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Odwalla Strawberry Protein Monster: Healthy or Not?

Posted Jul 20 2010 3:00am

Odwalla Strawberry Protein Monster This post is brought to you by Kristen Seymour, a new contributing writer for Fit Bottomed Girls who embraces and follows the fun-and-health loving FBG lifestyle. Kristen will be jumping in from time to time to write some articles as Erin spends more time over at our new site, Fit Bottomed Babies !

Drinks should serve a specific purpose, don’t you think? Fresh-squeezed orange juice provides lots of nutrients and gives you that happy-to-be-out-of bed feeling. Sports drinks help you restock your body with electrolytes after you’ve sweated them out. And wine…well, we all know what purpose wine serves!

When FBG received Odwalla’s newest beverage, Strawberry Protein Monster , to review, I was interested to see just what purpose it would serve. The packaging says it’s a “berry-licious way to rebuild and recharge.” Would it be a good on-the-go breakfast? A post-workout beverage? A quick and healthful snack?

With 25 grams of protein per bottle, it certainly qualifies as a protein drink (and we know how FBG Jenn loves her protein drinks )! It’s the other ingredients that have me a little more concerned. Yes, 25 grams of protein is great, and it provides plenty of calcium, vitamins B6 and B12, but all that goodness comes with some less savory friends; namely, 300 calories, 33 grams of sugar, and 170 milligrams of sodium. Now, the drink itself isn’t bad—maybe a bit on the chalky side, but sweet like strawberries and easy enough to drink—but with those kinds of stats on a beverage billed as a healthful choice, I really expected to be blown away with the tastiness.

Granted, the nutrition facts state that one bottle is considered two servings, but the point of a beverage like this is that it’s easy to grab when you’re on the go. How often do you drink only half of something you bring with you on your morning commute?

To find out more about what we should (and shouldn’t) look for in a fruity beverage, we talked to Heather Hausenblas, Ph.D., associate professor at the Center for Exercise Science at the University of Florida’s College of Health and Human Performance . “There’s a real push to have these protein drinks available, but often they’re very calorie dense, very protein dense, and, in this case, sugar dense,” she said. “Really, we just need to eat more fruits and veggies.”

As far as whether she thinks Strawberry Protein Monster would help you effectively “rebuild and recharge,” she said, “Yes, you’d probably see an increase in energy [because of all the sugar], but you’d also see a big crash.”

It’s not only the sugar and calories that concerned her, though.

“One of the key things we need to be looking at is the sodium count,” she told us. “The count is really high in many of these drinks even though they’re professing to be healthy. The max—absolute max—the sodium count should be is five percent.”

And what about sugar? “A general rule of thumb for sugar is less than 15 percent. Unfortunately, this is not regulated by the FDA yet. In 2011 it will be.”

While Strawberry Protein Monster is a solid source of lots of good things, we think we’ll stick to our yummy homemade smoothies . —Kristen

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