The Power of Protein Shakes: Convenient, Delicious Nutrition
By Susan Bowerman, MS, RD, CSSD, FAND, Director, Worldwide Nutrition Education and Training, Herbalife
September 02, 2016
It’s a sad truth – and it also sounds like a paradox – but millions of people around the world are both overfed and undernourished. The fact is, malnutrition can exist even when calories are plentiful – it just requires too much food with too little nutritional value. The modern food supply is overloaded with highly processed, high calorie, appetizing foods that are lacking in vital nutrients. On top of that, most of us aren’t as physically active as we should be.
As a result, many of us have become overfed and undernourished. With a diet that supplies an excess of calories and a shortage of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, there’s a good chance that our health is going to suffer.
The way to push back is to put an emphasis on foods that pack a good dose of nutrition into the calories they provide. And meal replacements, such as protein shakes, can fill that bill. Not only can they provide balanced nutrition, but they have also been shown to be safe and effective tools for weight loss and weight management.
Protein shakes can serve a variety of purposes. Some shakes are designed to simply supplement the diet with protein, while others are more nutritionally complete and can be used to replace a meal. We have both types of shakes at Herbalife. Our #1 selling product around the world is Formula 1 Healthy Meal Nutritional Shake Mix®. In 2015, we sold 67.1 million canisters of Formula 1 Shake – that amounts to 1.53 billion servings!
When prepared according to label instructions, a Formula 1 Shake is simply this: an easy-to-prepare healthy, balanced meal. This delicious meal replacement shake provides protein, fats and carbs for good nutrition and weight management. While most varieties of Formula 1 Shake are made with soy protein, other protein sources are available including whey, milk, pea and sesame.
One serving of Formula 1 Shake made with 8 oz. non-fat milk contains (U.S. intakes):
- 25 grams of protein
- 21 vitamins and minerals
- 30% of your recommended daily intake of antioxidant vitamins A (as beta carotene), C and E
- More than 25% of your recommended daily intake of potassium
- No cholesterol, no trans fat
The benefits of nutritionally balanced protein shakes are numerous:
- They can help meet nutrient needs
- They are quick and convenient. The fact that protein shakes are portable is a huge plus. Once your shake is blended, it’s ready to go.
- They come in a variety of flavors
- They make it easy to keep track of calorie intake
And like starting with a blank canvas, you can customize your shake with all kinds of add-ins, like additional protein, fruits and vegetables, and more. Here are just some of the ways:
- Protein – Needs vary from person to person – age, gender, body size and body composition all factor in. Protein powder may already be an ingredient in your shake, but adding extra protein, such as Herbalife Personalized Protein Powder®, is one of the easiest ways to get more protein and to tailor the amount to your personal needs. Plus, it blends right in and doesn’t change the flavor. Fat-free or low-fat dairy boosters like cottage cheese, ricotta cheese or yogurt can also be used to provide extra protein.
- Fruits and Vegetables – Aside from the typical berries or bananas, you might try mixing it up with less-typical fruits like kiwi, pomegranate seeds, guava or melon. Vegetables like cooked carrots, pumpkin, beets or butternut squash are great shake boosters because they’re mildly sweet. And baby greens – like baby spinach – are mild in flavor and make great shake add-ins, too. Plus, it’s an easy way to get servings of fruits and vegetables each day.
- Beneficial Fats – Seeds like flax, hemp, chia or sunflower add a bit of texture to your shake, and give a little boost of minerals (especially copper and zinc) and omega-3 fatty acids. Nut butters – such as almond, walnut or pistachio – also contribute zinc and copper, along with some protein and fiber, too.
- More Fiber – Rolled oats, chia seeds, flaxseeds, apples and berries help to boost your soluble fiber intake – that’s the type of fiber that traps water and swells, contributing to feelings of fullness. Carrots, most other seeds and leafy greens can boost the amount of insoluble fiber in your diet – the type of fiber that helps keep you regular. You can also add Herbalife Active Fiber Complex®, which provides both types of fiber.
- Spices and Herbs – Try a dash of sweet cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice or clove, or add some spicy heat with ginger or even a dash of white pepper. Since they’re plant products, spices also contribute phytonutrients and antioxidants. Herbs may not be something you’ve thought about adding to your shake, but there are plenty of herbs that work really well, such as mint, rosemary, thyme or basil.
- Extracts and Zest – A little fresh lemon or orange zest adds a bright, fresh flavor to your shake, and there are some healthy oils in citrus peel, too. I also like to keep all kinds of extracts on hand – like pure vanilla, almond, coconut and peppermint for an extra flavor boost.
- Digestive Support – Herbalife Herbal Aloe Concentrate® adds a mild sweet flavor to your shake and helps support nutrient absorption in your digestive tract. Yogurt contains probiotics – the “good” bacteria that help support digestive health. Ginger and peppermint are both known to aid the digestive process. Chia seeds are a very rich source of soluble fiber, which supports the growth of the good bacteria in your intestines.
So even if you start with a basic vanilla shake, the add-ins allow for an almost endless variety of options, making protein shakes a versatile choice for people who want healthy, on-the-go nutrition.