Want good nutrition benefits from a delicious shake? Here's how to choose—and use—the best ones.
Shakes were once among the best-kept secrets in the fitness world. Bodybuilders drank them daily for muscle enhancement, dieters used them to control both calories and appetite and so-called health nuts regarded them as a terrific source of vitamins, minerals and fiber.
Now, research shows that drinking protein shakes can actually help you. So the secret is out: Shakes can be one of your best friends when it comes to good health choices, and they’re an excellent ally if you lead a busy lifestyle but don't neglect good health and nutrition. However, you’ll want to make sure that your shake gets high marks for nutrient density, meaning that it should pack a nutritional wallop in combination with a low carb count.
What’s in Your Shake?
Let’s start with the basics. A good shake should contain at least 12 grams of protein, as well as fiber, vitamins and minerals, but no added sugars. Needless to say, it also should taste good!
As a Meal Replacement
If the shake is replacing a meal——you can customize shake mixes by adding ingredients to suit your needs and tastes. For example, , a quarter cup of frozen blueberries adds taste, antioxidants and creamy texture to a couple of scoops of Atkins Vanilla RTD without blowing your carbohydrate budget. Ditto for half an apple cut into pieces for easy blending—. Some folks like to add a tablespoon of natural peanut butter for a protein boost. Others up their fiber intake with a tablespoon of oat or wheat bran.
As a Snack
As a before- or after-workout snack, or a between-meals appetite quencher, the RTD shakes really prove their mettle. Whether you’re trying to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight, you can’t beat the convenience of a drink in a can that delivers just the right combination of protein, fiber and calories. What’s more, studies have shown that people who used shakes and bars, as part of a whole-foods approach were more compliant and achieved better weight-loss results than those who did not use such products1, 2.
Prior to the Atkins Advantage RTD shakes, most commercial canned drinks were low in calories but loaded with carbs, primarily added sugars. Even some shakes marketed for diabetics contain added sugars! The Atkins shakes weigh in with 20 grams of high-quality protein, 2 to 4 grams of fiber, only 1 to 2 grams of net carbs and nary a drop of high-fructose corn syrup or other added sugars or any trans fatty acids—and all with 170 calories. These shakes will do wonders to keep your blood-sugar level stable, your energy up and your appetite at bay. Needless to say, the RTD shakes are highly portable: Drink them in the car, at your desk, after a workout or wherever. And they taste terrific.
Here’s another way use Atkins Advantage® RTD shakes: Make ice “pops” for the kids (or yourself)! Pour them into ice-pop molds or ice-cube trays, and insert ice-pop sticks just before they freeze. The icy treats are the perfect answer to a sweet craving or an anytime healthy snack!
Building Muscle and Endurance
There’s a reason you see people at the gym chugging smoothies: They’re the perfect after-workout drink. Why? Because an intense weight workout actually tears down muscle; the body then repairs that muscle with nutrients, which in turn stimulate even greater strength and size. The trick is to feed the body what it most needs within an hour or so after working out, and what it needs most to build muscle is protein. Atkins Advantage® shakes use a blend of the highest-rated protein on the planet—soy, whey and milk—giving your body just the right amino acids for muscle growth and repair. While some carbs will be useful for hard-training athletes to replenish glycogen (sugar) stores in the muscle, protein is the star of the show. (For more on protein, see What You Need to Know About Protein.) And the protein in an Atkins shake is the perfect prelude to an early-morning workout when you don’t have time for a full breakfast. Its combination of protein and fiber will keep your blood sugar up and give you the needed endurance to complete your aerobic workout with energy to spare.
1. Westman, E.C., Yancy, W.S., Edman, J.S., et al., “Effect of 6-Month Adherence to a Very Low Carbohydrate Diet Program.” American Journal of Medicine , 113(1), 2002, pages 30-36.
2. Stern, L., Iqbal, N., Seshadri, P., et al., “The Effects of Low-Carbohydrate Versus Conventional Weight Loss Diets in Severely Obese Adults: One-Year Follow-up of a Randomized Trial Annals of Internal Medicine , 140(10), 2004, pages 778-785.
3. Noakes, M., Paul, F., Keogh, K.J., “High Protein Snack Bars Can Reduce Food Intake and Improve Glucose and Insulin Metabolism in Overweight Women,” Obesity Research 12(S), 2004, page A55.