Fact checkedExpert's opinion

We believe information about products and services that could benefit people should be made available to consumers to help them make informed decisions about their health care. Therefore, we try to provide accurate and reliable information by working with different fact-checkers to review articles for factual accuracy, relevance, and timeliness. A team of qualified and experienced fact-checkers rigorously reviewed our content before publishing it on our website. At EHproject, we rely on the most current and reputable sources cited in the text and listed at the bottom of each article. Content is fact-checked after it has been edited and before publication.

Protein Shakes For Weight Loss: Can They Help You Lose Weight? Full Guide 2024


Reviewed by Sevginur Akdas, PhD
protein shakes for weight loss
Should you drink protein shakes for weight loss? Photo: Prostock-studio/Shutterstock

Each article is created without any external influence. When you use our provided links to buy products, we receive a commission as an affiliate. To understand how we generate revenue, please read our advertising disclaimer.

Have you ever wondered why protein is important for weight loss?

While most people acknowledge the link between increased protein intake and muscle growth due to its essential amino acids, did you know that you can also use protein shakes for weight loss as well?

First and foremost, if you’re aiming to lose weight, it’s crucial to maintain a consistent caloric deficit, where your body must burn more calories than you consume.

This is where consuming protein shakes comes into play. By incorporating protein powders into your daily diet, you can achieve your weight loss goals more effectively. Protein shakes have many benefits, including increasing lean muscle, reducing hunger, and helping you maintain a healthy weight.

Is protein powder good for weight loss? If you want to learn more about the many benefits of protein shakes and how to incorporate them into your daily diet, continue reading.

Is Drinking Protein Shakes Good For Weight Loss?

It depends. Drinking protein shakes can be a great tool in weight loss by helping you limit your caloric intake while maintaining muscle mass.

How you incorporate protein shakes into your diet depends on your health goals and daily nutritional intake. When trying to lose weight, it’s important to make sure you’re maintaining a consistent yet healthy caloric deficit.

Are Protein Shakes Good For Weight Loss?

Are Protein Shakes Good For Weight Loss
If you’re trying to lose weight, protein shakes can help. Photo: vectorfusionart/Shutterstock

Protein is an essential nutrient that has numerous benefits. Research shows that protein plays a key role in weight loss, preserving lean muscle mass, and creating a sustained feeling of fullness or satiation.

Healthy Weight Loss

Clinical trials[1] have found that incorporating a higher protein diet, accounting for 30%-35% of total calories, can result in weight loss, improved body composition, and reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.

Weight loss fundamentally relies on achieving a caloric deficit. Protein shakes can contribute to this caloric deficit by providing essential nutrients, mainly protein, without adding excessive calories.

If you’re worried about how many calories your protein shake has, you can easily check the label or calculate it based on the ingredients you use. The great thing about high protein shakes for weight loss is that you can adjust them based on your goals and dietary needs.

Preserving Lean Muscle Mass

A common concern of those looking to lose weight is the fear that they will experience muscle loss as a side effect. The appropriate use of protein shakes is not only good for losing weight but also for maintaining strength and muscle mass.

Muscle tissue is known to be more metabolically active as compared to fat tissue. This means that even when you are resting, muscle tissue can burn more calories. Therefore, having a good amount of lean muscle mass can increase your resting metabolic rate. Additionally, a high-protein diet[2] combined with exercise can help maintain lean muscle mass and stimulate fat loss.

Protein shakes are highly versatile, and depending on how you use them, they can be good for weight loss or weight gain. The important thing to keep in mind is how they contribute to your current caloric intake.


According to recent research,[3] the recommended daily amount of protein is approximately 1.2-1.5g/kg. If you are currently struggling to ingest enough protein, incorporating protein shakes into your daily routine might be helpful.

Studies indicate that increasing protein intake can make individuals who are overweight feel fuller or more satiated, making it easier to consume fewer calories throughout the day. Therefore, adding a protein shake as a snack can be an effective way to aid in your weight loss journey without the need for diet pills.

How To Use Protein Shakes For Weight Loss

How To Use Protein Shakes For Weight Loss
Protein shakes can be used as a great dietary supplement. Photo: ORION PRODUCTION/Shutterstock

In order to use protein shakes for weight loss, it’s important that you use them as a healthy supplement to your diet and not to replace your intake of whole foods entirely.

The great thing about protein powders is that they are convenient, versatile, and relatively affordable. You can use them as a pre-workout shake, post-workout supplement, or as a high-protein snack to curb your hunger.

For post-workout shakes, choose your favorite protein powder with your choice of milk. You can use the following recipes to prepare healthy protein shakes for weight loss:

Greek Yogurt Protein Shake


  • One scoop of a plant-based protein
  • One cup of unsweetened coconut or almond milk
  • ½ cup of Greek yogurt
  • ½ cup of mixed frozen berries
  • One banana
  • 1 tablespoon of chia seeds


In a blender, combine the plant-based protein powder, coconut milk, Greek yogurt, frozen berries, banana, and chia seeds. Blend for 45 seconds or until well mixed. Adjust the thickness by adding more or less coconut milk. Pour into a cup and enjoy!


You can replace the berries with mango or pineapple instead to add a tropical twist to your smoothie. 

If you’re looking for a high-protein snack that has a bit more calories, then here is a protein-rich meal replacement idea:

Avocado Banana Protein Shake


  • 1 scoop of whey protein powder
  • 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk
  • ½ ripe avocado
  • 1 medium-sized banana
  • 1 tablespoon of almond butter
  • ½ teaspoon of cinnamon
  • Ice cubes (optional) 


In a blender, add the protein powder and almond milk. Scoop out the avocado and add it to the blender. Add your peeled banana mix to your almond butter and sprinkle some cinnamon. If you prefer a colder shake, you can add some ice cubes. Blend all the ingredients until smooth and creamy. Finally, adjust the thickness by adding more almond milk if needed. 

This shake combines the creaminess of avocado with the sweetness of the banana and cinnamon, offering a filling and delicious meal replacement option.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Protein Shake


  • 1 scoop of plant-based protein powder
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1 tablespoon of cacao powder
  • 1 tablespoon of natural peanut butter
  • 1 cup of almond milk
  • Ice cubes (optional)


In a blender, add the plant-based protein powder, cacao, banana, peanut butter, and almond milk. Blend the ingredients until you achieve a smooth and creamy consistency. Add ice cubes if you prefer a thicker shake and blend again until well mixed. Pour the shake into a glass and enjoy this protein-rich snack. Feel free to use this as either a post-workout shake or as a filling meal replacement. 


Try to use protein powders without added sweeteners, colors, or flavors, and choose a protein powder with a straightforward ingredient list. If possible, opt for healthier alternatives like stevia, monk fruit, or cocoa.


Be mindful of common allergens. If you have allergies or sensitivities, ensure that your protein powder is free from gluten, dairy, soy, or other allergens that may affect you. Most whey proteins, for example, contain lactose, so if you’re someone who is typically sensitive to lactose, it’s something to keep an eye on. 

Plant Versus Whey Protein

Plant-based proteins can be a good alternative to classical whey protein, and studies have shown that there is no significant difference[4] in fitness outcomes looking at strength or lean muscle mass between the two. It is important to note, however, that plant-based proteins are associated with antinutrients,[4] which are natural substances produced by plants that can interfere with digestion or the uptake of nutrients. 

Whey protein powder is a complete protein,[5] meaning it contains all the essential amino acids, whereas plant sources generally lack one or more essential amino acids. There are three main forms of whey protein:

  • Whey protein powder: Often used in products other than sports supplements, such as additives in snacks, breads, dairy, or beef. This form contains the lowest concentration of protein. 
  • Whey protein concentrate: Uses a processing method to remove water, lactose, and other minerals in order to increase protein content.
  • Whey protein isolate: The purest source of protein, with a concentration of 90% or higher. However, these options undergo more processing steps than whey concentrate and tend to be more expensive due to their purity. 

Choosing between whey or plant protein largely depends on your dietary preferences or allergies. Both can be excellent sources of protein, and it is a matter of finding what works best for you.

Serving Size

Another characteristic to keep in mind is the amount of protein per serving. Some protein powders add excessive fillers, reducing the overall protein concentration. A higher protein-to-calorie ratio is generally more efficient. Studies have shown[6] that a range of 20-30 grams of protein per serving is ideal for muscle protein synthesis, and higher dosages have no added benefit.  

When To Drink Protein Shakes For Weight Loss

The timing of protein[7] intake does not seem to influence the results of weight loss. Instead, consistency in maintaining a well-rounded diet and incorporating an exercise regimen into your weekly schedule is paramount. Protein shakes can serve as a good breakfast option for those looking to kickstart their metabolism in the morning. You can also use them after your workout to aid in muscle recovery.

What time you drink your protein shake ultimately comes down to personal preference and what is the most convenient for you.


Incorporating protein shakes into your diet can be a helpful way to increase your protein intake, build lean muscle mass, and promote weight loss. To make the most of protein shakes, be sure to use them as a supplement to high-quality, nutritious foods. Additionally, regular exercise is key to developing a healthy and sustainable weight loss plan. By combining these strategies, you can establish a consistent and effective approach to reaching your weight loss goals.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can protein shakes replace meals?

The majority of your meals should come from nutrient-dense and whole foods. While you can occasionally use protein shakes as a meal replacement, it’s still important to have a well-balanced diet consisting of whole foods, vegetables, and fruits.

Should I drink 2 protein shakes a day to lose weight?

It’s not about the number of protein shakes you consume, but rather the number of calories you consume daily if you want to lose weight.

Does protein burn fat without exercise?

Your body’s metabolism and muscle tissue naturally burn fat. However, when combined with exercise, this can help you lose body fat more efficiently.

How much protein a day to lose weight?

The daily recommended amount of protein intake is approximately 1.2-1.5 g/kg. However, studies have shown that high protein diets of 30%-35% of your total calories can contribute to weight loss.

Should I drink protein shakes every day?

It’s generally safe to consume protein shakes daily. However, you should not use them as a permanent replacement for whole foods. It’s still vital to have a well-balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, and lean protein.

+ 7 Sources

EHproject has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We work mostly with peer-reviewed studies to ensure accurate information. We avoid using tertiary references. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy.

  1. Moon, J. and Koh, G. (2020). Clinical Evidence and Mechanisms of High-Protein Diet-Induced Weight Loss. Journal of obesity & metabolic syndrome, [online] 29(3), pp.166–173. doi:https://doi.org/10.7570/jomes20028.
  2. Longland, T.M., Oikawa, S.Y., Mitchell, C.J., Devries, M.C. and Phillips, S.M. (2016). Higher compared with lower dietary protein during an energy deficit combined with intense exercise promotes greater lean mass gain and fat mass loss: a randomized trial. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, [online] 103(3), pp.738–746. doi:https://doi.org/10.3945/ajcn.115.119339.
  3. Weiler, M., Hertzler, S.R. and Svyatoslav Dvoretskiy (2023). Is It Time to Reconsider the U.S. Recommendations for Dietary Protein and Amino Acid Intake? Nutrients, [online] 15(4), pp.838–838. doi:https://doi.org/10.3390/nu15040838.
  4. Hertzler, S.R., Lieblein-Boff, J.C., Weiler, M. and Allgeier, C. (2020). Plant Proteins: Assessing Their Nutritional Quality and Effects on Health and Physical Function. Nutrients, [online] 12(12), pp.3704–3704. doi:https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12123704.
  5. Hoffman, J.R. and Falvo, M.J. (2004). Protein – Which is Best? Journal of sports science & medicine, [online] 3(3), pp.118–30. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3905294/#:~:text=Interestingly%2C%20both%20casein%20and%20whey,amino%20acid%20composition%20is%20different.
  6. Kårlund, A., Gómez-Gallego, C., Turpeinen, A.M., Outi-Maaria Palo-oja, Hani El‐Nezami and Kolehmainen, M. (2019). Protein Supplements and Their Relation with Nutrition, Microbiota Composition and Health: Is More Protein Always Better for Sportspeople? Nutrients, [online] 11(4), pp.829–829. doi:https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11040829.
  7. Wirth, J., Hillesheim, E. and Brennan, L. (2020). The Role of Protein Intake and its Timing on Body Composition and Muscle Function in Healthy Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. The Journal of Nutrition, [online] 150(6), pp.1443–1460. doi:https://doi.org/10.1093/jn/nxaa049.


Martin Gonzalez is a board certified physical therapist and health writer specializing in chronic pain management, musculoskeletal conditions, and injury prevention. He has over five years of experience as a practicing physical therapist, writing health articles,… See More