Best Protein Shakes for an Effortless Boost

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Protein shakes are a great way to easily add protein to your diet to meet or increase your daily intake. A pre-made shake is also a helpful on-the-go option if you’re trying build muscles, and want a snack that isn’t too filling, but is still nutritious. This includes protein shakes Dietary Supplements Worth Buying at your pharmacy or vitamin store. There are two common types of protein shakes: whey-based and plant-based.

Various options make it easy to choose the protein shake that best suits your dietary needs. We’ve tested many protein shakes for taste and nutritional value so you can determine which ones are worth your money.

If protein powders are more your thing, These are some of our favourites for mixing at home.

Giselle Castro-Sloboda/CNET

Owyn, pronounced “oh-win,” stands for Only What You Need and is a plant-based protein shake that’s non-GMO, gluten-free, soy-free, and dairy-free. And in addition to gluten and dairy, it’s also free from the other eight major allergens like soy, egg, peanuts, tree nuts, fish or shellfish. I first tried Owyn about a year ago and was pleasantly surprised by the taste and quality of the drink. I recently tried it again and dark chocolate is still one of my favorite flavors because it tastes like a chocolate dessert without a lot of sugar or the bad aftertaste that some protein drinks can have.

If you’re vegan, you know you need to put in a little extra effort to meet your protein needs. Owyn’s standard protein shakes have 20 grams of protein, but there’s also a range of Pro Elite High Protein Shakes that contain 35 grams of protein per bottle. These are a good option if you’re looking for a midday snack or if you need a quick source of protein after a workout. I’m lactose intolerant and can have a sensitive stomach when trying new supplements, but I’ve had no problems with Owyn. It should be a safe bet if you are sensitive to dairy or have gluten or nut allergies.


  • Creamy and full-bodied taste
  • No bad aftertaste
  • Variety of flavors


  • It’s expensive for a 12-pack online or on Amazon
  • There aren’t that many flavor options under the Pro Elite High Protein line

Giselle Castro-Sloboda/CNET

Editor’s note, August 1, 2022: Premier Protein’s parent company, Lyons Magnus LLC, has voluntarily recalled some lots of their chocolate, vanilla and café latte cartons. Check out the details of the recall.

Premier Protein has made a name for itself and is probably one of the most popular brands you will see on store shelves. This shake is whey based and contains 30 grams of protein per serving. If you’re sensitive to whey protein, I would go with a plant-based protein shake or powder instead. I didn’t have any stomach issues when testing Premier Protein, but I could see that someone with a more acute case of lactose intolerance or someone sensitive to certain artificial sweeteners might have some discomfort.

My favorite flavor from this line was Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Shake because it tastes like a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup in liquid form. The flavor profile tastes rich enough that you feel like you’re drinking a sugary dessert, but it’s actually only one gram of sugar.

I’ve used Premier Protein as a protein shake to fuel up between meals and it gets the job done thanks to its protein profile.


  • Various flavor options
  • Fast way to get protein on the go
  • Tastes like dessert


  • Artificial sweeteners could potentially upset some stomachs
  • The box construction could be more durable

Giselle Castro-Sloboda/CNET

If you’re looking for a plant-based protein shake that has a smooth profile, is creamy and flavorful, then you’ll love Ripple’s protein shakes. It’s available in vanilla, chocolate, and coffee flavors and packs 20 grams of protein per bottle. Ripple’s vegan protein comes from pea protein and is slightly higher in calories (200 calories per serving) and sugar (9 grams per serving) compared to other plant-based proteins on this list.

I tried all the flavors that Ripple offers and I was pleased with the way the brand managed to create a plant-based on-the-go shake that didn’t have a grainy texture or a lingering aftertaste. Even some herbal powders I’ve tried in the past have had less than impressive profiles than the shakes Ripple has to offer. The sweetener used in this shake comes from monk fruit, which surprised me as I wouldn’t have known unless I read the nutrition label. I have tried other products that contain the same sweetener and it is more detectable.

I’d love to see Ripple expand their range of plant-based shakes, adding ones with extra protein and new flavors. While it’s more of a challenge to have high protein options with plant-based protein, it’s still possible because Huel has figured out how to do it.


  • Flavors are creamy and rich
  • Perfect for on the go
  • Available through third party providers


  • Only three flavors available
  • Sugar is a bit too high for a protein shake

Other protein shakes we tried

Kate Farms: Editor’s note, August 11, 2022: Kate Farms’ parent company, Lyons Magnus LLC, has voluntarily recalled some of its standard pediatric drinks and nutritional shakes. Check out the details of the recall.

Kate Farms uses organic yellow pea protein in its plant-based shakes, which are free from gluten, soy, dairy and artificial sweeteners. I loved how creamy and delicious these protein shakes were. They’re higher in calories (330 calories), which isn’t a problem since it’s considered a meal replacement drink and not just a protein shake. This product almost made the leaderboard, but fell short in one important area: It only has 16 grams of protein per serving compared to the other plant-based brands, which contain at least 20 grams of protein. If Kate Farms had revised its formula to include 20 grams or more of protein, it would have easily made the leaderboard.

Orgain Organic Nutritional Shake: I know about Orgain’s plant-based protein powders because I’ve had them in the past. However, I had never tried his shakes before and they were too short for me. I really wanted to like them, but they had an aftertaste that their powders don’t usually have, and even the creamy chocolate fudge flavor (which I usually like) didn’t taste the same to me. If I had my way I would stick with Orgain in powder form and mix it with my non-dairy milk of choice as usual.

Iconic Life protein drink: This whey-based protein shake wasn’t a hit with me because I couldn’t get over the artificial taste. I often enjoy vanilla flavors, but I wasn’t a fan of this version of vanilla protein. The chocolate flavor was slightly better, but ultimately the mix of sweeteners just wasn’t right for me.

As we have chosen

Taste: We did a taste test to see when the taste reminded us of the taste profile. We also made sure that there is no bad aftertaste.

Ingredients: We looked at the ingredients if they contain additional minerals and nutrients to support the protein profile. We also checked for questionable additives.

grams of protein: We have made sure that the products contain at least 20 grams of protein per serving.

Side effects: We monitored for gastrointestinal issues as these can be a possible side effect of consuming whey or artificial sugar supplements.

Factors to consider

  • Be sure to read the ingredient label—especially if you’re lactose intolerant, have a sensitivity to dairy, or have a sensitivity to artificial sweeteners.
  • Some protein shakes are sold in packs or individually, depending on where you buy them.
  • Whey concentrate and whey isolate commonly make up whey-based proteins. The difference lies in the way they are processed, with whey isolate containing more protein but less fat and carbohydrates. The main ingredients of plant-based proteins are usually a mixture of peas, brown rice, hemp, pumpkin seeds, or soy.

Frequently asked questions about protein shakes

What should you look out for when buying protein shakes?

The US Food and Drug Administration doesn’t regulate supplements like protein shakes, but a good way to make sure you’re getting a quality protein powder is to check which third-party brands have been tested. These include NSF International or Informed Choice certifications.

Are whey-based protein shakes better than plant-based?

Whey-based protein is isolated from whey and contains lactose. It’s considered the gold standard for muscle growth because it’s a complete protein, meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids. Plant-based protein is considered complete protein only if it is made from soy. However, there are many plant-based shakes made from peas, hemp, and pumpkin that combine to form a complete protein with all the essential amino acids and branched-chain amino acids. For plant-based shakes, avoid those that contain sugar or fillers. Also, be aware of any allergies or sensitivities to certain ingredients.

Need to drink protein shakes?

It is important to remember that dietary supplements are intended to support a balanced diet and should not be used as a substitute for real food. You don’t need to drink protein shakes if you’re consuming enough protein throughout the day. However, they come in handy when you need an on-the-go option to help you meet your protein quota.

Are There Any Negative Side Effects From Drinking Protein Shakes?

If you are lactose intolerant or sensitive to dairy, whey-based protein shakes may not be the best choice as they can upset your stomach. Additionally, some protein shakes may contain artificial sweeteners or ingredients that can also cause bloating or other gastrointestinal issues, so it’s important to read the nutrition information first.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions about a medical condition or health goals.

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