What are the best protein shakes for teens?

drink wholesome makes the best protein shakes for teens with a short list of simple ingredients. Now, they can boost their protein intake without extra processing and added junk. Order samples to see if our protein powder is right for your family. 

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drink wholesome makes the best protein shakes for teens.

Written by Jack Schrupp & endorsed by Baylee Reller, RDN

Can teens drink protein shakes?

Teenagers need to eat lots of protein. Protein is essential for growth and development as it is found in every cell of the body. It is one of the main building blocks of muscles, skin, and bones. It is also a key component of antibodies, which protect the body against illness, and hormones. Needless to say, eating enough protein is important for teens, especially during growth spurts.

The current Dietary Reference Intake for teens aged 14-18 years is 0.38 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day. It follows that a 150 pound teen needs to eat about 60 grams of protein per day.

Most of a teenager’s dietary protein intake should come from foods like eggs, meat, and fish. Eating enough protein this way can be hard for some teens, however, especially for those with dietary restrictions for food aversions. This is where protein shakes can help.

Adding a protein shake to a teenager’s diet is an easy way to ensure that he or she is getting the protein that he or she needs. For teenage athletes, drinking a protein shake is an easy way to support muscle growth and recovery. That said, not all protein shakes are created equal.


What are the best protein shakes for teenagers? 

As long as he or she is eating a balanced diet, any type of dietary protein (whey, pea, egg white, etc.) can help a teen stay strong and healthy. In other words, the type of protein in the protein shake does not matter. The added ingredients, on the the other hand, matter a lot.

Most protein shakes are made with a cocktail of food additives like emulsifiers, thickeners, sugar substitutes, and flavorings. Ingredients like these can cause painful side effects and long term health problems.

For instance, additives can alter the composition and function of the gut microbiome. This can lead to gut dysbiosis, which is an imbalance in the microorganisms (microbiota) living in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Gut dysbiosis during childhood can persist through adulthood, where it becomes a leading driver of inflammation in the body and the cause of several chronic diseases.

The best protein shakes for teens are thus made with a short list of simple ingredients. By avoiding emulsifiers like sunflower lecithin, thickeners like guar gum, most sugar substitutes, and flavorings (both artificial and natural), you can ensure that a protein shake is safe for your family. Keep reading to learn more.


Why drink wholesome

drink wholesome is additive-free.

One of the reasons why we make the best protein shakes for teens is that we do not use food additives. Even in small amounts, additives can cause a number of digestive issues like bloating, constipation, diarrhea, gas, and stomach pain.

These side effects occur because additives do not look like real food, making them really hard to digest. When partially digested food sits around in your gut, it can lead to one of two outcomes: either your intestines absorb too much water, or your hungry gut bacteria get to feast. The former causes diarrhea. The latter can lead to bloating, flatulence, and stomach pain because gut bacteria release gas as they eat. Gas can also slow down the movement of food through your colon, causing constipation.

Here is a list of the most common food additives in protein shakes:

acacia gum, acesulfame potassium, artificial flavors, aspartame, carrageenan, cellulose gum, dextrin, dextrose, erythritol, gellan gum, guar gum, gum arabic, inulin, locust bean gum, “natural” flavors, maltodextrin, rice syrup solids, soy lecithin, silica, sucralose, sunflower lecithin, xanthan gum, xylitol

The main reason to avoid clear food additives, however, is their long-term impact on your gut. Regularly eating additives can disrupt regulatory pathways in your intestines, leading to inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and other systemic inflammatory disorders. Some additives, especially artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols, can also throw off the balance of your gut microbiome. As mentioned earlier, an imbalanced gut microbiome is not something you want to deal with.

the alternative:

Protein Matrix Comprised of (Whey Protein Concentrate,  Whey Protein Isolate, Calcium Caseinate, Micellar Casein, Milk Protein Isolate, Egg Albumen, Glutamine Peptides), Polydextrose, Sunflower Creamer (Sunflower Oil, Corn Syrup Solids,  Sodium Caseinate, Mono- and Diglycerides, Dipotassium Phosphate, Tricalcium Phosphate, Soy Lecithin, Tocopherols), Natural and Artificial Flavor, MCT Powder (Medium Chain Triglycerides, Nonfat Dry Milk, Disodium Phosphate, Silicon Dioxide), Lecithin, Cellulose Gum, Salt, Yellow 5, Sucralose, Acesulfame Potassium, Papain, Bromelain

drink wholesome is dairy-free.

Another reason why we make the best protein shakes for teenagers is that we do not use dairy-based proteins like whey and casein. Whey and casein, which are byproducts of cheese and yogurt production, are infamous for causing digestive problems because they contain lactose, sugar in dairy. Many teens have some degree of lactose intolerance – meaning they lack the enzymes needed to digest lactose – so dairy-based proteins can be problematic for them.

drink wholesome is made with real foods.

A final reason why we make the best protein shake for teens is that we do not use protein concentrates or isolates. Almost every other protein supplement is made with one or both of these protein sources, which have been stripped of everything but the protein. To make protein concentrates and isolates, manufacturers rely on intense mechanical and chemical processing and often use solvents like hexane. As a result, what you eat looks nothing like real food.

Your digestive system is meant to handle minimally or unprocessed real foods, not highly processed protein concentrates or isolates. Recent research suggests that regularly eating foods like these can change the composition of your gut microbiota. Once again, having an altered gut microbiome is the last thing you want.

Instead of relying on protein concentrates or isolates, we make the best protein shake for teenagers using real foods like egg whites and almonds. These simple protein sources are a gut-friendly alternative to protein concentrates and isolates.

Unlike protein isolates and concentrates, egg whites and almonds contain enzymes that help you digest them. Egg whites are also low in fiber, low in FODMAPs (which can cause digestive distress), alkaline (for a healthy gut pH), and have bioactive properties (encouraging the growth of good gut bacteria). Our customers report fewer digestive problems with our egg white protein powder than with any other protein supplement.

For those unable to eat eggs, our vegan almond protein powder is the perfect plant-based protein shake for teens. Almonds are prebiotic, meaning they enhance the diversity of your gut microbiome. They also promote regular and healthy bowel movements.

In summary, our protein powders, free of additives and dairy and made with gut-friendly protein sources, are good protein shakes for teens. They support healthy growth and recovery after sports, without any side effects or complications.


my kids love it

“My kids absolutely love drink wholesome!!! It’s a super easy way to get them a healthy meal before school, and they rave about how good it tastes.” – Alie

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This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. drink wholesome is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.