Adults who take protein supplements for weight loss as part of a diet and exercise program may have better results if they take them with a meal instead of between meals, according to an analysis of existing research.
Ready-to-drink, powdered, and pill or capsule protein supplements are marketed for weight gain, weight loss, and weight management. For those who are trying to gain weight or maintain a healthy weight, the supplements should be taken between meals, but for those trying to lose weight, consuming them with or instead of a meal may be better. The reason for this, according to researchers: Those who use protein supplements as part of a weight loss program may compensate for supplements taken with meals, resulting in a decrease in their overall intake of food.
The researchers analyzed the results of 34 randomized controlled clinical trials that included one group that took protein supplements with meals and one group that took them between meals. Of these:
- 56 percent of those who took supplements with meals vs. 72 percent who took them between meals increased body mass
- 94 percent vs. 90 percent increased lean mass
- 87 percent vs. 59 percent reduced fat mass
- 100 percent vs. 84 percent increased the ratio of lean to fat mass over time
Diane is a Senior Content Producer at Remedy Health Media, LLC. She writes the Daily Dose for HealthCentral and is the editorial director at HealthCommunities. Her goal is to contribute to a valuable, trustworthy, and informative experience for people who are searching for health information online.