Premier Protein Shake is one of the most popular protein brands in the U.S. The shakes are ready-made which is great for convenience, and the brand describes them as perfect for "winding down after a workout or fueling up between plans."
But what are the ingredients in Premier Protein Shake and are they healthy? Does the product contain enough protein to cause muscle gain? Does Premier Protein Shake contain any questionable additive ingredients? And how do real users rate the taste and performance benefits?
In this article we'll answer all of these questions and more as we review the ingredients in Premier Protein Shake based on medical research to give our take on whether the product is healthy or not, and whether it contains an effective protein dose to maximize muscle gain.
We'll highlight some questionable additive ingredients, share real customer reviews of Premier Protein Shake, and explain why the products were recalled from the market in 2022.
Is Premier Protein Shake Good for Workouts?
Milk protein concentrate is the protein source in Premier Protein Shakes, and according to research this ingredient is a split of around 80% casein protein to 20% whey protein.
A medical review published in the PNAS journal found that casein is much slower-digesting compared to whey protein. This suggests that Premier Protein Shake may be more optimal for post-workout recovery rather than pre-workout or during workouts to fuel performance.
But does Premier Protein Shake contain an effective protein dose to maximize muscle gain?
As we documented in our review of the healthiest protein powder brands, the minimum effective threshold for protein to maximize muscle synthesis appears to be 20 grams (g) according to clinical studies. All flavors of Premier Protein Shake contain 30 g of protein, and this is an effective dose for optimizing muscle gain.
Overall we consider Premier Protein Shake to be a good option for building muscle, and especially for post-workout recovery.
But are the ingredients healthy? We'll review that in the next section.
Questionable Additive Ingredients
The above ingredients list is from the caramel flavor of Premier Protein Shake. There are a number of questionable additive ingredients.
Artificial flavors are synthetically-derived food additives. In 2018, the FDA removed seven artificial flavorings from the approved food additives list, after they were associated with carcinogenicity (promotion of cancer to living cells).
Sucralose is an artificial sweetener that was shown in a clinical trial published in the Nutrition Journal to cause negative changes to insulin and blood sugar levels in healthy, young adults.
Acesulfame potassium is another artificial sweetener which is 200 times sweeter than table sugar. As we documented in our review of Fairlife Protein Shake, another protein shake containing this ingredient, acesulfame potassium has been clinically shown to damage gut function in an animal study.
The majority of the ingredients consist of a vitamin and mineral blend containing ingredients like vitamin A palmitate and vitamin B12. While these nutrients are included at modest doses (none exceeding 50% of the Recommended Daily Value), it seems illogical in our opinion to regularly consume synthetic vitamin and mineral supplements without evidence of a deficiency in those vitamins and minerals.
Overall, we do not recommend Premier Protein Shakes due to these questionable additive ingredients.
We Tried Premier Protein Shake – Our Take
As one of the authors of this article, I wanted to purchase Premier Protein Shake myself and try it to give my thoughts on its taste and effects.
I purchased a 4-pack of the Strawberries & Cream flavor and had one of the drinks after my post-workout meal.
The taste was horrendously artificial and the texture was also thick and off-putting. This is genuinely the worst-tasting protein drink I've consumed in years.
I dislike artificial flavorings and typically just use whey protein powder mixed into water, so maybe that's why I found this to be so sickly sweet and awful.
As far as the convenience and recovery effects, I have no issues with the brand. It's great to get 30 g of protein in one small serving, and my muscles don't feel sore even though I played tennis and basketball for over two hours straight this evening.
I would never buy this product again though due to the taste, and due to all of the weird additives it has that I personally prefer avoiding.
I would rate this product 2/10 and would not recommend it to anyone I know.
Do Premier Protein Shakes Cause Weight Loss?
Many consumers are curious about whether or not Premier Protein Shakes can cause weight loss, given that the brand markets the fact that their product "Keeps You Feeling Full."
Medical research does show that higher-protein calorie restricted diets are more effective for weight loss than lower-protein calorie restricted diets. The above-linked review, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, recommended at least 25 g of protein per restricted-calorie meal, which Premier Protein Shake provides.
Relatively high protein intakes are effective for weight loss because they increase satiation (the sense of "fullness"), thus reducing cravings for high-carb foods.
However, since the potential weight loss effects of Premier Protein Shake in overweight and obese individuals comes from the protein content and not any unique ingredients, we would recommend the protein options in our clean protein recommendation section above.
A TikTok user named Shadasha Barnes claims that a Premier Protein Drink mixed with coffee helped her lose 20 pounds in one month:
@lightlycultured Tastes so good !!! ☺️ #sogood #healthylife #preimerproteinshake ♬ I'd Rather Be with You - Bootsy Collins
Why Were Premier Protein Shakes Recalled?
In 2022, Premier Protein Shakes were recalled from the market due to potential contamination from a bacteria called Cronobacter sakazakii, according to CNN. There is not an active recall for Premier Protein Shake at the time of updating this article.
It doesn't appear that any consumers were harmed, and other brands like Oatly were also affected.
This doesn't necessarily suggest any risk moving forward, but it does raise red flags about the quality control of Premier Protein Shakes in our opinion.
Real People Try Premier Protein
Amazon is a more objective resource for real customer reviews than a brand's website in our opinion. Premier Protein Shake has been reviewed over 190,000 times on Amazon, with an average review rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars.
The top positive review from a verified purchaser is written by a user named "Glen Barratt" who appreciates the macronutrient composition of the product:
"The Premier Protein "Café Latte" Protein RTD is perhaps the best option that has a very good nutrition profile (having high protein and low carbs), and tastes good."
The top negative review from a verified purchaser comes from a user named "Courtney," who recommends purchasing the products in-store rather than online due to consistency issues:
"I decided to order online to get a case for a better price. Almost every bottle from my order is full of nasty stringy parts. Imagine drinking your morning coffee to get a mouthful of something nasty."
A YouTube creator named Jason Mazurek did a taste test of every Premier Protein Shake flavor to give his take on which is the best option:
Our Clean Protein Picks
Bulletproof Collagen Protein is our top overall protein powder pick, and costs only $1.32 per serving at the time of updating this article.
The main reason is its formulation: Bulletproof's protein powder only contains one single ingredient: collagen protein sourced from grass-fed animals.
As the core structural protein in skin, supplemental collagen is clinically shown to reduce visible signs of skin aging like wrinkles, which is a secondary benefit not offered by other types of protein like whey protein.
Promix Whey Protein is our top whey protein powder, and costs only $0.93 per serving at the time of updating this article when you purchase the 5 pound bag.
This brand uses grass-fed whey protein and no sweeteners or flavoring additives. Whey protein is a "complete" protein, meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids.
Complement Organic Protein is our top vegan protein powder.
The only ingredients in this protein powder are a blend of nutritious plant proteins: organic yellow pea protein, organic pumpkin seed protein, organic almond protein, organic sunflower seed protein and organic chia seed protein.
All three of the products mentioned in this section are entirely free of additive ingredients that we consider to be unhealthy or unsafe.
Where to Buy Premier Protein for the Best Price
Premier Protein Shake is sold at a variety of online retailers. Here's the price-per-bottle breakdown at the time of updating this article:
Brand website: $2.99
Walmart: $2.19 (link)
Premier Protein Shake is currently 27% cheaper per-bottle on Walmart than on the official brand's website, even though the Walmart listings contain fewer bottles (which means a bulk purchase isn't necessary to unlock the savings).
Premier Protein Shake Pros and Cons
Below are some benefits and downsides to using Premier Protein Shake in our opinion.
- Effective protein type
- Effective protein dose
- Can help build muscle
- Contains artificial flavors
- Contains artificial sweeteners
- Packaged in plastic
- Company recalled products from market in 2022
Premier Protein Shake FAQs
Are Premier Protein Shakes healthy?
We do not consider Premier Protein Shakes to be healthy due to the artificial flavors, artificial sweeteners and blend of synthetic vitamin additives.
Are Premier Protein Shakes safe during pregnancy?
It may be best to consume whole foods during pregnancy rather than processed food products with artificial flavoring agents, but only a doctor or dietitian can provide specific nutritional advice to a pregnant woman.
A 2021 meta-study found that artificial sweetener consumption during pregnancy may be associated with increased risk of pre-term delivery and increased birth weight.
Are Premier Protein Shakes lactose free?
Premier Protein Shakes are not lactose free. They contain milk protein, which contains lactose. We would recommend that consumers who are lactose-intolerant or lactose-sensitive avoid Premier Protein Shakes.
Are Premier Protein Shakes keto friendly?
Premier Protein Shakes contain only 5 grams of carbs, so they can be incorporated into a keto diet. Most keto diets allow for up to 50 grams of carbs per day.
Whey protein will contain slightly less carbs per 30 g protein serving according to the USDA, and we believe whey protein is a better option for keto dieters.