What is the Best Time to Drink Whey Protein Shake?

The whey protein shake was initially more commonly consumed by athletes and bodybuilders. However, with the passage of time and the discovery of more health benefits of whey protein, it is now widely consumed by people who want to increase their protein intake to get rid of protein deficiency, strengthen their muscles, lose weight, and simply improve their overall wellness.

However, it is a common confusion among whey protein consumers about what the optimum time of consuming this shake is. In this article, we have answered this query thoroughly to help you all get the most out of a whey protein shake.

When should I drink a whey protein shake?

The right answer to this question depends on why you are consuming whey protein. Is it to lose weight, increase muscle mass or preserve muscle mass? Let’s see when is the best time for consuming a whey protein shake based on your fitness goals.

If you are building muscle mass and strength

The building block of your muscles is protein and amino acids. That is why increasing the intake of protein is considered one of the best ways of increasing your muscle mass. If you are a weight lifter or perform different forms of exercise regularly, then your muscles must be experiencing muscle fiber tear every day. It occurs when you force your muscles to perform more than they are used to performing. [1]

So in order to restore or repair the damaged muscle fibers, your body needs protein. If you drink a whey protein shake, you actually provide your body with the much-needed protein, and in this way, you help your muscles gain muscle mass and strength.

Many people believe that you should consume a whey protein shake or any other post-exercise meal within the next 15 to 60 minutes, which makes the anabolic window. The anabolic window is the time during which your body needs nutrients like proteins and carbs the most; thus, consuming them during this time can help you get the most out of them. [2]

If you are trying to lose weight

Another reason why people consume whey protein shake is to reduce their overall body weight. Like other macronutrients, protein has a satiety nature. It produces a feeling of fullness. As a result, your appetite reduces, and you take fewer calories throughout the day.

Whey protein is one of the best forms of protein that is known to give you a feeling of fullness and reduce your overall appetite. [3] In one study, participants were given high-protein yogurt during the afternoon. At the end of the research, it was noticed that they consumed 100 fewer calories compared to the people who consumed other forms of snacks. [4]

If you are consuming it to lose weight, then you can drink whey protein shakes anytime in between your meals throughout the day.

If you are interested in preserving your muscle mass

A reduction in muscle mass is a common sign of aging. People observe a 3% to 8% reduction in their muscle mass during each decade after turning 30. It makes them more prone to fractures and some other health-related issues. [5]

Researchers believe that taking 25 grams to 30 grams of protein during every meal throughout the day can help people prevent loss of muscle mass. [6] Therefore, you can also take the recommended amount of whey protein by mixing it in shakes.

Can I take a whey protein shake before bed?

Consuming whey protein before bed has been proven to be effective in increasing muscle strength and improving exercise performance. It is believed that protein is absorbed and digested better by the body when it is taken before bed.  It makes protein, the building block of muscles, more readily available to the muscles, which recover fast when you sleep at night.

Studies show that taking 40 grams of protein (nearly 2 scoops of whey protein powder) before bed can increase your muscle growth and help them recover fast. [7] It proves that consuming a whey protein shake prior to bed is an effective strategy for boosting your muscle growth and increasing your performance.

Can I consume too much whey protein?

We all have heard “excess of everything is bad” many times in life. So, whey protein powder, which is actually a healthy supplement, is also beneficial as long as you consume it in moderation. You should consume protein according to its recommended dosage. Taking it more than that may cause nausea, stomach cramps, etc. Some people also believe that it can lead to kidney and liver issues. [8] However, this claim is not supported by many scientific pieces of evidence.

Wrapping up

A whey protein shake is an effective and healthy drink you can consume to increase your protein intake in order to build muscle strength, prevent muscle mass loss, or lose weight. Protein shakes are available in the market as it is, or you can also make them with the help of whey protein powder.

The optimum time of consuming a whey protein shake depends on your purpose of taking protein. Keep in mind to read serving instructions to find how much whey protein powder you should take every day.

References 

  1. CURRENT CONCEPTS OF MUSCLE AND TENDON ADAPTATION TO STRENGTH AND CONDITIONING (nih.gov)
  2. The role of protein and amino acid supplements in the athlete's diet: does type or timing of ingestion matter? - PubMed (nih.gov)
  3. Snacks containing whey protein and polydextrose induce a sustained reduction in daily energy intake over 2 wk under free-living conditions - PubMed (nih.gov)
  4. Effects of high-protein vs. high- fat snacks on appetite control, satiety, and eating initiation in healthy women (nih.gov)
  5. Protecting muscle mass and function in older adults during bed rest (nih.gov)
  6. Dietary protein recommendations and the prevention of sarcopenia - PubMed (nih.gov)
  7. Pre-Sleep Protein Ingestion to Improve the Skeletal Muscle Adaptive Response to Exercise Training (nih.gov)
  8. International Society of Sports Nutrition Position Stand: protein and exercise | Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition | Full Text (biomedcentral.com)

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