Shake It Up: These Are The Best Ready to Drink Protein Shakes for Weight Loss
Protein plays a vital role in the health of every cell in your body, including the building and repairing of tissue. To ensure that you are getting an adequate amount of protein you will need the best ready to drink protein shakes that is ideal for your particular situation.
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Your body depends on protein for vital functions that include hormone production, creating certain enzymes, building strong healthy muscles and more. However, many times we don’t get enough protein to meet our daily needs; that’s why protein shakes are the simplest and easiest way to do it.
The issue with protein shakes is that they are not all created equal, and even the top performers work differently in certain situations. It will be important for you to find the best tasting protein shake that meets your personal needs – and you’re about to find out how to do it.
Why should people choose protein shakes?
Powders, bars, shakes and snacks – the market is full of innovative ways to increase your daily protein intake. Recently, though, protein shakes have gained plenty of popularity – and considering their benefits, it’s no wonder! Let’s have a look at the main reasons why so many consumers prefer this option:
You live in a world that is fast-paced — leaving you with a limited amount of time to do the things you need to do.
Meal preparation requires time that you don’t always have. Implementing a supplemental regimen that includes the use of protein shakes can help you meet your protein needs – all for a reasonable price.
The protein we get from food is more slowly absorbed by the body. If you want to maximize protein benefits like muscle recovery and increased energy levels, ingesting it in a liquid form is the solution.
A protein shake takes up to 30 minutes to reach your muscles following a workout whereas whole food-sourced protein can take hours depending on what you eat. (1)
Weight loss & training
Not only does protein assist in the development of lean muscle mass, but that lean muscle also contributes to an increase in your metabolic rate. The better your metabolism, the easier it becomes for your body to lose unwanted pounds. Furthermore, protein controls insulin production, which changes the way your body retains unnecessary fat. (2)
If you’re working out, for instance, the best time to consume protein is right after your session. Due to their convenience, protein shakes can be consumed anytime regardless of your schedule.
A healthy meal replacement
Eating the main meals of the day is the key of achieving your goals and feeling good. However, you may simply not be used to having breakfast or you may not have enough time to do so. Most of the times, our lifestyle makes us eat unhealthy foods – but the best ready to drink protein shakes prevent cravings and help us get our daily required nutrient intake.
What should a beginner expect?
One of the most common misconceptions people have about protein-rich products is that they don’t taste good. And in some way, that may be true!
Without any add-ons or enhancers, protein itself doesn’t taste much like anything at all. It usually has a chalky texture and separates itself from the liquid it should be mixed with, which makes it pretty difficult to drink. In fact, consumers went as far as saying that some options taste and feel just like sand or cardboard! (3)
However, you should definitely not settle for a product that tastes this way.
For the past few years, producers found many ways to enhance protein shake characteristics. If you stumble upon a shake that has a strange flavor (or no flavor at all), is hard to swallow or leaves you with a dull aftertaste, it just means it has a low quality.
So what should you expect as you begin the journey for the best tasting protein shake?
Some of the most important characteristics in this case are:
- Texture. A good protein shake should have a smooth texture that’s easily digested. Plant-based protein, for instance, may have a chalkier texture by nature; meanwhile, milk-sourced protein can be a bit smoother. If you choose a plant-based protein shake, it should have add-ons like coconut milk for a better texture.
- Flavor. Usually, the best tasting meal replacement shakes come in a wide variety of flavors ranging from vanilla and chocolate to fruits and combinations between them. In this case, it’s all a matter of personal taste and preference.
- Creaminess. While milk-sourced protein has a more pleasant texture, plant-based shakes may be a bit thicker. However, this characteristic is also debatable depending on the other ingredients on the list.
- Sweetness. Can you eat two chocolate tablets without batting an eye? Then you may want a chocolate protein shake with a higher content of natural sugars. If you’re not into desserts, though, you may want to look for a more flavor-less, simple shake.
Even with all this information at hand, it takes a while until you find the right product. If you want a straight-forward to the best protein shakes on the market, keep reading below.
Choosing between your goals and a good taste
When the protein shake and powder industry was just starting out, the main taste enhancer used was sugar. The more sugar a product contained, the easier it was to chunk down a protein shake.
However, sugar also has a negative impact on consumers’ biggest goals – whether they may be weight loss, building muscle or just maintaining a healthy diet. As blood sugar levels rise, our appetite for unhealthy foods increases, energy levels are down and extra pounds add up on the weigh. (4)
Luckily, things changed and now the best tasting meal replacement shakes can taste extremely good without loading you up with sugars. Sure, there still are plenty of sugar-rich products available – and you’ll want to avoid those – but you can still get a great tasting experience that also fits your needs.
Ready-Made vs. Home-Made Shakes
There are two primary forms of protein shakes, and it will be important to determine which form works best for you and your lifestyle.
Ready-made protein shakes come premixed. You simply have to pop the top and drink, which can be ideal if you are constantly on the go or you don’t like messing with powders and measuring ingredients.
The downside to using ready-made protein shakes is that you don’t get to dictate the protein balance with each shake. You get what is in the bottle. (5)
Home-made shakes imply spending a few extra minutes preparing your shake. Because you’re measuring the quantity of each ingredient, you can adjust each serving much better depending on your needs and goals. For instance, a protein shake that precedes or immediately follows a workout is a great way of restoring muscles and overall health.
The downside, though, is that protein shakes require more time and more ingredients. If you’re having an active lifestyle, you may not always have the resources needed to make your shake, which can disrupt your daily diet.
Furthermore, if you’re a beginner in the world of protein shake consumption, you might still be unsure regarding the right dosage for you. Furthermore, many ready-made shakes contain extra nutrients aside from protein that help you get started on the right track.
If you choose the right option for your goals, ready-made shakes are a reliable way of finding the best formula.
What makes a protein shake taste good?
Unfortunately, there’s one thing to break down first: protein does not satiate our taste buds – at least not in its pure form. Generally speaking, other types of macronutrients like carbs and fats are perceived as much tastier. However, protein plays a crucial role for achieving desired goals, sometimes even more important than other macronutrients.
Thankfully, protein shakes have come a long way and manufacturers found many ways to enhance the taste of the final product.
Most frequent taste enhancers
Regardless of its form, sugar is the most popular taste enhancer in any protein-rich product. Studies published in the International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise showed that consuming sugar right after exercise helps you balance glucose levels, which maintains energy levels within normal limits. (6)
However, high quantities of sugar may lead to weight gain, loss of energy and even hormonal imbalances – so be careful when reading the label.
As we mentioned earlier, fats are a great way to improve the taste and texture of a protein shake. As a rule of thumb, here are the main guidelines:
- Unsaturated fats are beneficial
- Saturated fats are acceptable in very low quantities (they contain ‘bad’ calories)
- Trans fats should never be on the label (7)
Aside from sugar, protein shake producers also add a wide range of flavors to suit all preferences. Natural flavors such as cocoa powder or vanilla are perfectly fine (after all, you do want your shake to taste good!).
Can a taste enhancer compromise your goals?
Unfortunately, the answer in this case is ‘yes.’ For the past few years, shake add-ons have been increasing in quality and health benefits; however, there still are a few ingredients that can definitely mess with your weight loss, fitness or training goals.(8)
- Artificial flavors
They may be approved by the FDA, but it doesn’t mean you should go for them; When consumed regularly, they can lead to allergies, nausea, headaches and diet deficiencies.
- Artificial sweeteners
They can cause hormonal disruptions, weight gain and damaging healthy gut bacteria. The most commonly used ingredient is sucralose, which is manufactured using cancerogenic substances.
Coconut flour or psyllium may often be added to increase the quantity of the final product and enhance its texture; they can often cause digestive discomfort such as bloating and acid reflux.
How to get the best tasting experience
Following are some simple guidelines to help you narrow down your choices.
Right now, there are two types of protein sources: animal and plant. Whey, casein and egg all come from animals while pea, brown rice and hemp are popular plant sources.
If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, the best ready to drink protein shakes for you are probably a blend between multiple plant-based protein sources that give you every essential amino acid. Whey, on the other hand, is the most popular protein source on the market and it already contains every amino acid needed.
Lifestyle and training levels
Your daily protein intake should reflect your current weight, goals and training level. The regular adult needs 0.36 grams of protein per pound every day. The more you work out, the more protein your body needs to recover properly, so you’ll want a shake with a bigger protein intake per serving. (9)
Current health condition
If you’re under a long-term form of medication, it’s best to ask a specialist for advice regarding your protein intake. Those suffering from diabetes should choose a protein shake without any form of added sugar. Also, if you’ve been having kidney problems you should contact your doctor to check which protein intake is recommended for long-term use.
Best Tasting Protein Shakes
A tasty mix of fresh fruit flavors, this protein shake is a great choice for vegans and vegetarians alike. The 20 grams of protein per serving originate in pea and pumpkin seeds provide all the essential amino acids needed for an active lifestyle and weight loss goals. The product comes in four flavors ranging from naturally-sweet dark chocolate to strawberry and banana – all of which are ready to satisfy your cravings and hunger in a healthy way!
- Natural flavors and non-genetically modified ingredients
- 180 calories per serving, which makes it fit most diets
- High in omega 3 antiinflamatory essential acids
- Some customers reported that the texture is a bit too watery
Although it comes available in a single flavor (chocolate), this product creates the perfect balance of protein, vitamins and minerals that match your nutritional requirements. With only 1 gram of sugar per serving and 5 grams of healthy fiber, the option is compatible even with more strict eating habits.
- 20 grams of protein per serving
- Creamy texture and pleasant cocoa flavor
- Free from gluten, lactose and artificial sweeteners
- Some customers claim the product doesn’t reduce hunger enough when used as meal replacement
The formula of this shake is based on whey protein extracted from the milk of grass-fed cows that were raised in proper conditions. The high amino acid content is mixed with high-quality ingredients free from genetical modifications, thus increasing the nutrient quantities in each serving. Iconic Grass Fed comes in five delicious flavors including coffee, which turns it into one of the best ready to drink protein shakes on the market!
- 130 calories per serving which is fit for most diet requirements
- 20 grams of high-quality whey protein
- Multiple flavors to choose from
- The product may not suit vegan standards due to the protein source
With a whopping 42 grams of protein per serving, this isn’t your average protein shake. The product contains micronutrients and healthy enzymes that boost immunity and muscle recovery. Contrary to the high amount of good-quality protein, though, this shake has a creamy texture and comes in three delicious flavors that suit all tastes and preferences.
- Vitamins and minerals that improve digestion and muscle recovery
- 6 grams of healthy fiber per serving for a balanced diet
- Lactose-free so it’s also safe for consumers with intolerances
- The protein amount per serving is too high for sedentary people and rather suited for athletes/professionals
From natural flavors to pleasant texture and healthy nutrients, it’s safe to say that this option truly has it all. Every serving packs up 20 grams of pea protein, which also turns it into a vegan-friendly snack ready to consume anytime. Furthermore, this option is free from genetically modified ingredients, as well as soy and gluten, turning it into a trustworthy choice for all consumers.
- Can be consumed by vegans and vegetarians alike
- Comes in five tasty flavors
- Low in calories and no cholesterol at all
- Some customers say that the consistency of the product is a bit too thin
There are so many different variables to consider when determining the best ready to drink protein shakes. As we found out earlier, every detail matters – whether it may be texture, flavor, creaminess and sweetness. All of the products listed here have a good taste and are great sellers. However, the product that stands out above the others in taste and performance for us is the OWYN Protein Shake.
First of all, this product comes in a wide variety of flavors, which makes it perfect for long-term consumption; at some point, for instance, you may be tired of drinking chocolate shakes every single day, so you can just switch to something more fresh such as the strawberry-banana option.
Each serving offers 20 grams of protein, which is enough to support most nutritional requirements when combined with a healthy diet. The shake is low enough in calories to promote weight loss and it was manufactured using natural ingredients and sweeteners only.
Considering all these benefits, OWYN Protein Shake marks all the requirements of a successful snack that helps you live a healthier, happier life.