Chen Ben Asher – Functional Nutrition – Silicon Valley – Is it better to Drink or Eat Protein?

Protein is one of the main nutrients that is important to anybody even if a person’s primary interest is only to lose weight without building some additional muscle mass. Same as with foods, it is important where they come from and what they contain. Is it better to drink a protein shake or eat a protein bar?

Protein from manufacturers

On special protein supplements, it is possible to find a lot of information about “biological value (BV), Protein efficiency ratio (PER), Net Protein Utilization (NPU), and protein digestibility corrected amino acid score (PDCAAS),”[1] which are presented to be better than whole foods. BV determines how much protein the body observes. The highest BV prom food is to eggs (BV of 100). Not all foods have the same protein value. But protein supplements try their best to have BV 100 and other measures at its highest. You can read more about protein here.

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Protein shakes

They are a bit different than typical supplements as they aren’t that rich in nutrients, but as Mayo Clinic registered dietitian Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D. says, “drinking protein shakes can reduce your daily calorie intake.”[2] Despite that some research shows that people can lose weight more successfully with using protein-rich meal replacements and having a reduced-calorie diet, they shouldn’t be used as a replacement of real foods.

Whole food

There are various advantages of using protein-rich food. One of them is the fact that “while protein food with every meal can speed up your metabolic rate as much as 30% because of the energy necessary to digest, process, and absorb it.”1 Whole foods contain more variety of different vitamins and minerals as well as satisfy a hunger for longer. Board certified nutrition specialist Chen Ben Asher highlights that it is important what kind of foods you use because not all are rich in protein, are healthy. Some, especially processed foods or full-fat ones are not as healthy as protein shakes because they have a too high level of saturated fat, sodium, cholesterol, and calories.

The United States Department of Agriculture suggests looking for lean proteins that are in “meat, poultry, fish and other seafood, beans, eggs, nuts and seeds.”[3] For every person, there might be more things to take into consideration before consuming high amounts of “healthy food” due to allergies or some other individual problems.

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The bottom line is that protein drinks have fewer nutrients that can help to lose weight. Whole foods are richer in nutrients and at the same time may have more calories and fat. There is a difference between them and moderation and supervision for better goals (losing weight, muscle gain, etc.) is a good start.


[1] PROTEIN SUPPLEMENTS VS. PROTEIN FOODS! Accessed from:”nofollow”

[2] Eating Protein Vs. Drinking a Protein Shake. Accessed from:”nofollow”

[3] LOOK FOR LEAN PROTEIN FOODS. Accessed from:”nofollow”

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