Liquid protein is a suspension of protein in a fluid, such as water. There are a number of ways in which people use liquid protein, and this product is readily available at health food stores, drug stores, grocery stores, and stores which stock supplies for bodybuilding. Liquid proteins are manufactured by a wide range of companies and come in a broad array of formulations for different purposes.
Commonly, liquid protein is made with whey. Whey is a protein-rich milk solid which can be processed for inclusion in protein supplements. In addition to whey, liquid protein also usually includes vitamins and minerals which are designed to provide the consumer with a balanced nutritional blend. It is not intended as a long term meal replacement, however.
Patients are sometimes prescribed liquid protein after surgery on their stomachs or intestines. During recovery, the foods they can safely eat are limited, and nutritional supplements are used to ensure that they receive appropriate nutrition. As the patient heals, foods can gradually be added back into the diet until the patient is weaned from the liquid diet. Liquid supplements are also offered to patients who cannot tolerate solid food for other reasons, or who are trying to gain weight; in such cases, they will contain a mix of dietary elements, not just protein.
Historically, liquid protein was used as a weight loss aid, with people drinking protein shakes instead of meals. This practice has been questioned by some nutritionists, who argue that people may develop nutritional deficiencies which could lead to complications if they rely on such supplements as their primary source of nutrition. In the 1970s, when liquid protein diets were popular, doctors observed a number of complications in patients on such diets.
Bodybuilders use protein as a supplement which they consume after sessions in the gym in order to build muscle. Liquid protein shakes may also be consumed at other times during the day, depending on a bodybuilder's routine. These products are consumed in addition to regular meals.
Some companies make premixed liquid protein in containers which people simply need to shake and open. In other cases, this product is provided in a powder form and people mix it with liquid. Some people add protein powder to smoothies and similar drinks to conceal the taste, which is sometimes not very exciting. Others drink flavored liquid protein, with many companies offering a variety of flavors to appeal to different tastes.