Tag Archives: loss

Are Protein Shakes Really a Good Idea For Weight Loss?

In a word, “yes”. Here’s why. A real weight loss expert explains.


New clients and readers ask, “What should I eat to lose weight? What should I avoid?” I don’t answer with lists of foods and diets. Instead, I teach a method for permanent weight loss that includes the foods they like, holidays, dining out and all the things they’ll want for the rest of their lives. Success comes from building habits that include your favorite things while they keep you at your optimum weight. “Dieting” with schemes that won’t last only leads to yo-yo dieting and continuous weight gain.

However, I’m sometimes asked questions about specific foods that are easy to answer and provide immediate effective help with no study and effort. One of the questions is about the advisability of protein shakes. The answer: yes, they are a good idea, and here’s why:

1) Protein shakes are an easy way to achieve your daily caloric goals.

To lose weight, women generally need to limit their intake to about1000 calories per day consistently for an extended period of time, and men, about 1500. In our culture of big breakfasts, lunch in restaurants, meetings and break rooms with snacks and vending machines, you’ve undoubtedly discovered it’s impossible to do. It’s easy to be at 2000 before you’ve even gotten home for dinner.

By keeping your breakfast light with a 300-calorie egg-based breakfast, and then using a 150-calorie protein shake as a meal substitute at lunch, it’s easy to limit your intake during the day to under 500 calories (especially when you use my meals-and-fasting method), leaving you 500 in the budget for a satisfying home-made or prepared meal at the end of the day.

2. Protein shakes suppress your appetite rather that stimulate it.

Simple carbohydrates, like the sugar in prepared foods and fruit, act like a drug that stimulates your appetite. You feel hungry soon after you’ve eaten and it’s hard to resist eating more. Simple carbs are digested quickly and sends your blood sugar way up. This triggers an overproduction of insulin by your pancreas, which sends your brain the message that you need to eat more. We experience this as hunger and cravings. A grain and fruit breakfast often makes people ravenous by 10, while going without doesn’t.

Protein, on the other hand, takes a long time to digest and keeps your blood sugar even, without the spike in insulin and the hunger and cravings it creates.

So, you’ll find that a 150 calorie protein shake will fuel you for a whole morning or afternoon without feeling hungry again a few hours later.

You’ve got to be careful, though, in selecting a “meal substitute” shake. When you look at the nutritional information, some are loaded with sugar and they are low in protein. Some so-called “healthy” shakes and snack bars are just sugary drinks and candy bars in diguise. You’ll end up hungry in a short while just like with other sugary foods. All shakes are not equal. You’ll see some with just a few grams of protein and mostly carbs, and you’ll be hungry right away. When you have those, you can never get enough. Some of the better shakes have as much as 30 grams of protein. Those will stay with you all afternoon.

3. Protein is especially important nutritionally when you eat less to lose weight.

You’ve probably heard of the “RDA”, the recommended daily allowance of nutrients the dietitians talk about. If you don’t get enough protein, carbohydrate, fat (yes, even fat), vitamins, minerals and water, you risk compromising your health. Usually, in America, we don’t have to give it much thought because we eat so much that you can’t help but get more than enough of everything.

However, when you cut back enough to start losing weight, you risk hurting your body rather than helping it if you’re not getting enough of the right nutrients.

Remember that reducing your weight and body fat requires you to “undereat”, consuming fewer calories than you burn. (Read my article about the science of weight loss). Most of the calories in typical American foods come from carbs and fat. Our usual diets are low in protein. When you cut back, unless you pay attention, you won’t get sufficient protein.

When you undereat, if you don’t get your nutritional needs met, your body will “eat” itself to get what it needs. That’s great if it gets what it needs from your stored fat. But if you are not getting enough protein, your body will consume it’s own muscle and organ tissue, and that’s very bad. You’ll see the scale drop, but you’re losing muscle instead of fat. You’ll look and feel worse, not better. And your metabolic rate will decrease. It will become harder to lose weight and keep from gaining!

By using a protein shake with 30 grams of protein as a lunch or breakfast substitute, you can make it easy to get enough protein to prevent muscle loss even when you are eating much less than your metabolic rate.

So, yes, protein shakes are a good idea for weight loss, especially when you make them a habit for life. I’ve been using them on a regular basis to keep the calories down for over 30 years. They’ve helped me maintain my ideal weight using my method the entire time after years of being obese. I highly recommend them.

New Technology Perfectly Measures Your Body Fat

DEXASCAN report

No more wondering. And it shows you exactly where it is.

Today, because of state-of-the-art medical science and technology, there is a new way to measure your body fat percentage that is easy, affordable and precise. The methods available in the past, using skinfold calipers or electrical impedance devices that you stand on or hold in your hands, were so unreliable that they were better thought of as estimates rather than measures, in my opinion. Underwater weighing was regarded as most reliable, but it was inconvenient, costly, and usually found only in hospitals and university laboratory settings. MRIs were perfectly accurate but cost thousands. Measuring your body circumference or volume was little more than guesswork.

GE’s DEXASCAN at LiveleanRx.com in Tampa, FL

Today, high-tech medical science has given us a way to analyze body composition that is easy, affordable and incredibly accurate: state of the art, dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA). The General Electric Healthcare scanner uses two types of x-rays to print your body on a pixel-by-pixel basis. Other than an MRI, DEXA is the only other scientifically validated and FDA approved, clinical-caliber-method of quantifying total body composition. These machines actually see the contents of your body and can measure precisely the amount of muscle, fat and bone and other material contained in your skin. (See the titanium joint in my hip in the top picture?)

NBC.com had done a story about The Anderson Weight Loss Method after my article, Science Based Weight Loss, was published in Medium and Arianna Huffington’s Thrive Global. Those two media events produced intense interest in my work by the medical field as well as people who want to lose weight. Shortly after those stories came out, I was asked by DEXA SCAN, the company that offers this new technology, to try it and write a review. I took them up on their offer (a free scan, worth $150) and warned them that I made no promises about what I’d say. I told them up front I would pull no punches if I found their technology and operations, clinical and business, less than satisfactory.

Faraz Mobayyen, R.T. (R), of LiveLeanRx in Tampa FL

DEXA SCAN referred me to the LiveLeanRx clinic in Tampa and I was able to make an appointment for the following week.

I checked first with my doctor to make sure this type of x-ray presented no risk. No problem. It uses a very weak type of wave — the amount of radiation is approximately equal to the natural radiation you would experience in a day outdoors. No need to be concerned like when you get a chest x-ray and need a lead shield.

When I arrived, I found a clinical lab, staffed by licensed health professionals. The procedure itself took less than 10 minutes. You just lay on the table, no need to disrobe, and the scanner passes over you slowly and almost silently.

The Radiologic Technologist, Faraz Mobayyen, was extremely helpful explaining how the DEXA SCAN worked, and it produced an incredibly detailed report. All I thought I’d get was one number, the percent of body fat. However, the report reveals incredible details of body composition, including bone density. This machine not only reveals the amount of fat and muscle in your body, but it identifies where it is, by body part. It tells you how much visceral fat you are carrying, which we now know is an important risk factor for heart disease and diabetes. It tells you how much muscle and fat you have in each arm and leg. The report had more information than I would have ever asked for. This is all extremely valuable information to anyone interested in their health status.

As an added bonus, I got a bone density analysis that showed how I compared to the average, and where I fell in the range of possibilties. This kind of detailed information is so valuable in helping us to improve our health and reduce our personal risk factors, rather than depending on generalities. I was surprised to see that I had a curvature of the spine that in all my years had never been diagnosed!

I have wondered what my body fat percentage is for over 30 years, since I lost my 140 excess pounds. I’ve had it “measured” many times with other methods that never gave me information I could trust. The electrical impedance devices varied greatly, from day to day, and I knew my body fat did not change by 5% from one day to the next! The caliper method gave different results every time we did it, different with every person who did the measuring. Which reading was I supposed to believe? I just could not trust those methods.

Needless to say, I’m delighted I am finally able to know what my body fat percentage is. It’s scientifically accurate, precise. It’s information I can rely on, something I can trust. I give them an A+.


While I was at LiveLeanRX, I learned they can also measure resting metabolic rate with laboratory-quality indirect calorimetry, and they can also do a VO2MAX cardio assessment test. That tells you the maximum amount of oxygen your body can utilize and send to your muscles during high intensity exercise, while running on a treadmill or riding a bike. This is the real deal with laboratory-caliber testing. I and my clients and readers would love to know our true metabolic rate even more than body composition. With these tests, we can. Maybe I should suggest they have me do those other tests. I’d be happy to tell you about them too.