GNC lean protein vs premier protein

Premier Protein vs. GNC Lean Shake: Which Is Best?

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Ready-to-drink protein shakes are a convenient way to get your daily protein in. Personally, I am not that good at getting in my 25-30 grams of protein at breakfast. I don’t care to eat eggs every day and simply like to start my day with carbs. But a high protein breakfast is the best way to curb hunger later in the day. So I have to do what I have to do.

I frequently lean on ready-to-drink protein shakes, like Premier Protein or GNC’s Lean Shake to hit that protein goal, then pair it with whatever high fiber carb I feel like eating.

If you are looking for a ready-to-drink shake, which one is better? Premier Protein vs GNC’s Lean Shake? Who wins? I tried both and took a look at their nutrition breakdown, here is what I found.

Premier Protein Shakes

Premier Protein shakes are popular and easy to find at your local Walmart or order on Amazon. They come in several different flavors beyond chocolate and vanilla. You can find the shakes in Peaches and Cream, Pumpkin Spice, and even Root Beer Float flavors. They offer a variety pack if you want to sample multiple flavors without having to commit to a bigger order.

I tend to stick with the chocolate flavor which I just purchase at my local big box store. I do enjoy the Cafe Latte, which contains some caffeine and the Caramel makes for a delicious coffee creamer.

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06/18/2024 10:14 pm GMT

Is Premier Protein Good for You?

Premier Protein shakes are a convenient way to get a lot of protein in a small volume, but I would not consider these ready-to-drink shakes a health food. That being said, they may have a place in your diet, as they do in mine.

One 11-ounce shake has 160 calories, 30 grams of protein, 3 grams of fat, 3 grams of fiber, and 0 grams of added sugar. It contains a variety of vitamins and minerals providing around 25% of several different nutrients. 

While the calories, macros, and nutrients are great for Premier Protein, it does contain artificial sweeteners, various thickeners, and artificial flavors. It is also milk protein based which may not be ideal for those with allergies or intolerances.

But, do these ingredients make Premier Protein “unhealthy”? I would say no as long as you are not relying on the shakes as your only protein source. Overall, they are a convenient option with great macros that make it easy to meet your protein goals, which most of us need more of anyway. 

GNC Lean Protein Shakes*

GNC has a line of “Total Lean” products that include ready-to-drink protein shakes, protein powders, and bars. They are also available in a variety of flavors such as Strawberries and Cream, Chocolate Mocha, and Thin Mints. 

I tried the Cookies and Cream and the Swiss Chocolate flavors, which I found fairly similar in taste. I couldn’t really tell them apart. If you like chocolate, I would recommend either.  I haven’t looked for them at Walmart or other stores, but they can be easily ordered on Amazon or purchased at your local GNC store.

Are GNC Lean Protein Shakes Good For You?

Similar to the Premier Protein shakes, the GNC Lean Shakes are a convenient way to get your protein in, with some caveats.

A 14-ounce serving has 170 calories, 25 grams of protein, 6 grams of fat, 3 grams of fiber, and 0 grams of added sugar. It has a variety of vitamins and minerals, providing around 25% of the daily value for most. It is also a milk-based protein.

It also contains artificial sweeteners, artificial flavors, various thickeners, and several omega-6 oils, like canola oil. While omega-6s are not necessarily bad for us, many of us get too much omega-6 and not enough omega-3, causing an imbalance that can increase the risk of chronic diseases. 

But, similar to Premier Protein, the GNC Lean Shake is not unhealthy. It just needs to be balanced with other whole foods to meet your nutrient needs. 

Meal Replacements and Weight Loss

A word of warning for both products, these are often referred to as meal replacements. Neither Premier Protein nor GNC Lean Protein shakes contain enough calories to replace a meal. They would make a great snack or addition to a meal.

Trying to subsist on 170-ish calorie protein shakes instead of eating a meal will leave you ravenous and will likely cause you to binge due to hunger. This is not a sustainable (or effective) way to lose weight.

That being said, there is some research on the effectiveness of meal replacements for weight loss. A 2018 study found that a meal replacement of around 388 calories (double what is in these shakes) did help with weight loss and improved other metabolic parameters. The reason is that meal replacements take the guesswork out of portion sizes and meal prep. When you use these convenient options it simply keeps your calories in check and removes the exhausting decision-making around what to eat. This is why meal delivery programs that offer pre-portioned, calorie-controlled meals are increasingly popular. They are a convenient way to eat healthy without all the work involved.

But, before you decide to use meal replacements to lose weight, consider the sustainability of meal replacements. Are you really going to eat your dinner from a tiny tray forever? Meal replacements can be a great learning tool or a convenient option for a busy season when you still want to stick to your goals. But learning how to prepare balanced and nutritious meals is a lifelong useful skill. 

Premier Protein vs. GNC Lean Protein: Who Wins?

In doing a side-by-side comparison of Premier Protein vs. the GNC Lean Protein ready-to-drink shakes, they are fairly similar products. But, if I had to pick one Premier Protein is the winner. It is slightly less expensive, has more protein for a smaller volume, comes in a variety of flavors, and is widely available at most stores. 

Premier Protein vs GNC Lean shake

The product you decide to use may be simply due to taste preference or availability, either of these could work as a convenient ready-to-drink protein source. 

*I was gifted the GNC Lean Shakes to try. All opinions are my own.