I found this article on Livestrong.com written Jun 23, 2011 | By Carly Schuna
Although protein shakes are not magical solutions for weight loss, they can be valuable aids in a low-calorie diet plan. Whether or not you’ll be able to lose weight by drinking a protein shake before bed depends on a few factors, but if you have the option of drinking the shake as a meal replacement or post-workout drink instead, you may find a greater degree of success.
Protein shakes primarily contain lean and low-fat sources of protein, such as whey protein powder and low-fat yogurt or milk. According to ChooseMyPlate.gov, such sources are successful at encouraging proper growth, repair and development of muscle, bone, skin and blood tissue. As a point particularly relevant to weight loss, the shakes may also help fill you up and keep you feeling full for several hours or more, potentially curbing snacking and excess calorie consumption.
The Weight Control Information Network states that the time of day you eat or drink something has no effect on your weight; what matters is your total calorie intake throughout the day. Thus, having a protein shake right before bed can certainly work to encourage fullness and weight loss. However, because you’ll have eaten all your daily meals at that point, it’s more likely that the shake will add unnecessary calories to your daily total, and that could hinder successful weight loss. “Consuming too much protein can actually make losing weight more difficult, especially if you drink protein shakes in addition to your usual diet,” states Katherine Zeratsky, dietitian for MayoClinic.com.
When you have a protein shake as a meal replacement instead of a bedtime snack, you may save a greater number of calories and work toward quicker weight loss progress. In 2003, weight loss researcher Steven Heymsfield demonstrated that phenomenon in a 40-week trial with results published in “Nutrition Journal.” He separated overweight and obese participants into two groups, one of which followed a traditional low-calorie diet plan and one of which had a daily high-protein shake as one meal replacement. At the end of the 40-week period, the protein shake group had lost more weight than the group on the low-calorie diet.
There are other factors that can influence your weight loss results, too. If your nighttime protein shake is very small or contains a low number of calories, for example, it’s more likely to help you lose weight than if it’s a large serving or very calorie-rich. Your rate of metabolism, body size and level of physical activity also make a difference. Before you start any new weight loss plan or add regular protein shakes to your diet, talk with your doctor.