You are staring at crossroad signs, trying to decide which path will lead you to good health.

Making a choice between the one that reads “Plant Powder Shakes” and the other that states “Meal Replacement Shakes” is not easy.

Knowing more about their draws and imperfections will ease the task. Harnessing the benefits of both will bring you to your end goal of total wellness.

Whey protein shakes and plant powders: How each works

1. How Whey Protein Powders work in your body

Manufacturers use whey protein to make meal replacement shakes. With essential vitamins and minerals, those dieting find them convenient meal substitutes. Those who are ill and have no appetite seek solace in whey protein shakes, as they have essential vitamins and minerals.

Whey, the liquid by-product of cheese production, is more important for your body than you may realize. This humble relative of cheese has amino acids, proteins which course through your body and repair damaged cells. Protein is an important part of every body system. Whey has the protein that makes these systems work. Your body makes protein of its own, and whey complements them.

With its ability to build muscle, many people take whey proteins to strengthen and grow muscle cells. Whey is also a potent weight loss solution, and many weight watchers rely on it to slim down.

2. How green smoothies work to give you good health

Green smoothie

Should you squirm at the thought of taking in proteins from animals, you may consider drawing them from green smoothies instead. Like whey shakes, vegetable and fruit powders have the essential amino acids that the body needs. Producers of green shakes augment their creations with probiotics (live bacteria that ease digestion), prebiotics (bacteria that probiotics feed on) and antioxidants. Two spoons of such powders account for 81 of the ingredients our body needs daily.

Green smoothies usually have a long and impressive list of ingredients. They include land vegetables with known antioxidant properties such as wheatgrass, beetroot and grain. Manufacturers of these shakes add
probiotics such as lactobacilus acidophilus and enzymes such as Q10.

Why whey protein shakes?

Reasons for taking in whey protein abound. Little Miss Muffet of the evergreen nursery rhyme certainly had cause for eating her curds and whey.

1. Whey protein shakes are good for health

Whey will help you to lose unwanted weight. Joy L Frestedt and her fellow researchers fed subjects Prolibra whey protein shakes or isocaloric drinks for 12 weeks. They measured the subjects’ body tissue daily, and took blood samples from them. They found that those who took the Prolibra whey shake lost more fat than the control group.

The cheese offshoot will keep your fat levels down as well. The same study also found that the Prolibra subjects lost more body fat than those who consumed isocaloric drinks.

Whey lowers cholesterol substantially. Researcher Pal S et al gave severely overweight subjects in a study glucose, whey protein or glucose supplements for 12 weeks. The group that took whey had more fasting lipids after researchers conducted blood tests on them.

Little Miss Muffet’s famed diet curbs hunger. Australian researchers had 28 men take in 4 different drinks. Those who took whey had less ghrelin, a hormone that controls hunger.

Conversely, this wonder supplement helps to increase muscle size. Researchers at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, gave men who exercised whey, caesin or placebo. The group that took whey increased fat-free muscle mass.

An added boon of whey is that it improves immunity. Lothian JB, in a study published in the International Journal of Food Science and Nutrition, gave 11 asthmatic children whey protein shakes. The study found that whey greatly increased the probiotic Cytokine, which controls cell behavior. This decreased inflammation and asthma.

This animal-based protein lowers cancer risk. Scientist Bounous G found that animals who took in whey had higher levels of gluthathione, an antioxidant, in their cells. The implications of whey protein on cancer cells is clear.

It provides needed stress relief as well. Researchers who put 58 subjects through experimental stress found that whey increased levels of serotonin. They also showed fewer symptoms of depression.

2. Whey protein shakes: Why they may or may not work

whey powder

Whey protein is not a foolproof guarantee for good health. It may not work for several important reasons.

Whey builds muscles. You may gain weight if you take too much of it. Whey can only work to build muscle and decrease fat if you exercise as well.

Being a dairy by-product, it is not good for those who are lactose intolerant. If you are lactose intolerant but have decided to take whey protein shakes, it is a better idea to take whey isolates and not concentrates. Isolates have a lactose content of only 1%.

This cheese residue is also known to trigger allergic reactions such as diarrhea and nausea. It may irritate your intestines as it courses through them. If you have a history of digestive problems, you may want to avoid whey.

Whey shakes may increase the risk of renal dysfunction. William Martin, in the Journal of Nutritional Metabolism, found that dietary protein increased the risk of kidney stone development and renal failure.

His study showed that people who took whey had more lithogenic (calcifying) substances like calcium and uric acid in their bodies. Calcified substances form stones.

As it hardens substances in the kidney, whey decreases bone density. The mineral imbalance causes osteoporosis and bone fracture.

Why drink green smoothies?

Green smoothies are among the latest diet fads. People consume them a few times a week, as they make walking along the path to good health easier.

Before scrambling to prepare green shakes, find out their benefits and disadvantages.

1. How green smoothies boost your health

Green smoothies are rich in nutrients. The amount of vitamins and minerals you get will depend on the fruits and vegetables you blend. That said, most fruits and vegetables have high amounts of Vitamins A and C. Fruits like bananas are high in potassium.

They are healthier than fruit juices. Juices, extractions from fruits, have no fiber content. Conversely, you would use whole fruits or vegetables to make smoothies and get all the fiber content you need.

Vegetables have a coarse, sometimes bitter taste, so it is difficult to appreciate them. A smoothie is a fruit and vegetable blend. The taste of the fruits hides the taste of the veggies, so you hardly notice them.

They are a wonderful way to make children eat their vegetables, because they are easy to digest. To acclimatize them, start with a higher fruit portion. Gradually increase the number of vegetables you use. The fun part of preparing smoothies is that you can customize them. You can use the fruits and vegetables you like.

They are quick and easy to prepare. Vegetables and fruits are always available at supermarkets. You only need a blender and pitcher, if you intend to prepare large amounts. They are portable and much cheaper than multivitamins.

High in fiber, they prevent digestive problems. They fill you up and aid the digestive system. A study in the Canadian Journal of Microbiology found that cranberries fight Proteus Mirabilis, a bug associated with urinary tract infections (UTIs).

Green smoothies are a relief for those who have acid reflux. Experts recommend it as a natural remedy, because it works well. They lower inflammation and allow the body to absorb necessary nutrients.

These power drinks are energy giving. Throw in banana, citrus fruits, berries, nuts and seeds for more energy. Fruits, which have sugar,give you short energy bursts. They will give you more when you blend them with vegetables.

2. Green smoothies: Are they that efficient?

Green smoothie glass

Smoothies, as beneficial as they are, have nasty downsides as well.

You would use raw, leafy greens to make smoothies. While they have essential vitamins and minerals, they have large amounts of oxalate as well. Consuming them may cause you to develop calcium oxalate stones in the kidney. Researcher Curhan GC recently discovered that these stones may form because the gastrointestinal system does not absorb oxalate well.

This problem is not new. Scientists x-rayed a 2000-year-old mummy in Chile and found that it had oxalate stones. Sadly, they can form in any tissue. It affects 10 to 15% of Americans and if left untreated, can tear the walls of the urinary tract. The figure is not alarming, though you should probably not go on an all-green-smoothie diet. This is especially if you have hyperoxaluria, a rare condition that refers to the body’s inability to excrete oxalates in the urine.

Women who have high oxalate levels may experience vulvodynia, or pain in the vulvular ares of the vagina. This occurs most often during sexual relations. Experts link it to a weak immune system, inflammation or oxalate production. These are deposited in reproductive tissue. These crystalline deposits cause irritation and, at times, a burning sensation. What is disturbing is that fungi produce oxalates. Doctors have discovered large oxalate stones in patients who suffer from fungal infections like candida.

If you have decided to go on a green smoothie diet, use discretion when buying them. Commercially packaged green smoothies use more synthetic ingredients, among them artificial sweeteners like fructose and aspartame.

Plant foods may block mineral absorption. Nutritionists suggest that soy based protein has phylates, a compound that blocks zinc and magnesium absorption. One study shows that meat, when consumed with soy, reduces the mineral-blocking effects of phylates. To add, they lack Vitamin B 12, which is only present in meat and dairy.

Many shakes have healthy extract from wolfberry, ginger and dandelion as well.

Which shake gives you good health?

Both meal replacement shakes and green smoothies will guide you along the path to good health, depending on your needs.

1. Who should take whey replacement shakes

Whey is an animal-based protein. Animal proteins contain all the essential amino acids you need for building lean muscle mass. They have few carbohydrates, but are rich in minerals like zinc and iron. Those who build muscles regularly need animal based protein, because it repairs muscle cells damaged by exercise. If you are deficient in vitamin B, take in a whey replacement shake, as it would have vitamin B12. If you have a family history of forming stones, take whey, as plant-based smoothies may cause you to form oxalates.

That said, whey and animal-based proteins are highly acidic. Amino acids like cysteine, glutamine and arginine are not essential and may even increase the risk of gastrointestinal reflux disorder (GERD).

2. Who should take Green Smoothies.

Turn to vegetable proteins if what you want a guilt-free beverage to take between meals. If you have a loved one who has cancer, put him on a green smoothie diet. Rebecca Soto recommends the Green Smoothies for those who want to detoxify. Her book, “10 Day Green Smoothie Cleanse” shows that kale, arugula and lettuce are high in vitamins K, C, and A, essential for detoxification.

If you have children who refuse to take their vegetables, get them used to their greens with a green smoothie. They will take in the vitamins and minerals from vegetables without realizing it.

Why blend green smoothies and protein shakes?

Green smoothie meal replacement shake chiaMeal replacement shakes and green smoothies have benefits, so it makes sense to use a blend of both for muscle-building. The way to harness their goodness is to take each in regular, balanced amounts. This article has more details on more effect meal replacement powders you can use.

A blend of proteins in shakes adds to muscle development and repair. A study by University of Texas researcher Solee LLC, published in the Journal of Nutrition, showed that adding soy to other proteins promotes better protein synthesis. It prolonged amino acid delivery to damaged muscle cells.

The study also showed that timing is important to amino acid delivery. Different proteins deliver amino acids to muscles at different rates. Soy, a plant-based protein, works faster than whey and slower than casein, which makes it an ideal bridge between the two. Blending both ensures that amino acids are always being transported to cells.

Balance your intake of meal replacement shakes and green smoothies if you want total wellness.

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