The difference between a healthy and unhealthy shake largely depends on the quality and quantity of the ingredients. The biggest pitfall of shakes is that they often contain large amounts of added sugar and therefore reduce the nutritional value of the shake. Therefore, always read the ingredients list carefully.
What should you pay attention to when choosing a shake?
Depending on the purpose for which you use a shake, the ingredients can vary. But there are some general maxims for the preparation of a healthy shake.
- If you use shakes as a meal replacement or healthy snack, they should contain a mix of carbohydrates, fats and proteins. These are important energy sources for the body. A shake as a replacement meal should also contain at least 200 kcal.
- When replacing a meal with a shake, fiber can be an added value: they give a feeling of fullness so that you are less likely to be hungry. Fiber can be added to a shake in the form of oatmeal, seeds, kernels or nuts.
- Pay attention to the amount of protein. Proteins also play an important role in how the body experiences hunger. When you consume protein, the hormones that stimulate the feeling of hunger will decrease. You will also burn more fat with a higher protein intake. However, too much protein is harmful, so don’t overdo it. A healthy protein intake amounts to about 35% of your diet.
- If necessary, take into account alkaline foods in your shake. These substances can help to reduce acidity in your body. Optimal acidity is a prerequisite for good health. Stress, medication use and poor nutrition can cause an imbalance and cause an acidic environment in your body. You can repair that imbalance by taking alkaline foods, such as green tea, lemons and leafy vegetables.
- If you buy a pre-prepared shake, choose a shake with no or as little added sugar as possible. If you’re making a shake yourself, use whole fruits, such as a ripe banana, to add a sweet flavor instead of sugar, honey, or maple syrup.
- Finally, choose natural ingredients and avoid using additives.
Protein shakes for muscle building and recovery
Shakes can be a useful addition to exercise, provided they contain enough protein. Research shows that there is no significant difference between pre-workout shakes or post-workout shakes for muscle building. As long as you drink the shake around the time of your workout, it has a positive effect.
- Shakes before a workout have the advantage of providing your body with enough nutrients quickly, without you experiencing a full and bloated feeling during exercise. For example, if you’ve just come from work and you haven’t eaten anything for hours, a shake can be quite useful.
- A shake can also be useful after a workout, because a heavy workout is very stressful for the body. Your body can then use the proteins from a shake well to promote muscle recovery.