Juicing has become a popular way for people to increase their intake of fruits and vegetables. By extracting the juice from produce, you can consume a large serving of micronutrients in liquid form. Some people use juicing as part of a detox or cleansing regimen. Others do it to supplement their diet with extra fruits and veggies.
Adding protein powder to your juice is one way to boost the nutritional value. Protein is an important macronutrient that supports muscle growth, wound healing, and enzyme and hormone function. Below, we’ll look at the pros and cons of adding protein powder to juice.
Benefits of Adding Protein Powder to Juice
Here are some potential benefits of mixing protein powder into your juicing recipes:
Increases Protein Intake
Most vegetable and fruit juices are low in protein. Even green juices made with leafy greens like kale and spinach don’t provide much protein. Adding a scoop of protein powder can significantly increase the protein content. For example, adding one scoop (around 20 grams) of whey or plant-based protein powder to your juice can provide 20-25 grams of high-quality protein.
Makes Juices More Filling
Juice on its own has minimal fiber and protein, so it does not tend to be very satiating. Many people find themselves feeling hungry again soon after drinking even a large amount of juice. Adding protein powder can help make juices more filling and satisfying by providing protein and additional nutrients. This may help prevent hunger and overeating later.
Supports Muscle Building and Recovery
Consuming sufficient protein is important for building and maintaining muscle mass, especially if you are physically active. The protein in supplements can support muscle growth when consumed around workouts. Protein also helps repair and rebuild muscle tissue after exercise. Adding a protein boost to your juicing can help promote muscle recovery after a tough workout.
Can Aid Weight Loss
Some people use juicing as part of a weight loss plan. Protein supplements may support weight loss in a few ways. First, protein can reduce appetite and help you feel fuller for longer. Second, protein requires more energy for the body to digest compared to fats and carbs. Finally, protein intake is critical during calorie restriction to help retain lean muscle mass. Adding protein powder to juices can help boost the efficacy of a juice cleanse or detox.
Easy Way to Increase Nutrient Intake
Adding protein powder provides an easy nutrition boost. Instead of needing to eat large portions of chicken, fish, beans and lentils to meet your protein needs, you can quickly get 20-30 grams by mixing protein powder into juice. This also bumps up the nutritional value of juice significantly.
Potential Drawbacks of Protein Powder in Juice
There are also some potential downsides to keep in mind:
May Cause Digestive Issues
Drinking juice with protein powder instead of eating whole foods may cause digestive upset in some people. The liquid food passes through the digestive tract more quickly. This means less time for the protein to fully break down before reaching the intestines. Poorly digested protein can cause gas, bloating, diarrhea and cramping.
Spikes Blood Sugar Rapidly
Juice spikes blood sugar and insulin rapidly due to its high glycemic index and lack of fiber. Adding protein powder may moderate glycemic impact slightly but likely does not make a major difference. People with diabetes or metabolic concerns should be cautious with juicing in general.
Loses Some Nutrition From Whole Foods
Juicing produces a nutritious drink, but the process of juicing removes the fiber from whole fruits and vegetables. This slightly lowers the nutrient value compared to eating the whole food. Adding protein powder to juice does not redeem this nutrient loss. Whole food sources of protein like eggs, Greek yogurt and cottage cheese may be preferable for some people.
May Cause Oxidative Stress
Blending, chopping and juicing produce can increase oxidative damage to the nutrients. This may result in lower antioxidant capacity. Adding protein powders, which are highly processed, could potentially contribute to this effect. However, research has not confirmed whether this negatively impacts health.
Someone seeking to lose weight by juicing may want to avoid adding calories from protein powder. A typical 20-25 gram scoop of protein powder contains around 100 calories. For some, this could counteract the low-calorie benefits of an all-juice cleanse. However, others may find the extra protein worthwhile to feel full.
How to Add Protein Powder to Juices
Here are some tips for adding protein powder to your homemade juices:
– Start with a scoop of powder containing 15-25 grams of protein. Whey, plant-based blends, egg white and collagen peptides all dissolve well.
– Add the powder to your juice and mix thoroughly with a whisk or blender. A smoothie blender works best to fully incorporate the powder.
– Mix the protein into juice that contains pulp or is thick in texture. Orange, apple, carrot and green juices work best. Protein tends to clump in clear, pulp-free juices.
– Add a little extra liquid if needed. Some protein powders thicken up the juice more than others. Dilute with a bit of water or additional juice to reach desired consistency.
– Chill juice mixtures in the refrigerator after adding protein. Cold temperatures help distribute protein evenly and prevent separation.
– Consider adding powder to only part of your juice. Drink some of your juice normally then stir protein into the last half. This prevents the powder from altering the whole flavor.
– Mask any flavor of powders by adding them to tart green juices or juice blends with ginger, berries and citrus. Stronger juices stand up better to protein.
Best Protein Powders to Use
You can use a wide variety of protein powders. Here are some of the best types to use in juices:
Whey protein isolate or concentrate blends work well in juices. Whey dissolves easily into liquids with minimal clumping. It has mild flavor that won’t overwhelm juice. Whey provides branched-chain amino acids that support muscle growth.
Blends made from peas, rice, hemp and sacha inchi are great options. Look for versions with minimal grittiness. Plant proteins offer a range of amino acids and are suitable for vegans/vegetarians.
Egg White Protein
Egg white protein has a neutral, smooth taste. It blends seamlessly into juice. People with dairy allergies may do better with egg protein. It has the highest concentration of protein per calories compared to other powders.
Collagen peptides mix easily into juice without affecting taste much. This provides anti-aging collagen along with some protein. It may also help improve skin, hair and nails.
Bone Broth Protein
Protein powders made from bone broth contain amino acids and minerals from animals. This adds nutritional value beyond plain protein. The mild taste won’t overwhelm juice recipes.
Protein Juicing Recipes
Here are some juicing recipes that work well with added protein powder:
Green Protein Power Juice
– 1 cup kale
– 1 cucumber
– 2 stalks celery
– 1 apple
– 1⁄2 lemon
– 1-inch ginger
– 20g plant protein powder
Juice the produce ingredients, stir in protein powder until blended. Pour over ice and enjoy!
Orange Creamsicle Juice
– 3 oranges, peeled
– 1 cup coconut water
– 1 cup ice cubes
– 1 scoop vanilla whey or plant protein
– Stevia or monk fruit to taste (optional)
Juice the oranges and coconut water then blend with ice and protein powder. Sweeten if desired.
Mixed Berry Protein Juice
– 1 cup strawberries
– 1⁄2 cup blueberries
– 1⁄2 cup raspberries
– 1 small banana
– 1 cup almond milk
– 1 scoop collagen peptides
Juice the berries and banana then blend with the milk and collagen.
Carrot Apple Protein Drink
– 5 carrots, chopped
– 2 apples, cored
– 1-inch ginger
– 1⁄2 lemon
– 20g egg white protein powder
– Dash of cinnamon
Juice the carrots, apples, ginger and lemon. Mix in protein powder and cinnamon.
Chocolate Protein Juice
– 1 cup kale
– 2 celery stalks
– 1 cucumber
– 1 banana
– 2 tbsp cocoa powder
– 1 scoop chocolate plant protein
– 1 cup almond milk
Juice the greens, banana and cucumber. Blend with milk, cocoa powder and protein.
The Bottom Line
Adding protein powder to your homemade juices is a convenient way to bump up the nutritional value. It can make juices more filling, provide muscle-supporting amino acids, and aid weight loss. However, too much protein may cause digestive issues and drinking juice removes fiber found in whole foods.
When adding protein powder, whey, plant blends, egg white and collagen peptides work well. Target 15-25 grams of protein per serving. Mix into thick, pulpy juices at cold temperatures to prevent separation. Boost flavor and nutrition by combining protein with green veggies, berries, ginger and citrus.
With a sensible approach, adding protein powder to juice can be an easy way to increase your intake of protein, an essential nutrient for health.