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What Should You Put in Your Protein Shake for Maximim Results?

By Melissa Stoner

Protein shakes are a common post-workout beverage for many gym-goers. These potent shakes pack a nutritional punch while also satisfying the taste buds. Protein is essential for the repair and building of tissue as well as many other metabolic functions. It also provides blood-sugar control and increased satiety. Everyone can benefit from the consumption of adequate protein, and an extremely easy and versatile way to consume more protein is through these supplements.

Benefits for Weight Loss

Protein is critical for the maintenance of muscle. Because it also provides blood-sugar control and increased satiety, protein can increase weight loss in people following a healthy nutrition and exercise plan. When muscle mass is kept intact, the body is forced to lose fat. A stable blood sugar will also ward off any cravings or excess feelings of hunger, thus decreasing calorie consumption. A 2008 article in the "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition" states that protein ingestion will provide increased satiety for a greater period of time than either carbohydrates or fat, meaning that you'll eat less.

Benefits for Post-Workout Recovery

Consuming adequate protein after energy exertion is crucial. For those looking to add muscle mass, protein is a key component to their success. In an article for the University of New Mexico website, university researcher Len Kravits affirms the benefit of protein consumption for both muscle growth and protein synthesis. According to the National Strength and Conditioning Association, consumption of protein after a workout can prevent the loss of lean muscle mass.

What to Add

Additions to protein shakes can improve the taste as well as provide longer satiety. The addition of healthy fats such as avocado, almond butter or coconut oil will maintain your blood-sugar levels and keep you feeling full longer. Adding healthy fats also reduces cravings for other fats later in the day. To regulate blood sugar and maintain optimal levels, add cinnamon to your shake. In a 2007 article in the "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition," cinnamon was found to regulate glucose response after a meal. Fiber will also play a role in maintaining blood sugar, so choose berries when adding fruit.

Tips and Cautions

Some common protein powder derivatives are whey, casein, soy, pea, hemp and egg. Although all of these provide a high protein content, they each have benefits and drawbacks. For example, soy protein should be avoided in excess due to its negative effect on the elevation of estrogen in both males and females. This is especially important for women with an increased risk of reproductive cancers. Casein is a better protein for slow absorption and repair, while hemp and pea tend to be less allergenic.

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