I was just reading this question about drinking water during/after meals.

And one of the answerers, Greg, made a comment that drinking enough water can cause the plug at the bottom of the stomach to open. Which essentially explains why taking pills on an empty stomach works the way it does.

My question has to do with ISO Whey Protein, which is supposed to be refined for quick absorption. I drink 60 grams of the protein powder mixed with milk. So if I drink this on an empty stomach it will go right into the intestines correct as it will force the plug at the bottom of the stomach to open.

So the question is: Should I be drinking this protein drink on an empty stomach and should I sip it or is downing it in a few gulps okay? I usually drink it first thing in the morning mixed with creatine?

  • do Whey Protein contain small amount of creatine? Someone told me it does. But i am guessing they are wrong.
    – KJYe.Name
    Apr 11, 2011 at 12:53
  • Just read the ingredients recently and saw no creatine in it. Unless it can also go by another name.
    – Salsero69
    Apr 11, 2011 at 19:17

3 Answers 3


I agree that the 60 gram shake is a little excessive, but I would argue that a 40g shake is an appropriate serving size depending on your body composition and activity level.

As for the timing of your meal, I'd say you could benefit more from this shake if you had it immediately after training instead of first thing in the morning.

The only reason I do not suggest the shake first thing in the morning is that ideally you'd have a slower absorbing protein and carbohydrates in the morning. Many people drink protein shakes first thing in the morning, and do perfectly fine. It is a better choice than skipping breakfast.

  • What about non-training days?
    – Salsero69
    Apr 11, 2011 at 15:36
  • You can drink the shake after cardio, or just between meals. Apr 11, 2011 at 16:47

You definitely want to drink plenty of water with any whey protein. The concentration of protein can be pretty tough on your kidneys, so you want to dilute the concentration to help out. Excessive consumption of whey protein w/o enough water can lead to kidney stones.


A few thoughts come to mind:

  • Your body simply can't use 60g of protein at one time. Generally, around 5-10g per hour is all the body can process.

  • The rest goes to various places... 1) converted to fat cells, 2) used by the body for energy (which is not really a good thing as protein is supposed to repair the body, not fuel it) or 3) excreted as waste.

  • Your stomach is designed to process anything you put in your mouth so that the nutrients can be absorbed by the intestines as efficiently as possible. I don't know that I'd be interested in bypassing that process as it would mean I'm not getting as much out of what I eat.

Best bet is to eat multiple times a day and include small portions of protein (10-20g) in each meal. If you want to drink your protein, go right ahead, but understand that you are wasting a good portion of those 60g as urine.

  • I'm not saying that you are wrong in this case, but I do know medication that requires you to take on an empty stomach with water is because the acids in the stomach would destroy the medication. Hence the water would flush it directly into the intestines. mnwelldir.org/docs/old_tips/emptystomach.htm
    – Salsero69
    Apr 9, 2011 at 4:52
  • Also, I've looked around and have read 5-10g/hour as well. But I'm also reading counter arguments saying that if a 200lbs male needs to consume 150grams of protein a day, that means I'd have to have 15 portions of protein a day which doesn't make sense. But it does make sense as you say to reduce protein input to 20g. I'll try that for a couple of weeks and see what happens. Thanks
    – Salsero69
    Apr 9, 2011 at 5:12
  • 1) I am not a doctor, but I do know that not all medicines would require this technique. In fact, some medicines require that you take them with a meal (often because they need to be ingested with a fat to be absorbed correctly). In any case, you are taking protein, not medicine, which needs to be broken down for the body to absorb it, and that function is done in the stomach, by the digestive acids and enzymes.
    – Gordon
    Apr 11, 2011 at 13:46
  • 2) And now you see why constantly pushing protein down people's throats is a HUGE waste of money. Don't get me wrong, protein has its place the diet, and supplementation is probably necessary if you are trying to build mass, but it should be spread out over the course of the day, not crammed down in a single shake. You'll get better results with adding more high-protein foods to your diet and using the shake to make up a little bit extra, preferably before bed when your body goes in to full repair mode.
    – Gordon
    Apr 11, 2011 at 13:48
  • The 5-10g number seems to be blatantly false: menshealth.com/nutrition/a19525156/…
    – VSO
    Aug 21, 2018 at 14:32

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