Blog Diets Vegan Vegan Protein Shakes For Weight Loss: Do They Work?

Vegan Protein Shakes For Weight Loss: Do They Work?

So many diets and workout regimens out there claim to help you lose weight. Some are as extreme as cutting out certain food groups or only eating certain things, while others are more moderate and allow a variety of foods– including shakes.

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Vegan protein shakes are a great way to get all the nutrients your body needs without any of the animal products that you may wish to avoid. If you’re wondering whether their benefits extend to weight loss, the answer is yes! Vegan protein shakes can help you lose weight. 

How? Read on to find out.

The Link Between Protein And Weight Loss

There’s no question that protein is an important nutrient for weight loss (1). After all, it takes more energy to digest and metabolize protein than any other macronutrient (fat or carbohydrate) (7). 

On top of that, the more energy your body has to expend on digesting and metabolizing food, the more calories you’ll burn in the process— which can help you lose weight.

But not all proteins are created equal when it comes to weight loss. In general, animal-based proteins (like those found in meat, poultry, and dairy) tend to be more effective than plant-based proteins (like those found in beans, lentils, and nuts) at promoting weight loss (23). 

The reason is that animal-based proteins are typically higher in leucine— an amino acid that has been shown to boost metabolism and promote the breakdown of fat cells —than plant-based proteins (24).

What’s more, animal-based proteins tend to be more satiating than plant-based proteins, meaning they help you feel fuller for longer and are less likely to lead to overeating (18).

With that being said, protein powders made from plant-based proteins can still be beneficial for weight loss. Just like their animal-based counterparts, plant-based protein powders can help boost metabolism and promote the breakdown of fat cells (9). 

Vegan protein shakes also play a pivotal role in muscle growth, which spills over into metabolism-increasing benefits. 

Here’s how it works: 

When you build muscle, your body has to expend more energy (i.e. burn more calories) to maintain that muscle mass. So, the more muscle mass you have, the higher your resting metabolism will be— and the easier it will be to lose weight (6).

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32 Foods That Burn Belly Fat Fast: Eat Your Way Into A Flatter, Sexier Midsection

Additionally, drinking a protein shake after your workout can help you recover faster and build muscle. It’s because protein helps repair the microscopic tears in your muscles that are caused by strength training (10).

Since vegan protein powders are typically low in calories and fat, they can be a great addition to a weight loss diet. Just make sure to choose a powder that’s high in protein and low in sugar, and avoid adding too many unhealthy ingredients to your shake. 

For example, steer clear of shakes that are loaded with fruit juice, honey, or syrups as these can add a lot of sugar and calories to your shake without providing much in the way of protein or other nutrients.

Read More: The Healthiest Milkshake Ingredients For A Low-Calorie Treat

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Best Vegan Protein Shakes For Weight Loss

What ingredients should you use to make healthy vegan protein shakes for weight loss? 

Here are a few ideas:

Vegan Protein Powder

Look for a powder that’s made from pea protein, brown rice protein, or hemp protein as these are all high in protein and low in calories.

Plant Milk/Water

To keep your shake low in calories, use water or unsweetened plant milk as your base. Some healthy milk options include almond milk, cashew milk, and soy milk.

Healthy Fats

Healthy fats can help promote weight loss by keeping you feeling full and satisfied after your shake (12). Good fat sources to add to your shake include avocado, chia seeds, and coconut oil.

Low-Sugar Fruits

Fruits are a great source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber (14). However, some fruits are higher in sugar than others. When adding fruit to your shake, opt for low-sugar options like berries or green apples.

Vegetables

Yes, you can add vegetables to your protein shake! Just make sure to use ones that don’t have a strong flavor so they don’t overpower the taste of your shake. Some good options include spinach, kale, and cucumber.

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How To Get Rid Of Fat Fingers: Busting Age-Old Weight Loss Myths

vegan protein shakes for weight loss

Vegan Protein Smoothies For Weight Loss

As you consume your vegan protein smoothies, bear in mind the number of calories you should consume daily. Since your goal is to lose weight, it is important to make sure that not only are your smoothies nutritious but also low in calories.

Now that you know what to add to your vegan protein shake, here are some recipes to get you started:

Apple-Cinnamon Oatmeal Breakfast Smoothie (2)

This makes for a perfect breakfast shake. But since it is high in calories, you might want to take half a serving instead of a full serving.

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium Honeycrisp apple
  • 6 ounces of cashew milk
  • ¼ cup gluten-free oats
  • 4 cubes of ice, or more to taste
  • 2 scoops of vanilla protein powder
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup, or more to taste
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon, or more to taste

Directions:

  1. Core apple and cut into chunks. You can skin the apples if you prefer them that way.
  2. Place the apple chunks in a blender with cashew milk, oats, ice, vanilla protein powder, maple syrup, and cinnamon.
  3. Blend until smooth and thick. 
  4. Serve as desired.

Servings: 1

Nutritional info: 729 calories, 78.1 g protein, 51.6 g carbohydrates, 25.1 g fat, 6 g fiber, 22 g sugar

vegan protein shakes for weight loss

Chunky Monkey Protein Smoothie (4)

You can try this chunky monkey protein smoothie instead of your everyday chocolate protein shake. The best part is that you get about 28 grams of protein in one serving.

Ingredients:

  • 1 to 2 cups of ice
  • 1 banana, sliced and frozen
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla cashew milk or any plant milk of choice
  • 1 scoop of chocolate protein powder
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • Pinch of salt
  • Chocolate chips (optional)

Directions:

  1. Add all the ingredients to a blender and blitz until smooth and thick. 
  2. Serve immediately and garnish with chocolate chips if you wish to.

Servings: 2

Nutritional info: 346 calories, 36 g carbohydrates, 28 g protein, 12 g fat, 6 g fiber, 16 g sugar

Read More: The Best Meal Replacement Shakes For Men: A Buying Guide

vegan protein shakes for weight loss

Coffee Protein Smoothie (8)

This particular vegan smoothie is for coffee lovers and is a great way to kick off your day. You should also keep in mind that coffee interferes with your sleep, so don’t consume this protein smoothie late in the evening.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup strong brewed coffee
  • 1 banana
  • ¼ cup rolled oats
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon flax seeds meal
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup soy milk or almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon honey

Directions:

  1. Pour the brewed coffee into an ice cube tray and freeze overnight.
  2. Place all the ingredients in a blender, including the coffee ice cubes, and blend until smooth.
  3. Taste and add more honey if necessary.
  4. Serve and enjoy.

Servings: 2

Nutritional info: 144 calories, 26 g carbohydrates, 3 g protein, 4 g fat, 4 g fiber, 10 g sugar

vegan protein shakes for weight loss

Green Protein Smoothie (13)

If you like green smoothies, then this green protein smoothie would make a great addition to your breakfast favorites. You can swap the frozen banana with frozen cauliflower rice, frozen zucchini, or frozen fruit like mangoes.

Ingredients:

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder
  • 1 cup cold unsweetened vanilla almond milk or other milk
  • 2 cups baby spinach, loosely packed
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds

Directions:

  1. Add all the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Serve as desired with your favorite toppings.

Servings: 1

Nutritional info: 268 calories, 38 g carbohydrates, 17 g protein, 8 g fat, 11 g fiber, 15 g sugar

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vegan protein shakes for weight loss

Matcha Berry Smoothie (16)

Besides being a protein-rich weight loss, this matcha berry smoothie is an anti-inflammatory smoothie as it contains green tea powder. 

Chronic inflammation plays a major role in many chronic diseases including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, allergies, and arthritis (3).

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups nut milk of choice
  • 2 cups blueberries frozen
  • 1 banana
  • 2 tablespoons protein powder unflavored
  • 1 tablespoon matcha powder
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • Pinch of salt

Directions:

  1. In a high-speed blender, blend the nut milk, blueberries, banana, protein powder, matcha powder, chia seeds, cinnamon, ginger, and salt until smooth.
  2. Serve immediately.

Servings: 2

Nutritional info: 224 calories, 38 g carbohydrates, 7 g protein, 5 g fat, 8 g fiber, 22 g sugar

vegan protein shakes for weight loss

Orange Cranberry Greens Protein Smoothie (17)

If you love oranges, then this smoothie is a must-try. It combines the rich flavors of oranges, cranberries, and cinnamon.

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium banana, frozen
  • 1 cup whole cranberries, frozen
  • 1 navel orange, peeled
  • 1 cup baby spinach or other greens, packed
  • 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • Additional liquid such as unsweetened almond milk, as needed to blend
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Directions:

  1. In a blender puree all the ingredients until smooth. You can add some almond milk as is needed to bring the consistency of the smoothie to your liking.
  2. Serve and enjoy.

Servings: 1

Nutritional info: 369 calories, 64.8 g carbohydrates, 29.1 g protein, 1.6 g fat, 12.7 g fiber, 32.3 g sugar

vegan protein shakes for weight loss

Strawberry Coconut Protein Shake (20)

Who doesn’t love strawberries? This tasty protein shake combines strawberry, coconut milk, and vegan protein powder and makes for a perfect post-workout shake. 

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups frozen strawberries
  • 2 cups cartoned coconut milk
  • ½ cup vanilla protein powder
  • 4 teaspoon honey
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoon ground flax seed

Directions:

  1. Add all the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. You can add more coconut milk if desired.
  2. Serve and enjoy.

Servings: 2

Nutritional info: 270 calories, 31 g carbohydrates, 21 g protein, 7 g fat, 8 g fiber, 22 g sugar

vegan protein shakes for weight loss

Vegan Berry Protein Shake (25)

This vegan berry protein shake is very simple to make and offers rich flavors. You can have it for breakfast or in between meals.

Ingredients:

  • 25 g vanilla protein powder
  • 1 cup frozen mixed berries
  • A handful of spinach (optional)
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon cashew or almond butter
  • ½ tablespoon chia seeds or flax (optional)
  • Ice (optional)

Directions:

  1. Add all your ingredients to your blender except the ice.
  2. Blend until smooth. Serve in a glass or jar, then add ice if desired.

Servings: 1

Nutritional info: 298 calories, 25 g carbohydrates, 27 g protein, 13 g fat, 7 g fiber, 12 g sugar

How To Make Vegan Protein Shakes More Effective For Weight Loss?

There are a few things you can do to make your vegan protein shakes more effective for shedding pounds.

Consider Your Overall Calorie Intake

Vegan protein shakes aren’t a magical weight loss solution on their own. If you’re eating more calories than you’re burning each day, you’re not going to lose weight– no matter how much protein you’re consuming (11).

To see weight loss results, make sure your protein shakes fit into a healthy, calorie-controlled diet. If you’re not sure how many calories you should be eating each day, talk to a registered dietitian or your doctor.

vegan protein shakes for weight loss

Include Other Types Of Food

Protein shakes shouldn’t be your only source of nutrients. They’re best used as part of a healthy, balanced diet that includes other nutrients like fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

See also
7 Foods To Avoid When Trying To Lose Weight

To make sure you’re getting all the nutrients your body needs, eat a variety of whole foods in addition to drinking protein shakes. This includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds (5).

Choose Low-Sugar Options

Some protein powder products are loaded with sugar– which can quickly offset any weight loss benefits you might get from the protein (21).

When shopping for vegan protein powder, look for products that are low in sugar and calories. You might also want to consider making your protein shake at home using unsweetened plant-based milk and a sugar-free protein powder.

Don’t Skimp On Exercise

In addition to following a healthy diet, you’ll also need to exercise regularly to see weight loss results. Exercise can help boost your metabolism and burn more calories (19).

A combination of diet and exercise is often the most effective weight loss strategy (26). If you’re not sure how to get started with exercise, start slow with 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days of the week. 

You can also talk to a certified personal trainer to help design an exercise plan that’s right for you.

Get Enough Sleep

Getting enough shut-eye is important for overall health, including weight loss (22).

Studies show that people who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to be overweight or obese than those who get adequate rest (15).

To make sure you’re getting enough sleep, aim for 7 to 8 hours each night. If you have trouble sleeping, try these tips to fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly:

  • Establish a regular sleep schedule.
  • Avoid caffeine in the evening.
  • Avoid working or using electronic devices in bed.
  • Keep your bedroom cool, dark, and quiet.

The Bottom Line

Vegan protein shakes can be a helpful part of a weight loss diet. They’re a good source of protein and can be used as part of a healthy, balanced diet. 

To see weight loss results, make sure your protein shakes fit into a calorie-controlled diet and include other nutrient-rich foods. You should also exercise regularly for best results.

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DISCLAIMER:

This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!

SOURCES:

  1. A high-protein diet for reducing body fat: mechanisms and possible caveats (2014, biomedcentral.com)
  2. Apple-Cinnamon Oatmeal Breakfast Smoothie (n.d., allrecipes.com)
  3. Chronic Inflammation (2021, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  4. Chunky Monkey Protein Smoothie (2019, theseasonedmom.com)
  5. Defining a Healthy Diet: Evidence for the Role of Contemporary Dietary Patterns in Health and Disease (2019, mdpi.com)
  6. Dietary Protein and Muscle Mass: Translating Science to Application and Health Benefit (2019, mdpi.com)
  7. Diet induced thermogenesis (2004, biomedcentral.com)
  8. Easy and Healthy Coffee Smoothie (2021, diethood.com)
  9. Effects of Plant-Based Diets on Weight Status: A Systematic Review (2020, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  10. Effects of Protein Supplementation on Performance and Recovery in Resistance and Endurance Training (2018, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  11. Fat loss depends on energy deficit only, independently of the method for weight loss (2007, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  12. Fats and Satiety (2010, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  13. Green Protein Smoothie (2022, eatingbirdfood.com)
  14. Health Benefits of Fruits and Vegetables (2012, academic.oup.com)
  15. Lose Sleep, Gain Weight: Another Piece of the Obesity Puzzle (2010, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  16. Matcha Berry Smoothie (2021, delightfulmomfood.com)
  17. Orange Cranberry Greens Protein Smoothie(2016, projectmealplan.com)
  18. Protein for Life: Review of Optimal Protein Intake, Sustainable Dietary Sources and the Effect on Appetite in Ageing Adults (2018, mdpi.com)
  19. Role of Physical Activity for Weight Loss and Weight Maintenance (2017, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  20. Strawberry Coconut Post Workout Smoothie(2019, fitfoodiefinds.com)
  21. Sugar consumption, metabolic disease and obesity: The state of the controversy (2015, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  22. The Extraordinary Importance of Sleep (2018, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  23. The impact of type of dietary protein, animal versus vegetable, in modifying cardiometabolic risk factors: A position paper from the International Lipid Expert Panel (ILEP) (2021, sciencedirect.com)
  24. The Role of the Anabolic Properties of Plant- versus Animal-Based Protein Sources in Supporting Muscle Mass Maintenance: A Critical Review (2019, mdpi.com)
  25. Vegan Protein Shake (2021, eatingbirdfood.com)
  26. Weight-Loss and Maintenance Strategies (2004, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
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