Drinking too many protein shakes could lead to an increased risk of obesity, and a reduced lifespan, a new study has claimed.
Researchers from the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre carried out an investigation to determine the impact excessive consumption of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) has on the body.
BCAA supplements are often consumed in the form of powder, which is then added to water to make a shake.
Published in journal Nature Metabolism, the study found that while BCAAs help to build muscle, they can also negatively impact an individual’s temperament, cause weight gain and lead to a shortened lifespan.
The team also found that high levels of BCAAs in the blood can disrupt sleep by causing decreased levels of the “happiness chemical” serotonin, which aids with sleep.
For the study, the researchers tested the effects of dietary BCAAs and other essential amino acids on the bodies of mice.
The mice were fed either double the typical intake of BCAAs for life, the standard amount, half the normal intake or a fifth.
The scientists found that the mice whose BCAA intake was increased twofold consumed more food, which in turn led to obesity and a shorter lifespan.
“While diets high in protein and low in carbohydrates were shown to be beneficial for reproductive function, they had detrimental effects for health in mid-late life, and also led to a shortened lifespan,” said Dr Samantha Solon-Biet, co-author of the study.
“What this new research has shown is that amino acid balance is important – it’s best to vary sources of protein to ensure you’re getting the best amino acid balance.”