Protein Drinks — Should We Buy into the Hype???


I’ve been wanting to write this story for over a year, but life got in the way and this was put on the back shelf.  A little over a year ago, I was visiting someone in the hospital when this commercial for Boost Protein Drink came on TV. I also noticed several cans similar to this brand on his food tray.  I sat there and asked myself “Who’s buying into this stuff?”  I really wanted to see what the ingredients were in Boost and decided to do some research.  More importantly, I wanted to see if there was anything natural, healthy, whole or even green in it so that all of their promised hype would make more sense to me.   Below is the list of ingredients in a Boost High Protein Drink.

I wanted to try and break down the list of ingredients down 1 by 1 if I can.  However,  I gave up after Milk Protein Concentrate:

  • Water = H20 – all natural
  • Corn Syrup = syrup made from cornstarch, consisting of dextrose, maltose, and dextrins.
    • Dextrose =  Dextrose is the name of a simple sugar chemically identical to glucose (blood sugar) that is made from corn. … Dextrose is dissolved in solutions that are given intravenously, which can be combined with other drugs, or used to increase a person’s blood sugar. … * (
    • Maltose = Maltose is the second member of an important biochemical series of glucose chains. Maltose is the disaccharide produced when amylase breaks down starch. It is found in germinating seeds as they break down their starch stores to use for food, which is why it was named after malt. ** (Wikipedia)
    • Dextrins = Dextrins – a soluble, gummy substance, formed from starch by the action of heat,acids, or ferments, occurring in various forms and having dextrorotatory properties: used chiefly as a thickening agent in printing inks and food, as a mucilage (a polysaccharide substance extracted as a viscous or gelatinous solution from plant roots, seeds, etc., and used in medicines and adhesives, and as a substitute for gum arabic and other natural substances.
  • Milk Protein Concentrate –
  • Vegetable Oil (Canola, High Oleic Sunflower, Corn)
  • Cocoa Processed with Alkali
  • Soy Protein Isolate
  • Acacia gum
  •  Fructooligosaccharides
  • Potassium Citrate
  • Magnesium Phosphate
  • Inulin (from  Chicory)
  • Potassium Chloride
  • Cellulose Gel and Gum
  •  Salt
  • Calcium Carbonate
  • Sodium Ascorbate
  • Soy Lecithin
  • Choline Bitartrate
  • Calcium Phosphate
  • Alpha-Tocopheryl Acetate
  • Ascorbic Acid
  •  Carrageenan
  • Ferric Pyrophosphate
  • Natural and Artificial Flavor
  • Zinc Sulfate
  • Purified Stevia Leaf Extract (Sweetener)
  • Vitamin A Palmitate
  •  Niacinadmide
  • Vitamin D3
  • Calcium Pantothenate
  • Manganese Sulfate
  • Copper Sulfate
  •  Pyridoxine
  • Beta-Carotene (Carrots)
  •  Riboflavin
  • Chromium Chloride
  • Folic Acid
  •  Biotin
  • Potassium Iodide
  •  Phytonadione
  • Sodium Selenite
  • Sodium Molybdate
  • Vitamin B12
  • Contains Milk and Soy Ingredients

So there’s the list of ingredients, most of which I can not pronounce, but that necessarily does not mean that they’re entirely bad for you.  And some things are even very good for you!  But from the ingredients that I can understand : Corn Syrup, Sugar, Milk Protein Concentrate, Vegetable Oil (Canola, High Oleic Sunflower – an oil developed by scientists, Corn), Cocoa processed with Alkali and Soy Protein Isolate . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Doctors in hospitals and rehab facilities are prescribing these drinks to many of their patients for many different reasons.  Some patients are recovering from surgery and need increased calories and protein to build up their muscle.  Some patients have trouble chewing food.  Some patients need to gain weight or just have no appetite.  Boost is also affordable.  Walmart sells a 12 pack for under $16.00.  That’s $1.33 a can!


As Harvard Health Publications (Harvard Medical School) points out:


Equally concerning is that nutrition in a can isn’t the same as nutrition from food. Even if they’re fortified, they still won’t contain all of the nutrients a whole food source would


I get it.  It’s not always that simple.  Nor is it easy or affordable.  It can be quite time consuming and in this day and time – who’s got the time to make whole, healthy smoothies?  It’s not as time consuming and hard as you may think.

Here are two of my favorite smoothies to make:

Ani Phyo’s Banana, Spinach, Chocolate Power Smoothie

Ani Phyo's Banana, Spinach, Chocolate Power Smoothie
Ani Phyo’s Banana, Spinach, Chocolate Power Smoothie

2 Cups bananas from about 2 whole

1 cup spinach leaves, washed well

1/2 cup almond butter, raw

1 tablespoon cacao powder

1 teaspoon spirulina powder

3 cups Thai baby coconut water, or filtered water

1 cup ice, optional

Place all ingredients, except ice, into a high-speed blender.  Blend until smooth.  Add ice, if using, and blend to mix well.  Enjoy immediately.

All natural, all whole food . . . feeding  your body the nutrients, enzymes, vitamins and minerals it needs AND more importantly, what your body knows how to use and how to digest it properly.


My Basic Green Smoothie

There’s really nothing “basic” about my Basic Green Smoothie.  I should really rename it Kitchen Sink Green Smoothie!  As a matter-of-fact, I may.

1 banana

Green Smoothie - lots of fruits and veggies
Green Smoothie – lots of fruits and veggies

4 medjool dates

1 slice raw ginger

1 tiny knob raw turmeric

1 teaspoon living green powder (spirulina, wheatgrass, RAW Reserve, green superfood, etc.)

1 tbsp raw hemp seeds

2 cups spinach

2 cups kale

2 cups filtered water (or coconut water)

1 cup frozen strawberries

1 cup frozen blueberries

1 cup frozen pineapple

Whirl it all together in a high speed blender and enjoy.

yum smoothie

*I like my smoothies smooth – not thick – so I blend for a couple of minutes.  You can make it the consistency you like.

** I use frozen fruit because it works as my “ice” without watering it down!

***  I like my smoothies sweet so I use bananas, dates, strawberries, blueberries and pineapples, especially when using such strong flavored ingredients such as ginger, turmeric, spinach and kale.  In season I’ll use mango, cherries (LOVE my cherries), watermelon, cantaloupes and honeydew.  If you do not like sweet, but prefer more savory or sour – use real ingredients such as grapefruit, oranges, beets, granny smith apples, etc.  Use what’s in season and use what you like.

**** This recipe makes about 5-6 cups of smoothie.  You can always put any remaining smoothie in a jar in the fridge.  It will last up to 3 days.  I do recommend that you re-whirl it and maybe add a drop of water to it.  It gets really thick!

So instead of drinking your nutrition from a can, consider feeding yourself and the ones you love a nutritious, delicious fuel-packed, nutrient packed smoothie.  Fuel your body right!





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