Is it safe to drink protein shakes if you're not exercising?

Protein shakes can have the reputation of being a drink primarily for bodybuilders — you know, the ones that make you wonder if they live at a gym. The image of them slamming down a chalky shake as the post-workout sweat glistens off their muscles has perhaps narrowed our vision when we think about protein shakes as a regular beverage outside of the gym. They're popping up as a drink choice everywhere, but it's still worth questioning: Are they safe to drink if you're not exercising?

Safe? Yes, but not necessary. According to Mayo Clinic, adults need an average of 46 to 56 grams of protein a day, and as long as you have a healthy diet, adding extra protein through shakes isn't necessary.

Downing these high-calorie shakes can interfere with your weight loss goals as well. If you are not burning extra calories with exercise, then regularly supplementing your diet with protein shakes may be increasing your calorie intake beyond the ability to maintain your current weight, explains Eat This, Not That!

Be careful to not assume a protein shake is a healthy drink

We know these shakes may make us gain weight, but they also may be sneakily adding to our sugar intake. Yes, protein is good for you, and a drink being classified as a 'protein shake' may be perceived as a healthy beverage. But be careful to not just assume they're a 'healthy option.' Some of these shakes contain high levels of sugar, cream, and even ice cream, claims LiveStrong.

Another common assumption is that it is ok to drink protein shakes without exercising if you are lacking protein in your daily diet. While they will supplement an extra dose of protein, they will not provide your body with the macro and micronutrients that are present in other food protein sources, warns Eat This, Not That! You would be missing out on important fiber, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants if you choose these shakes to be your main source of protein.

We're not here to give protein shakes a bad reputation. There are versions that include veggies, nut-based protein, and natural sweeteners from fruit. If you are wanting to drink a protein shake without adding exercise to your daily routine, then look for these types, recommends LiveStrong. So go ahead and enjoy a shake every now and then. Just be aware of the other ingredients you're consuming, and find protein from other food sources as well.