Do protein shakes give you energy? For those consistent protein shake drinkers, you can always expect a surge of amino acids to infiltrate your body to build muscle and even burn fat. These are widespread uses of protein shakes and powders, but I have always wondered something in particular, and maybe you the reader have too.
“How much energy can you get from drinking a protein shake?”
Of course, on many nutrition labels, it is common to find a minuscule amount of carbohydrates, no higher than 2-3 grams. Since carbohydrates are our first line of energy source, we shouldn’t expect much from 3 grams, right? Or is there something that the amino acid do that contribute to the amount of energy we have.
Is there something scientific beneath the surface that even the nutrition label cannot accurately describe? Keep reading to find out!
Protein vs. Carbohydrates
Before diving straight into the science of this topic, it should only be fair to understand what exactly we are comparing and their purposes. For our first macronutrient, we have protein, the most filling thing nutrient we could possibly incorporate in our diets. Inside our dietary protein, we have amino acids that are essential for our bodies, more on amino acids by clicking here. They take on significant tasks such as building and repairing muscle tissue and synthesizing neurotransmitters and hormones. You can find dietary protein in meats, fish, chicken, eggs, and tons of other foods.
Then we have our lovely carbohydrates, as mentioned before, they’re our first primary source of energy. Our body breaks it down into glucose first before inserting it into our bloodstream, needed for our cells. The topic of carbohydrates being “healthy” or not is really up in the air, some experts say you must stay away from them to achieve the best health possible, others disagree.
Whichever side you correlate with, carbs still play a massive role in your body no matter which way you put it. They stop your proteins from being used as energy, it’s a small world, after all, they preserve your muscle, regulate blood glucose, and even better heart health. Many people don’t realize just how many things have carbs, some good and others not as good. The healthy carbs you’re looking for can be found in potatoes, rice, bread, pasta, and tons of others.
Who’s Got More Juice
Well, if you read the section above, you already know that carbs provide the most energy between the three macronutrients, we left out fats for this one. However, that wasn’t our initial question. I asked if protein shakes can get the job done to produce our bodies with any energy, not just how carbohydrates do. After doing some research, I came up with an answer, that being,
Yes, for the long term!
You see, as I mentioned, a role that carbohydrates have is to hold off protein from becoming an energy source for our bodies. However, we use up carbohydrates quicker than most people think. For example, if you were to eat a piece of your favorite candy or have some sweet cold ice cream, you’ll feel jumpy and full of energy not too long after digestion. This is because of the high amount of carbs in those foods spike the heck out of your blood glucose level, putting you in a state of exhilaration.
We feel this because our insulin carries the glucose to our cells to be used instantly, either that or be stored as fat. Most people know this as a “sugar rush,” which feels like you can conquer the world if you wanted to. However, there comes that time when your blood glucose drops to its stable level after the carbs run out, and it’s a dramatic drop.
This “crash” feels like the world just conquered you, and that is because you no longer have any glucose in your bloodstream to give out to your cells. Now when eating proteins, your blood glucose level does not jump nearly as much when eating carbohydrates. The level stays very stable, and for a long time, glucose is released much slower into your cells. Meaning, protein keeps you fuller longer with providing you with steady energy for a longer time.
Real Purpose of Protein
Although protein does provide you with the stable energy you may be looking for, it has other primary purposes that it tackles. The protein we consume offers a lot of functions, such as the ones listed below,
- Provide cell structure
- Regulate the processes of the body
- Transport materials all throughout our bodies
- Aid our immune system
- Act as a source of energy
As you can see from the list, providing energy is actually a role of protein, only after your carbs and fats are used up. The amino acids also play a significant role, they shoot straight to your broken down and torn up tissues and fibers to be repaired. This process is how you build muscle through the reparation and restoration of damaged tissues into stronger, bigger muscles.
The Bottom Line
In conclusion, consuming a protein shake can actually provide you with energy. Although carbohydrates offer the first line of energy for our bodies, along with fat, proteins are right behind them. They give a very stable source of energy, unlike the jolt you get from carbs. It might not be a sudden stunt in power, but proteins can definitely get the job done. If you’d like to know more about energy in humans, go ahead in click here to learn more.
Got a question about how much energy protein shakes can provide? Leave them down below, along with any comments you have about energy with protein.
Protein: macronutrient made up of amino acids that compose the structure, regulation, and function of the body’s tissues and organs.
Amino Acids: Building blocks of protein that purpose is to rebuild tissues and fibers.
Neurotransmitters: chemical messengers that send signals across a chemical synapse that targets another neuron, gland cell or muscle cell.
Hormones: secreted by endocrine glands into the bloodstream that affects other parts of the body.
Carbohydrates: the primary source of energy that becomes glucose when digested into our bodies.
Glucose: simple sugar from carbohydrates utilized by our cells to perform their functions.
Blood Glucose: sugar that bloodstream carries to all cells in the body to supply energy.
Fats: fats and oils found in animals made up of fatty acids.
“Sugar Rush”: a sudden spike of blood glucose from consumption of high carb foods leading to a rush of energy
“Crash”: a sudden drop of blood glucose from a shortage of glucose in the bloodstream