Can You Drink Protein Shakes Without Working Out?

Can You Drink Protein Shakes Without Working Out?

Last Updated on April, 2024

Many people think that protein shakes are health supplements to help the body. While this is true to a certain extent, there’s much more to drinking them. Most people drink these to gain muscle mass, lose weight, and maintain their gains.

However, most of these people go on a high-protein diet while exercising. So, what happens if you drink protein shakes without the exercising? That’s what we’re going to be discussing today.

There’s a lot of uncertainty about this topic, so many people ask whether or not protein supplements are safe for regular use without working out. So here’s our answer, along with every other detail about protein powder, that you should keep in mind.

What Do Protein Shakes Do?

protein shake and powder

Protein shakes do exactly what the name implies: give you protein. But it’s a bit more complicated than just that if you want to go into the details.

Our body needs a certain amount of every nutrient to maintain itself. You’ll likely see notable changes if you get too much of one nutrient but not the others. For example, eating too many fats and carbs might lead to gaining unwanted weight. However, some of them aid weight loss instead.

Similarly, some nutrients can help with muscle growth. For example, a balanced protein intake can help you build muscle and cut down on body weight. High-quality protein powders will help you increase protein intake so your body can use them for weight management and strengthening muscle fibers.

In most cases, protein supplementation might also feature essential amino acids, healthy fats, certain vitamins, and other essential nutrients. This helps you maintain a balanced diet. 

Your body can use the extra nutrients for gaining weight, muscle gain, muscle repair, etc. But, of course, this depends on how you make your body use the nutrients, which we’ll discuss further on.

What is Inside a Protein Shake?

The average protein shake usually consists of protein powder and other ingredients. These include a base liquid (usually milk or water), fruits and vegetables for added nutrition, and whole foods for extra protein. These foods include chicken breast, yogurt, and other high-nutrient options.

While you can easily choose between the other ingredients and know what they are, the same can’t be said for the protein powder. All companies offer a different, unique formula. 

A protein shake is loaded with distinct ingredients that you’ll have to research yourself, depending on the specific protein powder you’re interested in. Even the type of protein they offer might be completely different. 

For example, some might offer whey, while others provide lean protein and plant proteins. All of these have certain advantages and disadvantages too, so make sure you choose the right one to maintain a healthy diet.

6 Effects of Drinking Protein Shakes Without Exercising

As you can see, it’s healthy to drink protein shakes even if you aren’t working out. But, even the best protein powders can cause some issues if you consume them without using the excess proteins anywhere. Here’s a rundown of what some of these issues might be:

1. Weight Gain

Protein shakes can certainly help you lose weight. However, this weight loss won’t be possible if you have too much protein. Consuming too much of the nutrient without using it somewhere will lead to weight gain, which most people don’t want.

2. Kidney Problems

As discussed earlier, protein can help with certain diseases and muscle problems. But, adding too much of it into your diet will slow down the kidney’s metabolism. When that happens, you’re at an increased risk of developing kidney issues, such as stones.

3. Effects of Artificial Ingredients

A significant issue with some popular protein shakes is their use of artificial additives. These are very harmful ingredients used to make a protein shake better for weight loss. It’s not worth losing weight if the price is too high to pay.

By that, we mean a physical price. You’ll almost definitely run into major problems if you drink protein shakes with artificial ingredients. This includes serious heart issues, digestion problems, issues with the brain, and more. (It’s possible to avoid this altogether by getting a protein shake without a single artificial additive in it).

4. Other Illnesses

Artificial flavoring and sweeteners aren’t the only things you have to watch out for. An excessively high-protein diet will lead to many physical problems, including potentially fatal ones.

For example, you’ll be at risk of kidney problems, heart diseases, and a higher risk of cancer.

5. Missing Out on Proper Meals

Try not to get hooked on these supplements. If you drink a protein shake more than once a day without working out, you’ll feel hungry much less often. Unfortunately, this might stop you from eating other vital meals throughout the day, ultimately making you miss out on nutrition.

While these shakes are good for getting nutrients, they don’t have absolutely everything you need. Nothing can offer you absolutely EVERYTHING, and that’s why variety in your daily diet is essential. Make sure you stick to one a day if you’re not planning to exercise. Otherwise, you’ll grow weak.

6. Hair Loss

“Hairs” a shocker; consuming too many protein shakes can lead to hair loss. Lots of people don’t know this, but it’s true. There isn’t a direct link between the two, but they’re still related. 

Since you’ll miss out on proper meals, you’ll miss out on adequate nutrition. Your body needs those, and so does the hair attached to them. Establishing a diet without a balanced nutritional intake will lead to medical conditions and possibly cause hair loss down the line too.

Can I Have Whey Protein Without Working Out?

Speaking of whey protein has brought us to the next part of this article. This is one of the most popular types widely used in protein shakes. So, is it or is it not safe to drink whey protein shakes without working out? 

The answer to this depends on how much protein you consume. But, it certainly is safe and even healthy. It helps you lose weight, muscle recovery, and even muscle protein synthesis. But, the advantages are only worth it as long as you safely drink protein shakes with whey.

This means that you can’t go overboard. It’s crucial to maintain moderation. Too much protein of this kind can make you gain weight (due to the high-calorie intake) or develop digestive issues. Issues of this kind include bloating, flatulence, and even stomach cramps.

You don’t have to worry about excess protein or extra calories, though; at least not if you can control yourself. As long as you do that, any dietary supplements featuring whey powder should be safe for you even if you don’t exercise.

Benefits of Drinking Protein Shakes?

A typical protein shake is filled with advantages for the body. If you’re interested to learn more about what these are, here’s a brief list:

  • A regular protein shake usually features whey protein, a very satiating nutrient. This helps you with substantial muscle growth and can keep the muscles inside your body secure. If there’s any muscle damage, it’s also able to repair them
  • A massive reason for fat gain is sugary foods in your usual diet. Most people already know this, but it’s just so hard to beat those food cravings when they’re there, isn’t it? Well, drinking shakes such as these will help you curb those cravings, thanks to their nutrition. All the protein will help you maintain a healthy weight.
  • Metabolic syndrome is a big problem for some people. It can cause kidney disease, heart problems, stroke, or even diabetes among patients. Drinking protein shakes without working out (or with) can help victims of this syndrome fight against some of its symptoms.
  • Despite the name, you’ll also get many other helpful nutrients if you drink protein shake supplements. These include things you might otherwise miss out on while following a standard protein diet. Thanks to these extra nutrients, your body will be able to perform certain functions much better.


Are you planning on drinking protein shakes without exercising? We’ve gone through some of the most important details of what might happen if you do. We’ve discussed benefits and notable effects alike, so now it’s up to you to decide.

Before you do that, consider giving meal replacement shakes a try. Meal replacement shakes are similar and offer more balanced nutrition. On top of that, you don’t have to work out for them to be 100% safe either, as they’re meant for average use even without exercise.

If you’ve got any questions about them, protein shakes, or anything else related to the topic, ask away in the comments! And if you don’t have any questions (or even if you do), we hope you make the best decision for yourself when it comes to these supplements.


No, protein shakes will not make you gain weight without working out. However, if consumed in excess and without exercise, they may contribute to weight gain.

Yes, protein shakes can be consumed on an empty stomach, and doing so may even have positive benefits.

No, you should not drink protein supplements instead of eating. Protein supplements do not provide enough calories to replace meals, so instead you should try meal replacement shakes.

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Jennifer Pantall
Jennifer Pantall is a Nutrition Therapy Practitioner. She loves tennis and has one daughter with a lovely husband whom she adores. Jennifer also loves to spend time outdoors playing with her dog or walking in nature. You can find more about me here.

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