Powdered supplements, especially protein powders, are some of the most ubiquitous health food products on the market today. By simply taking a scoop of the powder and mixing it with a common beverage – some cold water or milk, for example, or maybe as part of a smoothie – making it ideal for a quick addition to a post-workout snack. Nutrition shakes, in contrast, are premade drinks that are a snack unto themselves. Which product is better?
Though the question is simple, the answer is surprisingly complex. Each product has its share of benefits and drawbacks, and several factors must be weighed. Keep reading to learn more about whether bottled nutrition shakes or powdered supplements are right for you.
Powdered Protein and Other Supplements
For consumers who know exactly what nutrients they want and the exact quantities their body needs, powdered protein and similar supplements can be quite useful. They are very easy to use: just add one scoop of powder to a drink either before or after a workout – or at any time of the day, really – and you have an instant source of protein, fiber, or any other nutrient your diet may be lacking.
Powdered supplements are also relatively inexpensive; a single container can contain dozens of servings and last for weeks or even months. However, they limited to a very one-dimensional approach to nutrition. Because they are highly focused products, powdered supplements must often be used in conjunction with one another.
In fact, it is not uncommon for a fitness-minded person to own a collection of powders and capsules meant to amplify the results of a workout regimen, because each individual supplement can only address one specific nutritional requirement. The end result is often that people spend more on a variety of supplements that must be learned about, coordinated, and consumed than they would on a single premade product that offers many benefits in one package with little to no preparation required.
Bottled Nutrition or Meal Replacement Shakes
Although they tend to be a bit more expensive, bottled nutrition shakes can provide a wide range of benefits to consumers. Because these beverages are formulated to provide complete nutrition in a convenient package, they can come along with you in the car, at the gym, around the house, or at work. Their balanced nature also allows them to meet a variety of dietary goals; whether you want to gain weight, lose weight, or simply maintain your current weight, nutrition shakes can be integrated in a way that helps you achieve your aim.
Still, not all nutrition shakes are created equal; checking the ingredients lists and nutrition facts on the packaging are an important step toward determining if a product is actually wholesome and healthful. Many brands of shakes include ingredients with little nutritional value, such as corn syrup, designed to pad the calorie count, while others offer too few calories or macronutrients to really qualify as a meal replacement.
Instead, look for shakes with natural ingredients and a well-rounded nutritional profile. Some of the critical benchmarks include healthy sources of the three macronutrients:
- Protein derived from easily digestible sources such as whey or soy, as these are more readily absorbed by the body
- Carbohydrates from unrefined sources, including rice, tapioca, and quinoa
- Unsaturated fats from things like olive oil, coconut oil, or sunflower oil, as they improve heart health and improve your sense of satiation
A mix of vitamins and minerals is important as well. Look for products that include them in their nutritional information.
Choosing the Right Product for Your Nutritional Needs
Anyone trying to decide between nutrition shakes and powdered supplements has a lot to consider, but four factors in particular stand out: nutrition, convenience, cost, and intended use. Those looking for complete, balanced nutrition would be better off with a nutrition shake, whereas those looking for just one particular nutrient may go with a powdered supplement instead. Both products are pretty convenient, but the fact that you don’t have to prepare a nutrition shake or clean up after drinking one means they are faster and easier to use than powdered alternatives.
In terms of cost, nutrition shakes are usually more expensive than individual powdered products, but the cost of supplements can easily outpace the cost of shakes for anyone seeking variety in their diet. The biggest factor, however, is intended use: if you already have a well-rounded diet and only want minor improvement, a powdered supplement may be all you need to see results, but in most other situations, nutrition shakes are clearly superior because they enhance all aspects of your diet.
Find Natural, Complete Nutrition with an ENU Meal Replacement Shake
Choosing the product that’s right for you shouldn’t be hard. At ENU, we make nutrition shakes that offer 17 grams of whey and soy protein, a healthy blend of unsaturated fats, complex carbohydrates derived from grains, and more than 20 vitamins and minerals. To learn more about how our products can improve your health and help you reach your fitness goals, visit us online or call us today at (855) 266-6733.