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The Best Time to Drink Your Protein and Why

Updated: Jul 20

There Are Many Types of Protein

When it comes to essential nutrients, protein sits atop the list.

It's a jack of all trades with many roles in the body. Protein is a source of energy, can help repair damaged tissue, is essential for growth and plays a role in preventing infection and disease (1Trusted Source, 2Trusted Source).

Protein is naturally abundant in foods like meats, fish, eggs, dairy products, grains, seeds and legumes. It is also available as a dietary supplement, commonly known as protein powder.

Here are some of the most well-known protein powders you can buy.

  • Whey protein: A dairy-based protein. It contains all the essential amino acids and is quickly absorbed (3Trusted Source).

  • Casein protein: A dairy-based protein. It contains all the essential amino acids and is slowly absorbed, which is why people often take it before bed (4Trusted Source).

  • Soy protein: A plant-based protein that contains all the essential amino acids. It has also been linked to some impressive health benefits (5Trusted Source).

  • Pea protein: A plant-based protein. It has low levels of the nonessential amino acids cysteine and methionine (6).

  • Rice protein: A plant-based protein with low levels of the essential amino acid lysine (7Trusted Source).

  • Hemp protein: A plant-based protein made from hemp seeds that has high levels of fiber and essential omega-3 and omega-6 fats. Hemp protein is low in the amino acid lysine (8Trusted Source).

Protein powders are a useful way to increase your protein intake if you’re always on the go. They are convenient, portable, and come in a variety of flavors.

To take protein powders, simply mix the powder with water or another liquid of your choice. Many popular supplement brands also sell ready-to-drink protein shakes.

SUMMARY Protein is an important nutrient that has many roles in the body. It is found naturally in foods and also available as a dietary supplement called protein powder.

When Is the Best Time to Take Protein?

People often wonder when the best time to take their protein powder is.

This depends on your health and fitness goals. You may want to consume it at a particular time of day, depending on whether you want to lose weight, build muscle, or preserve muscle.

Here are the best times to take protein based on your specific goals.

Losing Weight

Protein is one of the most important nutrients for fat loss.

Eating a high-protein diet can help raise your metabolism and reduce your appetite (9Trusted Source).

Protein helps curb your appetite by reducing levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin, all while increasing levels of appetite-reducing hormones like glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), peptide YY (PYY) and cholecystokinin (CCK) (10Trusted Source, 11Trusted Source).

This means consuming a protein-rich snack between meals may lead you to eat fewer calories later in the day (12Trusted Source, 13Trusted Source).

One study found people who ate a high-protein yogurt snack during the afternoon ate 100 fewer calories at dinner, compared to those who ate crackers or chocolate as an afternoon snack. The yogurt, crackers, and chocolate all provided the same number of calories (13Trusted Source).

To reap the most weight-loss benefits, aim to eat plenty of protein-rich foods throughout the day.


Consuming protein-rich snacks between meals is ideal for fat loss. It may help curb hunger, which could lead you to eat fewer calories later in the day.

Building Muscle

Protein is important for building muscle.

In order to build muscle and strength, you need to consume more protein than your body breaks down naturally during resistance training or weight lifting (14Trusted Source, 15Trusted Source).

The best time to consume protein for optimal muscle growth is a controversial topic.

Fitness enthusiasts often recommend taking a protein supplement 15–60 minutes after exercise. This time frame is known as the “anabolic window” and said to be the perfect time for getting the most out of nutrients like protein (16Trusted Source).

However, recent research has shown that this window is much larger than previously thought.

According to the International Society of Sports Nutrition, consuming protein any time up to two hours after your workout is ideal for building muscle mass (17Trusted Source).

For the average person, resistance exercise and consuming sufficient protein are more important than timing protein intake (18Trusted Source).

That said, people training in a fasted state, like before breakfast, may benefit from taking protein shortly after a workout, as they haven’t consumed protein in a while (