Should You Be Drinking Protein Water?

Photo: Fizzique

Protein has been added to everything from chips to cereals to cookies causing some food pros to say the added-protein trend has gotten a little out of control. Well, now you can add protein to yet another food or beverage: water.

Companies such as protein2o, Trimino, Arla Foods, Vieve, biPro, ProBalance, Premier Protein, and others are hawking sugar-free, no-carb beverages packed with up to 20 grams of whey protein per serving. They’re not just for The Vitamin Shoppe and GNC shoppers of the world, either; you can find protein water at Target, Walmart, and grocery and convenience stores around the country.

You could argue the food industry is simply giving people what they want: A 2017 industry report says whey protein is the single most sought-after ingredient in functional foods and sports nutrition products. After all, it helps build muscle, keeps you feeling satisfied, and can even aid weight loss.

But the emergence of protein water raises the question: If you can get protein in so many other forms, even plant-based protein does it really need to be in your water, too?

“I don’t think people need to waste their money on protein water,” says dietitian Taylor Wolfram, M.S., R.D.N., L.D.N. “Most people can get all the protein they need from food, with the exception of critically ill people and some elite athletes, who require individualized nutrition plans from registered dietitian nutritionists.”

Okay, so the nutrition community might not be a huge fan. However, there’s a case to be made for protein water-and not just because it tastes good. (Example: protein2o’s Kawaiola Coconut flavor tastes like a piña colada sans rum. It’s slightly ~thicker~ compared to plain old H2O, but that’s surprisingly not off-putting.)

Even though it’s technically called water, “it’s not like drinking a Gatorade post-workout,” says Andy Horrow, president of protein2o, who chugs a bottle after Orangetheory Fitness sessions. “You sort of feel like you replaced something big.”

If you’re used to shaking up some protein powder and water to get the ultra-important post-workout dose of protein, this may even be an upgrade, taste-wise. The portability factor is convenient, especially if you’re always running late in the mornings, working out on your lunch break, or just hate getting protein powder everywhere. It also helps you increase your water intake, which can only be a good thing. And if you’re struggling to hit your overall daily protein goal-looking at you, macro counters-getting 20 grams of protein in a single bottle of the stuff (without any carbs or fats) is pretty appealing.

Another company aptly named Fizzique (get it?) is capitalizing on customers in the middle of two trends: protein and sparkling water. (A new Nielsen report says sparkling water sales so far in 2018 are up 22 percent from the same time last year, making it a multibillion-dollar market.) The founder is David Jenkins, a former Olympic sprinter and current CEO of Next Proteins, which makes Detour bars and other protein products.

Jenkins says he’s always liked the taste of sparkling water and first started adding protein to it as a young athlete-but “it didn’t taste that good,” he says. Years later, he and his team sought out to make sparkling protein drinks using liquid whey protein, which led to much better results. Cans of Fizzique, which hit stores late this spring, contain colorless sparkling water with 20 grams of protein and 80 calories apiece. (But take note: A daily flavored sparkling water habit may not be so healthy.)

As innovative as these companies sound, they weren’t the first to mix protein and water. You might remember Special K had 16-oz bottles of the stuff in the mid-2000s (though they contained just 5 grams of protein). Many other companies have tried and failed in the protein water space, too, say both Horrow and Jenkins.

The bottom line, says Wolfram, is to aim to get your nutrients from food first-and to remember that all diet fads are cyclical. (See: What Fad Diets Are Doing to Your Health) That said, if you want to combat that afternoon slump with a protein water, using it as a bridge to your next meal (and a chance to try out a new trend, risk-free), protein water is definitely a smarter choice than a soda.

  • By By Kelsey Ogletree

The Scientific Reality of High Protein Diets

The evidence is clear that high protein, low carbohydrate diets can lead to significant short-term weight loss. It is equally clear that high protein, low carbohydrate diets can cause serious health difficulties for the consumer. What are consumers to make of this conflicting information? Low carbohydrate intake results in glycogen storage depletion in muscle tissue. Glycogen is the storage form of glucose in muscle. Each gram of glycogen requires 2 grams of water in order to be deposited in the muscle tissue. Without the glycogen, the water is not needed and is excreted in the urine. Therefore, the majority of early weight loss due to high protein diets is from water loss. After returning to a balanced diet, the weight lost from water will return. This is due to the muscle tissue’s ability to store glycogen and the associated water necessary for glycogen storage once carbohydrates are returned to the diet.

On the surface, water loss for weight loss doesn’t seem to be such a big deal. However, systems in the body are complex and interactive. A modification in food intake, specifically emphasizing a single nutrient will have many different effects. The first one to be examined will be the loss of glycogen. The preferred source of energy for muscle contraction is glucose, which is stored in the muscle for the most part as a much larger molecule known as glycogen. As one exercises, glucose molecules are cleaved off the glycogen and are used to make ATP, the molecule which is used directly as the energy source for muscle contraction. During exercise, these glycogen stores may be depleted by as much as 75%. In order to replace the glycogen, a carbohydrate source is necessary. Digestive enzymes break the carbohydrate compounds down into glucose which is then used to replenish glycogen stores in the muscle. Without a glucose source, the glycogen is not replaced. The practical implication for glycogen loss is a feeling of tiredness, lethargy, and the inability to exercise at a high level on a day to day basis. In other words the individual becomes “stale”.

Glycogen depletion may be the least of the problems caused by high protein diets. Whenever carbohydrates are not available, lipids become a primary fuel source (which could be desirable for weight loss, if what follows did not occur). Unfortunately, lipids cannot be used for a long period of time without carbohydrate ingestion. Glucose is metabolized during glycolysis, a process resulting in the production of pyruvic acid. If an adequate amount of oxygen is present, pyruvic acid is used in the Kreb’s Cycle to generate a large amount of ATP. The first step in this process is to transfer pyruvic acid into the mitochondrion and remove a carbon dioxide. The process removes a couple of hydrogen atoms, and adds a Co-enzyme A, forming acetyl Co-A. The two carbon acetate moiety is then tacked on to an oxaloacetic acid to make citric acid, the first step in the Kreb’s or Citric Acid Cycle. When lipids are used, enzymes allow them to enter the cycle as acetyl Co-A, as well as in a process known as Beta-oxidation. In order to keep this sequence continuing, adequate amounts of oxaloacetic acid must be present. The source of oxaloacetic acid in this case is pyruvic acid. Remember that pyruvic acid is obtained from the metabolism of glucose. If there is no glucose, there will not be adequate levels of pyruvic acid which means that oxaloacetic acid levels are low. Therefore, the lipids will not be used in the Kreb’s Cycle. The irony is that by using lipids as a primary energy source an individual is creating an environment in which the body cannot utilize lipids as an energy source.

As a result of the inability of muscle cells to utilize lipids for energy, free fatty acids (a lipid component) begin to accumulate in the intercellular fluid and move into the blood stream. Upon reaching the liver, free fatty acids are converted into ketone bodies. Some ketone bodies are excreted in the urine, but not all. The ketone bodies leftover accumulate in the blood (ketosis) and change the pH of the blood causing it to become more acidic, in extreme cases this can lead to acidosis. Enzyme systems in the body require a narrow range of pH to function well. Even the slightest of pH changes can have significant detrimental effects. With an increasingly acidic environment, enzymes fail to allow normal cellular reactions to proceed resulting in decreased performance. Minimally the results are tiredness and nausea; maximally this toxicity may result in death.

Other serious effects have also been found as a result of high protein consumption at the expense of carbohydrates. Acidosis leads to calciuria, the excretion of calcium in the urine, due to an increase of bone reabsorption into its constituent parts due to increased osteoclastic activity. Bone density loss is the result. An examination of blood profiles for cardiac risk factors show lipid profiles deteriorate, with increasing LDL and decreasing HDL levels accompanied by an increase in triglycerides. This translates into an advanced rate in the progression of coronary artery disease. For individuals with mildly reduced kidney function the consumption of animal proteins in the diet has been shown to significantly accelerate further decline. A compounding factor may be increased levels of dehydration due to the necessity of using larger amounts of water in the metabolism of proteins at levels above 30% of caloric intake.

In addition to the many serious medical problems that may result from long-term high protein diets, perhaps the effects with the greatest impact are the counterproductive issues related to weight loss. Most individuals on high protein diets psychologically find it difficult to remain true to their program. They constantly fantasize about returning to their normal dietary habits. Furthermore, they cannot keep the weight off effectively long term. In the end, they experience the adverse psychological effects of another failed diet plan and their long-term health may be compromised as a result. For the majority of individuals, proper nutrition requires the intake of a high percentage of calories primarily from the consumption of complex carbohydrates; with an emphasis on fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Rational nutrition coupled with appropriate exercise is the way to achieve a healthy and productive lifestyle. If carbohydrates are to be reduced the reduction should be from sugars and refined carbohydrates.

Now that high-protein diets like the Paleo Diet are trendy, it only makes sense that we’d see other food and beverage products marketed as high-protein. Case in point: the rise of “protein water,” or bottled water that claims to be enhanced with protein.

But is protein water actually good for you? And for that matter, does it actually contain that much protein? We asked an expert for his take.

What, exactly, is in protein water?

“Protein water is infused with whey protein isolate, which helps to contribute to growth and maintaining lean muscle mass,” says Jim White RDN, ACSM, owner of Jim White Fitness and Nutrition Studios.

Typically, a 16-oz. bottle of protein water will contain between 60 and 90 calories and 15 and 20 grams of protein.

Is protein water good for you?

The good news is that protein water usually contains fewer calories and less sugar than, say, protein shakes. “Many guys use this to help with recovery immediately after exercise,” says White. “Consuming some form of protein post-workout can help to rebuild any damaged muscle tissue that occurred during the workout, so if this is all you can grab, go for it.”

That said, you’re much better off eating real food after a workout. “The protein contained in these waters is not a complete protein, meaning it does not contain all of the 9 essential amino acids,” White explains. “Getting protein from real food, like meats or beans, will allow for a more satisfying experience and keep a person full for a longer period of time.”

To build muscle throughout the day, you should aim for a daily protein intake of about 1.2-2.0 g per kg of target body weight, he says. So chugging a 16-oz. bottle of protein water after your workout isn’t really gonna do much.

Additionally, while protein water typically contains less sugar than most protein shakes, it does contain small amounts of artificial sweetener like sucralose or stevia, which have been linked to increased sugar cravings. You should also stay away from protein water if you’re lactose-intolerant, as whey isolate contains dairy.

The bottom line

A bottle of protein water isn’t gonna hurt you, but you still probably shouldn’t chug it every day. Even though it may be lower calorie than a shake or a protein bar, it’s still not totally sugar-free or calorie-free like good ol’ H20.

At the end of the day, “protein water does not provide the recommended amount of protein and carbohydrates needed for exercise recovery, or even to sustain a person for a long period of time,” White says. So if you really want to try it, combine it with another protein-rich snack, like yogurt and cheese and crackers.

Isadora Baum Isadora Baum is a freelance writer, certified health coach, and author of 5-Minute Energy.

If you are in and out of the gym all the time and struggle to get the protein you need in your diet, or rely heavily on sugary soft drinks, this is well worth having in your bag.

NO

However, London nutritionist and health expert Zoe Palmer-Wright has her reservations.

“I can see the appeal of this purely from a convenience perspective for those who train a lot or want to build lean muscle, however there are potential issues.”

It all comes down to how much you’re working out and how much protein you really need. Much like the questions that have been raised over the over-use of shakes, there are a lot of gym-goers who are consuming more than they need, and not from real food sources (with other key nutrients).

The protein is also taken from whey so if you have sensitivity to that form of protein in shakes, you’ll experience the same with the water.

Another downside of this product is that it contains the artificial sweetener sucralose which can actually provoke sugar cravings.

So, will you try it?

3 PROTEIN WATERS YOU CAN BUY NOW:

Purple Grape Protein Co Protein Water, £14 for 6, proteinwater.co

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Strawberry and Rhubarb Vieve Protein Water, £7.50 for 6, drink-vieve.co.uk

CocoPro High Protein Coconut Water, £2.79, hollandandbarrett.com

Not sure? Read our ultimate guide to counting macros, our list of the best protein powders of the ultimate guide to protein shakes.

  1. 1. Protein2o Low Calorie Whey Protein Drink, Variety Pack

    Price: $20.30 Amazon Customer Reviews Pros:

    • 10-15 grams of protein per serving
    • Excellent customer service, should any issues arise
    • Actually tastes good! (Honestly!)

    Cons:

    • The thickness of it may deter some people. However, it’s really not that thick at all, in my opinion.
    • The aftertaste can be unpleasant for some, but it’s better than others on this list.
    • It uses an artificial sweetener.

    Protein2o already has a loyal fanbase due to its surprisingly good taste and diet-friendly nutritional facts. It has a lot of positive reviews and people love the taste, price, and packaging.

    This protein water uses the highest quality whey protein isolate to refresh, replenish, and restore your body’s needs. It comes in fun, colorful bottles and lots of yummy flavors. They also have Protein2o + Energy which is the same drink we know and love, plus a hefty dose of energy!

    I’ve tried Protein2o myself and actually have a few in my fridge right now. It’s one of my favorites on this list — especially the tropical coconut flavor!

    Find more Protein2o Low Calorie Whey Protein Drink, Variety information and reviews here.

    VideoVideo related to protein2o low calorie whey protein drink, variety pack 2019-05-03T20:31:00-04:00

  2. 2. BiPro Best Protein Water, Lemon, 16.9 Ounce (Pack of 12)

    Price: $35.97 Amazon Customer Reviews Pros:

    • Boasts a “clean label” — 20 grams of protein with as few as possible ingredients
    • Contains all nine essential amino acids and the three BCAAs.
    • Well worth the price for the quality of the ingredients

    Cons:

    • Price. It’s expensive… but it’s still popular, so that tells you something.
    • It uses a non sugar sweetener, which some people may not like
    • Not all people enjoy the consistency and say it is too thick

    Smooth, refreshing, and delicious — just a few words you’ll think about when drinking this protein water to go. While it’s a little expensive, BiPro has a lot of good reviews and people seem to think that the benefits of the drink are worth the price.

    This drink contains a whopping 20 grams of protein per bottle from whey protein isolate while only having 90 calories. That’s impressive. It’s naturally lactose, gluten, dye, and sugar-free.

    It’s well worth the price for the quality of ingredients and good taste. BiPro is also NSF certified — that means their label has been third-party tested for accuracy.

    Find more BiPro Protein Water, Lemon, 16.9 Ounce (Pack of 12) information and reviews here.

  3. 3. Premier Protein Clear Protein Water Drink

    Price: $21.99 Amazon Customer Reviews Pros:

    • Contains all 9 essential amino acids
    • No fat or sugar; 90 calories and 1 carb
    • 20 grams of protein!

    Cons:

    • Some say it’s too sweet
    • Can be a bit expensive
    • Uses an artificial sweetener

    Studies show that it may be beneficial to eat 20-25 grams of protein per meal, every meal. Sometimes this can be hard, especially if we’re on-the-go all the time.

    Made with 100% pure whey protein isolate — one of the purest forms of whey protein — this drink packs in 20 grams of complete proteins in refreshing flavors.

    I’m a big fan of the Premier Protein brand (their to-go protein shakes literally taste like milkshakes), and I’ve tried this one out myself. This protein water doesn’t the unpleasant thickness that other protein water drinks may have, which is a plus for a lot of people who may not enjoy that texture.

    What’s cool about protein water is… it’s water! It freezes, and that can make some fun and healthy recipes in the summer. Here’s a simple recipe for a protein orange mango popsicle:

    Ingredients

    • 1 Premier Protein Clear Drink, Orange Mango
    • ½ cup raspberries
    • ½ cup pineapple chunks
    • ½ cup blueberries

    Instructions

    Drop the fruit in your popsicle molds; pour in protein water; freeze 6-8 hours; enjoy on a hot day!

    Find more Premier Protein Clear Protein Drink information and reviews here.

  4. 4. Fizzique Sparkling Protein Water, Strawberry Watermelon, 12 Count

    Price: $35.85 Amazon Customer Reviews Pros:

    • Lots of people seem to enjoy the fizzy feel, and say the bubbles help to cover up the protein aftertaste common in protein drinks.
    • Low calorie; no carb
    • 45mg of natural energy
    • Gluten Free, Soy Free, Sugar Free, Fat Free, No artificial preservatives or dyes.

    Cons:

    • It’s expensive, but less expensive than your designer latte.
    • Contains sucralose; the company says this was the “best tasting option”
    • Some think it’s too sweet or don’t like the taste of other flavors. Strawberry Watermelon seems to be the favorite.

    If you love sparkling water, your search for protein water is officially over.

    At only 80 calories and ZERO carbs, while expensive, it’s worth the cost to many. The fresh taste and the bubbles cover up the chalky aftertaste that’s present in all protein drinks. It also contains 45mg of natural energy, which is about four ounces of coffee. So nothing crazy for bouncing off the walls, but enough to give you a subtle boost.

    It took seven US patents and thousands of hours of R&D to come up with this formula and their hard work shows! You’ll love this one and it’s more refreshing over ice on a hot summer’s day than even regular protein water.

    Find more Fizzique Sparkling Protein Water information and reviews here.

  5. 5. Ready Nutrition Protein Infused Water

    Price: $29.88 Amazon Customer Reviews Pros:

    • Contains electrolytes that keep your body’s fluids balanced
    • Uses whey protein isolate, a high quality protein
    • Light & refreshing flavor

    Cons:

    • Certain flavors may taste sour
    • Other protein waters contain more protein, but 15 grams is still great
    • May cause upset stomach in those sensitive to stevia

    Light, refreshing, and keto friendly, Ready Nutrition brings an impressive 16.9 oz protein water to the market.

    A blend of stevia and monk fruit extract helps cut that renown stevia aftertaste. This drink is great for curbing appetite, reducing sugar cravings, and for refueling your muscles after a hard strength training workout.

    Also try pink grapefruit, cotton candy grape, or black cherry, among other yummy flavors.

    Find more Ready Nutrition Protein Infused Water information and reviews here.

More about protein water

This whey protein isolate drink is becoming more and more popular as bigger brands get in on the trend.

It’s kind of like what we all wish Vitamin Water could have been, except it’s actually beneficial to you (or at least as beneficial as protein powder. Of course, you should try to get as much protein from whole foods as you can!)

We bet you have questions. Is it healthy? What is protein water? Why should I drink protein water? How much protein do I need to consume every day?

There are many different options out there and it may be hard to choose the best protein water that fits your lifestyle. Read below to help make an educated choice about which of our recommendations is truly right for your unique needs.

What is protein water? Essentially, protein water is unflavored protein powder mixed into water with flavorings and sugar/sweeteners added to improve the taste. Most use Whey Protein Isolate, but some alternatives use plant-based protein such as Pea, Chia, and Hemp protein. While most protein waters don’t have sugar in them, they do have artificial sweeteners or natural sweeteners such as stevia or erythritol. Some may also use synthetic dyes, so it’s best to pay attention to the ingredients if you have any allergies or sensitivities.

Is it healthy? So now you’ve read the reviews, seen the pros and cons, and you’re wondering whether or not protein water is for you. You’re wary of trying a new fad that may not be healthy. Good news: protein water is a healthy supplement to a balanced diet. If you’re okay with using protein powder and protein shakes, you’re okay with protein water. As for being good for you: it depends on the brand and the reasons you are drinking it. The low carb and sugar varieties offer a healthy alternative to other sugary beverages people are drinking. The tasty flavors also make it much easier to get your daily protein.

What does protein do? Protein is a cornerstone macro in the human body along with fat and carbohydrates. It’s used by your body to maintain and grow its tissues. Protein also helps with digestion, energy production, blood clotting, and muscle contraction. It aids in the promotion of strength, structure, and elasticity due to a type of protein your body produces called “fibrous protein”.

Fibrous protein plays an important role in maintaining a proper Ph balance in your body. It also maintains fluid balance, bolsters immune health, and transports and stores nutrients. It also helps provide energy! So when you’re working out, playing sports, or recovering from an illness or injury, it helps your body to maintain strength throughout the day. This is why many people consume protein after workouts.

The main thing to take away from this is that protein plays a huge role in your health. It helps your body to repair tissues, helps metabolic reactions, and coordinates your bodily functions. It also helps to keep your immune system healthy or helps to build it back up after an illness.

Thermogenesis, the process of burning calories, is also increased by a higher protein diet. It’s ideal for people looking to lose weight.

Why should you drink protein water? Protein water is good for people who may need an extra boost for their workout, or need to drink a liquid diet. It’s also suitable for those who don’t get a lot of protein in their regular diet. Struggling vegetarians and vegans, this stuff is for you. It’s fine to drink as a meal replacement (as long as you’re getting enough calories elsewhere), and many people decide to drink one before and/or after a visit to the gym.

You can also use it to make fun summer recipes, like ice pops!

How does it taste? While some may say it’s too sweet, and others not sweet enough, the taste depends not only on the brand and the flavor but also on each individual drinking it. While one person may love mango flavored drinks and super sweet things, another person may hate mango and not want something too sweet. That person instead might prefer a milder flavor and product. So, we encourage you to try the flavors out and see which one best fits your tastes. Many of these brands even have excellent return policies if you don’t like the drinks.

How much protein does someone need a day? The DRI (Dietary Reference Intake) says that the average adult needs 0.36 grams of protein per pound or 0.8 per kilogram. This is about 56 grams per day for the average man and about 46 for the average woman. Those who are more active may need to consume more. The amount of protein in your body depends on your health and activity level. (Want to check how much protein is in your body, among other facts?) This makes getting a little extra especially beneficial to those recovering from illnesses or injuries, those of older age or poor health, and those who are very active.

Is it possible to have too much protein? High protein diets are all the rage right now. And while it can be beneficial to you, it’s best to stick to the recommended levels of protein for your body type unless otherwise recommended by a doctor. Too much protein can cause weight gain, bad breath, constipation, diarrhea, and dehydration, among other things. If you consume too much, your body will not use it and the protein will turn into glucose and eventually fat. So just be sure to drink or eat what is needed for your body’s daily functions.

Is it worth the cost? While some protein waters may seem a bit expensive, they are definitely worth the cost when you look at the benefits they give! It’s so advantageous that pretty soon you’ll wonder why you didn’t have this in your life longggg before. Buying in bulk can also help you to save money, and lots of protein waters offer bulk packages. Just be sure to try the flavors before buying a bulk pack to make sure that you like them!

Now that you’ve learned all about protein water and how healthy it is for you, and read some reviews of favored brands, learned the pros and cons, you’re ready to go out and try it! It can be your new summer drink and help you inch towards or maintain your preferred physique. It can also help you to preserve your immune health, replace unhealthy sugary beverages in your diet, and help you to be a healthier and happier you!

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Ask Keri: What Is Protein Water, and Is It Healthy?

Keri Says: Yes, there’s a whole new category of beverage in town—protein water—which basically bottles protein powder in water, adds some sugar and flavoring, and sell itself as the newest fast protein solution. Whether or not it’s good for you depends on the brand and when and why you’re drinking it.

At the Natural Foods Expo East this year, it was clear this is a category lots of brands are jumping into, so it’ll likely grow, for at least a little while. (There’s even a sparkling version—Fizzique!) That’s why I’m weighing in on whether it should be part of your drink up routine.

What IS Protein Water?

Well, it’s exactly what it sounds like. Companies like Protein2O essentially mix protein powder into water and then add sugar and flavors for taste. Most use whey protein isolate, although there are plant-based options like Drink Apres, which uses a blend of pea, chia, and hemp protein.

The question of what it is gets a little more philosophical, though, when you start to think about what it’s for. Do you really need protein when you’re hydrating? When exactly would you need your protein and water to be combined? Which brings me to…

Is Protein Water Healthy?

Most brands are using whey protein isolate as the protein source, and while whey isn’t necessarily bad if you’re okay with dairy, none of these give any indication as to where the whey comes from. In other words, it’s not coming from happy grass-fed cows roaming on organic pastures. The plant-based option is cleaner: Drink Apres uses an all-organic plant protein blend.

These “waters” also all contain five or six grams of added sugar. That’s not a ton, but why involve sugar in your hydration routine, at all, when you’re trying to eat as little as possible? I’d say save sugar for your conscious indulgences.

RELATED: Should You Drink Water During Meals?

Finally, they all contain “natural flavors,” which is a way of saying “an ingredient we have no idea about.” Maybe they’re harmless, but again, why introduce them into your water when you could just drink…water (or water with fresh fruit!)?

One last important point: The vast majority of Americans get enough, or too much, protein. So unless you’re on a restricted diet or are an athlete, you likely don’t need more than what you’re getting from food. Protein-rich smoothies are generally used as a meal (or large snack!) replacement, but you’re not going to treat water as a meal or a big snack, you’re likely going to still want to eat.

RELATED: How Much Protein Do You Really Need?

The Bottom Line

Overall, while protein water may not be harmful, it mostly feels like a gimmicky product you don’t need to spend your hard-earned food dollars on. If you need functional protein after a workout, I’d rather you grab a little snack or make a smoothie, since the ideal post-workout fuel includes both protein AND healthy fats AND some carbs (and yes, water, but it won’t be hard to find that! Just turn on the tap!). Plus, then you’ll be getting all of the extra beneficial nutrients the foods you include naturally contain, instead of “natural flavors” and added sugar you don’t need.

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