One of the most popular supplements are protein supplements, due to the great benefits that protein has for the body, and the easy way of intake in a hectic daily life.

Taking this type of supplement is associated with a variety of reasons – building muscle, losing weight, or improving overall health. But regardless of the reasons, the question always comes up when it is best to drink protein and take supplements, shakes or ice cream with it.

In the article we will look at when to drink protein and the other most common question on the topic – when to drink protein: before or after a workout.

What is protein

A protein is a large organic molecule made up of long chains of amino acids linked by peptide bonds, which is an essential component of all living cells.

It ranks first among the body’s vital nutrients because of the many processes it is associated with. Proteins play a vital role in muscle growth and repair, as well as in the production of hormones and enzymes.

The main and most important reasons why protein is so important for the body are:

  • it is a source of energy;
  • helps repair tissue damage;
  • helps muscle growth;
  • plays a key role in the prevention of infection and disease;
  • helps in the growth and repair of cells and tissues;
  • has a role in regulating metabolism.

The protein structures involved in different processes in the body range from simple to complex, and each has its own unique function.

There are also different types of proteins – animal and vegetable, which also have certain features. You can read more about what protein is and what are the features of animal and plant proteins in our article on the topic “All about proteins“.

What are the benefits of protein intake

Besides being an essential macronutrient that performs many important functions in the body, protein also helps maintain healthy bones and teeth. It can also help reduce the risk of certain diseases.

Some of the main benefits of consuming adequate amounts of protein include:

1. Improved muscle mass and strength

Consuming enough protein helps build and maintain muscle mass and strength, which can be beneficial for athletes and bodybuilders. It also helps reduce muscle loss and can improve physical performance.

2. Reduced appetite and weight regulation

Consuming enough protein helps build and maintain muscle mass and strength, which can be beneficial for athletes and bodybuilders. It also helps reduce muscle loss and can improve physical performance.

3. Reduced appetite and weight regulation

Protein helps reduce appetite and can help with weight maintenance. Better appetite control helps to avoid hunger pangs and could lead to a reduction in the desire to eat unhealthy foods (snacks, junk food, sweets, waffles) between meals during the day.

4. Healthy heart and immune system

Consuming adequate amounts of protein can help reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering cholesterol levels and improving blood pressure. Protein can also help boost the immune system and fight disease.

5. Improved bone health

Protein is important for maintaining strong and healthy bones. It helps form and maintain collagen, which is found in bones and cartilage and helps keep them strong and healthy.

6. Improved mental health

Getting enough protein can help improve mental clarity and reduce stress and anxiety. Protein helps produce serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter associated with mood and sleep regulation.

How much protein should you take

Before we look at how much protein should be consumed daily, it should be noted that in addition to the quantity, the quality of the protein is also important in order for it to carry complete nutritional values. Adequate consumption of high-quality protein (e.g. from a source such as milk) is recommended for optimal growth, development and health.

We will briefly remind you of the basic recommended daily doses for a healthy adult:

  • For an adult with minimal physical activity, 0.8 g protein per kg body weight is recommended;
  • for an adult with minimal physical activity, 1.0 g per kg body weight is recommended;
  • for an adult with moderate physical activity – 1.3 g per kg body weight;
  • for adults with intense physical activity – 1.6 g per kg body weight.

These values would contribute to meeting daily functional needs, including promoting physical strength and the accumulation of sufficient protein in skeletal muscle.
Long-term protein consumption of 2 g per kg body weight per day is safe for healthy adults. High protein intake (>2 g per kg body weight per day for adults) can lead to digestive, renal and vascular abnormalities and should be avoided.

You can find more information on how much protein to take in our article “How much protein per day to take“.

When is it best to take protein

Protein is an important part of a balanced diet. But the question “When is it best to primp: before or after exercise” often confuses most people. In fact, consuming protein at certain times can help maximize its benefits.

Taking protein after exercise can help build and repair muscle.

Eating protein before bed, on the other hand, can help reduce muscle loss during sleep.

And eating a protein-rich snack after 7-8 hours of sleep, during which the body has not taken any food, or between meals can help curb hunger pangs.

In general, it is important to spread your protein consumption throughout the day so that your body can use the nutrients as needed.

A very important factor in protein intake is to be clear about why you are taking it and what your health goals are.

The best time to consume protein for optimal muscle growth often proves to be a controversial topic due to the time window (also known as the “anabolic window”), which until recently was thought to be 15 – 60 minutes after exercise.

But according to recent studies in the field, this interval is actually much larger, up to at least two hours after exercise.

Protein intake after exercise

To build muscle, it is advisable to consume protein within two hours after exercise. If you are training on an empty stomach, for example before breakfast, you should ideally take protein immediately after training.

Protein intake before exercise

Consuming protein 30 minutes to an hour before you start your workout can provide your body with the fuel it needs.

But you have to be careful with the quantity and quality of the protein. Taking too much protein before exercise can cause gastrointestinal discomfort, so it’s important to stick to a moderate amount. Protein shakes, bars and even whole food sources like eggs and yogurt are good options for protein before a workout.

Choose a protein source that is easily digestible, such as casein. This type of protein is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, providing your muscles with the nutrients they need to perform better during exercise.

Eating protein before a workout can help reduce muscle fatigue and help muscles recover faster after exercise.

Read more about food types in our articles“Protein-rich foods” and“Vegan protein-rich foods“, as well as“All about protein shakes“.

Protein intake between main meals

Protein is one of the most important nutrients for fat loss, and a high-protein diet can help boost metabolism and reduce cravings.

If you aim to have protein-rich small snacks between main meals, you can successfully control hunger pangs during the day. This will result in maintaining a good calorie balance and fat loss.

In conclusion, we can note that the question of when to drink protein should be tailored to your needs, your body’s characteristics and desired goals. It is always a good idea to consult a nutritionist to help you determine your intake and quantity.

In general, consuming enough protein at each meal (approximately 25 grams) is more important than the exact timing of intake. Scientists recommend that this intake be spread evenly throughout the day. This will help prevent muscle loss and reap all the other benefits of regular adequate protein intake.

Quality protein intake from Active Choice

If you find it difficult, and especially if you have an active and hectic daily routine with little time for a proper snack, you can choose a protein bar to deliver protein and satiate your hunger between meals. And if you have more time and can safely prepare a delicious protein mini snack, you can choose between protein cream or protein powder. Mix them with a little yogurt, skim or fresh milk according to your taste preferences and enjoy an irresistible protein snack between meals that is healthy and delicious.

Browse all the quality protein products from Active Choice and find your tasty protein treat.

Take a look at ours too:
Vegan protein powder with vanilla flavor;
Vegan protein powder with cocoa flavor;
Vegan protein powder with cinnamon cookie flavor.

More useful information about proteins can be found on our blog.