We’ve all been there. Slow morning drudgery, the pressing pull of a commute dragging us towards the door. While getting yourself ready for the day ahead, the thought of preparing and eating breakfast can seem a little daunting on top of the AM rush.
This is why a protein shake can be a dependable breakfast option for many of us. Not only is it quick and convenient, but having a protein shake for breakfast offers numerous additional benefits you may not know about. Let’s explore.
Benefits of having a protein shake for breakfast
Convenient and saves time
The most obvious benefit of having a protein shake for breakfast is the sheer ease and convenience of preparing and consuming.
If you’re short on time, simply mixing your protein powder with your liquid of choice and drinking on-the-go would save you a significant amount of time compared to preparing and consuming other healthy breakfast options, such as porridge or eggs.
Helps increase your daily protein intake
With any fitness or body composition goal, protein intake is one of the key factors to consider. Whether you’re working towards a fat loss goal, looking to put on some muscle mass, or generally improve your exercise performance, consuming an adequate amount of protein is key.
A high-protein breakfast offers a great head start to your day and achieves your overall protein intake.
Aids muscle maintenance
If you’re consistently hitting the gym with muscle-building in mind, consuming protein at breakfast is a no-brainer. One of the key principles of muscle-building is protein intake, and for the best results, it’s important to optimise your protein strategy by keeping two things in mind:
- Eat enough protein each day to support your goal (around 1.4-2.0 g/kg per day depending on your requirements)
- Evenly distribute your protein intake throughout the day, around every 3-4 hours
Therefore, starting the day with protein will allow you to better execute your strategy, setting you up for success.
In addition to this, starting the day with protein can also support muscle protein synthesis. As our muscles go through a constant cycle of muscle protein breakdown and muscle protein synthesis, it’s no surprise that an overnight fast results in us being in a somewhat catabolic state when we wake. Thus, consuming protein in the morning will change this process by supporting muscle protein synthesis.
Helps keep you full
Out of the three macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates, and fat), protein is the most satiating one, which is the feeling of fullness you experience after a meal.
With common breakfast options, such as cereal, you may find that it gives you a boost of energy in the mornings, but this is often brief due to the quick digestion rate of carbohydrates.
Protein does not have the same effect. However, it does provide you with a stable energy release because it takes longer to digest, especially when combined with carbohydrates. Protein is a very satiating macronutrient that slows the digestion process of other nutrients, too.
Is a protein shake for breakfast helpful for weight loss?
When considering protein shakes for weight loss, it’s important to note that increasing protein intake does not equal weight loss. Having said that, protein intake is an important factor in maintaining lean muscle mass when dieting. High protein intakes help preserve lean mass in dieters, particularly if they are in a calorie deficit and are already relatively lean.
Take home message
So, should you have a protein shake for breakfast? In summary, if you have minimal time and capacity in the mornings to prepare a substantial breakfast, a protein shake is definitely the next best thing and could actually be beneficial.
Having a protein shake for breakfast is often a better option than skipping breakfast (if you are a regular breakfast-eater), or opting for something suboptimal on-the-go.
If you have a little more time than you anticipated in the morning, adding some extra ingredients such as berries, a scoop of oats, or a banana would add some additional nutrients and carbohydrates if you require the bump in fuel.
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