Should you be having protein shakes for breakfast?

Remember what you were told when you were little? Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Whilst all meals are important, having a healthy, nutritious breakfast can get your day off to a great start. 

Not only does having breakfast help to get your metabolism started for the day, it gives you all the energy you need. Breakfast has been linked to better memory and concentration, as well as lower levels of LDL cholesterol and reducing the risk of diabetes (Hill, 2003).

But what if you don’t have much time in the mornings? Or if you’re someone like me who doesn’t particularly feel like eating a full plate when you’ve just woken up? Well, we have an answer for you - and it lies in protein powder. A protein shake in the morning can make a quick, delicious breakfast that will give you all the energy you need for the day, along with a host of other benefits! 

Here’s why a protein shake can make a good breakfast:

They’re quick: Compared to a lot of other breakfast foods, a protein shake is a quick and simple solution to getting out of the door on time. It can be made in seconds in a blender so, if you’re the type of person who likes to plan ahead, you can portion up your ingredients in advance to save even more time in the morning. If you like to add fruit to your shakes in the morning, you can freeze pre-prepared portions and blend. Not only does that save you time, it also chills your shake and gives it a great consistency!

They give you a nutritional boost: Unless you’re using a specific nutritional shake, like Vivo Life’s WHOLE, which contains a whole host of vitamins and minerals, then adding a few extra ingredients to your protein shake is a good way to add some extra nutrients, not to mention flavours and textures. Whilst this will change the macronutrient profile of your protein shake, adding vegetables like spinach or kale can add a whole host of nutrients. Fruits like berries add antioxidants and dietary fibre to your shake, and fortified plant milk will add extra vitamins and give your shake a creamier texture than just using water. 

They keep you feeling full: Studies have suggested that a high protein breakfast is more effective than a high carb breakfast at helping you feel fuller for longer as it suppresses the hormone which stimulates hunger (Blom et al., 2006). This is really beneficial if you’re not sure how long you’re going to have to wait until lunch. Protein may also help to control blood sugar levels, decreasing the symptoms that go along with it, including hunger (Promintzer and Krebs, 2006).

They may help to improve your fitness: We all know that protein shakes are beneficial to muscle growth and recovery, so having a protein shake for breakfast and then hitting the gym may help to maximise your muscle gains and speed up recovery (Bosse and Dixon, 2012). 

They may help with weight loss: Having a protein shake for breakfast can help kickstart your metabolism and increase the amount of calories your body burns in a day, which is great if your goal is to lose weight (Veldhorst et al., 2010). Studies have shown that increasing your protein intake can lead to increased levels of satiety and may even help to curb those late night cravings (Leidy et al., 2010). 

Are there any downsides?

As with any supplement, you need to make sure that you’re choosing a quality product. Many protein powders are filled with artificial bulking and filling agents, sweeteners and additives. All of these may have an impact on your health over time, so it’s important to choose a product which contains only natural ingredients, and is third party tested to ensure that there are no pesticides, herbicides, heavy metals and other contaminants hiding in your protein powder. 

You also need to choose a protein powder which is going to be kind to your digestive system. Take whey protein, for example. Whey protein can not only be difficult to digest, many people also have an intolerance to lactose, one of the sugars in whey protein. Choosing a plant-based protein powder can ensure that you won’t be on the receiving end of the bloating and gas which can be indicative of an intolerance (Fisher, 2019).

Vivo Life’s VEGAN PROTEIN is a simple plant-based protein powder which can help you to easily add protein to your day. It has 21g of pea, hemp and pumpkin protein, which makes it kind to your digestive system, as well as being third party tested to ensure that it contains no contaminants or heavy metals. The Dark Chocolate flavour is my favourite for a breakfast shake, with a few blueberries thrown in for good measure! 

Sources:

Blom, W.A., Lluch, A., Stafleu, A., Vinoy, S., Holst, J.J., Schaafsma, G. and Hendriks, H.F. (2006). Effect of a high-protein breakfast on the postprandial ghrelin response. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 83(2), pp.211–220. doi:10.1093/ajcn/83.2.211.

Promintzer, M. and Krebs, M. (2006). Effects of dietary protein on glucose homeostasis. Current opinion in clinical nutrition and metabolic care, [online] 9(4), pp.463–8. doi:10.1097/01.mco.0000232909.84483.a9.

Veldhorst, M.A.B., Westerterp, K.R., van Vught, A.J.A.H. and Westerterp-Plantenga, M.S. (2010). Presence or absence of carbohydrates and the proportion of fat in a high-protein diet affect appetite suppression but not energy expenditure in normal-weight human subjects fed in energy balance. British Journal of Nutrition, 104(9), pp.1395–1405. doi:10.1017/s0007114510002060.

Leidy, H.J., Tang, M., Armstrong, C.L.H., Martin, C.B. and Campbell, W.W. (2010). The Effects of Consuming Frequent, Higher Protein Meals on Appetite and Satiety During Weight Loss in Overweight/Obese Men. Obesity, 19(4), pp.818–824. doi:10.1038/oby.2010.203.

Bosse, J.D. and Dixon, B.M. (2012). Dietary protein to maximize resistance training: a review and examination of protein spread and change theories. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 9(1). doi:10.1186/1550-2783-9-42.

Fisher, R. (2019). Definition & Facts for Lactose Intolerance | NIDDK. [online] National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

Hill, L. (2003). Breakfast: Is It the Most Important Meal? [online] WebMD.