Cutting is a popular bodybuilding phase during which fitness enthusiasts aim to get lean while reducing body fat.
A cutting phase typically lasts 2-4 months, depending upon your fitness goal, wherein bodybuilders follow a calorie-restricted diet containing high protein with moderate carbs and fats.
Protein plays a critical role during the cutting phase or weight loss. The intake must be adequate to promote fat loss and preserve muscles.
Protein shakes are quite popular among bodybuilders and athletes to meet their increased dietary needs.
Still, it remains questionable for some whether to use protein shakes during cutting or not. You have landed on the right page if you are also one of them.
Protein shakes are among the best protein sources, packed with numerous health benefits. They can amplify muscle protein synthesis and decrease protein breakdown. Supplementing with protein shakes is a convenient way of boosting total daily protein intake.
Yes, one can use protein shakes during cutting. Since we need to create a calorie deficit, it is better to have protein powder with water instead of milk or calorie-dense liquids.
Let us explore how protein shakes may prove one of the best supplements for cutting.
1. Promote new muscle growth
Studies have shown that adequate protein intake combined with resistance training stimulates new muscle growth1 . Protein shakes deliver amino acids that are smoothly absorbed by your body. The increased amino acid levels in the bloodstream trigger a more significant response for muscle synthesis.
2. Prevent muscle loss and support recovery
Heavy lifts and intense workouts can leave your muscles sore. The body needs protein to repair the damaged muscles and build new ones. Research has concluded that protein shakes aid the recovery of muscle function post-exercise. A study2 conducted in 2014 found that ingestion of protein supplements following exercise was associated with reduced muscle damage and soreness.
3. Supply all amino acids
Protein shakes usually act as a complete protein source, formulated to furnish all amino acids, including the essential ones like BCAAs. Amino acids build active tissues, which amps up calorie burning. For example, leucine amino acid is considered a sole protein synthesis stimulator. The leucine content of a protein source impacts protein synthesis and affects muscle hypertrophy.
4. Easy to digest
5. Provide fullness
Another reason to consider protein shakes during cutting is their potential to keep us satiated for long. Protein boosts metabolism and takes longer to digest than fats and carbohydrates. It reduces postprandial hunger and increases satiety by regulating appetite hormones – leptin and ghrelin.3
The Best Protein For Cutting
Protein shakes with high protein with low calories, carbs, and fat content are considered favourable during the cutting phase as they are easy to incorporate into a calorie deficit diet.
One can choose whey protein isolates, casein, or protein blends as low-calorie protein options. Whey provides instant nutrition being a fast-acting nutrient, while casein works slowly and provides a steady amino acid supply, making it an ideal bedtime protein.
Plant protein powders are superb dairy-free alternatives to reap the benefits of good quality proteins, dietary fiber, and other plant-based nutrients.
Here are some top protein supplements to consider during cutting to improve your overall body composition.
To sum up, although the protein need of every individual might vary during the cutting phase, one can include protein shakes in their fitness journey. However, consulting an expert is always better to calibrate the exact need.
- Stark, M., Lukaszuk, J., Prawitz, A., & Salacinski, A. (2012). Protein timing leptin and ghrelin. And its effects on muscular hypertrophy and strength in individuals engaged in weight training. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 9(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/1550-2783-9-54
- Pasiakos, S. M., Lieberman, H. R., & McLellan, T. M. (2014). Effects of Protein Supplements on Muscle Damage, Soreness and Recovery of Muscle Function and Physical Performance: A Systematic Review. Sports Medicine, 44(5), 655–670. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40279-013-0137-7
- Leidy, H. J., Armstrong, C. L., Tang, M., Mattes, R. D., & Campbell, W. W. (2010). The Influence of Higher Protein Intake and Greater Eating Frequency on Appetite Control in Overweight and Obese Men. Obesity, 18(9), 1725–1732. https://doi.org/10.1038/oby.2010.45