Looking to add more protein to your diet?
If so, you may be considering having a protein shake for your breakfast – move over porridge!
From the different benefits it boasts to potential side effects, find out all you need to know below.
In this article, we’ll run through
- If protein shakes are good for breakfast
- 5 benefits of having a protein shake for breakfast
- If you should have a protein shake with something else
- If having a protein shake for breakfast helps you lose weight
- If it’s better to drink protein before or after breakfast
- Which protein powder is best for breakfast
- 8 potential side effects of having a protein shake for breakfast
- If protein shakes are suitable for everyone
Are protein shakes good for breakfast?
Protein shakes are a quick and easy way to get an extra boost of the most-filling macronutrient.
But are they a good option for breakfast?
From saving you time in the morning to potentially helping you with weight loss, we’ve listed some more benefits of having a protein shake for breakfast in a bit more detail below.
5 benefits of having a protein shake for breakfast
Read on to discover our top benefits of having a protein shake for breakfast...
Helps to keep you full
Protein is considered the most filling nutrient you can have in your diet.1
Research has shown that a high protein breakfast reduced the level of hunger hormone, ghrelin, more than a high carbohydrate breakfast can.2
Because of this, you may be less inclined to reach for quick, unhealthy snacks that lack nutritional value.
Also, protein may be able to improve blood sugar control and therefore reduce certain symptoms that come along with that, like hunger.3
When you compare a protein shake to sugary cereal, you may find that it can give you a boost of energy to begin with, but it’s usually short-lived.
This is because the high sugar, low protein combo rapidly increases your blood sugar levels, leading to hunger and irritability.4
It saves time
Another great benefit of having a protein shake breakfast is that it is super convenient and usually a lot less time consuming than some other healthy breakfast options.
If you’re short on time, you can stick to just shaking up some water or milk with the protein powder for a quick hit in the morning.
But if you do have a bit more time, you can easily add any extra ingredients to supercharge your shake!
While other great protein-filled breakfasts like poached eggs on toast are a good start, it can take a long time to prepare and cause more washing up later in the day.
It may help you to lose weight
Because of the filling effects of protein, some use it as a way to aid them on their weight loss journey.
It can help to reduce feelings of hunger and the number of calories consumed throughout the day.5
In addition to this, various studies have highlighted other ways that protein can help you lose weight.
For example, the body uses more calories to burn off protein, helping you to burn more throughout the day in comparison to fat or carbohydrates.6
It’s an easy way to add nutrients
Another benefit of having a protein shake in the morning is that you can easily add in some extra nutrients that your diet may be lacking elsewhere!
For more vitamins and minerals, you can simply add leafy green vegetables like spinach or kale – which are both low calorie and packed with essential nutrients like iron, magnesium and potassium.
But it doesn’t end there, you could also add berries for a boost of anti-oxidants or some avocado for a dose of healthy fats.
It can help your body after a workout
One of protein’s main benefits is that it helps to promote tissue repair and muscle growth after a high-octane workout.7
So if you’re a fan of hitting the gym early in the morning to fit some resistance training in, having a morning protein shake could be just the exercise for you.
We mentioned resistance training in particular as recent studies have found that a diet with enough protein is key for maximising muscle gains after you’ve been weight training.8
8 potential side effects of having a protein shake for breakfast
Some protein shakes can cause side effects, so it’s important to understand that your body could react in a number of ways.
The side effects we’ve listed below are reactions to whey protein:
The final say
Having a morning protein shake can help you feel more full, save you time and replenish your muscles – amoungst other things.
Although if you’re interested in trying it out and you have a pre-existing medical condition, it is best to speak to a doctor for some professional advice first.
You also asked...
If you’re using regular protein powder and you’re on a meal replacement diet plan, it’s best to use protein shakes as a supplement to your diet – rather than a standalone meal. The main purpose of a protein shake is to add more protein to your diet and while it can be filling, you may want to have a small meal alongside your shake to get more fibre, vitamins and minerals.
That being said, a protein shake in the morning is still a good way to get a boost of nutrients first thing.
There are a lot of different factors involved in weight loss, from calories and diet to exercise.
But multiple studies have shown that having a high protein breakfast can help with things like feeling less hungry and consuming fewer calories throughout the day.
It can also help with the regulation of our appetite-related hormones like ghrelin – which in turn means we crave less unhealthy foods.
If you don’t think you can give up breakfast foods for a protein shake, we understand. With so many tasty, nutritious breakfast options – why should you stop enjoying them?
If you’ve decided that breakfast is staying, but you still want to up your protein intake, when is the best time to have your shake?
For gaining muscle, if you train in a fasted state, it may be more beneficial to have your protein shake before you have your breakfast.
Having said this, a study from 2018 also highlighted that having a protein shake with breakfast, or any other meal, may be more effective for weight control than having them in between meals.
While there isn’t a specific protein powder that is best for breakfast, something to look out for is the sugar content.
As we mentioned before, sugar early on in the day can cause a spike in insulin levels, which can cause issues like increased hunger and irritability later in the day.
While protein shakes for breakfast can have a lot of different benefits, they’re not necessarily suitable for everybody.
For example, people with kidney disease should avoid having too much protein and the same for people with cirrhosis.
Last updated: 28 October 2021