Premier Protein is one of many brands in the protein market. They offer a selection of protein shakes, along with protein powders and clear protein drinks, all of which are meant to be a delicious way to increase your protein intake and boost your health.
The shakes get consistently good reviews too. They’re even sometimes seen as some of the best protein shakes. Is that true though? Are Premier Protein shakes good for you?
As protein shakes, the products are useful, making it easy to get more protein into your diet. They might even help you lose weight if you use them well. Still, there’s more to the story than that. After all, there are plenty of protein shake brands on the market (Slim Fast is another) and some are clearly better than others.
Are Premier Protein Shakes Good For Your Health?
- What Are Premier Protein Shakes?
- Premier Protein Shake Nutrition
- Premier Protein Flavors
- The Benefits Of Premier Protein Shakes
- The Limits Of Premier Protein Shakes
- Are The Shakes Lactose Free?
- Where To Buy Premier Protein Shakes
- How To Choose The Best Protein Shakes
- Other Premier Protein Products
- Final Thoughts
What Are Premier Protein Shakes?
Premier Protein shakes are all preprepared protein shakes from Premier Nutrition Corporation. They come in 11.5 fl. oz bottles and 11 fl. oz cartons. The nutritional profile and flavor availability tends to be the same for both bottle sizes.
They’re often used as fast sources of protein and nutrition, particularly by bodybuilders and anyone wanting to lose weight. The shakes are heavily processed, which is frustrating, but this is important for keeping them shelf stable.
Premier Nutrition likes to keep things consistent. Their shakes tend to contain 30 grams of protein per serving, along with 160 calories, 1 gram of sugar, and roughly 3 grams of fat. This is a fantastic contrast to all the high sugar shakes on the market, many of which are relatively low in protein too.
Premier Nutrition also includes 24 vitamins and minerals in their shakes. You’re looking at around 25% of your daily needs for most vitamins and minerals. However, some are higher (like 50% of your vitamin C needs) and others are lower (like 10% of your daily iron needs).
Then there’s the carb content, which is generally low (often around 5 grams per serving). You might even be able to have some of the shakes while following a keto diet.
At the time of writing, Premier Protein offers the following flavors. Some of these are seasonal, while others are classics that continue year after year. Here’s the selection at the time of writing:
- Bananas & Cream
- Café Latte
- Cake Batter Delight
- Chocolate Peanut Butter
- Cinnamon Roll
- Cookies & Cream
- Peaches & Cream
- Root Beer Float
- Strawberries & Cream
However, like many companies, Premier Protein sometimes changes the formula for their flavors. This means that the same flavor might taste different after the company makes a tweak.
The Benefits Of Premier Protein Shakes
Premier Protein shakes offer 30 grams of protein per serving, which is decent. This amount of protein should give you a satisfying shake, one that contains plenty of amino acids to help with your muscle development.
Many other shakes in the industry aren’t nearly as impressive. Ensure shakes, for example, often contain less than 10 grams of protein. They do have one with 16 grams of protein and another with 30 grams, but these are harder to find than the other types.
Similarly, Shakeology shakes contain around 16 or 17 grams of protein. That’s not too bad, but it’s a far cry from 30 grams of protein per serving.
Convenience is the main reason for turning to pre-packaged protein shakes like Premier Protein. And, honestly, the shakes couldn’t get more convenient. They’re ready to drink straight from the bottle and don’t even need to be in the fridge (although they are much tastier if you chill them first).
What could be better first thing in the morning? You can simply grab a shake and head out the door. Alternatively, you might keep a shake or two in your bag at the gym or at the office, just in case you get hungry and need something fast and easy.
Pre-packaged protein shakes are often high in sugar. Some even contain more sugar per serving than protein. This isn’t the case for Premier Protein. Instead, the company keeps their sugar content at just 1 gram per serving.
It’s a fantastic feature, as who wants extra sugar when they’re trying to lose weight?
Premier Protein shakes are designed as meal replacements, so they contain a variety of nutrients, including vitamin D, iron, selenium, potassium, vitamin A, and magnesium. You get 25% of your daily intake for many of these, although there are a few exceptions (like 4% of your daily intake for potassium or 45% for phosphorus).
The nutrients are particularly relevant if you are skipping a meal, as you don’t want your nutrient intake to suffer.
There is one catch though, the vitamins and minerals are added in, making them similar to ones found in a multivitamin supplement. They’ll still give you plenty of benefits, just perhaps not as many as you’d get from real food.
Premier Protein shakes are famous for their flavors, which is no easy feat. Few other protein shake companies manage to consistently make people happy with their flavors, while still just containing 1 gram of sugar per shake.
The formula is part of the reason. Another is just how many different flavors they have, including Chocolate, Vanilla, Café Latte, Cake Batter Delight, Cinnamon Roll, and Root Beer (limited edition). Having so many flavors is much better than just seeing chocolate, vanilla, and perhaps one or two others.
Protein helps to keep you full, making it perfect for weight loss. After all, it’s awful when you’re trying to cut down calories and are constantly hungry. With protein, it’s possible to still cut your calories down, without suffering the experience too much.
The easiest approach is to have a Premier Protein shake instead of a meal. The shakes have plenty of nutrients, along with protein to keep you going. Plus, a single shake contains fewer calories than most meals, so you can decrease your calorie intake without trying too hard.
The shakes can be helpful in the opposite direction too.
Some people struggle to put on weight, like if they are ill or have difficulty eating food. Having protein shakes in addition to regular meals is a simple way to increase calorie intake and promote weight gain.
Protein shakes are often used for muscle building too, as protein is the main component of your muscles. In fact, your body can’t develop muscle without protein. This suggests that if you’re trying to put on extra muscle, increasing your protein intake could help.
Premier Protein shakes certainly aren’t the only way to get the protein you need, but they’re a convenient approach that provides you with plenty of protein per serving.
The Limits Of Premier Protein Shakes
Premier Protein shakes are highly processed. They must be to give you a shelf-stable drink that’s a concentrated source of easy-to-digest protein.
Still, highly processed foods aren’t ideal for health. Whole foods are much better, as they tend to contain more nutrients, antioxidants, and other critical compounds. Whole foods take longer to digest too, which is actually a good thing and helps to keep us satisfied for longer.
Research is now starting to show that relying heavily on highly processed foods can lead to significant health issues. This effect will be influenced by the amount of processed food in your diet and the specific types you’re relying on. Even so, why turn to processed food at all when there are so many better options out there?
Premier Protein uses various additives to give their shakes the desired flavor and texture. Some additives are needed to keep the product shelf-stable, but the company does go overboard, as their ingredient selection includes sucralose, acesulfame potassium, carrageenan, artificial flavors, and more.
Additives are always tested for safety before they’re included in food, but this doesn’t mean that they’re benign. There’s still the chance for negative effects and some issues are tough to spot.
Indeed, some of the ingredients used in Premier Protein are controversial. Sucralose is one of these, as the artificial sweetener is thought to harm your gut bacteria and promote inflammation.
More research is needed before we can be certain about the health effects of sucralose or any other additive. The question remains, though, why consume such concerning ingredients to begin with?
Additives aren’t ever going to improve your health. At best, they’ll have no effect at all. At worst, they’ll cause harm. So, why not skip them as much as possible?
If you’re trying to lose weight, you’ll probably drink a protein shake instead of a meal. Many people do this regularly and are successful at weight loss, but others struggle.
The problem is that you’re getting your calories in liquid form, rather than as part of a relatively unprocessed meal. Calories from liquids are never as satisfying as those from food, which means you don’t stay full for as long.
You’ll need to experiment for yourself to see whether a Premier Protein shake is enough to keep you satisfied until your next meal. Some people find that it is. Others don’t.
Surprising as it may seem, Premier Protein shakes contain a decent amount of sodium too. For example, the regular chocolate shake contains 180 mg per serving and chocolate peanut butter contains a whopping 380 mg of sodium.
This isn’t good at all, as high sodium intake can increase your blood pressure levels and raise your risk of heart disease. Plus, many of us are already overdoing it with sodium. It’s hard not to when sodium is used in so many different foods.
Do you want to be getting this much sodium from a protein shake? You could easily get less by focusing on a different product or looking for a protein powder that’s low in sodium. There are plenty of options out there.
Protein shakes are useful if you want protein quickly and don’t have the time (or inclination) to prepare a protein rich meal. However, the shakes will never give you the same benefits as real food – they simply can’t.
You lose out due to the processing, the additives, and the fact that you’re drinking liquid calories rather than eating a meal.
Most of the time, protein shakes are best used every so often, rather than something you rely on daily. Doing so still allows you to take advantage of the convenience of a protein shake, while still eating plenty of real food.
All of the protein shakes from Premier Protein are made using whey and casein proteins. These both come from milk, making the shakes a no-go for vegan eaters.
If you want a vegan shake, you’ll need to focus on Premier Protein Powder and make your shake. Otherwise, you’ll need to choose a different brand.
Only Helpful If You Need The Protein
This might seem obvious, but it’s a point that’s easily missed – Premier Protein shakes will only help you if you actually need the protein they offer.
Now, protein is important; that’s true. Our body is made up of proteins and we use them everywhere. We need the amino acids from the protein in our foods to build the protein our bodies need.
This doesn’t mean that more protein is always better. If you’re already getting all the amino acids you need from your diet, a protein shake isn’t going to help you much at all.
Some people get side effects from Premier Protein shakes. This is sometimes linked to the additives in the shakes, like sucralose, as you might not be able to tolerate them. In fact, sucralose is one reason that people avoid the shakes.
Consuming too much whey protein at a time can also create issues too, giving you side effects like cramps, nausea, and bloating. If you start to get side effects like these, you might need to slow down with the protein shakes or even stop using them entirely.
When you buy prepared shakes, you’re trusting that the company is using safe ingredients and that they’re not misleading you. Unfortunately, Premier Protein doesn’t have a great history here.
For one thing, the company voluntarily recalled some of their products in 2022, out of concern about microbial contamination. This was a preemptive recall and there was little evidence of actual contamination. Still, the decision hardly inspires confidence.
There was also a lawsuit against Premier Protein, saying that they overstated the protein content of their shakes. There was no dramatic harm done here either, but the lawsuit further proves that we can’t fully trust Premier Nutrition.
Are The Shakes Lactose Free?
Because Premier Protein shakes rely on whey and casein, their products do also contain lactose. However, some people with lactose intolerance may still be able to drink the shakes, as there isn’t much lactose present.
You’ll need to experiment with this one for yourself, as people vary in exactly how much lactose they can digest without an issue. You might find that you can safely have a shake or even two per day or that you might need to avoid them entirely.
The company does also have vegan protein powder. This powder relies on pea protein and rice protein and is completely lactose free. However, the powder still needs to be mixed with a liquid, so it’s not as convenient as the Premier Protein shakes.
Premier Protein shakes are easy to find. They’re often sold in Walmart, Costco, and Target, not to mention many smaller stores.
Premier Protein shakes have some good features, including their high protein content and low amount of sugar. They are highly processed, but if you want a prepared protein shake that will last and doesn’t need to be put in the fridge, then you’ll need something processed.
What if you want something healthier?
Well, you can pay close attention to the ingredient labels. Look for products that use as few additives as possible, ideally those that rely on natural sweeteners rather than artificial ones.
Also consider products that focus on protein, rather than trying to cram in a variety of vitamins and minerals. You can get all those vitamins and minerals from real food anyway, which is a much better approach.
However, to find the best protein shakes, it’s best to skip the pre-packaged idea entirely. Look for protein powder instead.
There are some fantastic products out there, ones that only use a few ingredients. Naked Whey, for example, uses whey protein concentrate as their only ingredient. Their flavored version adds coconut sugar and dried strawberries, but that’s it.
Making a shake using protein powder isn’t difficult anyway. You just need to mix the powder with milk, plant-based milk, or even water. That’s it. You don’t even need a blender, as a shaker bottle will do the trick nicely.
Other Premier Protein Products
We’ve been talking about Premier Protein shakes, but that’s not all the company offers. They also have chocolate, vanilla, and café latte protein powders, plus plant-based protein powders, protein cereal, protein pancakes, a protein hot cocoa mix, and a clear protein drink.
These products all have different nutritional profiles, but follow the same patterns as the protein shakes. This means they offer plenty of protein and keep the sugar content low, but are still processed and include some questionable ingredients.
They also have protein bars. These are only advertised in a few places these days and could be discontinued now or in the future.
As prepared shakes go, Premier Protein shakes are pretty decent. They’re convenient, relatively inexpensive, contain a decent amount of protein, and are low in sugar. However, they’re also highly processed, use artificial ingredients, contain a surprising amount of sodium, and will never be as good as real food.
So, should you use them?
The shakes could be useful if you need something filling fast and don’t have time to prepare a full meal. However, they’re not something you should really be drinking every day.
If you want to rely on protein shakes, buying high-quality protein powder and making the shakes at home yourself is much better. Doing so isn’t difficult and will dramatically reduce the number of additives you’re consuming.
Or, better yet, why not skip the protein shakes entirely? Unless you’re actively trying to build muscle mass, you’re probably getting enough protein from real food without ever needing to rely on shakes.