What Happens if You Mix Alcohol With Your Protein Shake?

It is no doubt that you need a lot of protein to build muscles. With varying protein sources, many people now opt for protein shakes to help them reach their protein intake goals. As a …

What Happens if You Mix Alcohol With Your Protein Shake?

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It is no doubt that you need a lot of protein to build muscles. With varying protein sources, many people now opt for protein shakes to help them reach their protein intake goals.

As a lover of alcohol, you may be tempted to think about mixing alcohol with your protein shake. After all, they are both liquids. This article will look into what happens if you mix alcohol with your protein shake and whether it is a good idea.

📖 Related Article: If you're enjoying this article you may want to also check out: Why Does Muscle Milk Taste So Bad?

Mixing alcohol and protein shakes

To know what happens when you mix both liquids, it is essential to understand what happens when you take either of them.

What happens when you drink alcohol is pretty straightforward; it goes through your digestive system and into your bloodstream, hitching a ride and traveling to every part of your body. Naturally, alcohol affects your brain first and depends on several factors, including how much alcohol you drink. Eventually, your liver breaks down all the alcohol in your bloodstream. 

How protein works

robert irvine gym GIF by FITCRUNCH

On the other hand, protein shakes help you increase your protein bank for muscle building. Amino acids are essential for life and, more importantly, for building muscles. Protein shakes contain essential amino acids; when you drink them, you provide your body with the necessary resources to build muscles. Research has demonstrated that protein supplements considerably develop muscle strength and size in healthy persons who engage in resistance exercise training like lifting weights.

From the above, you would think there is not much correlation between drinking alcohol and your protein shake, expecting that while the alcohol does its thing, the protein shake will also do its thing without disturbing each other. However, it seems that ingesting alcohol and protein shakes may not yield the results you think it should. 

Alcohol can slow down muscle growth and recovery

Happy Hour Drinking GIF

Research has demonstrated that when you mix alcohol and protein shakes, especially after working out, the combination can slow down muscle growth and recovery.

The study determined that alcohol consumption lowers rates of MPS, even when co-ingested with protein. As a result, the study concluded that alcohol ingestion limits the anabolic response in skeletal muscle and can affect muscle recovery.

Not everyone agrees with the research

However, renowned bodybuilder and former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has noted that he adds alcohol, including schnapps and tequila, into his protein shakes. The reason he gives is that he hopes the alcohol could get the protein into his bloodstream faster. 

“I add a little bit of schnapps or tequila — tequila is also good,” Arnold says.

Alcohol disturbs protein synthesis

Alcohol also disturbs your body’s ability to convert protein into amino acids. As a result, it becomes difficult for your body to absorb the necessary protein, reducing the shake’s muscle-building potential. A study demonstrated that alcohol restricts nutrient utilization and absorption, affecting the body’s ability to convert, transport, metabolize and preserve nutrients. These nutrients that alcohol affects generally include vitamins and minerals and macronutrients like protein. 

A protein shake can make delay your buzz

Another effect you can expect when you mix alcohol with your protein shake is that the alcohol may take longer to hit.

This effect is because protein slows down the body’s digestion mechanism, subsequently reducing how quickly your body absorbs the alcohol. However, you may not be after this benefit if you use your protein shake for muscle development. 

It may be best to avoid mixing alcohol and protein shakes

Because of this untidy relationship between alcohol and protein shakes, it is advisable to wait at least two hours after consuming alcohol before you take your protein shake. Nevertheless, this advice only applies if you use your protein shake to stimulate muscle growth. If you want to use the shake to reduce the alcohol’s effect, you can take it just before you drink the alcohol.

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Best time to use protein shakes

Here are two of the most efficient periods to use your protein shake:

1. As a substitution for your meals

Protein shakes are suitable to serve as an occasional alternative to meals. As a result, you can fall back on them, especially if you are too busy to prepare a proper meal. Nevertheless, if you want to use your protein shake as a meal substitute, you should include healthy fat, vegetables, a serving or two of fruit, and a few protein powder scoops of protein powder.

💡 Quick Tip: If you intend to use protein shakes as meal supplements, I recommend the Premier Protein Shake

Premier Protein Shake

Despite its capacity to serve as a substitute, this capacity is still limited, and you should not see the shakes as a substitute for a traditional meal. They simply complement regular meals.

💡 Quick Tip: If you have enough time to mix of powder then we highly recommend these Naked Whey protein powders

2. After your workout sessions

The post-workout period is a small window that allows optimal benefits if you consume the necessary nutrients within it. Because of this, the window represents one of the best periods to get in your protein shake, especially if you can not make time for a regular meal. You may need a bottle to carry your protein shake with you to the gym, and I recommend the BlenderBottle Shaker Bottle Pro Series.

Other Benefits of Protein Shakes

Here are other benefits you can use protein shakes for: 

Feeling fuller for long

Feeling full for extended periods is a common objective for people looking to lose weight and eat less. Protein shakes are excellent in this regard, as they can help you feel satiated for extended periods. A review has since found a correlation between protein shake use and weight loss, noting that supplementing weight loss programs with whey protein could lower body weight in persons who are obese or overweight. 

Extra nutrition

Protein is necessary for general human life, and the recommended daily intake level is about 46 g for women and 56 g for men. However, for reasons like dietary restrictions, it may be challenging to reach your required protein intake level from just regular meals. For these people, protein shakes present a way to meet their protein targets.