What Happens if You Mix Alcohol With Your Protein Shake?

Whey protein and alcohol: Can they be mixed?

alcohol and protein shake
alcohol and protein shake

It's important to remember that drinking alcohol isn't the best idea nutritionally. But with terms like ‘mojito cleanses' and other unhealthy trends making their rounds, many body critics question the idea of whether there is a way to make it healthier, like mixing alcohol with whey protein. If you haven’t heard of this idea or just wanted to start a unique splash to protein shake, this article is for you.

Is it okay to mix whey protein with alcohol?

Let's be honest, drinking protein with alcohol won't provide enough amino acids for muscle building. Instead, you should drink a protein shake made from casein protein 1-2 hours before drinking alcohol. This also has the added benefit of slowing down how quickly you feel the effects of the alcohol.

It’s also important to note that when we talk about mixing whey protein with alcohol, there are two possible questions we should be asking.

Which are:

  1.  Can whey protein be mixed with alcoholic drinks? 
  2.  Can you drink a protein shake close to when you consume alcohol?

With the right recipes, there are benefits of mixing whey protein with alcohol.

Mixing whey protein with alcohol is not a new idea. It has been around for a few decades now and it has been shown to have some benefits, but it is not without its risks. Here are the benefits of mixing protein shake with the alcohol:

  • Help stay fuller longer
  • Improve sleep quality
  • Boost metabolism

What is the science behind the benefits?
Alcohol is a depressant, which means it can make your body feel like it has too much energy. Drinking alcohol on an empty stomach will cause a “buzz” effect that can last for hours. This is why you might feel like drinking more than you originally intended. Drinking alcohol and protein shake together increases the blood alcohol concentration and this can help reduce the “buzz” effect. Alcohol will prevent your body from producing insulin, which can lead to hypoglycemia. This is a condition where your blood sugar levels drop too low, which can cause dizziness, confusion, and even passing out. Drinking protein and whey shakes can help to prevent this from happening by increasing insulin production. Recovery shakes will help you to develop a higher metabolic rate and increase your body’s ability to burn calories. This can make it easier to lose weight, while still providing you the protein that is essential for muscle building.

You can enjoy yourself and drink longer without the unpleasant feeling of being drunk

man having a drink
man having a drink

Premixing a protein shake with alcohol helps you avoid the full-blown effects of alcohol. The protein in the shake has a slowing effect on your digestion, which reduces how quickly you absorb alcohol.

It only takes a couple of minutes for good old alcohol to have its effects on you, have you ever noticed? Drinking without eating beforehand means your body absorbs the alcohol quicker and starts to act accordingly.

Consuming protein before or with alcohol will help slow down your digestive system and the alcohol will be absorbed much more slowly. It’s always a good idea to supplement a protein shake with other nutrients. A good way to do this is by adding avocado when you make your smoothie.

Combining whey protein with alcohol has certain drawbacks

The downside to drinking alcohol and mixing it with whey protein is:

  1. It decreases the body’s ability to use protein for muscle growth

Consuming an alcoholic protein shake will limit your body’s ability to digest and break down protein to be used for muscle growth. You may want to reduce or abstain when possible if you want the best results.

In order for your body to refuel and recover from the damage of working out, it needs protein. Luckily, protein helps in muscle repair and recovery by breaking down into amino acids that are then transported to the muscles. Drinking alcohol will prevent your body from absorbing the protein you consume?

You might be wondering how this will affect you? Well, first off, mixing alcohol and protein/supplements is not recommended because it might lead to confusion as to which method your body is using for nutrient restoration.

On the other hand, it's much better to consume the majority of your protein before consuming alcohol if you want your body to be able to use it for repairing muscles optimally.

  1. Are proteins absorbed differently when alcohol is consumed?

Protein used to build muscle cannot be broken down into amino acids by alcohol, making it difficult to absorb and reducing the muscle-building benefits.

Studies have shown that alcohol interferes with the absorption and utilization of nutrients.This includes macronutrients such as protein, as well as micronutrients like vitamins and minerals.

When our diet includes a lot of protein, this provides a lot of benefits including helping our muscles to repair and strengthen as they should. Alcohol can hinder the benefits of protein. If you want to reap the rewards of protein, avoid alcohol after or with your meal, or at least wait an hour.

Note: Make sure to consume protein before indulging in alcohol. This way, your body will have sufficient time to allow for it to be efficiently used for muscle growth and repair.

  1. Drinking alcohol after taking Whey Protein is not recommended.

Giving your body two hours to digest and absorb alcohol before consuming a whey protein shake is recommended.

It’s not correct to say that alcohol negatively impacts protein absorption. Instead, this is a sliding scale that decreases as the alcohol leaves your system. Drinking alcohol and then following it up with whey protein is a great way to make sure that your body is able to absorb the latter. Make sure you leave a certain amount of time after drinking before eating the whey, though. If you do it too soon, the protein's effectiveness will be reduced.

  1. Perfect time to enjoy alcoholic protein shake

Protein consumption with alcohol will not have any major effects on your muscle-building, but it will allow you to feel less drunk.

So if you are already eating a very high protein diet and just looking for ways to avoid feeling so drunk when you drink alcohol, having whey protein when you drink can be really helpful.

  1. Bad time to mix alcohol with whey protein

Whey protein is not advisable to be mixed with alcohol if you’re planning to gain muscles. Alcohol can interfere so much with the absorption process and your body will miss out on many important nutrients.

The combination of the two interferes with how your body can absorb and use protein. High-protein intake diets are most affected, because this interference is too much for your body to handle.

What kind of high-protein foods can you turn to in order to meet protein needs? Well, there are two general scenarios. The most common is for those wanting to put on a lot of muscle mass over a short timeframe. Think of an athlete training for a contest or body builder who needs more food after a workout. The second is someone who is in a large calorie deficit, like getting ready to get on stage as a bodybuilder.

Eating protein with alcohol or within a few hours of drinking is a big no-no. When it comes to building muscle, getting enough protein is key and too much alcohol could impair its absorption.

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