What Are Meal Replacement Shakes And What Are Their Benefits
You can find two varieties of meal replacement shakes:
- Ready-to-drink, bottled shakes or
- Powdered supplements that you would mix with water and shake to combine
Unlike protein shakes, the healthiest meal replacement shakes offer a nutrient profile similar to that of a well-balanced meal. That includes healthy fats, carbohydrates, protein, and fiber.
These shakes are appealing to many and have multiple benefits:
- Convenience: As we said earlier, you don’t have to cook or clean up after a meal if you grab one of these shakes.
- Weight loss: “Meal replacement shakes have shown to be effective for some people who are trying to lose weight, especially those who replace 1-2 of their meals with a meal replacement,” says Amanda A. Kostro Miller, RD, LDN, who serves on the advisory board for Smart Healthy Living. “Many weight loss programs using meal replacement shakes, however, are meant to be temporary for an initial weight loss kick.”
- To feel full: choosing a shake that’s high in protein and/or fiber will keep you fuller longer and slow down the digestion of carbs, which stabilizes blood sugar levels.
Do They Make You Bloated
Protein shakes in general probably wont make you feel bloated, but it might be a side effect of other ingredients in your shake or your diet.
Many high protein products also contain extra fibre to help you feel full, which can cause gas and bloating, so if this is a concern for you, opt for a protein shake without added fibre.
Since protein does slow the digestive process, your stomach may feel fuller than after a meal of pure carbohydrates. If youre feeling bloated, try keeping your shakes simple and add water instead of milk. If you find bloating with one type of protein try soy or another vegan blend instead.
Meal Prepping Protein Shakes
Because the protein powder will lose its consistency after being blended, it’s recommended that you do not blend these up ahead of time but rather meal prep the ingredients to pour into the blender. I’ll usually store my add-ins with almond milk in mason jars in the fridge and then add my protein powder at the last minute before blending.
You can use an individual-sized blender to whip these up such as a Magic Bullet instead of using a full-sized blender to save time on clean up too!
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Artificial And Natural Sweeteners
Protein powders often contain either artificial sweeteners like sucralose or acesulfame potassium, as theyre widely recognized as safe for human consumption. The FDA recommends a daily limit of 15 milligrams of artificial sweeteners. Some of the protein powders weve included on this list contain no artificial sweeteners though. These products are sweetened naturally with ingredients like Stevia.
Pirq Vegan Protein Shake
Pirq protein shakes give your body the good stuff without the additives, sugar, and chemicals found in many pre-made, commercial protein shakes. They are made with ingredients that are 100% non-GMO, vegan, dairy-free, soy-free, gluten-free, and certified kosher. Pirq protein shakes are made with high-quality plant proteins , blended with the best superfoods like almonds, anti-inflammatory curcumin, and energizing maca. The flavors feel like coffee shop favorites gone healthy, with caramel coffee, golden vanilla, and decadent chocolate. Pirq shakes are on the lighter side, providing 12 grams of protein and just 110 calories per serving, so they are ideal for refueling after lighter workouts or as an adjunct to a more complete post-workout meal. The calorie savings are mainly due to the fact that Pirq protein shakes are sweetened with stevia and erythritol, which means they are keto-friendly but may upset your stomach if youre sensitive to sugar alcohols.
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The Benefits Of Using The Best Protein Powder
Supplementing with protein can be very helpful if you are an athlete, or if you’re recovering from injury, or have taken time away from training. Stefanski explains that it can also be used in moderation to add into other food, for competitors looking to easily increase their protein intake.
The optimal time to consume protein after a workout session is still widely debated by experts, however research suggests you should aim to intake a high-quality protein within an hour after exercise, according to Stefanski.
As with many areas of nutrition, you need to strike a healthy balance, ensuring your protein intake is accompanied by other nutrients. “For maximal muscle repair and growth, protein should be accompanied by carbohydrates within one to two hours,” Stefanski said. “The amount of protein and carbohydrates is dependent on overall energy needs as a person. If total calories arent met, amino acids will be used as an energy source rather than a building block of structures in the body.”
Garden Of Life Raw Organic Meal
White also likes this meal replacement shake from Garden of Life because it is “light in calories” and has no artificial colors, flavors, or sweeteners. Wong is also a fan of this shake because it delivers 20 grams of clean protein per scoop from 13 raw sprouted ingredients, along with greens, healthy fat, 7 g of organic fiber, probiotics and enzymes, plus 21 vitamins and minerals. What’s more? This option also features a robust amino acid profile.
This meal powder, which Lisa Richards, a nutritionist and author of The Candida Diet, recommends, is completely vegan and serves up 20 g of plant-based protein and 8 g of fiber in every serving, making it one of her go-to choices. It also has only 1 g of sugar in each serving and is a good source of vitamin B6, vitamin C, riboflavin, thiamine, iron, and pantothenic acid.
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Types Of Protein Powders
Whey proteins typically contain one or more of three kinds of protein: concentrate, isolate, and/or hydrolysate. They each have their own pros and cons: Whey concentrate is cheaper and extracted with an enzyme or acid whey isolate is lower in fat and carbs hydrolyzed whey digests more quickly and could be safer for those with allergies. All of this is taken into account, and weve included all types of whey on this list no matter your preference, theres an option for you here.
How To Supplement For Pregnancy
Some research suggests that the optimal way to add protein supplements into a prenatal diet is with a balanced supplement containing up to 20% of calories from protein. In order to do this using a protein powder, which is often 70% to nearly 100% protein, it is important to combine the powder with other ingredients that contain fat and carbohydrates.
Make a protein smoothie or shake with protein powder and include ingredients like milk, yogurt, banana, blueberries, oats, avocado, and peanut butter. Sick of smoothies? You can also use your protein powder as an ingredient in homemade desserts or soups or stir it into a yogurt parfait or oatmeal.
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How To Incorporate Protein Shakes Into A Healthy Diet
While protein shakes are a great addition to your diet they are just one piece of the puzzle! Make sure you are getting a variety of nutrients in through a balance of fruit, vegetables, lean proteins and healthy fats. Heres an example meal plan that includes a protein shake:
- Breakfast: I have been hooked on oatmeal for breakfast lately! So many different ways to enjoy this yummy breakfast.
- Lunch: I typically have a salad for lunch its always a mixture of lots of vegetables, protein and healthy fats.
- Snack: Protein shake make a protein shake for an energy boost to get over the afternoon slump. Youll get energy and feel satisfied until dinner.
- Dinner: Take your pick when it comes to dinner options! Again, make sure theres a mixture of vegetables, protein and fat.
Garden Of Life Meal Vanilla Powder
“This vegan protein powder is made from a blend of pea protein, brown rice proteins and a combination of whole grains including millet, quinoa, amaranth as well as seeds like chia, flax and lentil,” says Valdez.
Per serving : 130 calories, 2 g fat, 190 mg sodium, 12 g carbs, 2 g sugar, 20 g protein
4. RSP Nutrition AvoCollagen Protein Powder
Adding powder to smoothies is nice and all, but this powder can be baked into peanut butter bars, tossed into tomato sauce, and mixed right into oatmeal.
Plus, “One scoop has only 100 calories and no sugar since its simply pure protein which makes it a perfect addition to any recipe to increase its nutrient density,” says Kristin Kirkpatrick, RD.
Per serving: 100 calories, 0.5 g fat, , < 1 g carbs, 0 g sugar, 115 mg sodium, 0 g fiber, 23 g protein
6. Ancient Nutrition Bone Broth Protein Powder
Per serving: 90 calories, < 1 g fat, , 2 g carbs, 1 g sugar, 150 mg sodium, n/a g fiber, 20 g protein
7. Isopure Whey Protein Isolate Powder
It’s simple: Tasty protein powders are often hard to come by. But “Orgain is a superior option,” says Lisa Moskovitz, RD, CEO of The NY Nutrition Group, a private New York City-based nutrition practice. Snag this one when you want a good protein powder with zero artificial ingredients or sweeteners.
Per serving: 150 calories, 3.5 g fat, , 14 g carbs, 2 g sugar, 140 mg sodium, 3 g fiber, 21 g protein
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Best Whey For Weight Loss
Whey isolate is a popular pick among people looking to lose weight as its high in protein and low in fat, carbs, and sugars meaning the overall calories are low.
Disclaimer: Please note that none of these products describe themselves as weight loss supplements and should not be taken as such. Please consult with a medical professional before beginning any weight loss protocol.
Who Should Buy Future Kind Vegan Protein Powder
- People who care about eating organic foods. Future Kind is made from ingredients such as pea protein and hemp protein, and is free of artificial flavors.
- Those who want a powder low in carbs and fat. One serving of Future Kinds blend contains only four grams of carbs and three grams of fat.
- Plant-based eaters will like that Future Kinds formula is 100 percent vegan.
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List Of Protein Drinks
Protein drinks are used by a variety of people, from bodybuilders to dieters. Not all protein drinks are the same. Some are packed with nutrients and are high in calories to provide energy for exercise, while others serve as healthy meal replacement options and are part of a dieting program to promote weight loss. Knowing the types of protein drinks available can help you choose the right product to help you reach your personal dietary goals.
Pure Protein Meal Replacement Shakes
Pure Protein shakes are loved for good reason: The typical bottle offers 30 grams of protein for only 140 calories and one gram of sugar. However, these drinks are low in both fiber and fat, so you may want to sip on one with a snack on the side for a complete meal replacement. Still, if youre craving something sweet, they come in satisfying flavors like cookies and cream, peaches and cream, chocolate, vanilla, and more.
Pure Protein vanilla tastes delicious and has 30 grams of protein. Great for breakfast or lunch. Keeps you feeling full for hours!! a Walmart reviewer writes.
Make it a meal: If youre grabbing this shake for breakfast and know you need to keep hunger at bay until lunch, drink this shake after you nosh on a slice of multi-grain bread topped with 1/4 of an avocado. Youll boost your meal by 150 calories, 6 grams of filling fiber, and about 8 grams of healthy fats.
Nutrition info for vanilla: 140 calories, 1.5 g fat , 6 g carbs , 250 mg sodium, 30 g protein
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Harmless Harvest Protein & Coconut Toasted Coconut
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.
Best Value: Muscle Milk Protein Powder
Muscle Milks whey comes in at just under 60 cents per ounce, a steal compared to many of its competitors. But it doesnt skimp on nutrition: Youll get 32 grams of complete protein per serving, but only 3 grams of sugar. And because its a whey isolate, its absolutely packed with muscle-building protein, McDaniel explains. Ive tried many other protein powders over the years, especially during my competitive powerlifting days, trying to find the best one and always found myself coming back to this brand, one reviewer writes.
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Factor In Your Goals And Individual Needs:
- If youre trying to increase muscle mass, then a 300-calorie shake with water is a relatively low-calorie meal and a decent snack, White says. If youre trying to lose weight, that shake can be a meal replacement. Meanwhile, a 170-calorie shake is a bit on the light side, so youre going to use it as a snack, or pair it with other foods for a meal to get more of what you need, whether thats carbs or fat.
- If youre a casual runner, youre not going to need as much protein as a guy whos lifting a ton.
- If youre a beginner, lifting a couple of times a week, you also dont need as much protein as an intense lifter who trains heavy 6 days a week.
With all this in mind, White has listed the pros and cons of the following 10 ready-to-drink beverages. Weve also noted what goals are best suited to each and how best to incorporate them during the day. Bottoms up.
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Best Whey Protein Powders
Whey is a milk-based protein thats quickly and easily digested and absorbed, which can help you feel full and energized.
Whey protein can be a good choice to use before or after working out. In fact, studies show that whey protein can help boost muscle growth and improve body composition when paired with resistance training (
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When Should You Drink A Ready
“Following a heavy workout, it is important to get in an adequate amount of protein and carbs for sufficient recovery in a timely manner. This means consuming around 15 to 30 grams of protein, depending on individual factors, within 30 to 60 minutes after you’ve completed the exercise. A protein shake can be a lot more convenient and nutritionally balanced compared with other foods,” says Moskovitz.
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Our guide to the very best protein powder to help with your fitness.
The best protein powders are a great way to supplement your protein intake if you struggle to get enough in your day-to-day diet. Protein is an essential macronutrient that helps to build muscle, so if you’re looking to make substantial gains then you might want to consider investing in a good protein powder.
“A safe level of protein ranges from 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, up to 2 grams of protein per kilogram for very active athletes Most Americans truly need to be eating about 1 to 1.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight,” says Jessica Crandall, a registered dietitian nutritionist, certified diabetes educator and national spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
According to the US Department of Agriculture’s Dietary Guidelines, between 10% and 35% of your daily calories should come from protein alone.
“Most people are able to meet their protein needs through whole foods,” says , RDN, CSSD, a registered dietitian and certified sports dietitian. “Athletes who have high-calorie needs appreciate the ability to get additional protein in a small amount of food. After an injury or an illness dietitians often recommend protein powders for people with poor appetites or high protein needs for healing.”
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Q: Are Protein Shakes Harmful For Your Kidneys
They can be. Its extremely important to consult a medical professional if youre consuming multiple protein shakes per day. Since your kidneys help your body to remove waste, overwhelming them with protein can actually have negative consequences. Generally, following the nutritional guidelines on your protein shake offers a good rule of thumb and guidance for protein shake consumers. And try to limit your protein shake intake to one shake per day. Signs of too much protein consumption may include indigestion, diarrhea, nausea, irritability, and more. However, if you have pre-existing health conditions, it’s possible that excessive protein may cause irritation or additional harm to the kidneys.
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.
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