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SEP 14, 2023

Do Protein Shakes Make You Gain Weight?

Maintaining a balanced diet can often feel like a monumental challenge. The pain of watching the scale tip, wondering if your daily nutrition or exercise regime is behind an unexpected weight gain, is real. But what if the reason behind those few extra pounds is hiding in your gym bag? Yes, we’re talking about protein shakes. So, do protein shakes make you gain weight? Let's break it down for you.

Understanding the Composition of Protein Shakes

Protein: The Building Block

Protein is a vital macronutrient for repairing and building tissues, producing enzymes, and supporting numerous body functions. And a high-protein diet can help increase muscle mass, especially with regular strength training.

Carbohydrates and Fats: The Energy Sources

Many protein shakes not only contain protein but also have carbohydrates and fats. Some shakes, designed for weight gain or meal replacements, are calorie-dense, providing significant calories in each serving.

Vitamins and Minerals: The Essential Nutrients

Some protein shakes also contain added vitamins and minerals. While these elements do not directly contribute to weight gain, they enhance the nutritional profile of the shake.

The Correlation Between Protein Shakes and Weight Gain

The consumption of protein shakes can contribute to weight gain if they lead to a caloric surplus in one's daily diet.

Caloric Surplus: The Weight Gain Mechanism

The simple answer to whether protein shakes make you gain weight is tied to your overall calorie intake. If consuming protein shakes leads to a caloric surplus (consuming more calories than you burn), it will result in weight gain. On the flip side, if you maintain a calorie deficit (burning more than you consume), you won't gain weight.

Not All Protein Shakes Are Created Equal

There's a myriad of protein shake options in the market. Some are lean, primarily containing protein with minimal carbs and fats. Others, intended as meal replacements or for muscle building, may pack more calories. So always check the nutritional information before making a choice.

Making Protein Shakes Work for You

Monitoring Your Caloric Intake. It's crucial to be aware of your total daily calorie intake. Because, if you add a protein shake to your diet without making other dietary changes, you might ingest more calories than necessary.

Selecting the Right Protein Shake

Lean protein shakes are ideal for those looking to increase their protein intake without significantly upping their caloric count. However, a calorie-dense shake might be the right choice if you aim to bulk up.

Electric Shaker Bottle: Mix It Up Right

And when you’ve found the right shake, you really need to invest in the right type of protein shaker, to get the best consistency. And an electric shaker bottle can make the process hassle-free. With a PROMiXX electric shaker bottle you can ensure your shake is perfectly blended every time. That’s because it’s a workout companion that elevates the shake experience, by preventing lumps and promoting better nutrient absorption.

How Many Calories Should You Get From Protein?

Understanding the proportion of calories derived from protein is essential when considering a balanced diet. Each macronutrient (protein, fat, and carbohydrates) offers a specific number of calories per gram:

  • Protein provides 4 calories per gram.
  • Carbohydrates also provide 4 calories per gram.
  • Fat offers 9 calories per gram.

Percentage of Daily Caloric Intake from Protein:

The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein for the average adult is 46 grams for women and 56 grams for men, based on a sedentary lifestyle. This translates to about 184 and 224 calories, respectively. However, the requirement can vary based on age, gender, physical activity level, and specific health goals.

For a balanced diet, 10-35% of your daily caloric intake is commonly recommended for protein. So, for someone on a 2,000-calorie diet, this would translate to 200 to 700 calories from protein or 50 to 175 grams daily.

Keep in mind that the exact percentage can depend on various factors. For instance, someone aiming to build muscle or recover from an injury might need a higher protein intake, whereas another person with different goals or medical conditions might require less.

Is There Any Time You Shouldn’t Have a Protein Shake?

Protein shakes are a convenient way to increase your protein intake, especially when whole food sources are not readily available. However, there are instances when it might not be the best idea to reach for that shake.

Post Heavy Alcohol Consumption

After consuming significant alcohol, your liver works hard to detoxify your body. Drinking a protein shake in this state might be taxing, as processing protein also requires liver involvement.

If You Have Kidney Problems

While there's no conclusive evidence that protein shakes cause kidney damage in healthy individuals, those with existing kidney problems should be cautious. High protein intake can exacerbate certain kidney conditions.

When You're Already Consuming a Protein-Rich Meal

Adding a protein shake might be overkill if you've just had a meal rich in protein. It's better to space out your protein intake throughout the day to give your body time to process and use the amino acids effectively.

If You're Allergic to Ingredients in the Shake

Always check the ingredients of your protein shake. Some might contain lactose, gluten, or other components you might be sensitive or allergic to.

Over-reliance on Shakes for Protein

While protein shakes are convenient, they shouldn’t be your primary source of protein. Whole food sources offer a range of other essential nutrients and benefits that shakes might not provide.


In essence, protein shakes alone aren't the culprit behind weight gain. The overall calorie intake determines whether you gain, lose, or maintain weight. In fact, protein supplements can benefit your nutrition if you're mindful of your calories and choose the right shake for your needs. Remember, balance is the key!

Do protein shakes automatically lead to weight gain?

No, protein shakes by themselves do not automatically lead to weight gain. It's the overall caloric intake throughout the day that determines weight changes. If protein shakes are consumed in excess and lead to a caloric surplus, they can contribute to weight gain.

Can I use protein shakes for weight loss?

Yes, protein shakes can be part of a weight loss regimen. Protein can make you feel fuller for longer, which may reduce overall calorie consumption. However, choosing low-calorie shakes and monitoring your overall daily calorie intake is essential.

Are all protein shakes calorie-dense?

No, not all protein shakes are calorie-dense. While some shakes, especially those designed as meal replacements or for bulking, might be high in calories, many lean protein shake options in the market primarily contain protein with minimal carbs and fats.

How can I ensure my protein shake is well-mixed?

A PROMiXX electric shaker bottle can help blend your protein shakes to a smooth consistency, ensuring no lumps and promoting better nutrient absorption.

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Written by Matthew Stogdon

Matt has been writing for two decades, across print and digital media. He is also an accomplished filmmaker, with several accolades under his belt.


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