Protein Shakes for Weight Gain


Very few people in this world have a body they are completely happy with. While some of us want to lose the extra weight that we believe stands between us and a wonderful, toned body, there are others who are struggling to put on. Both categories of people have to walk a metabolic tightrope – for people trying to lose weight, the challenge is to lose fat instead of their muscle mass, while for those who want to gain weight, it’s the other way round. Consuming more protein-based calories along with exercising can help a person gain more muscle mass, instead of just fat.

Cardinal Rule for Weight Gain
People who wish to gain weight have to consume more calories than they burn. They have to make changes to their diet, so that after taking into consideration their daily level of activity, they take in more than they spend, which leads to weight gain.

What are Proteins?
Proteins are made up of small molecules known as amino acids. From a nutrition point of view, amino acids are grouped into two categories, essential and non-essential. The non-essential amino acids can be made by the body, but the essential amino acids cannot be, so you have to get them through your diet. Again, based on this, proteins are grouped into two categories, complete and incomplete. Complete proteins have all essential amino acids, while incomplete proteins do not. This is a very important parameter in judging a protein’s quality. Complete proteins are considered to be of a higher quality as compared to incomplete proteins.

Commercially Available Proteins
Whey protein powder
Whey protein concentrate
Whey protein isolate
Hydrolyzed whey protein
Micellar casein protein
Soy protein concentrate
Soy protein isolate
Egg protein
Role of Proteins in the Body

Proteins are essential building blocks of our body. These are a part of every cell, and some tissues are made up of mostly proteins, like muscle tissue. They are important because they are part of the structures in the body, and they also play different roles in its functioning.

Role of Proteins in Weight Gain
To gain weight through increased muscle mass, it needs to be accompanied with exercises. Research has proved that consuming protein after a workout leads to faster protein synthesis in skeletal muscles. Also, if you take in more proteins than what the body requires, the excess calories are stored in the body.

Protein Shakes
Protein shakes are basically a blend of a protein powder of your choice, with fruit(s), flavor, milk or water, and other added substances, depending on how many calories you want to have through the shake. Hundreds of protein shakes can be made by combining different ingredients. For the purpose of weight gain, shakes provide you with a high-quality protein along with some fat to raise your calorie consumption.

Side Effects of Protein Shakes
Protein shakes usually have little or no side effects. However, if consumed in large amounts or as meal replacements, they can have some of these side effects:
Increased risk of kidney stones
Lactose intolerance (only with shakes having significant lactose-containing proteins)
Protein shakes are safe for those members of the general populace who are in good health. However, they shouldn’t be taken by those who have kidney disease, or any kind of kidney impairment. Also, over-consumption of protein shakes can lead to weak bones.

How to Use Protein Shakes
Protein supplements, which are the main ingredients of protein shakes, can be bought from health-food stores, shopping centers, pharmacies, or can even be bought online. The choice depends on many factors like price, taste, whether you are lactose-intolerant, and what goals you are looking to accomplish.

Popular Brands
Some of the popular brands are Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey, Syntha-6, Dymatize Elite Whey Protein Isolate, N.O. Xplode, besides others. However, it is very important that you read the label of ingredients on these supplements, because many protein supplements contain caffeine, nitric oxide or other such substances that you may not know about and do not want to consume. Protein shakes should never be used to replace meals if you want to accomplish weight gain. They should be consumed in between meals. You can also replace your snacks with these shakes. This way, you will consume more calories. Having them after exercise is especially beneficial.

What to Expect
You need to follow this regimen for at least a few months, to see some results. If no results are apparent, you can increase the number of shakes you have during the day. As has been emphasized, having the shake post-workout is beneficial for muscle mass growth.

Accompanying the Diet with Workout
To build muscle mass, it is necessary to include workouts along with the consumption of protein shakes in your regimen. Strength training is the most well-known and sure way of building muscles, so it would prove beneficial in your quest to gain weight. Other exercises too can help you gain muscle mass, because at their core, all exercises essentially strengthen and build muscles.

Necessity of Protein Shakes
Some experts say that protein supplementation is not really required, and all the proteins you need, even extra amounts, can be obtained by following a proper diet that incorporates foods rich in proteins as well as all types of other nutrients. Some of the benefits of protein supplementation, at least for athletes, is indisputable. However, experts warn that high intake of proteins is not good for health, especially the effects that they have on the bones and kidneys.

Good Sources of Proteins
Some of the best proteins come from animal sources (meat, eggs, milk). These are complete proteins, and therefore provide all the required amino acids to the body. Proteins that come from plant sources are generally not complete, so you need to combine different sources to get a complete amino acid profile. However, there is one popular exception, and that is soy. It is a complete protein and is also rich in other phytonutrients.

Vegetarian Sources:
Red Kidney beans
Soy products (tempeh, tofu, soy flour)
Non-Vegetarian Sources:
Egg whites
Lean meat
Low-fat or fat-free dairy products

Protein Shake Recipes
For weight gain, protein shakes are prepared by adding protein powders (available commercially in many different flavors), to water or milk, along with an assortment of other foods like fruits, dairy products, a little quantity of some healthy oils, nuts etc. Homemade shakes with natural ingredients are the best bet. Shakes made wholly from naturally-occurring foods without the addition of processed protein powders contain whole milk with some high protein-containing food such as cottage cheese. However, for gaining weight, you would have to add some protein powder to it. There are many different kinds of shakes that can be easily made at home with a few commonly available ingredients. Some easy-to-make protein shakes are:

I. Strawberry Whey Protein Shake
Add all the ingredients to a blender and run it till you get the desired consistency.

Whey protein isolate, 1 oz.
Strawberries, 10
Flaxseed oil, 1 tbsp.
Vanilla extract, ½ tsp.
Water, 10 oz.
Ice cubes, 1 – 2 (optional)

II. Banana Protein Shake

Add all the ingredients to a blender and run it till you get the desired consistency.
Protein powder (whey or soy), 2 oz.
Bananas, 3
Peanut butter, 3 tbsp.
Whole milk, according to the consistency desired

III. Chocolate Protein Shake
Add all the ingredients to a blender and run it till you get the desired consistency.
Protein powder (chocolate flavor), 2 scoops
Yogurt, 2 tbsp.
Peanut butter, 1 tbsp.
Whole milk, 12 oz.
Ice cubes, 10
Caramel ice cream topping, ⅛ cup

IV. Layered Thick Shake
Are you one of those who feel satiated only after eating something? Then here is what you can do! To your protein powder, add a fruit (strawberry, banana), yogurt, and something for flavor (vanilla, chocolate). Blend each combination separately, and pour in a tall glass to create a layered ready-to-eat shake!

It is important to remember that each of us has a different body that responds to things in a different way. Comparing your results with those of others is not a good idea. Some people need to give their body time to adapt to new regimens. Setting realistic goals is therefore the best way to ensure that they are realized.

Disclaimer: This Buzzle article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.


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