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What juice is best for protein shake?

Protein shakes have become an increasingly popular way for people to get extra protein in their diets. They are often used by athletes and bodybuilders looking to build muscle mass. But plain protein powders mixed with water can sometimes be bland and chalky. Adding fruit juice to a protein shake can help improve the flavor and make it more enjoyable to drink. But with so many juice options available, how do you know which juice is the best to use for protein shakes?

Benefits of adding juice to protein shakes

Adding juice to a protein shake provides several benefits beyond just improving the taste:

  • Provides extra nutrients – Fruit and vegetable juices contain important vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
  • Increases fiber intake – Juices like orange juice and apple juice contain fiber, which improves digestion and gut health.
  • Aids in protein absorption – The nutrients in juice can help the body more effectively absorb and utilize the protein.
  • Improves hydration – Juice adds fluid, which helps keep the body hydrated while drinking a thick shake.
  • Adds natural sweetness – The natural sugars in fruit juices can help sweeten a protein shake without adding tons of artificial sweeteners or sugar.

Important factors in choosing a juice

However, not all juices are equally good choices for adding to protein shakes. Here are some important factors to consider when selecting a juice:

  • Sugar content – Many fruit juices contain a lot of natural sugars, so opt for lower sugar options or dilute high-sugar juices with water.
  • Fiber – Choose juices like orange juice and apple juice that provide some fiber, which helps control blood sugar spikes.
  • Nutrient profile – Look for juices rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants like vitamin C, potassium, and polyphenols.
  • Flavor – Pick juices with flavors that complement the flavor of your protein powder.
  • Calories – Be mindful of calorie counts if trying to lose weight – juices like grapefruit, lemon, and lime are low-calorie options.

Best juice options for protein shakes

Taking all these factors into account, here are some of the best juice options to mix into protein shakes:

Orange juice

Orange juice is one of the most popular juices to mix with protein powder. It has a tart, citrusy flavor that masks the taste of chalky protein powder. It’s also low in sugar compared to other fruit juices. One cup contains:

Calories Sugar Fiber Vitamin C Potassium
112 21 grams 2 grams 124% DV 496mg

Apple juice

Apple juice has a sweet, mild flavor that combines well with many protein powders. It contains about 24 grams of sugar per cup, so dilute with water if trying to limit sugar. Apple juice has vitamins C and A, plus antioxidants like quercetin.

Calories Sugar Fiber Vitamin C
114 24 grams 0.5 grams 2.4mg

Pomegranate juice

Pomegranate juice has a tart, sweet flavor profile. It provides vitamins C and K, plus powerful antioxidants like anthocyanins and ellagitannins. Be aware it has high natural sugar content.

Calories Sugar Vitamin C Vitamin K
134 31 grams 40% DV 36% DV

Cranberry juice

Cranberry juice has a tart, slightly bitter profile that contrasts nicely with sweet protein powder. It’s low in sugar compared to other fruit juices but high in vitamin C. Dilute cranberry juice with water to reduce calories and sugar.

Calories Sugar Vitamin C
116 30 grams 28% DV

Grapefruit juice

Grapefruit juice is very low in sugar and calories but high in immune-boosting vitamin C. It has an acidic, slightly bitter taste that works well in protein shakes. Pink and red grapefruit also provide lycopene and beta-carotene.

Calories Sugar Vitamin C Lycopene
96 18 grams 128% DV 12,575 mcg

Lemon juice

Lemon juice adds powerful tart, citrusy flavor to shakes. It’s very low calorie, low sugar, and high in vitamin C. Add just a small amount of lemon juice as too much can make shakes too sour. Fresh squeezed juice has the most nutritional benefits.

Calories Sugar Vitamin C
12 1.5 grams 51% DV

Vegetable juice

For something different, use vegetable juices like low-sodium tomato or carrot juice in shakes. Tomato juice provides lycopene, vitamin C, and potassium. Carrot juice contains vitamin A, vitamin K, potassium, and antioxidants.

Avoid high sugar fruit juices

It’s best to avoid mixing ultra high sugar fruit juices like grape, cranberry, mango, or pineapple juice into protein shakes. While they contain valuable vitamins and minerals, their high natural sugar content can cause a blood sugar spike.

If you want to use these juices, consider diluting them by half with water first or sticking to just 1-2 ounces per shake.

Making a healthy protein shake with juice

When mixing up a protein shake, use these tips for the best nutrition and flavor:

  • Use 1 scoop protein powder per serving
  • Add 1/2 to 1 cup juice
  • Include ice and/or frozen fruit for thickness
  • Blend on high until smooth and creamy
  • For lower sugar, dilute juice with water
  • Consider supplements like probiotics or omega-3s

Combining high-quality protein powder with nutritious juices results in a shake that’s flavorful, healthy, and provides key nutrients your body needs. Be creative and try different juice combinations to find your favorite protein shake!

Conclusion

Adding fruit or vegetable juice to a protein shake is a tasty way to improve its flavor and nutrient profile. When choosing a juice, opt for options lower in natural sugar like orange, apple, grapefruit, or tomato juice. Avoid very high sugar juices and dilute them with water if needed. Making your own shakes with quality protein powder and fresh juices allows you to create a healthy, customized beverage to support your nutrition goals.