One of the biggest challenges of following a daily micronutrient plan or diet is meeting the recommended protein intake. Protein is essential for building muscle, burning body fat, and improving overall body composition. If you want to figure out the difference between protein powders and ready-to-drink protein shakes, read on.
Protein powders are dietary supplements that help close nutritional gaps by providing more protein in your daily diet. Traditional protein powders usually come from animal or plant sources. Most protein powders come in the form of whey, casein, eggs, or plant sources such as rice, pea, or pumpkin seeds. Protein powder comes in a bucket, a scoop, usually about 30 grams. Just scoop out one serving and add it to your favorite liquid base such as water, milk, nut milk, coffee or even your oat yogurt, or favorite cookie recipe.
Ready-to-drink protein shakes are just that—proteins that have been pre-made and ready to drink. Just break the safety seal, unscrew the cap, and enjoy. RTD supplements are made purely for convenience, however, they do have some differences in price and quality.
Now that you know what RTD supplements are, let’s dig into the differences between protein powders and ready-to-drink protein shakes. And why and when to choose one over the other.
The obvious reason to buy an RTD protein shake is convenience. If your goal is just to hit your macronutrient goals, or if you’re hungry and need something healthy from the corner store, an RTD protein shake may be one of the healthiest options. When I say possible, I mean it is.
However, with convenience comes price. For example, Fairlife offers an RTD protein shake with 26 grams of protein per serving for $3.29. Thirty servings of Swolverine Whey Protein Isolate are $62.99 and contain 26 grams of protein for just $2.09 per serving. Subscribe for 15% off, just $1.78 per 26g serving. So price is definitely a difference and a factor to consider.
The first reason is price. You’ll get more protein for the money you spend on a quality protein powder. Just make sure it has 30 copies. Many companies now only offer protein powders in 25-27 servings. By offering less, these brands make more money by charging the same price. So be sure to buy 30 servings of the 2 lb tub.
Plus, protein powders are more versatile than ready-to-drink protein shakes. It’s always a good idea to have a tub of protein powder in your pantry if you’re looking to make fruit smoothies, protein cookies, or even add an extra scoop to your protein pancakes.
The biggest difference between protein powder and ready-to-drink protein shakes lies in the “other ingredients”.
For example, Swolverine Whey Protein IsolateContains (Whey Protein Isolate, Natural Flavors, Xanthan Gum, Sucralose, Ground Cinnamon)
Muscle Milk, contains less than 1% of the following water, calcium caseinate (milk), milk protein isolate, sodium caseinate (milk), alkalized cocoa: soluble vegetable fiber, sunflower oil, canola oil, natural and Artificial flavor, dipotassium phosphate, magnesium phosphate, maltodextrin, cellulose gum and gel, sodium hexametaphosphate, potassium chloride, carrageenan, potassium citrate, salt, medium chain triglycerides, sucralose, Acesulfame Potassium, Sodium Phosphate, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Vitamin A Palmitate, Vitamin D3 .
As you can see, the ingredient list is quite different.
Recovery or post-workout products, often contain carbohydrates in addition to protein powders to aid in glycogen replenishment and muscle recovery. Protein powders contain only protein and are extremely low in other macronutrients.
If price and quality are important to you, making protein shakes with protein powder is the way to go. If you’re not concerned about price and are really just looking for more for convenience, then go for a ready-to-drink protein shake.
Protein powders are dietary supplements in powder form, while protein shakes are beverages in liquid form, usually mixed with liquid and other ingredients.
The biggest differences between protein powders and ready-to-drink protein shakes are ingredients, price, convenience, and versatility. A ready-to-drink protein shake is indispensable when you’re on the go, especially when you need something healthy and quick. However, on those days when you need an extra 25-30 grams of protein, having a bucketful of protein in your pantry is a must to get more.
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