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Premier Protein shakes have become one of the most recognized and popular ready-to-drink protein shake brands on the market. With a wide variety of flavor options and availability at major retailers across the United States, Premier Protein offers a convenient way to add extra protein to your daily diet.
This in-depth guide will explore everything you need to know about Premier Protein shakes including the pros and cons, ingredients, nutritional information, taste options, cost breakdown, and how to optimize your use of these protein-packed shakes.
What is Premier Protein?
Premier Protein is a line of pre-made protein shakes manufactured by Fairlife Nutrition and distributed by The Coca-Cola Company. Premier Protein shakes first launched in 2012 and is now sold in major grocery stores, warehouse clubs, pharmacies, and online retailers throughout the United States and parts of Canada.
According to the company website, their shakes are designed to “help maintain lean muscle, provide nutritious energy, and keep you feeling fuller longer.” The signature ingredient in Premier Protein shakes is milk protein concentrate, supplying a concentrated dose of whey and casein protein.
Each 11 fl. oz shake contains 30 grams of protein along with around 160 calories and minimal fat, sugar, and carbs. The shakes are bottled in Tetra Pak cartons and sold as on-the-go drinks, ideal for packing lunches or consuming after workouts. Premier Protein products are certified gluten-free and appropriate for many dietary needs.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Premier Protein
Here is an overview of the main advantages and potential downsides associated with routinely drinking Premier Protein shakes:
- High in protein to build and maintain muscle
- Contains all 9 essential amino acids
- Low in sugar, carbs, and fat for weight management
- Convenient pre-made shakes for on-the-go nutrition
- Wide variety of flavors to suit different tastes
- Lactose-free and gluten-free
- No artificial sweeteners used
- Mix of fast and slow-digesting dairy proteins
- Relatively expensive compared to powdered shakes
- Additives and preservatives included
- Not suitable for people with milk/dairy allergies
- Contains artificial flavors and added sugars
- Only available ready-to-drink, not as just powder
- Some people dislike the taste and texture
Overall, Premier Protein shakes offer an easy way to increase daily protein intake with minimal preparation needed. However, the pre-made shakes come at a higher cost and include some additives not found in basic protein powders.
Nutritional Profile of Premier Protein Shakes
Here is the basic nutritional information for one 11-fluid-ounce serving of Premier Protein shake:
- Calories: 160
- Total fat: 3 g
- Saturated fat: 1.5 g
- Trans fat: 0 g
- Cholesterol: 15 mg
- Sodium: 190 mg
- Potassium: 370 mg
- Total carbs: 5 g
- Dietary fiber: 0 g
- Sugars: 2 g
- Added sugars: 2 g
- Protein: 30 g
- Calcium: 25% DV
- Iron: 10% DV
- Vitamin D: 25% DV
The nutritional values may vary slightly between flavors but all offer an excellent source of protein. Each shake provides around 27% of the Daily Value for protein in just one serving. They are lower in sugars than many competing brands yet still contain vitamins and minerals.
Ingredients in Premier Protein Shakes
Premier Protein shakes contain the following main ingredients:
- Milk Protein Concentrate – Made by ultra filtrating milk to concentrate the whey and casein proteins. Provides all essential amino acids.
- Water – Adds liquid content.
- Sugar – Usually the second ingredient. Adds sweetness with 2g per serving.
- Natural and Artificial Flavors – Added flavors matched to variety. Provide taste.
- Cocoa powder – In chocolate flavors. Supplies antioxidants.
- Canola oil – Provides omega-3s and creamy texture.
- Cellulose gel and cellulose gum – Thickeners to improve mouthfeel.
- Salt – For flavor.
- Sucralose – Non-nutritive (zero calories) sweetener.
- Acesulfame potassium – Added non-nutritive sweetener.
- Soy lecithin – Emulsifier to prevent separation. Derived from soybeans.
- Carrageenan – Stabilizing thickener made from seaweed.
The ingredient list is relatively straightforward. However, some people wish the shakes had fewer additives like soy, sucralose, carrageenan, and “natural flavors.” Premier Protein states their shakes contain no gluten, lactose, or soy proteins.
How Does the Taste Compare?
With protein shakes, taste is always a primary consideration. Here is how Premier Protein shakes stack up taste-wise:
- Thick, milkshake-like texture – Almost resembles a pudding thanks to added thickeners. Some like the creamy texture while others feel it’s too thick.
- Sweetness level – The shakes taste sweet but aren’t overwhelming thanks to minimal sugars. Some competitors use more alternative sweeteners that give an artificial taste.
- Chalky aftertaste – A somewhat chalky/powdery aftertaste is noticeable with Premier Protein compared to other ready-to-drink options. Comes from the milk protein concentrate.
- Flavor accuracy – The intended flavors like chocolate and vanilla generally taste authentic, not artificial. However, some flavors are more accurate than others.
Overall, the taste receives mixed reviews. Some love the thick, indulgent mouthfeel and true-to-name flavors. Others aren’t fans of the artificial sweetness and find the aftertaste off-putting. Taste preferences vary individually so try samples to see if you enjoy them.
Macronutrient Profile Comparison
How do the macros of Premier Protein shakes compare to other leading brands? Here is a head-to-head macronutrient profile comparison:
- Premier Protein – 160 calories, 30g protein, 5g carbs, 3g fat
- Ensure – 220 calories, 9g protein, 33g carbs, 6g fat
- Boost – 240 calories, 10g protein, 41g carbs, 4g fat
- Orgain – 220 calories, 21g protein, 15g carbs, 7g fat
- Carnation – 150 calories, 15g protein, 14g carbs, 2.5g fat
Premier leads to high protein and low carb/sugar content. The only brands that come close are Fairlife’s Core Power and Iconic Protein, which are made by the same company. For low-carb, higher-protein shakes, Premier Protein is a leading choice.
What Flavors Does Premier Protein Offer?
One reason for Premier Protein’s popularity is the wide range of flavors available:
- Vanilla Almond
- Mocha Latte
- Café Latte
- Banana Cream
- Cookies & Cream
- Strawberry & Cream
- Peaches & Cream
- Chocolate Peanut Butter
- Dulce de Leche
- Mint Chocolate
- Cinnamon Roll
- Cherry Vanilla
- Toasted Coconut
- Fruit & Yogurt (mixed berry, peach, tropical fruit)
- Chocolate Almond
With nearly 20 varieties along with seasonal and limited edition flavors, most people can find multiple options they enjoy. The chocolate, vanilla, and coffee flavors tend to be rated as favorites.
Cost Breakdown and Where to Buy
One drawback to ready-made shakes is the higher cost versus powder formulations. Here is a price comparison of Premier Protein shakes purchased at major national retailers:
- Walmart: $14.98 for a 12-pack case ($1.25 per bottle)
- Costco: $18.99 for an 18-pack case ($1.05 per bottle)
- Sam’s Club: $15.98 for a 12-pack case ($1.33 per bottle)
- Amazon: $23.76 for an 18-pack case ($1.32 per bottle)
- Walgreens: $2.49 for a single shake ($2.49 each)
- 7-Eleven: $2.99 for a single Cafe Latte flavor ($2.99 each)
The best deal when buying Premier Protein shakes is to purchase them by the case at big box stores. Buying individually at convenience stores costs over double the price. Consider sharing cases with family or friends if you can’t use them quickly.
How to Get the Most Out of Premier Protein Shakes
To maximize the benefits of adding Premier Protein or any shake into your diet, here are some usage tips:
- Use for breakfast – Make shakes a protein-packed part of your morning meal.
- Drink after workouts – Consuming shakes immediately after training optimizes recovery.
- Limit to one serving – Stick to one 11 oz shake to keep calories in check.
- Combine with fruit – Blend in berries, bananas, etc. for extra nutrients.
- Pair with healthy fats – Mix in nut butter or avocado to increase satisfaction.
- Don’t completely replace whole foods – Make sure to still eat balanced, fiber-rich meals.
- Watch your total protein intake if consuming daily – Excess protein can lead to digestive issues in some.
- Compare the cost to powder – Weigh whether ready-to-drink is worth the extra cost over making your own.
By incorporating Premier Protein strategically into your diet and fitness plan, you can take advantage of the convenience these shakes offer while still eating plenty of nutritious whole foods for optimal health.
The Bottom Line on Premier Protein Shakes
Overall, Premier Protein offers an easy way to increase daily protein intake, especially around workouts when protein needs are highest. The shakes provide quality nutrition in a grab-and-go format. However, the pre-made shakes come with a higher price tag than powder alternatives.
Flavors, taste, texture, and nutrition profiles also received mixed reviews. Some love the thick, milkshake-like consistency while others prefer a lighter protein shake. Make sure to sample different Premier Protein flavors to find the ones that appeal most to your preferences.
While not perfect, Premier Protein makes for a protein-packed, low-sugar choice in the ready-to-drink category. Just be mindful of potential additives and don’t over-rely on shakes in place of whole foods. When consumed in moderation as part of an overall balanced diet, Premier Protein can be an easy way to hit your protein goals.