Thursday, April 23, 2009

Reason #41: Protein Shakes? A Do or a A Don't?

I am a big lover of fruit shakes, green shakes, and milkshakes, but I have never really cared to try out protein shakes. I always assumed they were a chalky drink for body builders(uh see below pic), the too top heavy guys in the gym, and those who wanted to beef up. However, a few instances have happened recently which may have changed my mind. First off, a reader recently contacted me for recommendations on protein powder which encouraged me to start researching various products. Secondly, Bob from the Biggest Loser made a product placement promoted protein drinks in the last episode, and stated to his team "you need protein to rebuild your muscles after you have been working keeps your metabolism up and going." Lastly, I finally got around to trying YouShake's "Vanilla Dream" protein powder, and it was both filling and tasty!
To decide if protein drinks will be beneficial to you, the most important question to ask yourself is: do you really need the extra protein? To figure out your needs, multiply .36 by your body weight in pounds. So if you weigh 130 pounds, you need about 47 grams per day or 65 grams if you weigh 180 pounds.

The average chicken breast contains 30-60 grams of protein, one slice of cheese has approximately 7 grams, and just one cup of chopped broccoli has about 5 grams. Now if you are extremely active you may need about 50% more than the recommended daily allowance (which is 70 grams per day for a 135lb woman). Chances are, vegeterian or not, you are probably getting more than enough protein already. If you are eating a healthy, balanced diet, adding extra protein in the form of shakes is probably not necessary. However, if you are in need of extra protein, add some protein powder for a more filling meal (for example: add protein powder to oatmeal for breakfast) or in to a snack to help satisfy you longer (for example: making a protein shake).

As for protein shake recommendations, I will only recommend what I consider "healthy whey protein powders." I would not recommend any protein powder that contains additives, bovine growth hormones, sweeteners, corn sugars, or crystalline fructose.

After researching protein powders, here is my number one pick:

Jay Robb Whey Protein Isolate It is free of sugar, MSG, aspartame, sucralose, artificial colors or sweeteners, gluten, fat, and cholesterol. It is sweetened with Stevia (a natural sweetener), and it contains 25 grams of protein per serving. It is available in chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla flavors. The only drawback is it is expensive $$$.
(Disclaimer: I have not received any advertising or promotional funds of any kind from Jay Robb's company).

I would also recommend:

YouShake's These are customizable protein shakes. You choose your own proteins, flavor bases, fruits, sweeteners, and even extra nutritional add-ins. I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to try out the You Shake's "Vanilla Dream" protein shake mix. I mixed it with almond milk, strawberries, and ice (I only used 1/2 of a packet so I could make the shake twice).

Ingredients: soy protein, organic cane sugar, organic vanilla powder

Nutritional information: 110 calories/ .5 grams of fat/1 gram fo fiber/ 16 grams of protein

If you want further recommendations, check out this site which ranks the top 5 protein powders on the following categories: Top 5 Sellers, Cheapest, Best Value, Most Protein Least Carbs, Least Calories, Most Calories, and Least Fat.

And if you want to take Bob's advice, pick up Biggest Loser's Whey Protein at GNC, Rite Aid, Whole Foods, or Amazon. For those in the northeast, look for it in Eckerd, Pathmark, and Harris Teeter (hope this helps, g1j!)

Personally, I prefer to get my protein from real food, but a protein shake is a nice, easy alternative. Let me know what you think!

1 comment:

  1. I used to think I really needed to have a protein shake after every work out, but as you pointed out, most of us will get enough from our diet alone - I know I do, and I don't even eat meat often! I tend to use them for fullness factor or a flavor for oatmeal to give it extra staying power. Jay Robb is a great brand!