Protein shakes have surged in popularity in recent years for good reason - they offer an easy, nutritious option to help with goals like weight loss, muscle building, or simply getting adequate protein in your diet. However, with the market now flooded with seemingly endless protein shake options, it can be tricky to determine what makes for the healthiest pick.
A protein shake, meal replacement, or post-workout drink may brag about having lots of protein, but don't let marketing claims fool you. Here are the key elements to examine to determine if a shake lives up to its healthy promises:
Pay attention to the specific types of protein used in the shake. The highest quality options include:
Whey protein: Made from dairy, whey offers essential amino acids needed to repair and build muscle. Look for shakes featuring whey protein concentrate or isolate.
Plant proteins: Vegan shakes utilize proteins like soy, pea, hemp, or rice. These can be just as effective as whey for muscle gain and fat loss.
Blends: Some shakes combine dairy and plant-based proteins to optimize amino acid profile. An example is whey and soy or pea protein.
Ideally the protein comes from organic, non-GMO sources when possible for minimal contaminants.
Watch out for shakes packed with added sugars, preservatives, stabilizers, and other fillers. Instead, the healthiest picks feature more natural, recognizable ingredients. Things like cocoa powder, nut butters, avocado, and fruits add nutritional value.
Quality protein shakes deliver more than just protein - they also contain vital micronutrients. These include:
Just because a shake has superfoods added doesn’t mean it’s healthy if it also contains excess calories or added sugars. When possible:
Now that you know what properties make up a nutritious protein shake, let’s review some smart choices in different categories:
We've researched the top healthiest protein shakes available. Our top picks include:
Benefits and Reviews: The New Direction Cookies and Cream protein shake is a versatile and delicious meal replacement shake. It's not just a protein supplement but a delightful treat that complements a busy lifestyle. With its cookies and cream flavor, it offers a unique taste experience and can be enjoyed both as a shake or transformed into a creamy pudding, adding variety to your diet.
Benefits and Reviews: The Numetra Chocolate Banana Frappe is an excellent choice for a healthy protein shake, offering a high-protein (20g), low-calorie option designed for weight loss. This meal replacement shake is a favorite for its indulgent blend of rich chocolate and sweet banana, providing a satisfying and convenient option that's both diet-friendly and packed with essential nutrients.
Benefits and Reviews: The Hazelnut Cocoa protein shake is an healthy option for those looking to manage their weight while satisfying their cravings. This shake is celebrated for its delicious blend of roasted hazelnut and cocoa flavors, making it not just a nutritious choice but also a delightful treat. Its formulation is designed to support weight loss by being low in calories and high in protein, along with being enriched with essential vitamins and minerals.
Benefits and Reviews: The Lemon Razzy Protein Fruit Drink is a refreshing and healthy protein shake choice for those managing medical weight loss and diabetes. This drink stands out with its unique blend of tart lemon and sweet raspberry flavors, offering a sugar-free option that doesn't compromise on taste. It's a delightful alternative for those who want a fruity and flavorful protein boost without added sugars.
Benefits and Reviews: Bariatric Advantage HPMR Protein Shakes are a popular choice for those seeking a nutritious meal replacement. These shakes are praised for their convenience, available in 28-serving bags with a measured scoop for precise dispensing. They are specifically designed to cater to individuals with milk sugar digestion concerns, being lactose-free. The premium whey protein isolate, a key ingredient, ensures a high-quality protein supply without the inclusion of soy protein, making these shakes a top pick for health-conscious consumers.
You can easily craft satisfying and healthy protein shakes at home too. Blend a scoop of your favorite protein powder with nutritious mix-ins like:
The options are endless! Get creative.
People following specific diets or with certain health conditions may benefit from tailored shakes. For example:
When you're looking for healthy protein shakes, carefully check the ingredient list and nutrition panel instead of hype-filled marketing claims. Prioritize options with high-quality proteins, beneficial superfoods instead of artificial additives, and essential vitamins and minerals. There are plenty of options to choose from, and AmBari Nutrition is a great resource to keep researching protein shakes or to make a purchase!
Writer: Carrie H.
Carrie is a dedicated health and nutrition writer with a strong background in medical and scientific research. She is driven by a passion for helping others lead healthier lives, diving into the latest scientific research. Combining evidence-based knowledge with practical advice, Carrie strives to provide accurate and valuable information on health, nutrition, and wellness. Her ultimate aim is to empower readers, enabling them to make informed choices about their well-being.
Edited & Reviewed By: Dr. Huffman
Dr. Kevin D. Huffman, D.O., is a leading board-certified bariatric physician with extensive expertise in treating obesity. He has trained countless healthcare providers and founded American Bariatric Consultants to develop protocols and training materials sought by medical societies, pharmaceutical companies, patients, and hospitals. Dr. Huffman's impact extends beyond patient care as he prepares physicians for board certification, expanding access to this vital treatment.