Can you mix protein with juice?


Protein shakes and juices are both popular nutritional drinks that provide important health benefits. Protein shakes are designed to deliver a concentrated dose of protein, while juices provide vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and hydration from fruits and vegetables. Some people enjoy mixing their protein shakes with juice rather than water or milk. But is this a good idea nutritionally? In this comprehensive guide, we’ll look at the pros and cons of mixing protein and juice, optimal juice and protein combinations, effects on taste and texture, digestive issues to watch out for and healthy smoothie recipes using juice and protein powder.

Pros of Mixing Protein and Juice

There are a few potential benefits to mixing your protein shake with juice rather than water or milk:

Increased Nutrient Absorption

Pairing protein and juice can improve the bioavailability and absorption of nutrients. The nutrients, vitamins and antioxidants in juice may help your body better utilize the protein you’re consuming.

Added Carbs

The natural sugars in 100% fruit or vegetable juices provide a source of fast-digesting carbs to help refuel and recover after a workout. Some extra carbs can be beneficial depending on your fitness goals.

More Flavor

Juice adds delicious flavor to plain protein powders. This can make your shakes more enjoyable to drink on a regular basis. The sweetness of juice balances out the commonly chalky or bitter taste of certain proteins.


Juice provides fluid and electrolytes to keep you hydrated. This may be preferable after a sweaty workout compared to water alone.


Unless they’re strained, juices made from whole fruits and vegetables provide fiber. This improves digestion and gut health.


Fresh juices supply essential vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, potassium, folate and more. These micronutrients support overall health and exercise performance.

Cons of Mixing Protein and Juice

However, there are also some downsides to consider when combining juice and protein powder:

Blood Sugar Spikes

The natural sugar in juice can spike blood sugar levels. For some, this may lead to energy crashes or unwanted weight gain over time. Those with diabetes need to be especially mindful of carb and sugar intake from juices.

Excess Calories

While juices contain beneficial nutrients, their calories can also add up quickly. Mixing juice with a protein shake turns it into a higher calorie beverage, making it less suitable as a lower calorie protein option.

Gas and Bloating

Some people experience gas, bloating or diarrhea when mixing fruit juices high in fructose with protein. The combination seems to contribute to digestive upset and malabsorption for some individuals.

Tooth Erosion

The acidity of juice may lead to tooth enamel erosion when consumed frequently. Combining acidic juices with protein concentrates this erosive effect on your teeth.

Less Protein Per Volume

Diluting protein powder with juice rather than water reduces the protein you receive per volume. You may need a larger shake to meet your protein targets.

Higher Cost

Quality juices and protein powders can both get pricey. Mixing the two together results in a more expensive nutritional beverage.


The vitamin C and antioxidants in juice begin to oxidize and degrade shortly after juicing. Allowing your juice-protein shake to sit for hours can reduce the nutrient value.

Best Juices to Mix with Protein

If you wish to combine juice and protein powder despite the drawbacks, these are some of the best juice options:

Coconut Water

Coconut water contains electrolytes like potassium and magnesium for hydration. The light, mildly sweet taste works well in protein shakes without overpowering them.

Prune Juice

Prune juice offers a low-sugar way to soften the texture and enhance the flavor of thick protein shakes. It also aids digestion.

Pomegranate Juice

Pomegranate juice has a tart, not-too-sweet taste. The antioxidants may assist with exercise recovery. But limit intake due to the high natural sugar content.

Aloe Vera Juice

Aloe juice adds a light, refreshing flavor to protein shakes. It contains enzymes and compounds that may soothe digestion.

Cranberry Juice

Pure cranberry juice mixed with water balances sweetness with tartness. Cranberries are also high in antioxidants like vitamin C.

Tomato Juice

For savory protein shakes, tomato juice provides a low-sugar option. Tomatoes contain lycopene, vitamin C and potassium.

Green Juices

Juices made with non-starchy veggies like spinach, kale and cucumber make nutritious mixers. They provide antioxidants without spiking blood sugar.

Proteins That Mix Best with Juices

The type of protein powder you choose also impacts how smoothly it combines with juice:

Whey Protein

Whey protein blends well with thinner, lighter juices like coconut water or aloe vera juice. But thick whole-fruit juices may overpower whey’s light dairy flavor.

Casein Protein

Due to its thick, creamier consistency, casein protein combines well with pulpy, viscous juices like orange or apple juice.

Plant-Based Proteins

Plant proteins like pea, soy, hemp and rice protein tend to have neutral flavors. They mix without issue into both fruit and vegetable juices.

Egg White Protein

Egg protein has a light, fluffy texture that maintains its consistency when shaken with thin juices. Some egg proteins have added flavors that pair nicely with juices.

Beef Protein

Beef protein powders hold their own alongside strongly flavored juices like tomato, cranberry or pomegranate juice. They mix smoothly without clumping.

Protein Type Best Juice Matches
Whey Coconut water, aloe vera, lower pulp juices
Casein Orange, apple, higher pulp juices
Plant-based All fruit and vegetable juices
Egg white Thinner, milder juices
Beef Tomato, cranberry, pomegranate

Effects on Taste and Texture

Mixing protein powder and juice alters both the taste and mouthfeel of your shakes:

Thinner, More Liquid Texture

Most juices have a thinner consistency than milk or yogurt. They create a more liquid, drinkable shake without too much body or thickness.

Enhanced Sweetness

The natural sugars in juice offset any bitter flavors from unflavored/unsweetened proteins. Juice adds sweetness without needing to add extra sugar, syrups or sweeteners.

Increased Acidity

Many juices, especially citrus, have an acidic pH. This acidity helps mask the chalky taste of cheap or highly concentrated proteins. But very acidic juices may curdle milk-based proteins.

Pulp and Fiber

Whole juices contribute pulp and fiber that gives shakes more body and texture. Too much pulp can make shakes unpleasantly thick and gloppy.


Vigorous shaking introduces air into juice-protein shakes, creating a foamy texture. Let shakes sit 5 minutes after mixing to allow foam to settle before drinking.


The water content of juice and lack of emulsifiers can sometimes cause separation between liquids and powders. Thorough blending when mixing is key to prevent separation.

Potential Digestive Issues

Combining fruit juice and protein powder can sometimes cause unpleasant digestive side effects like:

Gas and Bloating

Some people experience increased gas, flatulence, burping and abdominal bloating when pairing fruit juice with protein powder. Vegetable juices are less likely to cause this issue.


Highly concentrated fruit juice sugars draw water into the intestinal tract, potentially resulting in loose stools or diarrhea when drinking juice-protein shakes.


People prone to Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) may experience intestinal cramping and pain if fruit juices trigger their condition. The high osmolality of juice sugars attracts moisture into the bowels.

Reduced Protein Absorption

There is some evidence that the simple sugars in fruit juices can briefly reduce small intestine absorption of amino acids from protein. This interferes with the availability of protein consumed at the same time as juice.

Poor Nutrient Absorption

In some cases, the combination of concentrated fruit sugars and protein appear to result in poor digestion and absorption of overall nutrients.

Tips for Mixing Protein and Juice

Here are some tips to mix protein powder and juice successfully:

– Mix juices and proteins immediately before drinking to prevent premature oxidation, separation, or clumping. Don’t let shakes sit for extended periods.

– Chill ingredients like juice and milk before blending to help achieve a frothy, smoothie-like texture.

– Use a smoothie blender, immersion blender or shaker bottle to fully incorporate juice and powders. Thorough mixing prevents settling and separation.

– Add ice to fruit juice shakes for a more frozen, slushy texture.

– Slowly incorporate juice into protein a little at a time while blending to avoid clumping.

– Gently stir or swirl shakes once blended to equally distribute any foam.

– Consume juice-protein combinations soon before or after workouts to utilize nutrients and minimize blood sugar spikes. Avoid drinking as a bedtime snack.

– Start with half the juice and work up slowly if you experience diarrhea, cramps or gas when mixing juices and protein powder.

Healthy Juice and Protein Smoothie Recipes

These nutritious smoothies combine juice and protein powder for post-workout recovery or a balanced breakfast:

Tropical Greens Protein Smoothie

– 1 cup coconut water
– 1 cup spinach
– 1/2 cup pineapple juice
– 1/4 avocado
– 1 scoop unflavored whey or plant protein
– 1/2 cup ice

Blend all ingredients until smooth and creamy. The coconut water, pineapple, avocado and greens provide potassium, healthy fats and antioxidants.

Mixed Berry Protein Shake

– 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
– 1/2 cup frozen mixed berries
– 1/3 cup pomegranate juice
– 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
– 1 tbsp ground flaxseed
– Ice as needed

Mix milk, berries, juice, protein, flax and ice until thick and chilled. Pomegranate juice adds a tangy twist and antioxidants.

Orange Carrot Smoothie

– 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
– 1/2 cup carrot juice
– 1 banana
– 2 tbsp Greek yogurt
– 1 scoop unflavored protein powder
– 1/4 tsp cinnamon
– 3 ice cubes

Blend all ingredients for a frosty, refreshing protein-packed smoothie. Carrot and orange juice provide vitamin C and beta carotene.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does juice make protein shakes taste better?

Yes, adding juice can make protein shakes more palatable by masking bitter flavors and chalky textures. Juice provides natural sweetness without adding sugar. But not all juice and protein combinations may taste good depending on personal preferences.

Is mixing juice and protein powder bad?

There are no major health risks to mixing juice with protein shakes as part of a healthy diet. However, fruit juice sugars can potentially cause digestive issues, blood sugar spikes and excess calories for some individuals. Moderating juice portions and combining it with fiber, protein and fat can help mitigate drawbacks.

What juice has the most protein?

Orange juice has one of the highest amounts of protein among common juices, providing 1.7 grams of protein per cup. Other juices with protein include apple juice (0.5 g protein per cup), grapefruit juice (1.1 g), cranberry juice (0.5 g), and tomato juice (2.1 g).

Is orange juice good for protein shakes?

Thanks to its mild sweetness, low acidity and light consistency, orange juice can work well in protein shakes. It provides vitamin C, potassium and a bit of protein. Just be mindful of the sugar content, about 21 grams per cup.

Can I use juice instead of milk in protein shakes?

Yes, juice can fully replace milk, soy milk or water when mixing protein powders if desired. The juice adds flavor and nutrients without significantly impacting protein quality or absorption. Shake thickness and mouthfeel will be thinner compared to using milk.

The Bottom Line

Combining juice and protein powder can benefit workout recovery, muscle growth, hydration and overall nutrition compared to protein shakes made with only water. But juice sugars and acidity may cause digestive problems or blood sugar spikes for some individuals. Stick to low-glycemic vegetable and coconut water juices, moderate fruit juice portions, and properly blend shakes for best results and tolerability. Drink juice-protein combinations soon after mixing for maximum freshness and nutritional value.

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