What Are Protein Shakes?

Helen Akers

Protein shakes are a liquid mixture of protein and carbohydrates. They provide athletes and avid exercisers with a fast and easy post-workout protein supplement. The shakes can be purchased as a powder and mixed with water, milk, or soy milk. Protein shakes can also be purchased in a ready-made form.

A protein shake diet might replace some meals with shakes.
A protein shake diet might replace some meals with shakes.

Although not recommended as a meal replacement, protein shakes are somewhat similar to weight loss supplement shakes. The main difference is that they are used to help muscles recover from a strenuous workout. Most protein shakes contain a large amount of whey or milk protein. Many contain over 0.35 ounces (10 grams) per serving, with some as high as 0.78 ounces (22 grams).

A protein shake can be prepared from a protein powder.
A protein shake can be prepared from a protein powder.

Some avid exercisers may choose to drink protein shakes prior to their fitness routines, especially in the morning. These drinks can provide a small boost of energy without weighing the body down with a full calorie meal. Shakes that contain a small amount of carbohydrates can also help the muscles to perform more efficiently during the workout.

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Soy milk is often used in protein shakes.
Soy milk is often used in protein shakes.

The main benefit of a protein shake is that it provides a protein supplement. Since athletes and avid exercisers need a higher amount of protein in their diets, it is a more convenient way to meet those needs. Sometimes it can be difficult to find food sources that contain enough protein, especially for vegetarians. The shakes help supplement a normal dietary intake.

Protein shakes are usually not recommended as meal replacements.
Protein shakes are usually not recommended as meal replacements.

Many individuals prefer to buy protein shakes in a powder form, which comes in flavored or unflavored varieties. Some of the more popular powder flavors include vanilla, strawberry, banana, and chocolate. This can be mixed with water or some form of milk in a blender and be ready to drink in under a minute. A typical serving is eight ounces. Some athletes add additional protein to the shake by mixing in egg whites.

There are also ready-to-drink forms of protein shakes available in a wide range of flavors. For instance, some brands don't just offer chocolate as a flavor, but milk chocolate and dark chocolate as well. Certain shakes provide a milk base and others provide a filtered water base. Calorie and fat content might vary between flavors, and some will contain a higher amount of protein with minimal to zero carbohydrates. A few brands balance the carbohydrate and protein ratio to cater to those individuals who want a high protein meal replacement.

Milk and eggs, which are both used to make protein shakes.
Milk and eggs, which are both used to make protein shakes.

Discussion Comments

Ocelot60

@talentryto- If you prefer, you can also use high-protein milk instead of whey powder to make homemade protein shakes. I think the milk gives the shakes better flavor and smoother texture.

Talentryto

I like to make homemade protein shakes with whey powder and a variety of fruits and vegetables. I combine the ingredients in a juicer for a smooth texture. With these homemade shakes, I get the protein with the added benefits of fresh produce.

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