzymes and even provides the structural framework for some of our major organs. It’s a pretty big deal, eh?

So it’s no real surprise that many fitness junkies are obsessed with reaching their protein goals each day.

All foods contain a certain amount of protein in some shape or fashion but there are certain foods that contain a higher amount of protein than others. Foods higher in protein include:

  • Meat & Poultry
  • Fish
  • Beans
  • Eggs & Dairy

How Can I Calculate The Right Amount Of Protein For Me?

We all have different bodies and different goals in mind, so there is no one size fits all amount of protein to follow. However, as a guideline, you can follow the formula below depending on your goals.

It’s worth mentioning that this is a guideline, you should monitor your progress over time and make any tweaks if necessary.

For healthy individuals, you should aim for around 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. I.e Someone at 65kg should aim for around 52g of protein per day (65 x 0.8 = 52).

Athletes typically average between 1.3 – 1.8 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight – depending on how often and intensely they train.

If you follow intense workouts such as HIIT or even heavy strength training you should aim for even higher at up to 2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day.

As you can see your specific protein requirements are highly dependant on your activity level and current body weight. As your activity levels and body weight change, you should evaluate your protein requirements.

How Much Protein Can My Body Absorb?

On average your body can absorb between 25 – 35 grams of protein in one meal. If you consume more protein than this, it will be distributed to other areas of the body or be discarded as waste.

A good rule to follow to ensure you get the most out of the protein you’re consuming is to break your total protein goal for the day into 3 – 4 similar-sized doses per day consisting of meals and protein shakes.

You may digest protein at a different rate based on what other ingredients are in your meal or protein shake, or indeed the type of protein powder that you’re using. We’ll get to that in a bit.

Just remember that you shouldn’t go overboard on your calories if you are looking to lose weight or even maintain your current weight. As with anything you eat or drink, if you have too much, it can lead to weight gain.

How Much Protein Do I Need To Lose Weight?

Again this will depend on your current weight, activity level, and your goals. There is some conflicting information out there to suggest how much protein you need to lose weight.

However, the average seems to suggest aiming for a protein intake of between 1.6g and 2.2 g of protein per kilogram of body weight in order to promote weight loss.

This is because protein is an important element of a weight loss diet. The main areas of protein that have a direct impact on weight loss include:

  • Satiety – feeling fuller for longer meaning fewer calories are likely to be consumed
  • Lean mass – helps to preserve lean mass during a caloric deficit meaning you’ll burn fat but not muscle
  • Thermic effect of food – you’ll burn more calories digesting protein than any other macronutrient
  • Storage as body fat – it’s harder to store as body fat than carbohydrates or fats

What Is Whey Protein?

Whey protein is probably one of the most well known forms of protein powder but what exactly is Whey Protein?

Whey Protein is a mix of proteins derived from Whey which is the liquid part of milk that separates during cheese making.

In fact, milk contains two types of protein: Whey and Casein.

After being separated during cheese production, the whey protein is processed into a powder. It doesn’t taste great on its own so it’s usually enhanced with some flavouring (with strawberry, chocolate or vanilla being the most popular flavours).

Most flavoured whey proteins are delicious as just a simple protein shake but did you know that flavoured protein powders are also a fantastic ingredient to add to a variety of meals to enhance the flavour?

In fact, I’ve included whey protein powder in a number of recipes right here. My favourites being my Peanut Butter Cookies, Apple & Cinnamon Breakfast Bars, Tropical Smoothie, and my Raspberry Ruffle Smoothie.

While most people can use whey protein it should be noted that if you’re lactose intolerant or follow a strict vegan diet you should probably consider other forms of protein powders.

What Are The Different Types Of Protein Powders?

I’ve mentioned that Whey and Casein are derived from milk during cheese production but what are the advantages of these two types of proteins?

Well, whey is considered to be a complete protein. It contains all the essential amino acids that the body cannot produce. This is one of the main reasons why whey protein is essential for muscle growth.

Whey protein also contains lower fats and carbs than other forms of protein. It’s easier on the gut and can aid in weight loss.

Casein, however, is a slow release protein. It can actually take up to around six hours to fully digest and be absorbed into the body. It will drip feed your body throughout the day so it isn’t ideal to use straight after a workout when you need the most protein.

Casein is best to ingest just before going to sleep as it will drip feed your body when it is resting and recovering.

Although Casein is not great to use after a workout, if you want to maximise your fitness goals it would be a good idea to use both whey and casein in conjunction with each other.

Different Types Of Whey Protein: Concentrate vs Isolate vs Hydrolysate

There are different types of whey protein (concentrate, isolate and hydrolysate) and this is due to the way they have been processed.

Concentrate is about 70 – 80% protein. It contains a little lactose (sugars found in milk) and fat. It also has the best flavour.

Isolate is 90% protein or higher. It contains less lactose and fat but it lacks a lot of the beneficial nutrients found in whey protein concentrate.

Hydrolysate has been pre-digested so it will be absorbed faster than other types of proteins but it also causes a much greater spike in insulin levels compared to isolate. In fact, the insulin spike is anywhere between 28 – 43% higher.

So which is the best option for these types of protein? Well, I’d have to say Whey protein concentrate is the best overall option. It’s cheap, it retains most of the beneficial nutrients found in whey and it just tastes better. Win, Win, Win!

Effects Of Whey Protein On Muscle Mass And Strength

Whey protein provides essential proteins and amino acids to help promote muscle growth so it’s no surprise that whey protein is particularly popular with athletes, bodybuilders, and fitness models who use it to build lean muscle mass.

Whey protein increases muscle growth by releasing anabolic hormones. It’s also high in the amino acid leucine, which stimulates muscle protein synthesis at the molecular and genetic levels.

It’s absorbed and used quickly, unlike Casein, and it doesn’t necessarily matter when it is consumed as long as your protein intake is high across the day. However, because it is absorbed quickly, many fitness junkies use whey protein straight after their workout to build and repair their muscles.

How Much Protein Is In A Protein Shake?

So now you know about the different types of protein powders available, how much protein is in a protein shake?

This is entirely dependant on the brand you’re using and the amount of powder you put into your shake.

Typically most protein powders contain around 20g protein per 25g scoop of powder which is believed to be the optimal ratio for maximizing muscle protein synthesis (growing healthy muscle tissue). However, you should be careful with the other ingredients included in the protein powder such as added sugars.

I’ve tried a few brands of protein powder over the last few years and some are much better than others. My favourite brand is My Protein. They are low calorie with a high amount of protein per scoop and they taste phenomenal!

If you’re in the market for a great tasting protein powder then check out My Protein. They regularly have fantastic discounts on to save you at least 25% (though usually more). They offer sample packs so you can try out new flavours to find your favourite and they’ve even got a starter pack that includes 1 kg of protein and a very sleek and durable shaker bottle.

My favourite protein is their Impact Whey protein which packs a whopping 21g of protein in each 25g serving.

If you have a sweet tooth, then I’d recommend going for the Blueberry Cheesecake, Cinnamon Danish or Sticky Toffee Pudding flavours.

If you like it fruity then the Raspberry and Blueberry, Strawberry and Mango are for you.

If you’re a chocoholic then you have to try the Chocolate Brownie, Chocolate and Coconut (think a bounty bar) and Chocolate Peanut Butter (it tastes just like chocolate coated peanuts!)

Then of course there is the old firm favourite of Natural Vanilla. Can’t beat it.

What Is The Recommended Dosage Of Protein Powder?

So is there a recommended dose of protein powder? Again this depends.

If your protein intake is already high due to the types of food you typically eat then drinking extra protein shakes might not be as beneficial as you think. It could lead to excess calories and although it’s harder to put on weight by ingesting additional protein than it would be by consuming higher carbs or fats, it is still possible.

That being said, the recommended dosage for protein powder is typically 1 – 2 scoops or 25g – 50g of protein which is usually consumed after your workout.

Make sure to actually weigh the amount of protein you’re putting into your shaker because some scoops are bigger than others and you cannot guarantee that the scoop will be bang on 25g.

You should also follow the manufacturers guidelines printed on the back of your protein packet as different brands may have different recommendations.

How Many Protein Shakes A Day Is Optimal?

Firstly, lets tackle why you should drink a protein shake? Aside from the many benefits it has towards building muscles and repairing damaged tissues, protein shakes are a quick and convenient way to get around 20g of protein in around 100 calories.

You don’t necessarily need to march into the kitchen to slay for an hour or chow down on plain chicken straight away, and if you have a craving for something sweet then a protein shake can quench that craving pretty quickly.

That’s not to say that you should only consume protein shakes. That’s a pretty bad idea in fact.

You need to have a balanced diet otherwise you will miss out on key nutrients that your body needs to remain healthy. So don’t go thinking that you can replace your meals with a handy protein shake.

So how many protein shakes a day should you consume?

Well, going by the recommended dosage you should limit your protein shake intake to 1 or 2 protein shakes per day in order to remain healthy and get an appropriate amount of protein in your diet.

How Many Protein Shakes Should I Drink A Day To Lose Weight?

If you’re trying to lose weight you should still keep to 1 or 2 protein shakes a day. Again, a protein shake should not be used in place of a well balanced meal.

How Many Protein Shakes Should I Drink A Day To Gain Weight?

If you’re trying to gain weight you might consider having 1 – 3 protein shakes but the same advice applies, you should not use protein shakes to substitute a balanced meal.

How Many Protein Shakes Should I Drink A Day To Build Muscle?

If you’re trying to build muscle, whether this is in conjunction with losing weight or bulking up you should exceed no more than 3 protein shakes per day.

While protein is essential in building healthy muscle, you should aim to include other foods to ensure you are eating a healthy diet.

Can Women Use Protein Shakes?

This might sound ridiculous and I’ll be honest, I scoffed when I first heard this one, but yes, of course women can use protein shakes.

I can’t believe I’m even typing this but we are not dainty little flowers. Long gone are the days of quiet little women slaving away in the house and looking after the children. I mean, we still do this, but we’re much more than the image portrayed in vintage TV and movies.

We workout. We lift heavy. Some of us are shredded (goals). Some of use are trying to lose weight or bulk up, or become more muscular, or stronger, or fitter or whatever.

We can drink a protein shake. We can drink 2 protein shakes if we want to.

Although you can drink protein shakes when pregnant to help you meet your protein needs. You should probably consult your doctor beforehand just to make sure the type or brand are suitable for your needs.

What Does Protein Shakes Do For Women?

Just like men, women use protein shakes to promote muscle growth, speed up recovery after a workout and stimulate weight loss. We’re not so different, are we?

Can Protein Shakes Help With Weight Loss?

I kind of touched on this a little throughout this post but lets dive a little deeper into how protein shakes can help with weight loss.

Protein is the most satiating macronutrient meaning it leaves you feeling fuller for longer. This means you’ll be more likely to eat fewer calories because you just don’t feel as hungry.

It can boost your energy expenditure by up to 80 – 100 calories per day because it takes a lot of energy to digest and absorb into the body.

So even if you didn’t change your activity levels, you may burn a little more calories by eating a touch more protein. However, that’s not to say that you shouldn’t move more if you’re trying to lose weight. On the contrary!

Protein shakes can also cut cravings down. Again by making you feel fuller for longer, you’re less likely to crave more food. But also if you happen to have a sweet tooth and really want that bar of chocolate, try drinking a chocolate protein shake instead. You may well be surprised how satisfying that can be.

Are There Other Health Benefits Of Protein Shakes?

Protein is pretty beneficial to building strong healthy muscles and repairing tissue but are there other health benefits of drinking protein shakes?

Well, yes actually.

Protein can lower your blood pressure, blood sugar levels and reduce symptoms of stress and depression. It can be beneficial to those suffering with illnesses such as diabetes.

A diet high in protein can protect again cancer, reduce symptoms of hepatitis, increase your bone mineral density and even improve immune function in HIV patients. This is all due to the high levels of the amino acid cysteine which raises levels of glutathione – the main antioxidant in your body’s cells.

Can You Overdose On Protein Shakes?

With so many benefits of protein powder you might be considering having more than the recommended daily amount. Is it even possible to overdose on Protein?

No. Protein is not a drug so it’s not possible to overdose on protein shakes.

However, you may experience side effects if you consume too much whey protein. Such as:

  • Nausea
  • Flatulence
  • Diarrhoea
  • Bloating
  • Cramping

Not only that but if you’re trying to lose weight if you have too much protein it may end up negatively impacting your results.

Common Mistakes With Protein Shakes

There are a few common mistakes that people generally make with protein shakes.

You’re adding too many ingredients to your protein shake.

While it’s fun to get creative and add a few ingredients to your protein shake, you run the risk of adding too many ingredients and ramping up your calorie intake unintentionally. To avoid any additional calories, simply drink your protein shake with water after your workout.

You’re not checking the nutritional information on the back of the packet.

Not all protein powders are created equal. Some have a higher amount of sugars, fats, carbs or additives therefore it is crucial to check the nutritional information to make sure that the protein powder you are intending to use is suitable for your goals.

I’ve mentioned before that I’ve tried a few different brands of protein powder and thus far the best of the bunch (in my humble opinion) is My Protein. It’s around 100 calories per 25g and packs a whopping 21g of protein.

You’re consuming TOO MUCH protein.

I’ve said it before but you can have too much of a good thing. It is possible to go overboard on your protein intake. Just be mindful that you should consume between 0.8 to 2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight depending on your goals.

You’re drinking protein shakes and smoothies in place of a well balanced meal.

While protein shakes and smoothies are useful for fulfilling your intake of protein, they should not be used in place of a balanced meal. Eating regular food will ensure you are getting all of the vital vitamins and nutrients you need from other food sources too.

You’re drinking a protein shake that doesn’t include BCAAs and Leucine.

BCAAs and Leucine will help you to recover after your workout and stimulate muscle growth. If you drink a protein shake that is lacking in these essential amino acids you might struggle to achieve your overall goals.

You’re only drinking protein powder in shakes.

Protein powder is a versatile ingredient and can be used in multiple recipes to bump up your protein intake and enhance the flavour of your meal.

If you’re struggling for some inspiration check out my recipes right here that include protein powder. My absolute favourites are Peanut Butter Cookies, Apple & Cinnamon Breakfast Bars, Tropical Smoothie, and my Raspberry Ruffle Smoothie.

Timing is everything.

To get the most out of your protein shake you need to be mindful of your timing. You should aim to drink your protein shake within an hour after you workout.

You’re ignoring the fact that you are intolerant to protein powder.

If you are lactose intolerant – whether you know it or not – you might experience some unpleasant side effects of using protein powder. It’s important to pay attention to your body and how it reacts when using protein powder. If you feel nauseous, bloated, or suffer from digestive issues stop using protein powder and consult your doctor.

You’re not varying your protein intake.

This kind of links to the previous point about balancing out your protein intake.

It’s quite simple, you’re not varying up your sources of protein.

While you can add protein powder to a variety of meals and snacks, and include other sources of protein in a well-balanced meal if you’re in a hurry or fancy a treat every now and again consider snacking on a protein bar.

My favourite protein bars are Battle Bites.

Each bar contains 20g of protein but less than 3g of sugar which is ideal for those trying to curb their sugar intake but still want something sweet and tasty. I love that these bars are more like a dessert than a bland protein bar. They are the ideal treat for those watching their calories.

Summarising

We’ve covered how many protein shakes a day is the optimal amount. If you’re having more than three protein shakes per day then you’re having too much.

Protein shakes are a great way to reach your protein goals for the day and aid in recovery and muscle growth after your workout but they should not be used in place of a well balanced meal.

Be sure to vary up your protein intake and include other sources of protein in order to ensure that you’re getting all the essential vitamins and nutrients your body needs.

Always check the nutritional information on the packet of protein powder to make sure you’re getting a good amount of protein without extra calories or additives.

Pay attention to your body, if you experience any side effects such as nausea, cramping, bloating or digestive issues stop using protein powder and consult your doctor.

Did you find this post useful? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

how many protein shakes is too much
How many protein shakes should you drink to lose weight?

Why Do We Need Protein?

Protein helps us in a variety of ways, it builds muscle and repairs damaged tissues and bones, and also makes hormones, enzymes and even provides the structural framework for some of our major organs.

How Can I Calculate The Right Amount Of Protein For Me?

For healthy individuals, you should aim for around 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. I.e Someone at 65kg should aim for around 52g of protein per day (65 x 0.8 = 52).
Athletes typically average between 1.3 – 1.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight – depending on how often and intensely they train.
If you follow intense workouts such as HIIT or even heavy strength training you should aim for even higher at up to 2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day.

How Much Protein Can My Body Absorb?

On average your body can absorb between 25 – 35 grams of protein in one meal. If you consume more protein than this, it will be distributed to other areas of the body or be discarded as waste.

How Much Protein Do I Need To Lose Weight?

Aim for a protein intake of between 1.6g and 2.2 g of protein per kilogram of body weight in order to promote weight loss.

What Is Whey Protein?

Whey Protein is a mix of proteins derived from Whey which is the liquid part of milk that separates during cheese making.

How Much Protein Is In A Protein Shake?

This is entirely dependant on the brand you’re using and the amount of powder you put into your shake.
Typically most protein powders contain around 20g protein per 25g scoop of powder which is believed to be the optimal ratio for maximizing muscle protein synthesis (growing healthy muscle tissue). However, you should be careful with the other ingredients included in the protein powder such as added sugars.

What Is The Recommended Dosage Of Protein Powder?

The recommended dosage for protein powder is typically 1 – 2 scoops or 25g – 50g of protein which is usually consumed after your workout.

How Many Protein Shakes A Day Is Optimal?

You should limit your protein shake intake to 1 or 2 protein shakes per day in order to remain healthy and get an appropriate amount of protein in your diet.

Can You Overdose On Protein Shakes?

No. Protein is not a drug so it’s not possible to overdose on protein shakes.
However, you may experience side effects if you consume too much whey protein. Such as:
Nausea
Flatulence
Diarrhoea
Bloating
Cramping

9 thoughts on “Shake Senora: How Many Protein Shakes A Day Is Too Much?”

  1. Great article! I’m a beginner and only drink 1 Protein Shake a day, and I don’t do it every day. This article has given me a lot to think about with my Protein intake strategy. Thanks!

  2. This is the perfect read for the me . So informative because I am on a smoothie protein diet , this was a big help , thank you !

  3. Such an informative article! I really appreciate how you broke down all the different aspects of protein and it’s effect in the body, it was super helpful for me. Thanks again! 🙂

  4. thanks for these article, I love protein and make sure to get mine everyday with vegetables.

  5. Lauraconteuse

    I was always afraid of protein shakes because I had no idea how much to consume them. Thank you for such a thorough post that even beginners like me can understand!

  6. Very comprehensive article on protein shakes. Protein is an essential macronutrient. I use protein powders to boost my daily intake. This was especially needed during my surgery and chemotherapy for breast cancer. But fiber is equally important, so I wouldn’t drink my protein. I would add it to foods, such as my breakfast oatmeal. That way I could get the best of both worlds.

  7. This was so informative! I am starting my weight loss journey and just finished my second day of personal training. I love MyProtein! I have been using them on and off for the past few years. They are the best-tasting protein powders.

  8. Cindy Mom the Lunch Lady

    Such an in depth and informative post. I definitely need to up my protein game and prefer vegan protein powder. I find it hard to tolerate energy protein.

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