Protein shakes and drinks may provide an efficient way of increasing protein consumption after an intensive workout when digestion can be tough, but they should never replace a balanced diet that includes whole food sources.
Protein powders and drinks often contain too much sugar, leading to weight gain or difficulty managing blood glucose. Furthermore, artificial sweeteners like stevia or sucralose often present artificial sweeteners can lead to gas and bloating issues.
What is a Protein Drink?
Protein drinks are ready-to-drink beverages that contain high amounts of protein, are typically fortified with vitamins and minerals such as calcium, and contain small quantities of carbohydrates and fats. Many are sweetened using safe artificial sweeteners like sucralose and acesulfame potassium to reduce calories and added sugars.
Pre-made protein shakes come either in bottles that can be placed on shelves or refrigerators until ready to open or as powders that must be mixed with liquid in order to create the shake. They come from various sources of protein like whey, pea, soy and more; and can even include ingredients like fruit, chocolate or vanilla to add an additional flair.
Calorie counts are essential when selecting a protein shake, particularly when trying to lose weight. A typical serving can contain hundreds of calories; therefore it is wiser to select one with low levels of fat and carbohydrates.
Most pre-made protein drinks contain milk proteins, but some non-dairy options also exist. Fairlife Core Power offers 26 grams of protein per serving with no added sugar – perfect for athletes needing more than the daily recommended 20 grams and those concerned about too much milk-based protein which could cause gastric issues in some people.
Premier Protein Shake provides an optimal combination of whey and casein milk proteins for delicious taste, creamy texture and optimal absorption. Available in vanilla, chocolate and strawberry flavours – making this option both shelf stable and tasty!
Protein drinks may help increase protein intake, but they’re no silver bullet when it comes to building muscle and strength training. To do this, one needs to consume more protein than is burned off during physical activity – this is where eating healthily comes into play.
Protein shakes may also prove useful during pregnancy and breastfeeding when women experience reduced appetite or difficulty finding foods to meet their nutritional requirements. A lactose-free protein shake made from grass-fed milk provides a good source of protein with no added sugars – meeting up to 40% of an expectant mother’s daily calcium needs!
How to Make a Protein Drink
Homemade high protein drinks can be easily and affordably created at home with just a blender and some ingredients. Making it yourself is much less costly than purchasing pre-made protein shakes, and allows you to customize which ingredients to include. In addition, non-dairy milk may be easier on your stomach; many people opt for both varieties; plant-based powders may even provide added nutritional benefits!
Start with liquid such as milk, water or juice as the basis for your shake. Next, add fruits and/or vegetables for extra fiber, vitamins, minerals and flavor; frozen fruits or vegetables work especially well because their water content helps liquify it more smoothly. Adding dry or toasted oats for some fiber and B vitamins as well as peanut butter or another nut powder could add extra protein and enhance flavor!
To add sweetness to your protein shake, consider using honey, maple syrup or agave as sweeteners, or use natural alternatives such as stevia, monk fruit sweetener or erythritol. Some proteins themselves contain natural sweetness so you may not even require additional sweeteners!
Blend the liquid and protein mix in a blender until smooth, adding some ice cubes for thickening purposes. If you don’t own a blender, create your drink by stirring or shaking it in a glass – be mindful not to overload the blender when adding ice!
Many protein drink manufacturers produce ready-to-drink shakes and sell them in individual-serving bottles or paper boxes, available at gyms, health food stores and grocery stores. You’ll typically find these at gyms, health food stores and grocery stores and typically contain proteins sourced from milk such as whey and casein; often fortified with other nutrients; often sweetened using safe artificial sweeteners like sucralose and acesulfame potassium for a unique experience.
Many athletes and exercisers drink protein shakes after each workout to aid muscle recovery more rapidly. It is advised to consume this beverage within three hours after exercising for optimal results.
What to Look for in a Protein Drink
Protein powders and drinks are not regulated by the FDA, so it is vital that you read labels carefully to make sure you’re receiving high-quality protein with no unnecessary chemicals or additives. Pay special attention to any sugars or sweeteners listed on the label as these may contain high fructose corn syrup, sucralose or artificial colors – avoid these as much as possible!
The ideal protein shakes consist of a blend of multiple sources to minimize processing costs and keep costs under control. Look for protein sources such as whey and casein proteins as well as plant-based options like quinoa, soy or hemp. Furthermore, pay close attention to how much protein per serving there is along with any added sugars or ingredients.
Many protein drinks come fortified with vitamins and minerals such as calcium and vitamin D. To be safe, if you have an existing medical condition it’s advisable to speak to a healthcare provider first about adding these added nutrients into your diet.
When selecting a protein drink, it’s essential to take your goals and daily eating habits into consideration. On average, adults require between 82-120 grams of protein daily depending on weight and activity level – having a protein shake for breakfast, before or after exercise sessions, or as an afterschool snack can help meet this nutritional goal.
Consider any dietary intolerances you have as well. For instance, if you’re lactose intolerant, select a protein powder without dairy solids as they can be hard to digest and cause symptoms like gas, diarrhea, fatigue, mood swings and weight gain. An isolate or hydrolysate protein product would likely be easier for digestion but will likely cost more.
Filters such as maltodextrin and cornstarch should also be carefully scrutinized as they can make the protein shake thick and heavy, lowering its appeal. Sugar alcohols (sorbitol, mannitol and erythritol) act more like dietary fiber in your body than sugar, yet may be detrimental if you suffer from FODMAP sensitivity or digestive issues.
Protein Drinks for Weight Loss
Iconic Protein Drinks are an invaluable way to build muscle, increase energy and speed recovery time after strenuous workouts. But be wary when selecting one; be mindful about its safety and suitability for your diet; for instance if you suffer from kidney disease it may be wiser to source protein from whole food sources rather than powders.
Pay attention to the sugar content of protein drinks when selecting one. Many contain high levels of sugar that may trigger blood sugar spikes and contribute to weight gain. Furthermore, many contain artificial sweeteners like sucralose and acesulfame potassium that may cause gas and bloat in some individuals; therefore if weight loss is your goal then opting for lower calorie protein drinks could be effective solutions.
Many protein drink brands promote themselves as being healthy and weight loss-friendly, boasting lower calories and sugar than home-blended smoothies. Though these beverages may be marketed towards athletes or bodybuilders, anyone seeking to lose weight while meeting their protein requirements could find them beneficial.
Protein shakes can also provide pregnant and nursing mothers with essential amino acids necessary for cell repair, making up for their lack in whole foods during pregnancy and nursing.
Those seeking to lose weight may benefit from adding a protein shake as part of their morning breakfast regimen, in order to feel full for longer and reduce calorie consumption throughout the rest of their day.
The Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard protein shake boasts over 211,000 reviews on Amazon with an incredible 82% rating. Offering creamy texture with flavors like chocolate, vanilla and cookies and cream. A single serving has 160 calories; to ensure it forms part of a complete meal experience it should be combined with additional snacks or meals to form one complete meal plan.