Horse Gulch Blog

Watchdogging for the greater Durango area

18 Jul 2015

Rated: The best and worst tasting protein shake nutritional supplements found in local stores

Posted by Adam Howell


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Drinking protein shakes to help your put on some weight, keep the weight that you have, or as a meal replacement should not happen at the cost of your happiness because their taste or consistency makes you want to barf.

That’s why Horse Gulch Blog has this ongoing review of the best and worst tasting protein shakes on the market.

Local stores have plenty of good-tasting protein shakes to where you shouldn’t have to resort to drinking one that makes you want to gag.

I’ve done a fair amount of product testing when it comes to protein shakes, so I’ll start out with those that are palatable.

The best tasting protein shakes, says me

IMG_30641. Platinum Hydrobuilder, Chocolate

This stuff mixes really well, tastes great with milk, and has a strong, creamy chocolate flavor. Make sure to match what you’ve blended with a separate glass of water, though, because the creatine in this tends to have a dehydrating effect. Also, it’s got dairy in it, so make sure not to overdue it.

Optimum Nutrition products are usually found online or in GNC stores.

IMG_34742. Vega One, All in one Nutrional Shake, Chocolate

As a plant-based non-gmo shake, this powder has a decent amount of b vitamins, in addition to vitamins D, A, K, E, Iron, Phosphorus and Magnesium. The main ingredient is pea protein, yet it also has plenty of green vegetables, acacia gum, probiotics and pomegranate.

I’m recommending this shake to my mom, who’s on the hunt for one to have in the mornings.

3. Cytosport Muscle Milk Ready-To-Drink, Chocolate

Chocolate Muscle Milk tastes like a dark chocolate milk with a blend of vitamins, minerals and proteins added to it. Surprisingly, it contains no milk, yet it does contain milk proteins. It is very flavorful, but not too thick. It is low in sugar (3 grams per14 oz bottle), yet high in potassium, calories, and sodium.

IMG_36714. Vega Sport, Performance Protein , Chocolate

While it does have a bit of a chalky taste/texture to it, the chocolaty flavor of this plant-based dietary supplement is far more pleasing to the palate than so many other similar drinks. It mixes very easily with water.

IMG_34645. MRM 100% All Natural Whey

This stuff tastes great, but really no different than all of the other whey-based protein powders that I’ve tried.

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6. SPIRU-TEIN, chocolate, Nature’s Plus

Spiru-tein has a chalky, chocolaty flavor, yet it still tastes great. It’s not the easiest shake to blend, though, as it clumps up in the bottom of your shaker bottle, regardless of how hard I shake it. The fish tank taste of other spirulina supplements that I’ve had is surprisingly absent from this protein shake, or else it’s so mild that I don’t notice it.

IMG_34717. GNC Beyond Raw Re-Feed, double chocolate

GNC’s Beyond Raw Re-Feed double chocolate contains vegetable concentrates, various spices, and valerian root that gives it a somewhat spicy and pungent flavor. The cinnamon smell and taste was very obvious. All of the spices give it a distinct flavor.

The valerian root in this shake makes me extremely tired within a half hour of drinking it. I don’t really want to get tired from drinking something, so I’d never buy this protein shake again.

IMG_36858. Core Power, chocolate 26g

This drink tastes almost the same as any other dairy or vegetarian chocolate milk that I’ve ever had. It’s got a slightly thicker texture that other chocolate milks, thanks to the carrageenan that’s included in the ingredients as a thickener and stabilizer.

IMG_37609. Core Power, vanilla 26g

This drink tastes like whole milk with some vanilla mixed in there. Nothing too fancy. I did not notice the taste of green tea extract, which was in the ingredients. Maybe green tea extract isn’t supposed to have a flavor.

I got these protein shakes at City Market, a division of the Kroger brands.

Blah Blah, and the only reason that I’m writing this paragraph is to provide copy that creates enough space to bump the next heading down far enough to where all of the text is aligned to the left.

This should help emphasize the importance of the second half of this review: that of the worst tasting protein shakes, according to this blogger.

IMG_589410. Garden Of Life, Sport, Organic Plant-Based Protein, chocolate

This was a delicious protein shake with lots of pea and bean proteins amid a chocolaty, chalky mixture.

Garden of Life products are sold at Vitamin Cottage and Nature’s Oasis.

With one gram of sugar per serving, 1 packet has about 170 calories with much of that energy coming from apple, cherry, turmeric, blueberry and goji berry.

It is sweetened with stevia, but not too much.

It’s organic, non gmo, with 30 grams of protein per 1.6 oz package.

After a moderate shake for 10 seconds was all that was needed to mix this shake thoroughly. It did not give me bad gas.

The worst tasting protein shakes, says me

IMG_33601. Neocell-Collagen Sport, vanilla

Neocell’s Collagen Sport Recovery Complex drink has such a uniquely disgusting taste to it. It’s perfume scent will have you questioning the product. The putrid taste of this vanilla-flavored protein shake is hard to mask with other flavored drinks. Tang sort of works to hide the flavors of Collagen Sport that, for me, are unnatural and leave me questioning what’s in its ingredients.

ScreenHunter_151 May. 31 22.372. Healthy ‘N Fit: 100% Egg Protein

As a lover of all kinds of freshly cooked eggs, I have to say that the taste of this egg protein drink is just short of what’s needed to make me gag. I couldn’t finish the bottle; I had to throw it away because nobody else wanted it. While it probably has the protein that recovering muscles can use to grow, the taste of this shake is too much to handle.

The cherries in this SPIRU-TEIN protein shake do not soften up from their freeze-dried status after you add liquids. They have the texture of coagulated chunks of cherry-flavored aspartame.

The cherries in this SPIRU-TEIN protein shake do not soften up from their freeze-dried status after you add liquids. They have the texture of coagulated chunks of cherry-flavored aspartame.

3. SPIRUTEIN, cherries jubilee, Nature’s Plus

Spirutein’s cherries jubilee has the consistency of over-cooked oat meal mixed with tons of vitamins and fake-tasting freeze-dried cherries that are so crunchy that they get stuck in your teeth while you’re trying to drink your shake. It has a proprietary non-gmo protein blend of rice, pea and soy proteins, and tons of vitamins. But it’s not worth the risk of shattering your post-workout happiness.

It also gets clumped up in the bottom of the shaker bottle if you add the powder in before the liquid.

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4. Ancient Nutrition: Bone Broth Protein, Chocolate

The texture of pus from a wound is the first thought that came to mind when I drank this supplement mixed with soy milk. If I could imagine what pus tastes like, the first mouthful of this shake is when I tasted it.

IMG_5891After the first nasty taste, the flavor gets way better, although the texture becomes heinous.

This thick layer of foam was made up of big bubbles with little specks of the protein powder floating throughout that wouldn’t mix in with the soy milk.

It wouldn’t mix completely after a couple minutes of shaking the bottle with the mixer ball in it. Even after shaking it, a bunch of the powder clumped up on the bottom of the shaker bottle.

By the end of the drink, the taste was way better, the drink was fulfilling and it gave me some gas.

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