What kinds of shakes are available?
There is a wide variety of shakes on the market.
- Weight Loss and "Low Carb" Shakes: these shakes are usually lower in total calories/carbohydrates to aid in weight loss or maintenance in conjunction with a healthy lifestyle.
- Weight Gain Shakes: usually contain more total calories, with a high carbohydrate/protein content, and a low fat content. These shakes are designed to provide a high amount of calories with the right balance of macronutrients for individuals such as bodybuilders who want to gain weight in the form of muscle.
- Meal Replacement Powders (MRP): these shakes usually contain more calories, and a relatively balanced carbohydrate/protein/fat ratio, as they are designed to be consumed in place of a meal. These shakes are often fortified with vitamins and other nutrients.
- Ready to Drink (RTD): these shakes come packaged in cans and require no mixing or preparation, unlike protein powders. Not only are RTD shakes convenient, but they are available in a wide variety of formulations from weight loss to meal replacement shakes.
These shakes can be a great addition to a healthy diet, as they are convenient, and often contain vitamins, minerals, and other dietary supplements. In addition, shakes offer an easy way to keep portion size under control.
Because protein is a necessary component of the human diet, there are generally no negative side effects to consuming it. However, excessive consumption of protein may cause stress to the kidneys in some individuals.
Any type of shake can be a great addition to a well-balanced diet, but should never be totally substituted for regular foods. Some shakes have a very high calorie content, or may use terms like "non-impact carbs" when calculating carbohydrate totals. Therefore, it is a good idea to read labels carefully to ensure you select the best shakes for your needs.