Protein shakes have become exceptionally popular in diets and weight loss plans. In theory, they can be very powerful, giving you the ability to decrease your calorie intake without starving yourself in the process.
Protein shakes can also be relevant as a snack on the go, especially after a workout session. But, with so many brands out there, picking a good protein shake is no easy feat.
This post takes a look at Premier Protein shakes, along with Premier Protein shake reviews. Here, the focus is specifically on the ready-to-drink products, which can be a portable way to get your protein.
What is Premier Protein?
Premier Protein is a relatively well-known brand that offers a range of different types of protein-based products. Of these, the most well-recognized are the ready-to-drink shakes, which come in a range of flavors.
Indeed, the flavors alone may be a reason that many people turn to this brand.
The nature of the company is also interesting.
On this site, I’ve reviewed a range of different protein shakes from various companies. In most cases, those companies used direct sales and a model called multi level marketing.
That design means that the company heavily relies on distributors to sell the products.
This isn’t the place to go into that concept too much. But, that type of company can be frustrating, as the products are often heavily hyped. That makes it difficult to figure out whether or not they are any good.
At the same time, multi level marketing companies tend to produce expensive products – partly because there are more steps involved in the sales process.
In contrast, Premier Protein doesn’t follow this model. Because of this, the shakes are considerably less expensive.
The difference in price alone is a reason to consider Premier Protein over many other options. At the same time, companies like this tend to be more trustworthy.
The shakes are also more readily available. For example, you can buy them from Amazon, from the company’s website and from many physical stores. In fact, I’ve seen some flavors of Premier Protein in places like Meijer and Kroger.
This is very different than brands like 310 Nutrition, where your purchasing options are extremely limited.
Now, the company does also offer other products, including protein powder and protein bars. However, this post just focuses on the ready-to-drink shakes.
After all, there’s more than enough to talk about regarding these shakes alone, without considering the other products.
Premier Protein sells shakes, bars and protein powder. The products are sold in a large number of different locations
Powder versus Ready to Drink Shakes
As a general rule, protein shakes come in two forms. Many people choose to buy the powder and mix the shakes themselves. Doing so gives you much more control over the flavor and texture of the drink.
For example, many people make smoothies using protein powder, often adding ingredients like berries, milk and ice. This is commonly done with the products from Shakeology, along with ones from IdealShape and pretty much any other brand out there.
For that matter, many people simply buy whey protein powder and use that as a base for smoothies.
The flexibility that comes with protein powder is great but it isn’t effective for all situations.
In particular, it doesn’t work well if you’re looking for something to eat on the go, such as after a run. Likewise, many people prefer portable options if they tend to be late, especially first thing in the morning.
Ready-to-drink options provide a way around this.
However, you have to be very careful about which brand you choose.
In particular, most ready-to-drink shakes tend to be fairly high in sugar and often have hardly any protein as well. Such brands often use manipulative marketing to make the products sound much healthier than they actually are.
For example, brands like Boost have more than 20 grams of sugar in some of their bottles (which are only 8 fl oz in size).
Likewise, ready-to-drink options have to rely on extra additives because the product needs to be shelf-stable outside of a fridge.
These aspects mean that ready-to-drink protein shakes are never going to be as good for you as relying on the right protein powder.
Nevertheless, Premium Protein shakes are better than most.
For example, the table below highlights how Premium Protein shakes stack up against key brands of meal replacement powder.
So, Premium Protein shakes do appear relatively good when compared to other products.
Ready-to-drink shakes are normally considered less healthy than protein powder and this view is somewhat accurate. Nevertheless, Premier Protein shakes are better than most
Ready-to-Drink Shakes and Habits
This type of shake is often condemned because it doesn’t promote good eating habits.
Realistically, getting your nutrients in a rush is never the best plan. Likewise, ready-to-drink products do tend to be fairly heavily processed. As a general rule, relying on whole foods is always going to a better choice.
Still, having shakes like this on hand can be good for some situations, such as after a workout. Premier Protein shakes will also be a much better option than the high-calorie and sugary food that is easily accessed when you are out and about.
As a result, these shakes do have their place, even if they aren’t as good as whole food.
The key trick is to make sure you don’t rely on them too heavily.
This type of shake can promote unhealthy habits, so it's important to pay attention to your patterns of consumption
Premier Protein Shake Nutrition
Nutritionally, Premier Protein shakes are appealing.
The main selling point is the presence of 30 grams of protein. This is more than most other brands of protein powder and ready-to-drink shake. It’s also particularly relevant for health and weight loss.
As a general rule, many people don’t get enough protein, so increasing protein intake can be critical for health. Likewise, protein plays a role in muscle development and can help reduce age-related muscle loss, especially when paired with the right types of exercise.
Protein is also a key factor in keeping you satiated. This means that you tend to feel less hungry after a high protein meal.
The pattern has considerable potential for weight loss. In particular, high protein foods can make people eat less at subsequent meals.
For that matter, one of the key reasons for using this type of shake is to skip a meal. When you do that, you have the shake instead of food. This is considerably easier when the shake is high in protein and you would tend to feel full for longer.
Of course, this varies from one person to another.
Liquid calories don’t tend to have the same effect on hunger as calories we eat. So, some people find themselves hungry after any type of protein shake.
But, many others find this type of shake extremely effective.
In many ways, the answer is to try and see whether the idea works for you. Either way, the higher protein in Premier Protein shakes is certainly a major advantage.
The other nutrition elements are less significant but may still matter.
In particular, the low sugar and low fat content is nice for weight loss. However, lower fat isn’t always a good thing and the low sugar means that artificial sweeteners are used. I’ll go into the implications of those later.
The inclusion of nutrients is appealing in many situations. But, you may already get what you need from your diet. Additionally, that pattern is common across meal replacement shakes, so it isn’t especially unusual.
The Premier Protein shakes are very high in protein, while also offering a range of nutrients. They are also low in calories, sugar and fat, a pattern that has significant implications for weight loss
Whey Protein Powder
The other thing to note about Premium Protein is that some the protein comes from whey.
Whey is a particularly powerful type of protein and is associated with a significant number of health benefits. Whey protein powder is commonly used for weight loss and also by bodybuilders because of the fact that it is quickly absorbed.
Now, in fairness, many weightlifters use a different form of whey. I went into those differences as part of my article on whey protein, so I'm not going to focus on it here. Nevertheless, even this form of whey offers some benefits and it is an appealing option.
You can get whey in the form of protein powder, where you typically won’t see the added nutrients or processed ingredients that meal replacement shakes have.
Whey also tends to be popular as it offers a way to avoid soy protein, which is a common alternative. There is debate about soy protein and many people feel that soy can cause significant harm (1).
The evidence in this area is far from complete.
However, it is easy to see why people are concerned, especially as soy is commonly genetically modified.
As a result, whey protein is a good option for anybody avoiding soy or for people who just want the best outcomes. Nevertheless, whey does come from milk, so it isn’t a good choice for vegans.
There are also some exceptionally good brands of whey protein powder on the market and this type of product often works out less expensive than buying meal replacement shakes or powder.
Honestly, whey protein powder is going to be better in most cases. Still, Premier Protein shakes have their advantages and they do contain whey as well.
Indeed, there are relatively few ready-to-drink protein shakes that offer whey protein.
Now, there are two other sources of protein in the shakes as well. There is less evidence for the benefits of these but they still act as good sources of protein. Personally, I still prefer products that rely entirely on whey protein but not everybody feels the same way.
These shakes also use whey as one source of protein. This is especially powerful and perfect for anybody wanting to avoid soy
Premier Protein Shake Reviews
As a general rule, Premier Protein shake reviews tend to be positive. For example, the Amazon reviews for the 4 pack of shakes look like this:
The distribution of reviews is also encouraging (the image is for the chocolate flavor again).
All of these Premier Protein shake reviews suggest that the product does work well for the intended use.
One complaint that sometimes comes up in Premier Protein shake reviews is that the shakes are processed. I’ll go into this in the next section. However, if you want shelf-stable shakes that you can take on the go, some processing is unavoidable.
If you really don’t like that idea – then ready-to-drink shakes are never going to be a good answer.
Another area of contention in Premier Protein reviews is taste.
For example, one reviewer summed it up like this:
Taste is incredibly subjective and it partly depends on what you’re looking for anyway.
In this case, you’ve got a shake with 30 grams of protein, hardly any fat or sugar and some artificial sweeteners – all in a fairly small package (11 fl oz). Needless to say, it’s not going to taste as amazing as products with more sugar.
Likewise, people who are sensitive to artificial sweeteners may be able to taste that, which can be off-putting.
Still, relatively few Premier Protein shake reviews mention issues with the flavor. Instead, many really like it.
This pattern suggests that it’s worth trying the shakes for yourself and seeing what you think.
For that matter, I’ve even used the shakes myself, mostly the chocolate and vanilla flavors. I found the sweetener to be a little unappealing but the shakes themselves tasted fine. I could easily drink them on a regular basis and it’s clear that many people do.
One other note is that the shakes are only 11 fl oz in size.
So, even if you disliked the taste, you might still choose the shakes simply for their benefits.
Premier Protein shake reviews are mostly positive, although some people are concerned about the taste of the shakes
Issues with Premier Protein
Processing and artificial ingredients are a major area of concern with Premier Protein shakes. This is a key reason why the Fooducate site rates it as a D, which is their lowest possible score.
You can also see this just from looking at the size of the ingredients list.
Nevertheless, there are some important things to note.
First, this is a meal replacement shake. As a result, many of the ingredients are there specifically to add in nutrients, like pyridoxine hydrochloride for vitamin B6. That same pattern is present for meal replacement powders as well, and many of those have long ingredient lists as well.
Second, this type of product also faces some unique challenges.
After all, the company has to produce a milk-containing drink that tastes relatively decent, has a long shelf life and can be stored out of the fridge.
There’s no way they could achieve that without relying on some artificial ingredients.
Still, those ingredients aren’t going to be appealing to everybody. Instead, many people want to avoid these entirely if possible.
There are also some specific ingredients that are questionable.
The processed nature of the shakes is a concern for some. Certainly, this isn't ideal. But, it is somewhat of a necessity for this type of product
One is the use of artificial sweeteners.
This isn’t extremely unusual and some other meal replacement shakes do use artificial sweeteners. IdealShape is one example of a similar approach.
Nevertheless, the issue is often mentioned in Premier Protein shake reviews and is a source of debate in general. The problem is that companies really need to include some type of sweetener. Either they go with sugar, or they pick a natural or an artificial sweetener.
None of these options is great for health.
Yet, other sweeteners aren’t necessarily any better. Realistically, there is a lot we don’t know but there is concern that some artificial sweeteners are linked to disease, including cancer (5).
The truth is that the long-term studies simply haven’t been done on artificial sweeteners, so we don’t know.
On a side note, natural sweeteners aren't necessarily better than artificial ones either.
That assumption is mostly based on how we view natural versus artificial. In practice, it is the specific compound that we need to consider, rather than whether or not it is natural.
So, what does all this mean?
The simple answer is that all options for sweeteners have their disadvantages. At the same time, most are probably okay, as long as you don’t rely on them too heavily.
This means that it really comes down to personal preference.
For example, if you were severely overweight and/or had a major sugar dependence, relying on artificial sweeteners for a time could easily yield far more benefits than risk.
For people in this situation, alternative sweeteners can be important simply because stopping or dramatically decreasing sugar isn’t always as feasible as it sounds. After all, sugar does have some effects that are similar to drugs and there is some evidence that an actual sugar addiction can exist (6,7,8).
In contrast, if you’re already at a relatively healthy weight, switching from sugar to artificial sweeteners could potentially increase your risk. Instead, you’d be better off simply dropping down your sugar intake, if feasible.
Overall, the Premier Protein shakes may well be a good choice for some people.
After all, if they significantly decrease your calorie intake, the benefits for health could easily be worth the use of artificial sweeteners.
This is particularly true if you only plan to use the shakes periodically, rather than every day.
Premier Protein does use artificial sweeteners. Whether this is good or bad is highly debatable, but if you're trying to avoid them, then Premier Protein may not be a good choice
One specific ingredient that some Premier Protein shake reviews highlight is carrageenan. This is an additive that is extracted from seaweed. It is primarily used in processed food, often as a thickener.
While it has no nutritional value, it’s easy to see why an additive like this would be used in ready-to-drink shakes.
Like many such ingredients, there is considerable debate about the compound.
The dose required to do so is likely to be very different than what you find in shakes. As such, the Premier Protein shakes probably won’t have significant intestinal effects.
But, at the same time, many people feel that the compound contributes to health issues. Indeed, there has been an effort to remove carrageenan from being allowed within organic food (11), although this is partly connected to the way that it is produced.
However, it’s important to note that most of the research has been conducted in animals or in artificial systems, rather than in humans.
As such, we don’t have the data to know how much impact, if any, carrageenan actually has on human health. Likewise, it’s unclear how this relates to the amount people would be consuming.
In many ways, this comes back to the idea of additives in general. You’re always going to be better off focusing on whole foods, rather than processed alternatives. Likewise, a diet heavy in processed foods will have more risks than if you just have them from time to time.
What this means to you comes down to your own perspectives.
Yes, Premier Protein shakes are processed and many Premier Protein shake reviews highlight this fact.
For some people, this alone may be a reason to avoid them.
For others, it may simply be an indication that they need to watch their intake. As an example, these shakes could be good for emergencies, rather than something you drink every day.
Carrageenan is sometimes viewed as being dangerous for health but there isn't currently enough evidence to support that claim
Should You Rely on Premier Protein Shakes?
As a ready-to-drink meal replacement shake, Premier Protein certainly has some merits. The shakes have more protein than most other similar products. At the same time, some of the protein is in the form of whey protein and there is no soy protein present.
The shakes also come in a range of flavors and are very low in terms of sugar.
But, it isn’t all good news.
For one thing, the shakes are heavily processed and do also include a range of artificial ingredients, including artificial sweeteners.
The implications of this really depend on who you are and specifically what you need.
Realistically, relying on whey protein powder or something similar and making your own shakes is always going to be a better option.
For that matter, focusing on whole food and a healthy lifestyle tends to be more powerful still.
For example, many people rely on approaches like Paleo, low carb, ketosis or intermittent fasting to lose weight and stay healthy. Such options are extremely powerful, especially when you figure out an approach that works with who you are and your relationship with food.
Still, that being said, there are some situations where having a ready-to-drink shake might be extremely useful, especially as these are high in protein and low in sugar.
If that is the case for you, then the Premier Protein shakes are certainly an appealing choice. Realistically, they are better than most other ready-to-drink shakes in terms of nutrition and this alone may be a reason to try them.
My personal recommendation is that you use the Premier Protein shakes specifically when you need something portable. If you’re at home, then making a whey protein shake or having a nutritious meal tends to be a healthier option and promotes better habits overall.
What do you think of Premier Protein shakes? Are they worth trying?
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