Can You Drink Whey Protein Shakes Without Working Out?

Yes, you can definitely take whey protein, even if you’re not working out. Made from milk, it’s a protein rich food, just like chicken, eggs, and red meat. Just like these foods, it’s safe to consume. Unless you have an allergy to dairy or lactose.  

Research shows there are a lot of benefits to be gained from whey protein powder, even if you aren’t hitting the gym 3 days a week. You can even build a little bit of muscle. It’ll also help you: lose weight, meet your daily protein requirements, improve your cardiovascular health, and strengthen your immune system. 

A great tasting chocolate or vanilla shake is also a great substitute for sugar rich cookies, cakes, and candies that’ll throw you off your diet. 

Keep reading to learn more about how whey benefits your body, even if you aren’t exercising.

Benefits Of Whey Protein Without Working Out 

Whey Protein Can Help You Lose Weight 

That’s right, drinking a shake or two a day can help you shed excess pounds and body fat. Without changing your diet. 

How does this work? 

There are a few ways. One is that protein is more filling than carbs and fats. So getting a dose of 25-50 grams will fill you up for several hours so you eat less. 

How’s this work? When you drink a whey protein shake your body releases hormones that tell our brain we feel full. These effects can last for 3 or more hours.  

Another way it helps you lose weight is that it takes more calories for our body to digest protein than it does carbs and fats. Over time, these calories add up to help you lose weight. 

What kind of results can you expect? That depends on the rest of the foods you eat and other factors. But, research finds drinking a whey protein shake every day can double the amount of body fat you lose over a period of weeks.

Whey can help build muscle, without exercise 

But not too much. Research finds it’ll help you gain a little more than half a pound over several weeks. But hey, something’s better than nothing right?

I’d actually say this amount is impressive. You’re not doing any strength training so there’s not that stimulus to turn on muscle growth. Just the extra protein your getting from your shakes. Whey’s muscle building benefits are more likely to happen if you have been ill and lost a lot of muscle or haven’t been doing any exercise for a long time. If you are just taking a couple weeks off from the gym you may not gain any muscle just by drinking a shake every day. Research finds that it’ll at least keep you from losing any, which is nice. 

Building a little or at least not losing muscle mass doesn’t just affect how we look in a bathing suit at the pool. It’s very important for our overall health. Muscle loss, especially after the age of 40 or so can be very bad for your overall health. Lose too much and you’ll not just become weak but also more susceptible to a serious injury from a fall and more likely to become sick. This is very bad. 

Lose enough muscle and it’ll shorten your life. Drink whey protein instead. 

‘When taken in appropriate amounts, whey protein appears to be safe.’

The Mayo Clinic
drink whey don't work out

Whey protein is good for your heart

Here’s how. 

Research done at the University Of Reading finds that drinking whey shakes can lower high blood pressure. Within 24 hours. Results from a study on British men finds this lowering effect is enough to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke significantly. 

How it does this is still unclear. Researchers believe that something in whey helps ‘turn off’ enzymes in our body that, when left unchecked can lead to high blood pressure. What’s more important is that it works. Without any negative side effects. 

The benefits for your cardiovascular system don’t stop there. Drinking whey protein shakes also dilates your blood vessels. This allows blood to flow more easily and prevent blockages from occurring. 

Last, but not least, drinking whey protein shakes also seems to help lower cholesterol levels. This can also help improve our health and make us less likely to have problems with our cardiovascular system. 

Drinking whey protein shakes makes it easy to eat enough protein every day

While there isn’t a set amount of carbohydrates we need to eat every day, our body does require a certain amount of protein. This is based on our weight, activity levels, and other factors. This can range from .6 to about 1 gram per pound of your body weight. 

If you consistently undereat protein, you’re likely to lose muscle and compromise your health. Even your mood and energy levels can suffer.

Eating this much protein can be tough to do consistently. Especially when you’re pressed for time and can’t cook or wait around for Doordash to deliver a chicken Caesar salad to your door. 

In the 60 seconds or so that  it takes to make and drink your shake you can get 25-50 grams of protein. You’d have to cook and eat 2-3 pieces of chicken or ½ dozen eggs to get this much. And you’d have to cook and clean up. 

Whey shakes don’t just make it convenient to eat enough protein. It helps you get the highest quality Mother Nature and food science offers.

You see, not all of the protein we eat from red meat, chicken, eggs, etc. is absorbed by our body. Whey protein is. So, you’re not drinking 40 grams to have your body only use half. You’re getting all 40 grams that can be put to work right away. 

Whey protein decreases inflammation

The foods we eat can lead to excessive inflammation that can compromise our health. Sugar and refined carbohydrates are the biggest culprits. Eating too much of either consistently can make your body inflamed from the inside out. Next thing you know your health has taken a turn for the worse. 

In addition to cutting back on the soda, chips, and candy, research finds that drinking a whey protein shake instead will decrease chronically high levels of inflammation (link) that’s slowly cooking your organs to death. 

‘Increased whey protein ingestion with and without exercise training is associated with enhanced weight loss, body composition and subjective hunger in overweight and obese individuals.’

Dr. Paul Arciero

Whey Protein Is Good For Your Immune System

Our bodies make an antioxidant called glutathione which plays a big role in keeping our immune system healthy and running as it should. 

It’s also available as a nutritional supplement. Problem is that not much of it is actually absorbed and put to work. 

One way to increase it and help our immune system out is – you guessed it – to drink a whey protein shake. 

Say what? I thought you said the supplemental form doesn’t work.

It doesn’t. But whey contains large amounts of cysteine, which we can use to make glutathione. Studies find that whey increases glutathione. This can help our bodies better fish off illness and infection. 

drink whey protein without working out

Is Whey Protein Safe To Drink Without Exercising?

Drinking a whey protein shake isn’t harmful to your kidneys, liver, heart or any other organs. As you can see from the list in this article it’s actually very good for our overall health to drink whey protein. That’s why it’s been done for thousands of years. Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine was actually recommending it to sick patients over 2000 years ago.

I’m not sure why people think it’s harmful if you aren’t exercising. Maybe because of a fear of ‘protein overload’ on our kidneys. Yo no se. But it’s not true. 

Studies done on people eating less to lose weight and adults to improve their overall health show that drinking whey protein doesn’t harm our kidneys, liver, or health. Even when it’s consumed every day for up to 6 months.

The only instance whey protein shakes may not be safe for you is if you’re allergic. Some forms of whey have small amounts of lactose, a sugar that in some people can lead to an upset stomach, cramps, and even diarrhea. 

If you’re drinking a whey protein shake that uses whey protein isolate you shouldn’t have a problem, even if you’re lactose intolerant since it contains very little. Many shakes also contain added lactase, the enzyme that breaks down lactose to prevent it from upsetting your stomach. 

How much whey protein should I drink a day

The amount of protein we need to maintain our health is .6 grams per pound of our body weight. If your goal is to lose fat and/or build muscle this requirement increases to 1.6 grams/kg body weight. 

When it comes to how much of your total protein requirement should be from whey it depends. If you’re having trouble meeting your needs you can make up the difference with whey. 

As far as benefits go, a single scoop a day produces most of the benefits in this article. When it comes to protecting your heart and strengthening your immune system you may need up to 50 grams a day. This is roughly the amount in 2 scoops of most whey protein powders.  


Now you know that you can drink whey without working out and still benefit. Give it a try yourself and let me know what you think. 


Ágnes A Fekete, Carlotta Giromini, Yianna Chatzidiakou, D Ian Givens, Julie A Lovegrove, Whey protein lowers blood pressure and improves endothelial function and lipid biomarkers in adults with prehypertension and mild hypertension: results from the chronic Whey2Go randomized controlled trial, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 104, Issue 6, December 2016, Pages 1534–1544,

Chanet A, Verlaan S, Salles J, Giraudet C, Patrac V, Pidou V, Pouyet C, Hafnaoui N, Blot A, Cano N, Farigon N, Bongers A, Jourdan M, Luiking Y, Walrand S, Boirie Y. Supplementing Breakfast with a Vitamin D and Leucine-Enriched Whey Protein Medical Nutrition Drink Enhances Postprandial Muscle Protein Synthesis and Muscle Mass in Healthy Older Men. J Nutr. 2017 Dec;147(12):2262-2271.

Lopes Gomes D, Moehlecke M, Lopes da Silva FB, Dutra ES, D’Agord Schaan B, Baiocchi de Carvalho KM. Whey Protein Supplementation Enhances Body Fat and Weight Loss in Women Long After Bariatric Surgery: a Randomized Controlled Trial. Obes Surg. 2017 Feb;27(2):424-431.

Luhovyy BL, Akhavan T, Anderson GH. Whey proteins in the regulation of food intake and satiety. J Am Coll Nutr. 2007 Dec;26(6):704S-12S.

Smith GI, Commean PK, Reeds DN, Klein S, Mittendorfer B. Effect of Protein Supplementation During Diet-Induced Weight Loss on Muscle Mass and Strength: A Randomized Controlled Study. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2018 May;26(5):854-861.

Wirunsawanya K, Upala S, Jaruvongvanich V, Sanguankeo A. Whey Protein Supplementation Improves Body Composition and Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Overweight and Obese Patients: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. J Am Coll Nutr. 2018 Jan;37(1):60-70.

Zavorsky GS, Kubow S, Grey V, Riverin V, Lands LC. An open-label dose-response study of lymphocyte glutathione levels in healthy men and women receiving pressurized whey protein isolate supplements. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2007 Sep;58(6):429-36.

Zhou LM, Xu JY, Rao CP, Han S, Wan Z, Qin LQ. Effect of whey supplementation on circulating C-reactive protein: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Nutrients. 2015 Feb 9;7(2):1131-43.

Posted on