Those who are attempting a protein drink diet may be dismayed to discover unexpected carbohydrates in their meals. Even a whey protein shake, often touted as the best protein available, contains small amounts of carbohydrates, which you should be aware of before downing it as a meal replacement shake. However, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Carbohydrate supplements your diet and is still necessary for a healthy body – after all, a high protein diet recommends low carbohydrate intake, not none at all.
Finding Hidden Carbohydrates
Even when no carbohydrates are listed on the nutrition facts label, there still may be – and likely are – carbohydrates present. Food manufacturers are allowed to round anything less than half a gram down, so it appears on the label as 0 grams. Furthermore, they can manipulate serving sizes to their advantage. What this means is, if the nutritional label of a protein shake makes a serving size out to be half a cup (which contains 0 grams of carbohydrates), there may be up to 1 whole gram in a cup of the shake (0.5 unlisted grams per serving; two servings in a cup). If your shake contains glycerin, you’ll be consuming even more carbohydrate, as the carbohydrate content of glycerin is, by USDA decree, never included on nutrition facts labels.
Why Carbohydrates are Needed
In small amounts, carbohydrates help your body to better process protein. They also provide your body with energy and help to maintain steady glucose levels. This isn’t to say that the carbohydrates hidden in protein drinks are harmless, though; being unaware of the potential carbohydrate content can hinder your diet and prevent you from losing weight as you should.
By maintaining awareness of the extra carbohydrates you could be taking in through your protein drinks, you will be better able to compensate for them and maintain your diet.