Greetings! Welcome to one of my product reviews.
It’s “the best protein shakes” we are discussing today, as you can see in the title. Similar to other products, there are a whole lot of protein shakes, all claiming to be a multifunctional option, or even the best among all.
To save you from the marketing game and to reveal what’s good and bad about each brand, the team and I have gathered information from many sources, and finalized our conclusion. Read on for our ultimate selections, categorized and dissected into useful bits of info.
Protein Shakes Buying Guide
Here are questions to ask yourself before deciding on a protein shake:
- The Kind Bodybuilders Buy
Are you going to the gym often? Are you trying to cut back on the carbs and find a suitable diet? If all you wish for is a lean body, you are matched with about 76% of the population on this planet, including me, and there are protein shakes for all of us.
To gain weight, muscle weight to be exact, a required amount of proteins must be consumed daily, and it varies depending on your weight. For this reason, you should select the one with the most protein per serving and feel free to adjust. That, I’ve got you covered.
- The Kind To Help You Lose Fat
Even if you’re avoiding a muscular physique, it’s okay to have a protein shake as a meal replacement to lose fat.
Here’s the first thing you need to know about muscles: they don’t show up just because you consume a lot of proteins. Muscle building takes a lot of exercises, too. If not, the excess proteins are excreted from our bodies. A muscular figure is something many bodybuilders struggle to achieve, so it’s safe to say that it’s easy to avoid.
And, even if you’re gaining some muscles during your workout, it’s a good sign. First, muscles are more compact than fat, so even if the number on the scale says fat, your body stays thin. Second, the more muscle you have, the more energy you are able to burn while doing cardio or even performing everyday activities.
In other words, by gaining you some good weight, protein shakes are capable of helping you lose fat.
- Or, The Kind To Get You Necessary Amino Acids And Other Stuff
A protein shake of good quality can provide you with the whole spectrum of crucial amino acids in adequate amounts. A protein shake of higher quality does even more. Have a look at our selection below to find out more.
Calories are known as the unit to measure the energy our bodies produce from food to help us move, breathe and do other stuff. Some need a few, while others need plenty of it. Therefore, to make protein shakes easy to include in everyone’s diets, manufacturers tend to make sure they are low in calories.
With that being said, it doesn’t necessarily mean that being low in calories is always a good option.
Athletes, bodybuilders, and other workers require a lot of energy for their daily activities, but stuffing yourself with a lot of food isn’t pleasing as one might think. It can seem tiring to those who don’t have enough time. If you feel the same, protein shakes with a high calorie content are the best option.
As previously mentioned, a protein shake of high quality offers more than sole proteins. It should also contain other important nutrients for the human body. Here’s the nutrient list:
- Carbs & Fats: Provide energy for the human body. (the amount of energy they provide is usually calculated as calories)
- Vitamins & Minerals: Help the human body function normally.
Some protein shakes contain a decent amount of carbs & fats. However, they’re something that many people wish to cut back, as they can be found in most foods. Instead, protein shakes rich in vitamins and minerals are often sought for.
*NOTE: It’s important to keep in mind that, of course, having vitamins and minerals – or in other words, micronutrients – from real foods is way better. Having a tablet of micronutrients per day provides as much of the same nutrients as a wholesome diet, but it’s definitely not as satisfying. Food satisfaction makes us happy, and happiness contributes to a healthy life.
Therefore, I don’t recommend opting meals out completely for supplements.
However, if you have a reason to do so (eating disorders, trekking, in need of quick meals, etc.), consider the most nutritious protein shakes we recommend below.
Not just how much nutrients are provided, the flavor of your protein shake should also be in one of your considerations.
Seeing lots of people, including my friends, neglecting this factor, I’d like to share my personal experience.
About 1 year ago, I chose to go for a protein shake that has 1 ingredient only and of course, no additional flavors. What on the back of my mind was, the simpler the better.
Of course, it was a good option and I felt healthier, but as I went for a breakfast-shake streak, day 10 was my limit. The powder was fine, but somehow drinking it began to be annoying after day 8.
The flavor was to blame.
Hence, here’s a tip from my own mistake: choose something with a flavor that you like so the 10th time and the ones to come don’t sound obligatory.
Review Of The Best Protein Shakes 2019
To be honest, it was difficult to choose the best protein shakes among the huge collection on the market with significant similarity. Our selection below might just be what you call “close wins”.
Without further ado, let me present you our selection of the best protein shakes:
- Garden Of Life’s Meal Replacement – Best Protein Shake To Buy In 2019
- Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey – Best Protein Shake For Men
- Loose And Slim Meal Replacement Shake – Best Protein Shake For Women
- KidzShake’s Vanilla Organic Protein Powder – Best Protein Shake For Kids
- Vega One Organic All-in-One Shake French – Best Protein Shake For Vegans
- Nutrisystem Fresh Start Shakes – Best Protein Shake For Better Digestion
- NAKED nutrition Protein Powder – Best Protein Shake With Single Ingredient
1. Garden Of Life’s Meal Replacement – Best Protein Shake To Buy In 2019
If you’re anything like me, you have important concerns like jobs, hobbies, relationships, etc. These are sometimes tiring, indeed, but all are of the same importance, nonetheless. Therefore, I don’t think you would want to add less important things to the list. Why purchase a single-purpose avocado slicer when you could just use a multi-functional knife that can cut… basically anything?
The same goes for protein shakes. Why purchase a product contains nothing but protein while there are plenty of protein shakes rich in micronutrients as well? That’s the definition of an ideal protein shake to me: natural and all-purpose while still able to serve its utmost function: providing all 9 amino acids.
After a significant amount of time spent on research, Garden Of Life’s Meal Replacement has finally caught my eyes:
- It’s vegan, suitable for everyone.
- It’s got nutrients from a vast range of vegetables and fruits.
- The ingredients are organic.
- There is no artificial sweeteners, flavors, colors or chemicals.
- It contains all 9 amino acids at the right amounts, as well as 13 vitamins and 8 minerals.
- It comes in 4 flavors and 3 sizes.
- I can’t think of a downside to this product, except that it might be pricey.
While we’re at it, I’d like to mention another product from Garden Of Life: Protein Powder Sport.
It’s meant for athletes, as it has 30 grams of protein per serving, while the number for GOL: Meal Replacement is only 20 grams. Think of this product a vegan version of the muscle-gain protein powder below, if desired.
2. Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey – Best Protein Shake For Men
Marketing introduces the product to the right group of audience. It’s crucial, but not always helpful to us as consumers.
Most products on the market are labeled “for men” for the sake of marketing, however, without further explanation on which group of men they are aiming for. I believe most of us agree that men have different needs, and there are women who have the same needs as men.
In this section of my review, that need is to gain muscle. If you want to gain muscles too, my ladies, this section is also for you.
We all know that gaining muscle differs from gaining weight, and with calories coming into play, the game of 3 gets complicated. Some people and brands mistook calories as the key to muscle building, while it is, actually, protein.
To understand which powder is the best protein source, let’s do some simple Maths, shall we?
Example: Product A provides 50 grams of protein and 1250 calories. Is this a good thing?
1 gram of protein gives 4 calories per gram, so 50 grams of protein gives 200 calories. What provides the remaining calories? CARBS and FAT. I’m not denying the importance of carbs and fat, but I don’t want that much in my supplement drink.
That leads to my selection: Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard. It has 24 grams of protein and only 120 calories per serving. Available flavors? Up to 17!
3. Loose And Slim Meal Replacement Shake – Best Protein Shake For Women
There are 2 reasons why protein shakes for women exist:
First, women are different from men, at least biologically.
Knowing this, many brands come up with products designed specifically for women, and protein shakes are no exception. Do mind that while the labels might read “for women”, only a few actually mean so. I’ve seen a lot of those, and they definitely know nothing about women’s needs.
In case you want to be in deeper research, here’s the nutrition guide for women.
Second, since beauty is many women’s priority, fat-loss protein shakes are frequently sought for.
Losing weight effectively requires not just a good product, but also a deep understanding of how our bodies work. I’ll break down some of the basics.
For starters extra carbs and fat gains you body fat. That’s right, not only fat but also carbs, and by carbs, I mean starch and sugar. Whether it’s “bad carbs” or “good carbs”, it’s carbs, and both can make you fat IF CONSUMED EXCESSIVELY.
Besides limiting the carbs and fats intake, again, having more muscles is another way to lose fat effectively. The more muscle you have, the more fat you can burn just by doing everyday activities.
Serving as both a nutrition provider and a fat-loss supplement, Loose And Slim Meal Replacement Shake contains 21 grams of proteins, 110 grams of calories and provides 21 micronutrients, including all the nutrients women especially need. It is also available in 5 flavors.
4. KidzShake’s Vanilla Organic Protein Powder – Best Protein Shake For Kids
Have you ever seen a child that eats broccoli by himself without his mother pushing, takes a bath without his favorite toy or goes to bed on time without a bedtime story?
I have, but only with a few kids. Most kids don’t behave in this nature. They need us, as their parents, to give them a little push in doing everything, because they do stuff for fun, not for their own good. This is an important thing to note, as it affects your choice.
There are two types of protein shakes out there: powder vs on-the-go. Most adults prefer powders because they are cheaper, available in big canisters of many servings, while the on-the-goes are slightly more expensive, coming in little cans of 1 serving and taking up quite a lot of space in your fridge.
For this reason, many choose on-the-go protein shakes for their convenience, delicious taste, and of course, cool logos.
Protein shakes for kids not only have to be convenient, fun-looking, and flavorful but also serve a different purpose than for adults. At a young age, they need lots of nutrients, not just proteins, more of a meal replacement.
Satisfying both criteria, my selection is Vega Protein Nutrition Shake, with a stunning resumé of 12 vitamins, 4 minerals at the required daily amount and 20 grams of proteins, 170 calories per bottle. It’s a nutritious start to the day for your child.
Still, I prefer powder. I want to teach my kids about plastic pollution, and owning 24 tiny one-time-use plastic bottles definitely isn’t helpful. Even if my kids are lazy to make their protein shakes, I could make them a nutritious protein smoothie every morning and still assure little plastic is wasted.
Therefore, my choice is KidzShake’s Organic Protein Powder, featuring 13 vitamins, 5 vitamins and 10 grams of proteins, 90 calories per bottle only. Thus, the powder contains no GMOs, no fillers, no preservatives and rich in probiotics, omega-3s, digestive enzymes, and fiber.
The best part? It’s available in 6 flavors!
5. Vega One Organic All-in-One Shake French – Best Protein Shake For Vegans
Up until the birth of the vegan protein shake, there was a huge debate among health enthusiasts: whether a vegan diet causes protein deficiency.
What sparked this argument was an increasing number of vegan dieters who were deficient in protein at the early stage of following the diet. Vegetables were, at first, thought to contain fewer amino acids than animals. This is not the reason.
A piece of meat indeed contains all amino acids while a piece of broccoli doesn’t. But a meal full of different vegetables at the right ratios can provide the same amount as a piece of meat, or even more. Acknowledging this importance, vegetarians and vegans have no longer been in fear of protein deficiency for decades now.
Therefore, it is safe to believe that a quality vegan protein powder provides as many amino acids as a non-vegan one, such as whey or casein.
There are two types of vegan protein shakes:
- Single-ingredient: made of a superfood that contains all amino acids, less likely to cause allergic reactions.
- Multiple-ingredient: made of many plants, more complex in flavor, might cause allergic reactions due to diversity in ingredients.
Some prefer single-ingredient for its simplicity. Personally, I prefer multiple-ingredient vegan powder and the reason is that some brands utilize scrap vegetables and fruits from farms- foods that are potentially discarded solely by their unappealing outlook while are still consumable. As a person who cares a lot about the environment, this is a huge plus for me.
After hours of researching, Vega One Organic matches all of my criteria:
- Their ingredients are clean, natural, organic, diverse and some of them are saved from disposal.
- The product is made using every possible way to avoid doing harm to the Earth.
As a plus, it comes in 9 flavors and 4 canisters of different sizes, all made of recycled plastic.
6. Nutrisystem Fresh Start Shakes – Best Protein Shake For Better Digestion
When it comes to digestion improvement, two easily mistaken terms have the most mentions on articles: prebiotic and probiotic.
Prebiotics are foods that provide the right kind of fibers to enrich the bacterial environment inside your digestive tract. In layman’s terms, it’s something that makes the bacteria in your belly happy, and happy bacteria equals happy eating.
“Probiotics” is a term that refers to these bacteria. We already have them in our stomachs but for several reasons, it is necessary to add extra.
Note that a doctor’s prescription of taking probiotics is advised before taking probiotics from any sources.
With that cleared up, let’s take a look at my selection: Nutrisystem Fresh Start. The product comes in one flavor only and packed with probiotics to help bust belly bloat. Although the nutrition profile doesn’t look tempting, it is a great option for those who refuse to take probiotics as tablets or tubes.
To improve digestion, more efforts are needed than just taking probiotics. A good amount of prebiotics needs to be ingested as well, to allow nourishment of the good bacteria living inside our guts. Examples of prebiotics are foods that are rich in fibers like fruits, vegetables, etc. These are highly recommended to ingest at moderate amounts to enrich gut environment.
7. NAKED nutrition Protein Powder – Best Protein Shake With Single Ingredient
The reason to choose single-ingredient protein powder is as mentioned earlier , to avoid the possibility of having an allergy.
The thing is, not everyone knows which product is a single-ingredient protein powder. A product that says “whey protein” on the label may be made of different sources of dairy that all contain “whey protein”. It’s best to have a glance over the ingredient list before purchasing.
In this section, it’s not a single product that I’m bringing to the discussion but instead, a brand: NAKED nutrition.
A bit info of the brand: its focus is to create products with “nothing to hide,” containing pure source of something finely ground to powder. The followings are single-ingredient products from NAKED nutritions and its ingredients:
- PEA/ RICE: yellow split pea and brown rice are considered as complete proteins, capable of providing a vast array of amino acids.
- WHEY/ CASEIN: whey and casein protein are extracted from cow milk, a complete protein source.
- GOAT: similar to cow milk, whey protein in goat milk contains all necessary amino acids.
As seen from the list, there are vegan and non-vegan protein shakes. Of course, to my preference, vegan protein shakes seem to be better (again, just to me). NAKED RICE is obviously a great option, in terms of the amino acid profile.
If you’re not that into the vegan vibe, the other three are just as good. It’s hard to compare based solely on the amino acid list, as all three are superior or inferior in different types of amino acids. Frankly, choose one out of your preference.