A nutritionist on the health benefits of protein shakes for women over 50

They can be particularly beneficial if you are menopausal

If you hear the words ‘protein shake’ and automatically think of a beefed-up man lifting weights in a gym, then you’re not alone.

If you hear the words ‘protein shake’ and automatically think of a beefed-up man lifting weights in a gym, then you’re not alone.

But these days, protein shakes aren’t just for the gym buffs. In fact, 2020 is set to see a rise in the number of people enjoying protein shakes, according to supplement brand Nature’s Plus. Why? Shakes can be useful for energy and satiety, because the big P (that’s protein, by the way) is a vital nutrient. Plus, some experts have linked them to weight loss.

Benefits of protein shakes

There are two main benefits of protein shakes:

1. Weight loss

Nutritionist Rob Hobson explains that protein is essential not just for gym recovery but also to help maintain muscle mass, aid bone health and keep cravings at bay thanks to the fact that protein helps keep you fuller for longer.

‘Protein can reduce hunger, which subsequently leads to less snacking, and less calories’, says Rob.

‘Plus, protein has been linked to a slightly higher metabolism, which makes you burn more calories throughout the day night, even during sleep.’

2. Increased muscle mass and bone density

It’s also key for ensuring you stay healthy and well throughout the menopause too.

‘Protein is extremely important as we age. Women going through the menopause may see a decrease in muscle mass, so protein can help avoid this. Plus, bone mass density also declines thanks to the decline of the hormone oestrogen,’ he adds.

How much protein should I eat?

According to the British Nutrition foundation, women aged 19-50 require approximately 0.6g of protein per kilogram of bodyweight, each day. So, a woman weighing 70kg (11 stone) would need 42g of protein. Women over 50 should look to increase this to 0.8g per kg of bodyweight, which means that a woman weighing 70kg (11 stone) would need around 56g of protein.

Whilst this is a fairly easy target to hit – a standard chicken breast provides around 31g – protein shakes can be a tastier, easier way to hit the target. Plus, they’re great for those on a vegan or plant-based diet as many protein powders are made from vegan protein sources such as pea, hemp, or soy.

What is the best protein powder for women?

Woman & Home’s Health Editor Lucy Gornall explains that the more natural, the better.

‘So many of these powders are packed with additives and hidden fillers and nasties. Look for a powder with minimal ingredients, ideally no sweeteners or sugar and unless you want to gain weight, try to swerve those with added BCAAs (aka branched chain amino acids).

‘If you find that dairy products can play havoc with your digestion, leaving you bloated, opt for vegan protein powders and avoid those made from whey – this is essentially the liquid part that remains when milk has been curdled and strained.’