Learn More About Protein/Energy Drinks

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What are RTD protein drinks?

Protein RTDs (ready-to-drinks) represent a category of beverages that deliver protein in a delicious convenient can, tetra-pack or some other alternative that does not require mixing of powder. The RTD is one of the fastest growing categories in the sports nutrition market.

One of the most popular RTDs is Muscle Milk by Cytosport. However, ABB and Lean Body make great ones as well. However, be on the look out for Muscle Power by BSN Syntha-6. This new RTD, with more protein than all others in the category will be the next great RTD.

Who needs RTD protein drinks?

Protein RTDs are especially great for those on the go. If you’re pressed for time, take an RTD with you to the gym. Drink it pre-, during, and/or post-exercise. But also, the protein RTD can be consumed as well by the serious athlete.

Nothing beats a delicious RTD after a gut-wrenching workout! It doesn’t matter if you’re a hockey mom, a world-class athlete, or even a little league softball player. The protein RTDs on the market are some of the best tasting, healthiest beverages of choice.

What does the science show?

The beauty of a liquid meal is that it is absorbed faster than a solid meal. Also, the convenience of an RTD makes it an ideal choice for anyone interested in maximizing the adaptive response to exercise! For instance, one study examined the effect of soy isoflavone supplementation in men and women.

A controlled, parallel-arm, double-blinded study with 145 participants, 50-80 years, were randomly assigned to a soy beverage daily for 12 months. Active treatment (+ISO) received soy protein containing 83 mg isoflavones (45.6 mg genistein, 31.7 mg daidzein), aglycone units; the comparison group (-ISO) received soy protein containing 3mg isoflavones. Thus, both got an RTD, but one was ‘jacked up’ so to speak.

They found that soy protein containing isoflavones showed a modest benefit in preserving spine in older women.1 Another study looked at the influence of a liquid carbohydrate (CHO) and essential amino acid (EAA) ingestion during resistance exercise. After a 4-hour fast, 32 untrained young men (18-29 years) performed a single bout of resistance exercise (complete body; 3 sets x 10 repetitions at 75% of 1-repetition maximum; 1-minute rest between sets), during which they consumed a 6% carbohydrate (CHO) drink, a 6-gram EAA or essential amino acid drink, or a combined CHO+EAA supplement, or placebo beverage.

They discovered that not only does CHO and EAA ingestion during the exercise bout suppress exercise-induced cortisol release but the stimulatory effect of resistance exercise on myofibrillar protein degradation can be lessened dramatically when the treatments are combined (CHO+EAA). Through an "anticatabolic effect," this altered balance may better favor the conservation of myofibrillar protein.2

Another study found that combination protein with carbs (vs carbs alone) resulted in less muscle soreness.3 Furthermore, a carbohydrate beverage with additional protein calories produced significant improvements in time to fatigue and reductions in muscle damage in select endurance athletes.4 And certainly, perhaps the best known ‘protein RTD’ is milk! Milk contains several components effective for bone health.

Studies have shown that milk whey protein, especially its basic protein fraction (milk basic protein [MBP]), promoted bone formation and suppressed bone resorption.5 We also know that whey protein by itself is quite an amazing protein in its right.

Are RTD protein drinks safe?

Of course these drinks are safe. In a very intriguing study, scientists determined the types of meal that are most effective in preventing the development of nausea and the symptoms of motion sickness provoked by a rotating optokinetic drum. That does not sound fun though kids seem to love these kinds of rides at the amusement park.

Participants received a carbohydrate beverage, a protein-predominant beverage or nothing immediately before exposure to the rotating drum. Subjective symptoms of motion sickness and electrogastrograms were collected during a 6-minute baseline period and a subsequent 16-minute drum rotation period. They discovered that the liquid protein-predominant meals were most effective in suppressing the entire spectrum of motion sickness symptoms, including nausea.6 Wow. Protein is great for motion sickness. Go figure.

Also, we know that protein consumption is safe for your hydration status. In this particular study, five men participated in a 12-week, randomized, crossover, controlled diet intervention study. Subjects consumed eucaloric (same calorie) diets containing 3.6 (high protein), 1.8 (moderate protein), and 0.8 (low protein) g/kg/day of protein for 4 weeks each. They found no effect on fluid status.7

What about the kidneys? Would drinking all this protein be harmful to kidney function? Hell no I say. “While protein restriction may be appropriate for treatment of existing kidney disease, we find no significant evidence for a detrimental effect of high protein intakes on kidney function in healthy persons after centuries of a high protein Western diet.8”

And remember—you can get the best RTD protein drinks at the best prices from A1Supplements.com!

By Jose Antonio, Ph.D. © A1Supplements.com 


1. Newton KM, LaCroix AZ, Levy L, et al. Soy protein and bone mineral density in older men and women: a randomized trial. Maturitas. Oct 20 2006;55(3):270-277.
2. Bird SP, Tarpenning KM, Marino FE. Liquid carbohydrate/essential amino acid ingestion during a short-term bout of resistance exercise suppresses myofibrillar protein degradation. Metabolism. May 2006;55(5):570-577.
3. Millard-Stafford M, Warren GL, Thomas LM, Doyle JA, Snow T, Hitchcock K. Recovery from run training: efficacy of a carbohydrate-protein beverage? Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. Dec 2005;15(6):610-624.
4. Saunders MJ, Kane MD, Todd MK. Effects of a carbohydrate-protein beverage on cycling endurance and muscle damage. Med Sci Sports Exerc. Jul 2004;36(7):1233-1238.
5. Toba Y, Takada Y, Matsuoka Y, et al. Milk basic protein promotes bone formation and suppresses bone resorption in healthy adult men. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. Jun 2001;65(6):1353-1357.
6. Levine ME, Muth ER, Williamson MJ, Stern RM. Protein-predominant meals inhibit the development of gastric tachyarrhythmia, nausea and the symptoms of motion sickness. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. Mar 1 2004;19(5):583-590.
7. Martin WF, Cerundolo LH, Pikosky MA, et al. Effects of dietary protein intake on indexes of hydration. J Am Diet Assoc. Apr 2006;106(4):587-589.
8. Martin WF, Armstrong LE, Rodriguez NR. Dietary protein intake and renal function. Nutr Metab (Lond). Sep 20 2005;2:25.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

High-Quality Protein Drinks Supplements Are Available From A1Supplements.com. Go To The Full Protein Drinks Product Listing!

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