Best and Worst Grab-And-Go Protein Shakes
Don’t Use our guide next time you’re in a hurry to refuel after a sweaty HIIT
By OLIVIA TARANTINO
AUGUST 10, 2016
What if we told you there is a cloud of magical fairy dust that helps you lose weight
and build muscle—
and it tastes great, too?
And what if we said you could buy it—by the tub?
Would you? Sure you would.
And you wouldn’t be alone.
Protein powders have cast a spell on the diet industry…
Smart users know that the stuff works by blasting fat in three key ways: 1)
Protein boosts satiety by filling you up and by helping to slow digestion
which stabilizes blood sugar levels;
2) your body burns more calories digesting protein compared to fat or carbs; and 3) protein helps maintain muscle mass tissue, which burns more calories at rest than body fat. See, magic!
The trouble is that many are made with INFLAMMATORY protein sources teeming with ARTIFICIAL additives,
tablespoons of added sugar & nasty chemicals.
But that’s where we come in.
After our report on The Best Protein Powder for Every Goal,
we decided to examine the best & worst grab-and-go protein shakes that’ll slim you down faster than you can say abracadabra.
Read on—and for maximum weight loss, blend one at home, using a plant-based protein. It’s weight loss at the press of a button !Settings
Our top picks for the best grab-and-go protein shakes contain no artificial sweeteners,
High-fructose corn syrup, or hydrogenated oils.
In addition, each one has at least 12 grams of high-quality proteins that deliver the right blend of amino acids required to build and repair muscle tissues. Unless otherwise mentioned,
all products are sweetened with either stevia or stevia and monk fruit extract, two of our favorite non-nutritive sweeteners.
BEST & WORST…
Grab-And-Go Protein Shakes…
SAMPLES OF MOSTLY ‘BAD’ INFLAMMATORY PROTEIN!
Use our guide next time you’re in a hurry to refuel after a sweaty HIIT sesh.
By OLIVIA TARANTINO AUGUST 10, 2016
What if we told you there is a cloud of magical fairy dust
that helps you lose weight and build muscle—and it tastes great, too?
MORE CAFO ‘THIN SLICE” SUPPLEMENT THINKING….
And what if we said you could buy it—by the tub? Would you? Sure you would. And you wouldn’t be alone.
Protein powders have cast a spell on the diet industry & smart users know that the stuff works by blasting fat in three key ways:
Protein boosts satiety by filling you up and by helping to slow digestion of carbs,
which stabilizes blood sugar levels;
2) your body burns more calories digesting protein compared to fat or carbs; and
3) protein helps maintain muscle mass tissue, which burns more calories at rest than body fat.
The trouble is that many are made with INFLAMMATORY protein sources teeming with artificial additives, tablespoons of added sugar, and nasty chemicals.
But that’s where we come in.
After our report on The Best Protein Powder for Every Goal, we decided to examine the best and worst grab-and-go protein shakes that’ll slim you down faster than you can say abracadabra.
Read on—and for maximum weight loss, blend one at home, using a plant-based protein.
It’s weight loss at the press of a button! Settings
THERE IS REALLY NO OTHER WAY TO SUPPLEMENT MOTHER NATURES DESIGN!
SAMPLES OF MOSTLY BAD INFLAMMATORY PROTEIN!
** CalNaturale Svelte Organic Protein Drink
NUTRITION PER 11 FL OZ BOTTLE: 180 calories, 7 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 135 mg sodium, 21 g carbs (5 g fiber, 6 g sugar), 11 g protein
Organic GMO soy milk (and thus, non-GMO soy) is both the source of protein in this resealable shake and the first ingredient, followed by (WITHOUT PROTEIN) rice syrup and cane sugar (there’s also some stevia added). Rice syrup is being used more often in products because of its high glucose and low fructose content, meaning its sugars are mostly used for energy and fewer (i.e. the fructose) molecules are sent to be processed by the liver, where they could cause fatty liver disease. The high fiber count will help slow digestion and give you sustained energy. This certified gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, and kosher shake boasts 8 vitamins and minerals, has 35 percent of your daily value of calcium, and 30 percent of your DV of vitamin D (which can not only help strengthen bones, but it can also help you lose belly fat).
** Organic Valley Organic Fuel High Protein Shake
NUTRITION PER 11 OZ BOTTLE, CHOCOLATE: 260 calories, 6 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 190 mg sodium, 27 g carbs (1 g fiber, 26 g sugar), 26 g protein
upgraded ??? your Core Power High Protein Milk Shake with this organic version from Organic Valley. Made with filtered skim milk, cream, and fair-trade unrefined cane sugar, this product is likely safe for those with lactose intolerances due to the addition of lactase enzyme. There’s no carrageenan like there is in Core Power. Instead, the emulsifier is replaced with gellan gum—a water-dwelling-bacterium-derived product hasn’t been studied as well in humans, but the few studies that are out there have found no ill effects from ingestion.
** Organic Balance Milk
(With Dead Bacteria, Cortisol & Fed GMO) Protein Shake – Faux food…
NUTRITION PER 11 OZ BOTTLE: 170 calories, 3.5 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 210 mg sodium, 17 g carbs (1 g fiber, 16 g sugar), 16 g protein…
When you’re drinking milk products, ultrafiltered milk products, or protein products with “milk protein concentrate (not necessarily isolate)”
Look for … pasture-raised
This means that the cows aren’t fed a conventional diet of corn and soy products that for starters, can sicken cows enough to require the use of antibiotics, and two, cause high levels of unhealthy fat build-ups, like bad saturated fats and inflammatory omega-6s—which all get passed on to you. Sweetened with unrefined cane sugar and a touch of stevia, this Organic Balance is a great option after a workout but maybe a little high on the sugar front for a meal replacement or snack.
** Orgain Organic Nutritional ShakeNUTRITION PER 11 FL OZ BOTTLE: 250 calories, 7 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 260 mg sodium, 32 g carbs (2 g fiber, 12 g sugar), 16 g protein
Besides Organic Valley’s Organic Fuel, this is the only protein shake we could find on the market that isn’t sweetened with non-nutritive sweeteners like monk fruit extract, stevia, or sugar alcohols—just good-old-fashioned sugar and brown rice syrup. So if you’re looking for a real-sugar sweetened drink that doesn’t have as much protein as Organic Fuel,
Orgain has you covered with this blend of only 16 grams of protein, 23 vitamins & minerals, as well as 10 fruits and veggies with the perfect 2:1 ratio of carbs to protein optimal for muscle recovery.
Odwalla Strawberry Protein Shake
NUTRITION PER 15.2 FL OZ BOTTLE: 320 calories, 7 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 135 mg sodium, 37 g carbs (0 g fiber, 33 g sugar), 25 g protein
This real-fruit-puree-, cane-sugar- & stevia-sweetened strawberry shake from Odwalla contains about 300 calories and a ratio of carbs to protein that is ideal to refill your fuel tank and to build and repair muscle tissue after a long cardio workout. The protein source is both milk protein concentrate and isolated soy protein—both are organic. If you’re looking for flavors with more carbs, Odwalla’s vanilla and chocolate flavors each come with 46 grams and 53 grams, respectively, but note that these are almost entirely simple sugars—great for after a workout, but not so great if you’re just sipping on this flavor at your desk job.
** Orgain Vegan Nutritional Shake
NUTRITION PER 11 FL OZ BOTTLE: 220 calories, 6 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 169 mg sodium (vanilla); 190 mg sodium (chocolate), 25 g carbs (2 g fiber, 9 g sugar), 16 g protein
We’re big advocates for using plant protein powders.
Unlike whey powders, plant protein won’t lead to bloat are less likely to include nasty artificial sweeteners, and have been found to be just as effective in building muscle and strength, according to a Nutrition Journal study. Sweetened with stevia and monk fruit extract, this nutritional shake gets its protein power from a blend of brown rice, chia seeds, flax seeds, and hemp. This combo is ideal as single plant-based varieties aren’t complete proteins, which means you’d miss out on key muscle-strengthening amino acids. Along with protein, this box comes with an additional 21 vitamins and minerals as well as an organic fruit and veggie blend.
** FitPro GO!
NUTRITION PER 14 FL OZ BOTTLE, CHOCOLATE: 210 calories, 3 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 420 mg sodium, 11 g carbs (2 g fiber, 9 g sugar), 35 g protein
These hormone-free, milk-based drinks are lactose-free due to an ultrafiltration process, which removes most of this naturally occurring sugar (the sugar you see is from added cane sugar, and it’s also sweetened with stevia and monk fruit). FitPro is flavored with natural vanilla and cocoa, emulsified with gellan gum instead of carrageenan, and is an excellent source of 18 vitamins and minerals. This shake stands alone in providing the most protein with the fewest ingredients.
** Coco Libre Protein Coconut Water
NUTRITION PER 11 FL OZ CARTON: 140 calories, 1 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 280 mg sodium, 16 g carbs (3 g fiber, 7 g sugar, 7 g erythritol), 15 g protein
Sweetened with a touch of erythritol and stevia, this is a new breed of protein shake; made primarily of electrolyte-rich coconut water, Coco Libre also supplies more protein than three eggs with the addition of organic, grass-fed milk protein concentrate—for a fraction of the morning prep time. 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.
** Orgain Grass-fed Protein Shake
NUTRITION PER 11 FL OZ BOTTLE: 140 calories, 2 g fat (0.5 g saturated fat), 240 mg sodium, 10 g carbs (3 g fiber, 4 g sugar), 20 g protein
For the whey protein crowd, this choice of grass-fed milk protein concentrate is prime. The cows are free of growth hormone rBST, steroids, antibiotics, and GMOs, it’s free of refined sugars (instead, sweetened with agave, monk fruit extract, and stevia), and it’s free of inflammatory carrageenan. With its low sugar count, this shake is perfect for busy professionals, moms on-the-go, or students who need something to get them through that 3-hour seminar.
** Iconic Lean Protein Shake
NUTRITION PER 11.5 FL OZ BOTTLE: 130 calories, 2 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 220 mg sodium, 8 g carbs (4 g fiber, 3 g sugar), 20 g protein
Made with clean ingredients like grass-fed milk protein isolate, cocoa powder, sea salt, and real Colombian Coffee (yes, there are 180 mg of caffeine—about what’s in two 8-ounce cups of coffee—in this bottle!) this is one of the better bottles in the supplement store. “It’s very rich in protein, and it’s perfect for muscle building and maintenance because it also contains calcium and vitamin B12,” says Ilyse Schapiro, MS, RD, CDN.
** Stonyfield OP Organic Protein Vanilla Smoothie
NUTRITION PER 11 FL OZ BOTTLE: 190 calories, 2 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 170 mg sodium, 26 g carbs (1 g fiber, 15 g sugar), 15 g protein
SHOP NOW ON INSTACART
Exactly what we want to see in any product made with yogurt: “live active cultures!” Which means this shake is full of healthy-gut-promoting probiotics. Made with Orgain’s Organic Milk Protein Concentrate along with cultured low-fat milk, two natural prebiotics (pectin and inulin), and 9 vitamins and minerals, this shake is a great pick for your daily dose of protein. Although the milk and cane sugar (it’s also sweetened with erythritol) drive both the protein and sugar content, we can’t scoff at the 1:1 protein to sugar ratio when most companies struggle to get close to
And Now… The Worst
** SaveLike protein powders, many of the labels of these shakes read like the stock list of a chemistry lab and are made with obscure protein sources, artificial sweeteners, too much sugar, chemical additives, and trans fat.
*** Ensure Plus
NUTRITION PER 8 FL OZ BOTTLE: 350 calories, 11 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 220 mg sodium, 51 g carbs (0 g fiber, 22 g sugar), 13 g protein
Don’t be fooled by Ensure’s claims that this is “complete, balanced nutrition.” With more sugar than protein, this shake won’t be of much help when it comes to weight loss. That’s not even mentioning the fact that the product is full of artificial flavors, conventional nonfat milk, inflammatory vegetable oils, and carrageenan.
** * SlimFast Originals
NUTRITION PER 11 FL OZ BOTTLE: 180 calories, 6 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 160 mg sodium, 24 g carbs (5 g fiber, 18 g sugar), 10 g protein
On top of its poor protein showing—there’s almost double the amount of sugar than there is protein—SlimFast’s downfall is also their addition of mono and diglycerides as well as hydrogenated soybean oil, which all often are sources of the artery-clogging trans fats that are linked to cardiovascular disease. Plus, the drink contains milk protein concentrate from conventional cows, which contains as many risks as it does benefits, artificial flavors, carrageenan, and artificial sweeteners Sucralose and Acesulfame Potassium
*** Odwalla Original Super Protein
NUTRITION PER 15.2 FL OZ BOTTLE: 350 calories, 0.5 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 330 mg sodium, 62 g carbs (1 g fiber, 56 g sugar), 19 g protein
It does have a 3:1 ratio of carbs to protein, which experts recommend for post-workout recovery, but that doesn’t mean gobbling down 56 grams of sugar with only a gram of digestion-slowing fiber is good for you. The odds are stacked against your favor when it comes to minimizing hunger strikes.
*** Boost High Protein Shake
NUTRITION PER 8 FL OZ BOTTLE, VANILLA: 240 calories, 6 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 220 mg sodium, 28 g carbs (0 g fiber, 23 g sugar), 15 g protein
Before milk protein concentrate is even listed, both sugar and corn syrup are the first ingredients behind water. This shake is also made with artificial flavors and inflammatory vegetable oils which have a high omega 6 to omega 3 ratios and can cause weight gain over time.
*** Bolthouse Farms Protein PLUS
NUTRITION PER 15.2 FL OZ BOTTLE, MANGO: 200 calories, 0.5 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 260 mg sodium, 33 g carbs (2 g fiber, 27 g sugar), 16 g protein
NUTRITION PER 15.2 FL OZ BOTTLE, CHOCOLATE: 210 calories, 3 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 140 mg sodium, 29 g carbs (3 g fiber, 26 g sugar), 16 g protein
They might be naturally sweetened, but that doesn’t justify gulping down 50 grams of sugar in a bottle. It’ll give you a solid dose of protein along with at least 9 vitamins and minerals, but you’ll most likely start to feel hungry soon after guzzling down the 400-calorie bottle—which isn’t great news if you’re on a calorie-restricted diet.
*** Premier Protein
Pure Protein ShakePure Protein Shake??
*** Odwalla Mango Protein Shake
NUTRITION PER 15.2 FL OZ BOTTLE: 310 calories, 1 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 340 mg sodium, 54 g carbs (
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