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What is a ‘Good’ Protein Shake?

What is a ‘Good’ Protein Shake?
November 18, 2009 Patrick Nemechek, D.O.

As previously posted, protein bars are a convenient way to supplement a meal or have after a workout. Protein shakes are another easy way to replace a meal, and today they fill grocery store shelves with similar benefits of protein bars as well.  The good and the bad of common protein shakes are listed below: 

Muscle Milk Ready to Drink

240 calories 14g carb 3g sugar 2g fiber 25g protein

Muscle Milk Light RTD (14 fl oz)

160 calories 10g carb 0g sugar 5g fiber 20g protein

Muscle Milk Powder

300 calories 16g carb 4g sugar 5g fiber 32g protein

The Muscle Milk brand has many different flavors and some of their products are excellent sources of protein and other vitamins.  Be wary that some are higher in calories than others because of their pre-bottled package sizes.  Reach for the Muscle Milk ‘Light’ if you are looking to lower your calories but still get a great amount of protein. (The juice box size of Muscle Milk Light is only 100 calories and 15g of protein.)

Slimfast Drink Original

220 calories 40g carb 34 sugar 5g fiber 34g protein

Slimfast sold off the shelves only a few years ago as one of the nation’s highest diet drinks.  Competitors stepped in and one upped them.  Notice the high sugar content of the drink, not what we want, but this product does have other essential vitamins, what many ‘healthy’ protein products lack. 

EAS AdvantEDGE

Ready to Drink Shakes 110 calories 4g carb N/A 2g fiber 17g protein

EAS Myoplex Vanilla Shake

170 calories 20g carb 1g sugar 5g fiber 20g protein

EAS is excellent source of protein, and really advertised towards athletes, but it may be a bit expensive in some stores.  Notice the balance of the 1:1 ratio for carbohydrates to protein in some of the products.  When purchasing, look at the amount of sugar alcohols consumed per serving because as noted before, sugar alcohols may cause gastrointestinal discomfort.

Zone Chocolate Shake 180 calories 24g carb 12g sugar 4g fiber 16g protein

Remember with all products that both protein and fiber can increase the fullness factor after consuming the shake.  A product that has a good source of both will help you to feel satisfied, especially if you are using the protein shake as a meal replacement.  For any meal replacement, check to see that it has an adequate amount of other vitamins and minerals.  This can be 50-100% of your daily B vitamins, calcium, iron, vitamin A, phosphorus, etc.  The one vitamin most Americans are deficient in is vitamin E, so look for a product that does have vitamin E.

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