Alcohol in Protein Shake: What Happens When They Mix?

Fact Checked

Tonya McIntosh

Tonya McIntosh—The main person behind TGFFitness as its Founder and Chief Editor. Get to know more about Tonya


If you are interested in bodybuilding, you must have wondered, “Can I put alcohol in protein shakes?”

And the answer is – it depends. Adding alcohol to your protein shakes can significantly reduce protein synthesis and slow muscle recovery. 

However, bodybuilding icons, including Arnold Schwarzenegger, loved mixing tequila and a bit of schnapps with his protein shakes to speed up protein absorption into the bloodstream.

So whether you want to add alcohol to protein shakes is down to personal choice.

How much alcohol can you put in a protein shake?

If you have decided to have your protein shakes and alcohol together, about 8 oz of alcohol with one scoop of protein powder is a good ratio.

What happens when you add alcohol to protein?

Mixing alcoholic drinks with protein powders seems to have more negative impacts than positive ones, according to research by the National Library of Medicine.

Co-ingesting alcohol with protein shakes suppresses the anabolic response of muscle, which may lead to impairment of muscle recovery. In addition, ingesting this drink combination can also affect subsequent performance. 

How protein works?

Protein powders are packed with essential amino acids that are crucial for muscle development. According to recent research, consuming protein drinks can significantly contribute to the growth of muscle cells and increase strength in people that engage in resistance training.

Is it okay to drink alcohol after drinking a protein shake?

Alcohol flavored beverage right after a light protein shake is okay as long as you allow some time between the two drinks. If the alcohol you have in mind is heavy, such as a vodka cocktail, you should wait longer.

How Long Should You Leave Between Drinking Alcohol & Protein Shake?

A couple of hours from 1 to 2 between protein drinks and drinks with high alcohol content is usually a sweet spot. You don’t have to wait as long for sports drinks, soda water, and energy drinks.

When Should You Not Mix Protein Shake With Alcohol?

Mixing alcohol with a protein drink for consumption right after intense workouts is not a wise idea if you want the muscle-building benefits protein has on the body.

The ethanol in most alcoholic beverages slows the absorption of amino acids in protein supplements. Alcohol also significantly reduces post-workout muscle growth and the repair process.

Does alcohol affect protein absorption?

Yes. According to one study, the effects of drinking alcohol reduce the muscle-preserving abilities of dietary protein. 

When you drink alcohol with a protein smoothie, the alcohol causes a change in the metabolism of protein by increasing nitrogen exertion leading to loss of lean muscle tissue.

Binge drinking or excessive alcohol after intense workouts can also limit your body’s ability to absorb proteins. 

Does alcohol slow down muscle growth and recovery?

Yes, adding alcohol to protein powder scoops is known to slow down muscle recovery and growth by reducing muscle protein synthesis.

What’s the best time to drink a protein shake?

A few minutes after your training session, about an hour, is ideally the best time to drink a protein shake.

Between 15 and 60 minutes after an intense workout, the anabolic window is the perfect time when your body is ready for maximum protein intake.

Other circumstances you can drink a protein shake include:

Before breakfast or in the afternoon

You can use the protein drink as a meal substitute during these times.

During muscle building

Plant-based protein and other supplements are proven to increase muscle mass, so increase your protein consumption if you want to get big.

As mentioned above, aim to drink your protein drink within an hour or so after working out so your body gets all the beneficial nutrients.

To Prevent Muscle Loss

Along the same lines, a protein diet and programs with whey protein can also prevent muscle loss, especially in older persons.

Older adults lose muscle mass quickly after a certain age, leading to a higher risk of fractures, so preventing muscle loss is necessary to lead a healthy life.

To perform better

If you’re engaged in resistance and strength training, increasing the protein content in your diet through supplements can improve your performance considerably.

Added nutrition

Increasing the protein bank in your body by taking supplements is also a great option.

What are the best types of protein to mix with alcohol?

If you like mixing your protein supplement with your booze, here are the best types to check out:

Pea protein

As the name implies, it is a plant-based protein with lower levels of methionine and cysteine.

Whey protein

This protein drink is dairy-based, easily absorbed by your body, and has all the essential nutrients.

Soy protein

Soy-based protein also has the right amino acid balance and fantastic health benefits.

Hemp protein

This plant-based protein has high levels of omega-3, six fats, and fiber but is low in lysine.

Rice protein

This plant-based protein also has a low level of amino acids, especially lysine.

Will Protein Powder Dissolve in Alcohol?

Protein powder does not immediately dissolve in alcohol, so you need to mix it thoroughly.

Regardless, some alcoholic drinks, such as rum, leave a unique taste and texture, which many people find unappealing.

Can I drink alcohol after drinking a protein shake in the morning?

Generally, no. Drinking alcohol in the morning is not a great way to start a day, but when you do so after a protein shake, it can have several negative side effects.

Ethanol, the main ingredient in alcoholic beverages, denatures the amino acids by breaking down the intramolecular hydrogen bonding.

So when you drink an alcoholic beverage right after a protein shake, your body will not get the optimal benefits from the protein supplement.

Can I add vodka to a protein shake?

Yes, vodka is usually a good choice of alcoholic beverage to add to a protein shake.

If vodka features high on your favorite beverage list, you can try a vodka cocktail or vodka protein drink to boost your energy levels.

Just ensure the vodka-infused drink has high protein content and is low on calories.

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Chief Editor
Tonya McIntosh

Hello there! My name is Tonya McIntosh, and I’m the Founder and Chief Editor of TGFFitness. I’m also a NASM-certified Nutrition Coach and Personal Trainer. With eight years of experience under my belt, I’ve found that one of the most common issues my clients struggle with is remaining consistent.

Finding your main motivator to keep going is easier said than done for Keep Reading.

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