Find the Best Protein Powders, Shakes and Drinks

Learn More About Protein Powder, Shakes and Drinks


Casein is absorbed more slowly than whey and, for this reason, some athletes take it before bed to help counter protein breakdown. Keep in mind, however, that only certain varieties of cinnamon have been shown to have this effect, and long-term safety studies have not been conducted. The chemicals used in hat-making included mercurous nitrate, used in curing felt. The use of supplemental vitamins and minerals is recommended for gastric bypass and gastric sleeve patients, and sometimes for gastric band patients. It is otherwise unlawful to print, download, store or distribute content from this site without permission. A longer-term study of 30 men and women with type 2 diabetes in the U.

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Building and maintaining muscle mass: Combined with regular resistance exercise, protein supplementation can help to increase muscle mass and strength gains in both younger and older adults. A review of 22 studies in both young and older individuals found that after training two to five times a week over periods of ranging from 6 to 24 weeks, subjects getting supplemental protein gained an additional 1.

See ConsumerTips for information about the forms of protein: Similarly, a subsequent review of 49 studies found that increasing total daily protein intake up to 0.

Consuming more than this amount of protein per day provided no additional benefit. All sources of protein were beneficial, including protein supplements whey, soy, casein, pea or whole foods i. It has been suggested that to optimally stimulate muscle growth, it is best to divide the daily protein intake over three meals Padden-Jones, Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care Resistance exercise and protein supplementation can be particularly beneficial in older adults, since aging is associated with a progressive loss of skeletal muscle mass and strength known medically as sarcopenia.

Sarcopenia may increase the risk of falls in older adults Clynes, Calcif Tissue Int Protein supplementation after resistance-type exercising has been shown to increase muscle protein synthesis and inhibit muscle protein breakdown, helping muscle to build during the post-exercise recovery period. For example, a three-month study in Brazil among older women average age 67 who normally participated in regular resistance exercise about 3 days per week found that, compared to placebo, 35 grams of whey protein consumed immediately after exercise significantly increased lean soft tissue muscle, tendons, etc.

Women who consumed whey protein also had a greater reduction in a cardiovascular risk measure ratio of total cholesterol to high density lipoprotein , which decreased There was no significant change in body fat in either group Fernandes, Exp Gerontol However, studies show that simply eating extra protein, without exercise, does not help build muscle or increase strength. A large, 2-year placebo-controlled study in healthy women ages 70 to 80 in Australia who did not perform regular resistance exercise found that a daily drink providing 30 grams of whey protein did not increase or preserve muscle mass, nor improve muscle strength, compared to placebo Zhu, J Nutr In fact, both the protein and placebo groups experienced a decrease in upper arm and calf muscle mass, as well as a decrease in hand-grip strength -- although skeletal muscle mass remained stable for both groups.

Most of the women already had adequate protein intake averaging 76 grams daily at the beginning of the study -- well above recommendations for protein intake. Similarly, a 6-month study in Boston among older men average age 73 years with physical limitations found that simply adding about 45 grams of protein from a casein and whey mix beyond the recommended daily intake, without any added exercise, did not increase muscle mass or strength compared to adding an equal amount of carbohydrates.

The study found that adding a weekly testosterone injection mg , with or without the extra protein, had no effect on muscle mass or strength but was associated with a 4.

Along the same lines, a five-month study among women in Japan aged 65 to 80 years who were already getting adequate protein from their diet found that consuming Maintaining muscle and improving fat loss during dieting: All participants ate similar prepared meals and consumed 3 to 4 drinks per day of a dairy beverage which, for some, contained added whey protein isolate about 34 extra grams per drink but also less fat to offset the calories of the extra protein.

Although the protein-supplemented group gained more muscle, their increase in strength was the same as that of the group receiving the lower amount of protein -- a finding which surprised the researchers Longland, AJCN Diabetes, blood sugar and insulin response: A small, one-day study in people with type 2 diabetes found that drinking whey protein before a high glycemic meal resulted in improved insulin response compared to those who did not receive the protein.

In the study, 15 men and women whose diabetes was well controlled with the medications sulfonylurea or metformin drank either 50 g whey protein in ml water or plain water before a high glycemic meal. A longer-term study of 30 men and women with type 2 diabetes in the U. Normal physical activity was maintained and one-to-one weekly counseling support was provided.

Over the next two weeks, shakes were gradually replaced with solid foods and a diet providing adequate calories for weight maintenance. The reversal of diabetes was sustained for the next 6 months during which participants continued with an individualized weight maintenance diet and physical activity was encouraged.

On average, participants lost 31 lbs during the first 8 weeks and remained close to the lower weight for the duration of the study Steven, Diabetes Care Food and Drug Administration FDA , nor any other federal or state agency, routinely tests nutrition powders and drinks for quality prior to sale. However, most problems, and the magnitude of such problems, can be determined only with laboratory testing. As pointed out in an article in the Journal of Nutrition about the quality of protein supplements Maughan, J of Nutr , other potential issues include the absence of active ingredients, inclusion of unwanted or harmful substances, and poor manufacturing practices.

The article cites ConsumerLab. The article concludes that risks associated with protein powders can be reduced by using only products that have been tested by quality assurance programs such as ConsumerLab. Arsenic is a toxic heavy metal and known carcinogen which can damage organs.

Arsenic contamination can be a concern with products made from rice, including protein powders made from rice. In , FDA tests found arsenic levels in twelve rice protein supplements product names were not provided to range between 0. The cancer-warning threshold of the State of California is 10 mcg of arsenic per daily serving, meaning that if someone consumed more than one serving of some of these products in one day, they could exceed this amount.

Several years ago, a quality concern specific to protein products was contamination with melamine. Melamine has been illegally used in place of protein in some products because it is cheaper than protein but can make poor quality or diluted material appear to be higher in protein by elevating the total nitrogen content detected by simple protein tests. Kidney stones, kidney failure and death were reported in and due to melamine used in place of protein in pet foods, milk, and infant formulas.

Consequently, products in the current review were not tested for melamine. A study of contaminants in popular protein powders published in indicated that the majority contained detectable amounts of arsenic Egg- and milk-based proteins contained the smallest amounts of metals. Review of the published data which lacked product names by ConsumerLab, however, showed that, based on a 35 gram serving, none of the samples exceeded reasonable safety limits for arsenic or mercury, but 10 exceeded limits for cadmium and three for lead.

The average detectable amount of cadmium per serving was only 1. In ConsumerLab's experience, elevated cadmium in protein powder tends to be due to chocolate flavoring with cocoa powder a known source of cadmium , not the protein ingredient itself.

The average detectable amount of lead was 0. Not surprisingly, "organic" products contained about twice the concentration of heavy metals as other products — an issue ConsumerLab has noted in its reviews over the years.

Also see answers to the following questions: What is the best protein supplement for vegetarians and vegans? As discussed in our review of protein powders , two very good sources of protein — whey and casein protein — are both derived from milk, so products that contain these may be suitable for vegetarians but not for vegans.

Whey and casein are both complete proteins, meaning that they contain all of the essential amino acids. Whey protein is particularly high in branched-chain amino acids, which are important to replenish after exercise and are needed for maintaining muscle.

If you prefer plant-based protein or are vegan, protein powders made from soy, rice, pea and hemp, or a mix of these sources, can be good choices. Soy protein is a complete protein, and is considered the most "heart healthy" -- but should not be taken if you have a soy allergy or thyroid condition. Rice and pea proteins can also provide all of the essential amino acids, and some studies have found them to be equal to whey in increasing strength and muscle when taken after resistance exercise.

Hemp can also provide all of the essential amino acids, and is particularly high in the branched-chain amino acid arginine, although there is little research on its use for muscle building or sports recovery. Be aware that although these plant-based proteins provide all the essential amino acids, the ratios of these vary by protein source.

Consequently, it's generally recommended that a mixture of sources be used, such as combining a grain-based protein, like rice, with a legume-based protein like pea protein. Arsenic contamination is a concern in rice-based products -- see the Warning and Quality Concerns for more about this; however, ConsumerLab.

See the ConsumerTips section of the Protein Powders Review for more about these different types of protein. Also see our Top Picks among supplements made from each protein source. To be sure a protein supplement does not contain any added ingredients which are non-vegetarian or non-vegan ingredients, you can check the full Ingredients List provided for each protein supplement tested by ConsumerLab.

Which supplements can help lower or control my blood sugar? Many different supplements may help lower or control blood sugar in people with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes who experience hyperglycemia when blood glucose rises higher than normal. These supplements are discussed below. More details about each, including dosage, drug interactions, potential side effects, and ConsumerLab. Due to the seriousness of hyperglycemia, it is important to consult with your physician regarding use of these supplements.

Cinnamon supplements may modestly improve blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes whose blood sugar is not well controlled with medication. Keep in mind, however, that only certain varieties of cinnamon have been shown to have this effect, and long-term safety studies have not been conducted. Curcumin from turmeric may improve blood sugar levels, according to preliminary studies, and one study found curcumin to dramatically lower the chances of prediabetes in middle-aged, slightly overweight men and women with somewhat higher than normal blood sugar levels.

Alpha lipoic acid may improve insulin sensitivity and blood sugar control in people with type 2 diabetes, although it may only slightly reduce levels of glycosylated hemoglobin HbA1c. Chromium picolinate may help some people with type 2 diabetes decrease fasting blood glucose levels as well as levels of insulin and glycosylated hemoglobin HbA1c.

However, be aware that high doses may worsen insulin sensitivity in healthy people who are not obese or diabetic. Having adequate blood levels of vitamin D may reduce the risk of insulin resistance in people who are obese.

There is some evidence that a certain blood level of vitamin D is needed for normal glucose metabolism in women who are overweight and obese but not diabetic , but it is not clear whether any further benefit is gained with higher blood levels. In healthy people, consuming a moderate amount of olive oil with a meal has been shown to reduce increases in blood sugar after the meal compared to the same meal consumed with corn oil.

In people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, olive oil may improve glucose metabolism. Increasing dietary fiber , especially insoluble fiber from cereal and grains, is associated with a reduced risk of diabetes and has been shown to reduce fasting blood glucose and modestly lower HbA1c in people with type 2 diabetes Martin, J Nutr ; Post,J Am Board Fam Med In people with type 1 diabetes, 50 grams of dietary fiber per day has been shown to significantly improve blood sugar control and reduce hypoglycemic events Giacco, Diabetes Care The American Dietetic Association states that "diets providing 30 to 50 g fiber per day from whole food sources consistently produce lower serum glucose levels compared to a low-fiber diet.

Ginseng , both American and Korean Red ginseng from Panax ginseng , may reduce blood sugar levels in people with diabetes, according to preliminary research. Drinking whey protein before a high glycemic meal may help to lessen increases in blood sugar after the meal in people with well-controlled type 2 diabetes. Silymarin, a component of milk thistle , may decrease blood sugar and hemoglobin A1c in people with type 2 diabetes, and reduce insulin resistance in people with coexisting diabetes and alcoholic cirrhosis.

Inulin, a type of prebiotic , may improve measures of blood sugar control in women with type 2 diabetes, although it did not improve blood sugar levels or insulin resistance in a study of prediabetic men and women. Berberine a compound found in plants such as barberry , Oregon grape and goldenseal may reduce blood sugar levels in people with metabolic syndrome or type 2 diabetes, according to a few small studies. Fenugreek may help to lower blood sugar, according to preliminary studies, and one study found fenugreek extract to significantly improve some measures of blood sugar control and insulin response in people with type 2 diabetes.

D-ribose , often promoted for energy or sports performance, may also lower blood sugar levels Fenstad, Internet J Nutr Wellness White mulberry Moruns alba or Morus indica has been traditionally used in Asia to help treat type 2 diabetes, and there is some preliminary evidence to support this use. Mulberry leaf extract species not given may lessen increases in blood sugar after ingestion of table sugar in healthy people and people with type 2 diabetes Mudra, Diabetes Care There is mixed evidence as to whether CoQ10 may lower blood sugar.

To be safe, people with diabetes or who take medication to lower blood sugar should consult a physician before using. Preliminary evidence suggests certain other supplements, including aloe , ashwagandha , ginkgo , green coffee bean extract , glucosamine , black cohosh , rhodiola , reishi mushroom and tart cherry juice may lower blood sugar. While there is not enough clinical research to support the use of these supplements for this purpose, it's important to keep this in mind, as they could enhance the blood sugar lowering effect of other supplements or medications you may be taking.

CLA conjugated linoleic acid , a popular supplement for slimming, may worsen blood sugar control in diabetics and in obese people without diabetes. Also note that high doses of vitamin C may increase blood sugar or interfere with certain blood sugar tests.

I am having trouble sleeping. I regularly take a multivitamin, fish oil, magnesium, calcium, vitamins D and K, and a protein supplement. I also take a low-dose blood pressure medication. Could any of these supplements be causing my insomnia? Among these supplements, vitamin D seems the most likely cause. Multivitamins , fish oil , magnesium , calcium , vitamin K and protein supplements are not generally known to cause insomnia.

High doses of vitamin D, as well as high blood levels of vitamin D have been associated a deterioration in sleep quality — and you seem to be supplementing with both vitamin D and a multivitamin that likely provides more vitamin D. High amounts of vitamin D may interfere with the body's production of melatonin. Be aware that beta blocker medications, such as atenolol Tenormin and metoprolol Lopressor, Toprol XL that help lower blood pressure may also lower your body's nighttime production of melatonin and interfere with sleep.

A small study suggests that melatonin supplementation may improve sleep in people taking these medications. However, be aware that melatonin may increase blood pressure in people taking another type of blood pressure lowering medication.

Does soy affect the risk of breast cancer or prostate cancer? The relationship between soy or soy isoflavone intake and the risk of breast cancer and prostate cancer is not clear-cut. Soy contains compounds called phytoestrogens , such as isoflavones, which have weak estrogen-like activity. Soy and soy isoflavones may have varying effects depending on age, estrogen status and type of cancer. In women, high soy consumption early in life may help to lower the risk of breast cancer but there is concern that high doses of isoflavones may not be safe in women with estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer and may also slightly increase the risk of uterine cancer.

In men, higher soy intakes are generally associated with a lower risk of prostate cancer, but higher intakes of soy isoflavones are associated with an increased risk of advanced prostate cancer. Also see the Encyclopedia article about Soy Isoflavones. I do moderate exercise for about an hour a few times a week. Which supplements might help me? When working out, nutritional needs to consider include hydration and electrolytes, energy, and protein.

As long as you are fairly healthy and eating a balanced diet, if you work out for an hour, you only need water to recover; you don't need an "electrolyte" supplement. This was shown in a study which compared water to coconut water and a rehydration sports drink as discussed in the Coconut Waters Review. Only when doing strenuous exercise for long periods of time i. However, after a long-period of strenuous exercise, a drink or food which provides some sugar energy may help restore blood sugar levels.

Extra protein from a powder or drink can help athletes build muscle and older people prevent or reverse age-related loss of muscle strength when used in conjunction with resistance -type exercise such as free weights, weight machines, resistance bands, or your own body weight — as with squats. If you are not doing resistance-type exercise, extra protein won't help.

Evidence for Other Supplements: Branched-chain Amino Acids BCAAs may help reduce muscle breakdown during exercise and reduce soreness from long-distance intense exercise, but BCAAs do not appear to have performance-enhancing effects.

BCAAs may reduce muscle loss due to inactivity, such as around the time of knee surgery. Creatine may improve muscle strength and endurance during repeated high-intensity exercise of short duration, such as weight lifting and sprinting. It is not of benefit in purely aerobic exercises. Curcumin from turmeric has reduced muscle soreness due to intense exercise in some studies, but not all.

Fish oil has been shown to help increase strength from training in women but not in men. For details see the Fish Oil Supplements Review. Vitamin D supplementation helps increase strength from training among people deficient in vitamin D. However, among people who are not deficient, supplementing with vitamin D may reduce the benefits of exercise.