Store-Bought Protein Shakes: Weighing the Pros and Cons

One of the easiest ways to keep your protein intake up is to drink protein shakes on the reg. But are these store-bought beverages good for your body? This article weighs the pros and cons of store-bought protein shakes. Keep reading for some answers!

What Are Protein Shakes?

Store-bought protein shakes come in a variety of flavors and can carry anywhere between 10 and 50 grams of protein. Their inherent protein typically comes from dairy, eggs, or plants, but many of these drinks also contain sugar and artificial flavorings.

So, Are Protein Shakes Good for You?

Well, they can be. Here are some advantages of store-bought protein shakes.

  • Convenience: If you are always on the go, getting all the necessary vitamins, minerals, and protein can be difficult. A store-bought protein shake is a convenient way to load up on these nutrients as you continue checking things off your to-do list.
  • Build or Maintain Muscle Mass: Sometimes, it’s difficult to get your body the necessary amount of protein to build or maintain muscle mass from food alone – especially as we age. A protein shake can supplement your diet with the added protein it needs.

Protein shakes can also be beneficial in the following circumstances.

  • When your body is growing
  • When you’re beginning a new workout regimen
  • When you’re recovering from an injury
  • If you’re vegan/vegetarian and don’t have sufficient protein in your diet
  • If you’re having difficulty chewing or swallowing

Are Protein Shakes Bad for You?

Here are some disadvantages to store-bought protein shakes.

  • Gas, Bloating, GI problems: Protein shakes contain whey protein, which can irritate sensitive stomachs, leading to gas, bloating, constipation and nausea.
  • No Whole Foods: Store-bought protein shakes often don’t have nutrients in their full form. Vegetable ingredients like spinach and broccoli may be in the drink, but in powdered form. The naturally occurring vitamins and minerals are not as strong as consuming the real thing.

At-Home Protein Shake Recipes

Instead of wondering whether or not store-bought protein shakes are good for you, you can always try homemade recipes. Here are two we enjoy.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Shake

(image via eating well / fred hardy)

Who doesn’t love a good chocolate and PB combo? Try this filling protein shake recipe from Eating Well. Looking for extra protein? Try adding a serving of protein powder.


  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla Soymilk
  • ¾ cup sliced frozen banana
  • ½ cup reduced-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 Tbsp natural peanut butter


  1. Blend ingredients until smooth.

Blueberry Maple Protein Shake

(image via minimalist baker)

If you prefer something less traditional, check out this blueberry maple protein shake recipe from Minimalist Baker.


  • ½ cup cottage cheese or low-fat yogurt
  • 3 Tbsp vanilla protein powder
  • ½ cup frozen blueberries
  • ¼-½ tsp maple extract
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp flaxseed meal
  • Sweetener of choice, to taste
  • 10-15 ice cubes
  • ¼ cup water


  1. Blend ingredients until smooth.
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