A complete guide on how to buy the best protein shakes
When you visit different gyms out there, you will see different empty bottles of protein products(shakes) used by gymers or bodybuilders, and you wondered how these people chose the best protein shakes that works for them.
Or you wish to know the best protein shake you can take before and after a workout? But you are confused with different products shakes available in stores.
If you’re a novice to protein shakes then choosing the right one can be very difficult or tricky. There are different products out there on the market that claim they work
However, don’t worry. This ultimate guide was put together to make life easier for you.If you want to add a protein shake product to your supermarket shopping basket, first read my buyer’s guide to pick the best one and how to use it in a correct way.
What are Protein Shakes?
A protein shake can be a hundred percent protein concentrate or a carbohydrate supplement that has little protein and fat or is a type of sport drink produced from whey which helps to recuperate fatigue or overly stressed muscles after exercises.
Are Protein shakes different from Supplements?
How can you differentiate shakes from supplements, if it is made of whole, natural ingredients is likely to exhibit significant differences in terms of nutrition or otherwise and is more termly as “shake” rather than a “supplement”
For example, a simple blend of skim milk, protein powder, banana, peanut butter and some low-fat yoghurt can be considered a protein shake.
This is totally different when compared to a supplement shake that is primarily artificial and fortified.
But if you take a commercially packaged product, made from a variety of ingredients, then you’re taking a supplement.
Main Types of Shakes
There are two main types of protein shakes;
- Dairy protein shakes
- Non-dairy protein shakes.
For most people whey protein is the protein of choice and by far the most popular.
However, if you’re lactose intolerant, vegan or don’t consume milk for religious or health reasons, you’ll want to consider a non-dairy protein powder instead.
The other difference among protein shakes is whether the shake consists of a single ingredient, such as just whey, or a mixture of ingredients in the form of a protein blend.
Why do you need it?
Your body uses the protein to grow and repair muscles. You can get protein in diet from things like eggs, chicken, meat etc. but there’s big advantage when get extra protein into your diet from protein shakes.
If you consume high enough quantity of protein from food or a protein shakes then your body will use this to grow and repair muscles.
Eating high quality fish or meat might be expensive so it can be cheaper to have a protein shake to help hit your daily protein quota.
Either you are an athletes or bodybuilders, what you take before, during and after your workout is very important.
Protein shakes is widely known because of its numerous benefits it gives. Some of the pros include;
- Weight Management
In a medical journal article published in a 2010 issue of “Diabetes/Metabolism Research and Review”, the researchers presented evidence that showed obese subjects who drank high-protein meal replacements as part of a low-calorie diet lost more weight in a year than subjects who followed the diet without the replacements.
Shakes typically contain fewer calories than full meals and according to University of Texas Medical Branch researchers in a May 2008 issue of “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition”, protein is the most satiating nutrient, meaning it can keep you fuller for longer periods of time compared to carbs or fats.
Protein Shake is faster, easier and very convenient when compare to a whole balanced meal.
It’s also healthier to drink one instead of skip a meal or have another quick, but less nutritious, alternative, such as a fatty burger at a fast food joint or a bag of chips from the vending machine.
- Nutrient intake
One of the main benefits of making and consuming protein shakes is that you can add a multitude of other nutrients to the protein powder.
In one drink, you can enjoy the benefits of protein, frozen berries, flaxseed oil, aloe-vera gel, coconut oil, natural peanut butter, plus any other foods or supplements you may want.
However, you should try experimenting with the shakes in order not to find it unpalatable.
With the good advantages of protein shakes consumption, there are just a few disadvantages. They include;
Protein shakes are limited in what they can do for you and your body. Even with shakes, you won’t lose weight if you don’t reduce your net calorie intake, and you won’t tone and develop your muscles if you don’t regularly exercise and strength train.
The best way to use shakes is to include them as part of a comprehensive, physician-approved plan that will help you reach and maintain your fitness and health goals for the long term.
- Incomplete Nutrition
Most of the protein shakes mainly contain protein that means they often fail at providing significant amounts of carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and healthy fats.
According to Mayo Clinic physicians, whole foods have more benefits than supplement products such as shakes, because they contain naturally occurring fiber, antioxidants, phytochemicals and other protective substances that can’t be reproduced.
- Sustainability Issues
Replacing too many meals with protein shakes can cause nutrient deficiencies or you could regain the weight you had lost when you return to your previous eating habits. The benefits become viable if consistency is allowed.
Most of the Protein shakes available in the market have unpleasant taste. To avoid this, Read the reviews of different products online before you make the final decision.
Best protein shakes for pre-workout
A pre-workout shake is most effective if you drink it half an hour before you start exercising but if you don’t start your workout until hours after you’ve taken it, you’re unlikely to see any real benefit.
And don’t choose a shake that’s purely protein-based. “A shake that contains high protein and low carbs is not suitable for your health,” says registered sports dietitian Karen Reid. “A lack of carbs can leave you more at risk of muscle damage.”
The shake you are buying cannot do all the work for you, either. “In terms of maximizing muscle accretion, feasible results are driven entirely by your workout,” says Ursula Arens, spokesperson for the British Dietetic Association.
Best protein shakes for post-workout
A shake with some carbs is a good option because the carbs help to catalyze an insulin spike in your body which speeds up the movement of nutrients into your muscle tissue
Protein shakes with a high proportion of whey protein, is best because it digest fast and gets straight to work on your muscles.
If you exercise regularly and intensely, you should be looking to get two grams of protein per kg of bodyweight per day or even more.
Best shakes to take before bed
Taking a protein shake around an hour before you hit the sack is optimum, but some people take it earlier in order to make them sleep comfortably.
A casein-based shake is the best because it works through your body very slowly and is perfect. “You’ll be feeding muscle at a time when your growth hormones are elevated, so it’s a great time to get the best stimulus,”says Reid
If you don’t want to take shakes, a large glass of milk and a banana are inexpensive alternative.
Tips for choosing the best protein shakes to buy
Choosing the best protein shakes involves some tips but before you go out to buy a protein shakes. Read the following tips to guide you;
- Take time to find out about the product/ brand.
If you want to get a particular product/brand, it is good you check and compare the ingredients, nutritional facts and also get some credibility from the manufacturer and don’t let hype information influence your decision.
Some companies hype their product and increase the price of the product, don’t buy these products because you can gain the same benefits from a cheaper protein shakes.
- Choose the best dietary requirement to achieve your goals
The dietary content of the protein shakes determine the best protein that fit for you. You listed out your goals and look for the best protein that can help you.
If you are the type of person is allergic to food, this will determine the type of protein shakes you should choose. But if you are not allergy to any food, you can choose multidimensional protein shakes.
By following this, it helps to keep your blood sugar levels stable and increase the nutrient absorption from food by eliminating unwanted storage of fat in your body.
- Meal Replacement
Protein shakes products are manufactured to achieve completely different objectives, so it is very important you check the label of any protein shakes you are buying.
A meal replacement shake replaces an entire meal by offering a balance of protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats. It is perfect for athletes on the go, or for those who have not had time to prepare a meal.
- Select the quality not the quantity
Buying the quality protein shakes give you the best results and helps you to achieve your goals than getting the quantity ones without any benefits.
You check the label of what you are buying, make sure it does not contain unnecessary ingredients, majorly natural ingredients are better.You can also identify a poor or cheap protein shakes by looking at its price.
Another easy way to spot a poor or cheap protein powder is to look at its price. If it is much cheaper than the major brands in the market, you should know that something is wrong. You will get a good quality protein at a good price.
- Avoid unnecessary ingredients
We are totally different when it comes to what we should avoid in supplements. If you are allergic to some foods, there are specific ingredients you need to avoid.
For you to select the best quality protein shakes, you need to avoid the following ingredients like;
Artificial sweeteners like sucralose, aspartamine, saccharin etc.
Skim milk powders/milk solids; less quality protein powders manufactures used them as a bulking agent which is very bad because they can cause constipation, bloating and stooling.
Vegetable oils and fats; they are added to protein powders to increase the nutritional fact but these fats are harmful to health because they are derived from hydrogenated sources that contain trans-fats.
Thickeners and gums; these can cause gut problems like indigestion
Fillers; fillers are used by the manufacturer as an additive to bulk up protein in other to save money. Example is coconut flour or psyllium.
Matching protein shakes to your needs before buying it
You can match your goals or aims with the shakes you want to buy. But how will you know the best ones that can do these, check this out;
- Do you want to build muscle?
If you want to build or increase your muscle growth, choose the protein shakes that has high biological value (is a value that measures how your body can absorb and utilize the protein quickly. Whey protein and whey isolates are your best options.
- Do you want to lose weight?
If you wish to remove unwanted fat from your body, select the ones without sugars destrins/maltodextrins (sweeteners made from starch)Avoid protein shakes with branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), as they help promote to muscle growth and weight gain.
- Are you a vegetarian or vegan?
There are protein shakes that are majorly milk-based protein shakes (e.g., whey, milk proteins), don’t buy these. Choose the 100% plant proteins.
- Are you a diabetic patient?
If you are diabetic, you need to choose protein shakes without sugar to avoid increase in blood sugar. Don’t choose protein powders with sugar listed as one of the first three ingredients and look out for shake that’s low in carbohydrates.
- Reduced protein intake for kidney disease patients
If you are kidney disease like cysts, stones or infections, you can’t tolerate a lot of protein at one time. So, you need to buy proteins shakes that have lower-range of protein content.
- Avoiding gastrointestinal problems while taking protein shakes
If you have problem with irritable bowel syndrome or lactose intolerance, choose protein powders that do not contain lactose sugars, artificial sweeteners or dextrins/maltodextrins.
- Save some bucks while buying the shakes.
It saves you a little money when you buy tubs of protein powder instead of ready-to-drink protein shakes which cost more because they are convenient.
If you are buying any protein shakes, you need to consider a lot of factors starting from what the protein shakes do, why do you need it, is it safe for, the best one for pre and post workout, the best one to take before going to bed etc.
You need to watch out for the content of the protein shakes you are buying, unnecessary ingredients. You should go for the quality not quantity and good brands.
Lastly the purpose of buying the protein shakes; is it for meal replacement or to gain muscle.