A prevalent myth surrounding protein shakes is that their purpose is to encourage muscle gain and help men “bulk up.” Although it’s true that high-protein foods can further those goals, it’s also true that healthy protein shakes can improve women’s health and help them prevent conditions for which they are especially at risk.
A nutritious protein shake contains natural, nutritious ingredients such as nonfat yogurt, nonfat milk, whey protein powder and fresh or frozen fruit, all of which have health benefits for women. According to ChooseMyPlate.gov, protein-rich ingredients provide women with iron, zinc, magnesium, B vitamins and vitamin E that they may not get through other food groups. Having shakes with fruit in them also boosts dietary fiber intake and encourages healthy weight management as well as prevention of bone loss, diabetes, heart attack, kidney stones, stroke and cancer.
As they grow older, women develop increased risks for osteoporosis, bone loss and unhealthy weight gain in the abdominal area. Regularly drinking healthy protein shakes, however, can help you combat all three maladies. Shakes with calcium-rich ingredients such as yogurt and milk aid in encouraging strong bone development and preventing bone problems. Building lean muscle mass can help women combat abdominal weight gain. Although shakes by themselves cannot build muscle, they can encourage healthy muscle formation when combined with a regular strength training plan.
Women may drink protein shakes to successfully build muscle, but shakes are also useful for healthy weight loss. According to a 2003 study published in “Nutrition Journal,” Dr. Steven B. Heymsfield and colleagues discovered that overweight subjects who had a daily protein-rich soy meal replacement shake lost more weight over a 40-week period than participants who followed a typical low-calorie diet and did not use high-protein shakes. If a shake contains adequate amounts of calories and nutrients, it can help fill you up and keep you full until your next meal.
Protein shakes can offer profound benefits, but they aren’t useful for everyone. There are some health risks to following a high-protein diet or replacing a high percentage of normal meals with shakes, including nutrient deficiencies. Before you begin regularly drinking protein shakes, consult your doctor or a registered dietitian to get approval. Supplement the shakes with servings of whole foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains and low-fat dairy.
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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.