If you’re looking to lose weight, you’d be forgiven for thinking you need a diet or weight loss shake. But before you spring for a label promising legs like Elle McPherson, it’s worth donning your Steve Erkel glasses and scrutinising the science – which may lead you straight past the diet aisle to a sports nutrition store.

Frighteningly, some so-called ‘weight loss shakes’ sold at chemists and health department stores contain as much sugar as lolly snakes and negligible protein. One popular slimming shake associated with a pharmacy chain contained close to 48 per cent sugar, with others clocking over 30 per cent. Protein shakes pitched at gym buffs, on the other hand, tend to keep sugar to a minimum and by definition boast significant protein quotients. And the science says this could be the key to weight loss.

The most difficult macronutrient for the body to store as fat, protein stimulates cholecystokinin, which quells hunger hormone ghrelin and tells your brain it’s time to stop eating. A protein breakfast was found to outpace Special K, skim milk and a banana in a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The slim-down perks were backed by a study in the New England Journal of Medicine, which showed that a protein-rich diet helped adults to keep weight off better than those tucking into carbohydrates.

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