When should you drink protein shakes?

This question is about GLP-1 & Weight Loss and Nutrition

Elle Penner, MPH, RD

If your goal is muscle repair and recovery, you should drink protein shakes within two hours of exercise [


]. If you’re trying to lose weight, a protein shake can be beneficial when you find it hard to get enough protein at mealtime. 

When combined with a healthy diet, protein shakes are a convenient and cost-efficient way to boost protein intake and meet your nutrient needs. 

Protein shakes for muscle building and recovery

According to the International Society of Sports Nutrition, consuming 20-40 g of high-quality protein shortly after exercise stimulates robust increases in muscle protein synthesis that can benefit both performance and recovery [



However, research shows that your total protein intake matters more than whether or not you have a protein shake after a workout [


]. Therefore, meeting your daily protein goals–preferably by consuming smaller amounts of protein every few hours–should be your first priority. 

Protein shakes for weight loss

Research suggests consuming 25-30 g of quality protein at breakfast, lunch, and dinner may benefit weight loss by improving energy metabolism, protein synthesis, and appetite control [



While Americans typically eat plenty of protein with lunch and dinner, evidence suggests protein consumption at breakfast is generally well below the 25-30 g/meal mark [


]. If you’re trying to lose weight and are not getting at least 25-30 g of protein at breakfast, drinking a protein shake in the morning may help your weight loss efforts.

Here’s how many protein shakes a day you can safely drink.

Whey protein in a clear scoop on a wooden background


  1. Kerksick, C. M., Arent, S., Schoenfeld, B. J., Stout, J. R., Campbell, B., Wilborn, C. D., Taylor, L., Kalman, D., Smith-Ryan, A. E., Kreider, R. B., Willoughby, D., Arciero, P. J., VanDusseldorp, T. A., Ormsbee, M. J., Wildman, R., Greenwood, M., Ziegenfuss, T. N., Aragon, A. A., & Antonio, J. (2017). International society of sports nutrition position stand: nutrient timing. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 14, 33.


  2. Heather J Leidy, Peter M Clifton, Arne Astrup, Thomas P Wycherley, Margriet S Westerterp-Plantenga, Natalie D Luscombe-Marsh, Stephen C Woods, Richard D Mattes, The role of protein in weight loss and maintenance, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 101, Issue 6, June 2015, Pages 1320S–1329S,