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Is there a time of the day that it is better to consume whey protein? How many shakes can be taken safely per day?
Lila Walker, United Kingdom
The best time of day to consume whey protein is when you find it convenient. Although there is a lot of talk about the schedules for nutrients, recent studies show that when it comes to proteins, "when" is not as important as "how much".
A recent study published in the "International Journal of Sports Nutrition" compared two groups of experienced weightlifters. One consumed 42 grams of protein powder immediately before and after training, while the second took the supplements at moments farthest from the weightlifting sessions. The study found no differences in strength or body composition between the two groups after 10 weeks.
The conclusion? You can take protein shakes whenever you want, as long as you consume enough to support your training goals. (Research shows that active people should consume between 0.5 and 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight).
As for the total number of beats you can take in a day, there is not really a point at which consuming protein powder ceases to be safe, in and of itself. But relying too much on the shakes will decrease your consumption of whole food sources, which are denser in terms of nutrition than the powder created in laboratories. The vitamins, minerals and other compounds that you get from eating real food support your overall health. This is the reason why I personally recommend no more than two or three servings of protein powder (including bars) per day.
About the Expert
Brian St. Pierre is a Certified Sports Nutritionist (CISSN) through the International Society of Sports Nutritionists (ISSN), as well as a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) through of the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA).