How do you know which protein drink is the best?
Or should you be consuming an energy drink?
What about meal replacement?
There are a lot of products on the shelves these days both at grocery stores and at health stores. So, what’s the difference between all of these options? And what really is best? Let’s start by differentiating a Protein Drink, an Energy Drink, and Meal-Replacement Drink.
Protein drinks contain the macronutrient protein (carbohydrates, protein, and fats that the body requires in relatively large amounts for normal functioning). Protein is used by the body for tissue repair, such as rebuilding muscle tissue. Contrary to popular belief, protein drinks are a VERY poor source of energy. Protein drinks are typically four (4) calories per gram. Most products offer 100-calorie servings in a powder or pre-mixed carton.
Energy drinks contain mostly sugar, which is a form of a macronutrient carbohydrate and a stimulant of some sort (usually caffeine or Vitamin B12). Carbohydrates (carbs) are the MOST misunderstood and misrepresented macronutrient. (I’ll address this in another article.) Carbs are used by the body for energy and are broken down into either complex and simple carbohydrates. Complex carbs are assimilated and broken down by the body slowly, releasing energy gradually with a slow release of insulin. However, simple carbs are assimilated much faster and create a quicker release of insulin. These drinks are typically four (4) calories per gram.
A meal replacement drink contains a protein complex and a small amount of simple carbs, fat, vitamins, and minerals. As the name suggests, meal-replacement drinks are great for people on the go in order to supplement a meal. These drinks also make a great post-workout meal (within 45 minutes after your workout). Most meal-replacement drinks on the market will provide your body with all of the major macronutrients in a percentage ratio of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats (P/C/F) equivalent to a 55/30/15 ratio.
There are good pre-packaged powders available on the market. However, I’m going to share a recipe with you that is cheaper to make–and can be adjusted to your taste.
Great Meal-Replacement Drink Recipe*
Protein powder or small carton of protein
1/3 cup dry oatmeal
1 teaspoon natural peanut butter or almond butter
6-10 oz. almond milk or 2% milk
4-6 oz. water
Crushed ice (optional)
Blend all liquids.
Stir in nut butter.
Stir in dry ingredients.
Drink immediately or store in refrigerator or cooler for later!
*Some clients bring their meal-replacement drink and put in the fridge at the gym, so they can drink it after their workout.
“Dare To Believe”
~ Damian Fisher