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One Major Side Effect of Using Protein Powder, Says Dietitian

Protein powder is often used to build muscle, but it also has this underrated side effect.
FACT CHECKED BY Olivia Tarantino

Protein powder can be a quick and easy way to incorporate more protein into your diet since all you need to do is toss some into a healthy shake or protein smoothie in order to get those good muscle-building nutrients.

Though you may think you're giving your body a boost by loading up on protein powder, like just about anything else, it has its side effects. However, not all of these side effects will have a negative impact on your health. In fact, some may help you achieve your fitness goals and get healthier as a result.

"Protein powder is used by many to meet their health goals. Aside from helping build muscle mass, consuming protein powder can actually suppress your appetite," says Dina Totosegis, RD, a registered dietitian and founder of Sprouting Foodies. "Surprisingly enough, using protein powder regularly can have an effect on reducing the release of hunger promoting hormones such as ghrelin."

And believe it or not, that's not all protein powder does to keep those pesky hunger pangs at bay. "It can also increase the secretion of satiety hormones, such as peptide YY," Totosegis adds.

As she puts it: "This response enables you to feel less hungry and fuller longer; not a bad combination when looking to lose weight and control cravings." (Read more: Simple Ways to Start Losing Weight Immediately, According to Science.)

protein shake

Not surprisingly, there's plenty of research to back this up. Per a 2015 study that appeared in Nutrition Journal, a high-protein breakfast helped premenopausal women consume up to 135 fewer calories later in the day, compared with a low-protein breakfast or skipping breakfast.

Additionally, there have been multiple studies that have examined the impact of protein powder in particular. A 2019 study that included nine young women with obesity found that sipping a whey protein drink actively reduced appetite.

These findings apply to men as well. A separate study from 2011 that appeared in Nutrition Journal found that drinking 20 grams of either casein and pea protein 30 minutes before a meal increased satiety and reduced the amount of food eaten. However, this study also found that when you consume protein powder matters because when the protein drinks were consumed just before the meal, participants didn't report increased satiety or eat less food.

So whether you're looking to lose weight, or just curb hunger cravings throughout the day, using protein powder can help you meet your goals.

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