Naked Protein & Greens
Just because experts recommend a carb to protein ratio of 2:1 for optimal muscle recovery doesn’t mean if a drink has a 2:1 ratio it’s good to drink. For example, this Protein & Greens by Naked, which satisfies the 2:1 ratio, but contains an astounding 50 grams of sugar in one bottle. They might not be added sugars, but all are from fruit juice concentrates, which means that most of the sugars are fructosea sugar compound that can’t even be used by your body to replenish its glucose-based energy stores.
Best Vegan Protein Shake
Pros: Vegan, contains MCT oil, pea and brown rice protein, no artificial ingredients, mild flavor, sweetened with coconut sugar, soy-free
Cons: Only 18 grams of protein per serving, expensive
Whether you’re lactose intolerant, vegan, or just trying to cut back on your animal proteins, plant-based protein has been shown to build muscle just as effectively as animal protein.
With 18 grams derived from pea and brown rice proteins, the Aloha Organic Plant-Based Protein Shake is, for starters, the best tasting vegan protein drink we’ve tried.
It uses natural sugar and minimal amounts to land a mildly sweet flavor. But Aloha sets itself apart from the other drinks in our guide with its credentials of being dairy-free, soy-free, vegan, non-GMO, organic, and free of any artificial ingredients.
The Aloha Protein Shake comes in three flavors: Vanilla, Chocolate Sea Salt, and Coconut, the latter of which was my favorite with its delicate, balanced flavor that didn’t overwhelm the taste buds and was smooth and refreshing after a hard workout.
I tried the shake as a replacement for lunch and as an afternoon snack. While it didn’t leave me starving, I found I was still looking for more food to calm my cravings. It might work well with some nuts as a quick snack to tide you over between meals.
Cons: Has a tiny amount of artificial sweeteners, unremarkable taste
Honorable Mention: Optimum Gold Standard
Gold Standard by Optimum Nutrition is perhaps the most overrated protein powder of all time. It deserves a spot on this list due to the legendary break through supplement that it was during its time, but at this point, there are plenty of protein powders that are way higher quality than this one.
The Optimum Gold Standard protein blend is a mixture of isolate and concentrate, which is not great. Its concerning that a company with this much money wouldnt just make the blend 100% isolate when they know its the right thing to do.
I dont mean to bash Gold Standard. The blend is solid, but its not what people make it out to be.
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Best And Worst Protein Powders
Overall, Jones acknowledges Clean Labels protein powder rating system gives people a starting point to select the purest product. You probably dont have any worries in using the top-rated products theyve listed.
The nonprofit organization had an independent lab measure nutritional value and amounts of heavy metals, pesticides and contaminants like BPA. Clean Label then gave each product an overall score. Metals accounted for 60 percent of the total score because of their potential for harm.
The five most highly rated protein powders tested were:
- Pure Protein Vanilla Cream 100% Whey
- Performix Pro Whey Sabor Vanilla Protein with Amino Beads
- BodyFortress Super Advanced Vanilla 100% Whey Protein
- BioChem Vanilla 100% Whey Protein
- Puori PW1 Vanilla Pure Whey Protein
Clean Labels bottom five products were:
- Garden of Life Organic Shake & Meal Replacement Chocolate Cacao Raw Organic Meal
- Natures Best Isopure Creamy Vanilla Zero Carb
- Quest Chocolate Milkshake Protein Powder
- 360Cut Performance Supplements 360PRO Whey Chocolate Silk Premium Whey Protein
- Vega Sport Plant-Based Vanilla Performance Protein
What Is Premier Protein
Premier Protein is a brand of products that can give you the readily available source of protein you need to have the best workout you can. Getting the most out of your workout is important in order to make sure you are not wasting any time in the gym. These products come in shakes and bars that make it so you dont have to do any mixing yourself, and can easily transport it to the gym.
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Who Should Buy Protein Shakes
Protein shakes are generally safe for most people and help to improve muscle mass, weight loss, and metabolism. Its exceptionally good at improving satiety on a diet as well.
People currently taking prescription medications should speak to a doctor before taking a protein shake, to be on the safe side. Diabetics, pregnant women and children should also be cautious when taking a protein shake supplement, as the safety is unproven in this population.
Check It Out Yourself
Jones also encourages you to do your own research:
- Read a Better Business Bureau report or reviews from consumers.
- Check for product recalls.
Jones uses protein powder herself. She says, Im usually on the go and use it as a convenience after a cycling class. For my clients, I mostly recommend it as a convenience factor once a day or twice a day at most.
However, she wouldnt choose protein powders overfood sources of protein. Theres so much more to the whole food than whatever goes into the pill or powder, she says. Typically, your body benefits more from eating the whole food than the supplement. Greek yogurt, hard-boiled eggs, beans, peas, walnuts, almonds and peanut butter are easy protein sources.
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Best Protein Shakes And Protein Powders
Protein is an essential macronutrient that we all need for a healthy body. It plays a role in many body functions like supporting bone health, balancing blood sugars and helping with muscle growth, to name a few.
Americans are a little obsessed with protein these daysnearly two-thirds of us are trying to consume more of it, and 21% of adults think they’re protein deficient. But according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most Americans are already eating more than enough .
But protein needs can vary from person to person. “If you’re looking to build muscle, help with healing after a surgery or an illness, or work on healthy weight loss or weight maintenance, eating more protein can help,” says Victoria Seaver, M.S., RD, EatingWell‘s associate editorial director. “And while you can certainly get enough from whole foods, protein shakes and powders can help supplement your intake.” That’s where this list comes in handy.
Seaver recommends choosing a protein powder or shake without added sugars. Choosing an option without added sugar will allow you to add sweetness naturally, like adding the powder to a fruit-sweetened smoothie.
Vegatein By Kylea Health
Vegatein is a 100% vegan, plant-based, natural, dairy free, lactose free, non-GMO protein powder made right here in the US. In case you couldnt tell based on my remarks earlier in this article regarding protein sources, I strongly believe that vegan protein sources are both the most efficient and the most effective. The VegaTein formula consists strictly of Pea Protein , pumpkin seed protein, sunflower seed protein, and watermelon seed protein.
This is the cleanest protein powder formula I have ever seen, hands down. And again, you do not have to be vegan to use iteveryone should be using a vegan protein powder regardless of their dietary preferences for the simple reason that vegan protein sources do not contain dairy or lactose, and therefore are much more easily digested and absorbed by your body.
The VegaTein blend is predominantly made up of Pea Protein. Pea Protein is an incredibly powerful and clean source of protein. It does an amazing job at building lean muscle mass, enhancing muscle recovery, helping with weight management, and ultimately increasing your protein intake overalland unlike whey protein, Pea Protein is excellent for your digestive health, immune system, and gut health.
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Harmless Harvest Protein& coconut Toasted Coconut
Nutrition per 10 fl oz carton: 180 calories, 8 g fat , 160 mg sodium, 14 g carbs , 12 g protein
Sweetened with a touch of cane sugar, this is a new breed of protein shake made primarily of electrolyte-rich coconut water, Harmless Harvest also supplies more protein than two eggs with the addition of a plant-based protein blend of pea protein, pumpkin seed protein, and sunflower seed proteinall organic. The benefits of coconut water are that its electrolytes will help rehydrate you while the nutrients in milk proteins replenish glycogen stores and help muscles recover. After a particularly strenuous workout, pair it with a piece of fruit to boost healthy carbs available for your body’s recovery.
Garden Of Life Protein Powder
Garden of Life Protein Powder is a pretty popular product amongst vegans due to the fact that the protein blend strictly contains Pea Protein and Brown Rice Protein. If youre looking for a Pea Protein based supplement, this could be the one for you, but I generally do not recommend Pea Protein.
Yes, its vegan, but the problem with Pea Protein is it does not contain anywhere near as many nutrients as standard whey protein sources like isolate and hydrolysate. The BCAA count is way lower, and the benefits with regard to muscle growth and recovery are nowhere near as significant.
Based on the blend, I would not recommend Garden of Life Protein Powder unless you literally can not consume whey protein due to some sort of allergy.
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What Are The Benefits Of Bottled Protein Shakes
There are countless benefits of adding protein to your diet.
- Protein boosts satiety by filling you up and by helping to slow the digestion of carbs, which stabilizes blood sugar levels.
- Your body burns more calories digesting protein compared to fat or carbs.
- Protein helps maintain muscle mass tissue, which burns more calories at rest than body fat.
One of the most convenient ways to consume more protein is through ready-to-drink protein shakes. “Bottled protein shakes offer easy, affordable, and convenient protein sources when you need them the most, such as post-workout or exercise,” says Moskovitz. “In addition, many are fortified with hydrating electrolytes, bone-building calcium, vitamin D, fiber, and iron.”
What To Look For In A Protein Shake
If there’s one thing the experts all agree on, it’s this: when it comes to protein shakes, you want to steer clear of added sugar. “Consuming a high amount of added sugar can be deleterious to anyone’s health,” Rose says. “It has been linked to unwanted weight gain, increased triglyceride levels, and type 2 diabetes.”
In addition, you’ll want to ensure you’re getting the best source of protein from your shake. “It’s important to seek out a protein base that contains the full spectrum of essential amino acids, which promote proper nourishment, satiety, and muscle recovery,” says celebrity chef and certified nutritionist Serena Poon. Rose recommends whey and casein, which are complete sources of protein that can increase muscle mass, as well as soy and pea proteins for plant-based individuals.
You can also opt for a protein shake with additional benefits, depending on your specific health needs. Registered dietitian and fellow at the Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine Yulia Brockdorf tells Health that most whole food-based protein shakes contain some fat, and some keto shakes have added fats, which are ideal for people who want to feel a little more satiated. Ultimately, it’s all about balance. “Incorporating a protein shake as a part of a healthy eating plan into any meal could be a healthy option,” Brockdorf says. “It could also be unhealthy if used excessively and as a primary source of sustenance.”
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How We Chose The Best Protein Shakes
The trouble with buying grab-and-go protein shakes is that many are made with sub-par protein sources, are teeming with artificial additives, tablespoons of added sugar, and nasty chemicals. To help you navigate all the options, we consulted experts to determine what ingredients to consume and avoid when determining the best and worst grab-and-go protein shakes.
The best protein shakes contain no artificial sweeteners, high-fructose corn syrup, or hydrogenated oils.
In addition, Dueñas recommends aiming for between 15 and 20 grams of high-quality proteins that deliver the right blend of amino acids required to build and repair muscle tissues. Following a heavy workout, Moskovitz notes you can aim for 30 grams of protein.
Jacked Factory Authentic Whey
Jacked Factory Authentic Whey is one of the best protein powders on the market without a doubt, and we believe there is a strong case for it being one of the top protein powders. The protein blend is a combination of whey protein concentrate and whey protein isolate.
We feel Authentic Whey has a slight edge over most other protein powders due to the fact that the protein in use is grass-fed. This means that youre getting the benefits of faster digestion and absorption, which leads to more efficient muscle growth and recovery.
Due to the purity of the blend, Authentic Whey naturally provides an exceptionally high amount of BCAAs, which makes that much better of a product. The rest of the nutritional profile is also very clean. It contains virtually no fat, sugar, or carbs, and has a very low sodium count. We strongly recommend Jacked Factorys Authentic Whey.
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Premier Protein Reviews From Users
Now that Premier Protein has been on the market for years, a lot of people have tried it, which inevitably means it has generated a lot of user feedback. We wanted to take a look at what people are saying about this stuff, so we checked in with Amazon to examine the verified buyer reviews
We found 860 total Premier Protein reviews on Amazon, and it received an average rating of 4.6 stars. That is a very solid mark, and most likely indicates that people are getting results from this supplement, or at least simply enjoying how it tastes.
Heres another impressive statistic for you82% of the user reviews submitted include 5-star ratings for the product. If we do the math, that means about 705 people purchased Premier Protein, tried it, and liked it enough to leave it a 5 star reviewvery impressive.
HOWEVER, lets not get distracted from the facts here people. First of all, the main reason people are enjoying it is simply because it tastes great, which is due to the fact that it contains a ton of fat, carbs, sodium, and sugarthis is not a good thing.
We would never recommend a protein powder with that much downside. PLUS, worse yet, it does NOT contain any whey protein isolate. It only uses whey protein concentrate and milk protein concentratethis is BAD NEWS people.
Fairlife Core Power Protein Shakes
Upgrade your protein shake with this offering from Fairlife. “When my clients ask for a protein shake, I like to recommend Fairlife Core Power. This packs about 26 grams of protein, which can occasionally be considered a meal replacement. It’s made from real milk to provide a complete protein source, and it’s lower in added sugar while still tasting great. These shakes have a great finish in taste without leaving an annoying residue in your mouth,” says dietitian Emily E Tills, MS, RDN, CDN, a Nutrition Coach at Nourished With Emily.
Is There Arsenic In Protein Powder
The super high quality protein powders made by reputable sports nutrition brands do not contain arsenic, and they have Certificates of Analysis on their websites to prove that. However, there are certainly some low quality protein powder supplements out there that contain arsenic. Just make sure you choose the right brand!
Koia Chocolate Banana Plant Protein Drink
Nutrition per 12 fl oz bottle: 190 calories, 7 g fat , 280 mg sodium, 14 g carbs , 18 g protein
Made with a proprietary blend of brown rice, pea, and chickpea protein, this plant-based shake is a great pick for your daily dose of protein. Although the coconut milk and cane sugar drive most of the sugar count, it’s also sweetened with a touch of monk fruit extract.
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Is The Protein Healthy And Natural
Caseinate and milk protein are natural. Keeping animal proteins to a minimum is recommended for everyone.
But both caseinate and milk protein come without the high amounts of saturated fat that meat and full cream milk does. As long as you dont go over the recommended amount, you should be fine.
If you have problems with your kidneys, speak to your doctor before taking any high protein supplements. Unhealthy kidneys struggle to process large amounts of protein.
Is It Healthy Or Natural
Both muscle milk and premier protein contain artificial sweeteners. Generally, artificial sweeteners are not recommended.
Evidence shows that they raise blood sugar levels in those who dont consume them regularly.
Isnt this what we try to avoid by ditching sugar? Not just that, but artificial sweeteners may negatively impact our gut health.
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Muscle Milk Pro Series
Muscle Milk is an excellent source of protein, and dont let the name fool youits not just for post-workout refueling.
It delivers an impressive 32 grams of protein per serving in the form of milk and casein protein, and aside from some flavoring agents, the only other ingredients are vitamins and minerals. Surprisingly, its one of the most focused, minimalist protein shakes out there, and its carb content is incredibly low.