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Many of my nutrition clients don’t like the taste of a protein shake and are looking for new ways to drink it that are more appetizing. However, they are unsure about whether orange juice would be a good option, so I decided to answer that question.
Can you mix whey protein with orange juice? Mixing whey with orange juice is a great option around a workout as the carbs will provide energy and assist with recovery. However, orange juice provides extra calories without filling you up. Therefore, it’s better for those struggling to eat enough (bulking phase), not for those losing body fat (cutting phase).
With that said, before you start mixing whey protein powder with orange juice, you should know the pros and cons, and how to do it properly for optimal results.
In this article you will learn:
- Pros and cons of mixing whey protein with orange juice
- When to consume whey protein and orange juice
- Who should and shouldn’t mix orange juice with whey
- The best type of protein powder to mix with orange juice
This article is part of our series on What Can You Mix With Whey Protein (13 Examples)
Benefits of Mixing Whey Protein With Orange Juice
The benefits of mixing whey protein with orange juice are:
1. It Provides Additional Carbs Beneficial Around a Workout
Orange juice is high in carbohydrates, specifically sugar, which is beneficial pre-and post-workout to provide an extra boost of energy and aid in recovery.
Carbs are important around a workout to provide a quick energy source, as well as replenish our energy store to promote recovery. If we are just mixing our whey protein with water, we are missing out on these benefits.
While the carbs in orange juice won’t replace a meal, it’s a great way to add in some extra carbs to your post-workout shake and start your recovery process as you’re heading home before you have time to eat. It can also be a great option to sip on during your workout for a bit of extra energy.
2. It Provides a More Palatable Option for Those That Don’t Like the Taste of Protein Powder
Orange juice adds a lot of flavour to your protein shake, helping to disguise that protein shake flavour that some may not enjoy.
Anyone that’s had a protein shake knows it has a specific taste, while some people enjoy it many do not. Mixing it with milk or water will just bring out the flavour of the protein powder. However, orange juice has a strong flavour that will significantly help mask the flavour.
In particular, if you use unflavoured protein powder, you will find that your shake just tastes like orange juice. This is a perfect option for someone looking to add a protein shake into their day but cannot get on board with the flavour.
Drawbacks of Mixing Whey Protein With Orange Juice
The drawbacks of mixing whey protein with orange juice are:
It Is Higher in Carbs and Sugar Compared to Water
Orange juice is high in carbs and sugar, meaning you are adding extra calories to your protein shake that aren’t likely to fill you up. This is not a good use of calories for anyone looking to lose body fat.
Per cup, orange juice has 100 calories and 23g of carbohydrates. These carbs come from sugar which is the quickest source of energy for our body. This means that after you drink a glass of orange juice you will feel a burst of energy but it will quickly lead to a crash in about 1-1.5 hours.
For someone that is looking to lose body fat, this is not a good use of calories. They want to prioritize calories that will fill them up for a longer period.
However, this would be a good option for anyone looking to gain muscle mass but struggling to eat enough calories. Adding in liquid calories, especially those that are fast-digesting, will make sure these calories are not impacting your appetite throughout the rest of the day.
- Learn more about whether oranges are good or bad for bodybuilding.
Orange Juice and Protein Powder: When To Consume
Is Whey Protein and Orange Juice Good For Pre-Workout?
Yes, whey protein and orange juice are good pre-workout options as the carbs and sugar from the orange juice will provide an additional boost of energy for your workout.
Since the carbohydrates are from sugar, your body will be able to utilize them for energy quickly. Therefore, it’s best to drink it 30-45 minutes before your workout. It can also make for a great drink during your workout for some additional energy, especially during long sessions (2+ hours).
I always recommend this to my clients that are working out in the morning as it’s a great way to get some energy in for your workout, without eating anything too heavy.
- Related Article: Why Is Protein Powder So Sweet? How To Make It Less Sweet
Is Whey Protein and Orange Juice Good for Post-Workout?
Yes, whey protein and orange juice are good for post-workout to provide the carbs and protein necessary for optimal recovery and muscle growth.
Orange juice is a great way to boost the carbs in your post-workout shake, starting the recovery process quicker than waiting to get home and make a full meal. It’s also fat-free so your body will be able to quickly digest and absorb the carbs and protein.
Orange juice won’t replace your post-workout meal so make sure you are still consuming that within an hour after finishing your workout.
Is Whey Protein and Orange Juice Good for Breakfast?
Whey protein and orange juice are not good for breakfast as the sugar will digest very quickly leaving you hungry again by mid-morning.
Have you ever eaten breakfast but found yourself hungry by 10 am? It’s likely because you ate a carb-heavy breakfast. Carbs, specifically sugar, are processed very quickly by your body giving you a quick spike of energy then a crash about an hour later.
Orange juice in your protein shake would provide the same effect leaving you reaching for a calorie-dense morning snack like a granola bar. It’s best to opt for a higher fat option for your protein shake at breakfast such as whole milk and keep the orange juice around your workout.
Is Whey Protein and Orange Juice Good for Before Bed?
Whey protein and orange juice are not good for before bed as the sugar from the juice will provide you with a burst of energy, making it more difficult for you to sleep.
Getting a sugar high is a real thing, sugar gives our body a sudden quick boost of energy. Orange juice is high in sugar and is likely to cause a similar effect. As you can imagine before bed is not a good time for a boost of energy as it will make it difficult to sleep.
Generally, we also want to focus on getting our calories in throughout the day when we need the energy. Saving calories right before bed will cause us to feel less energized and more hungry throughout the day, which may lead to more snacking.
With that said, I often recommend orange juice and whey protein to my clients that are looking to put on muscle mass but are struggling to eat enough calories. Try to drink it 1.5 – 2 hours before bed so it doesn’t get in the way of good night’s sleep.
- Related Article: Can You Mix Collagen Powder With Orange Juice? (Pros & Cons)
Who Should Mix Whey Protein with Orange Juice
Mixing orange juice with protein powder is best for anyone bulking that is struggling to eat enough food.
This is because whey protein and orange juice will give extra calories in your day, without impacting your hunger for your next meal.
- Related Article: Can You Mix Whey Protein With Apple Juice?
Who SHOULD NOT Mix Whey Protein with Orange Juice
Mixing orange juice with protein powder is not a good option for anyone looking to lose body fat since calories from the juice will not provide much satiety.
When you are losing body fat you are eating fewer calories in a day than what you are burning which is likely to cause some hunger. This can be minimized by focusing on getting protein and fat in your meal to keep you full for longer after eating.
Orange juice is the opposite and provides calories only from sugar with no protein or fat. Your body will quickly use that energy and you will find yourself hungry quickly after eating. This is likely to lead to more snacking during the day which can easily result in you going over your daily calories.
Overall, if you are trying to lose weight, there are better food choices that can be made instead of orange juice to keep you feeling full and satisfied.
Learn more about staying satiated in these articles:
Will Protein Powder Dissolve in Orange Juice
Yes, protein powder will dissolve in orange juice. For best results, use 1 scoop of protein powder per 8oz of orange juice. Using a blender or shaker bottle is also recommended to prevent clumps. Mixing with just a spoon will likely not be effective and will leave you with a clumpy mess.
Best Types of Protein Powder To Mix With Orange Juice
An unflavoured whey protein isolate is best to mix with orange juice as it will give you the best taste and texture as well as the best macros.
I recommend MyProtein Impact Whey Isolate for an unflavored protein option.
If you are looking for a vanilla whey isolate instead, I recommend Legion Whey+ Isolate.
Many of my clients have found the vanilla flavor when mixed with orange juice tastes very similar to a creamsicle. It has the added benefit of being sweetened with stevia instead of sugar alcohols making it less likely to cause digestive upset.
I recommend a whey isolate instead of a whey concentrate because a whey isolate has a better macro profile.
Whey isolate is a more filtered form of whey protein compared to a whey concentrate, meaning it has the most protein and least carbs and fat per scoop. It also is lactose-free making it much better digestively. While both are good options to mix with orange juice, whey isolate is the best option.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some frequently asked questions about mixing whey protein and orange juice.
Does Orange Juice Break Down Protein?
No, orange juice does not break down protein. While orange juice is acidic, its pH is around 3.5 compared to your stomach which has a pH of 1. Your stomach does not destroy the protein and negate the benefits, otherwise, we wouldn’t drink protein powder. Therefore, the acid in your orange juice is not a problem.
Does Orange Juice Help Muscles?
Orange juice in and of itself does not help build muscle, however, it does provide calories which is one piece of building muscle. In addition to enough calories, we also need a sufficient training stimulus and adequate protein. If we have all those, then the calories from orange juice can assist with building muscle.
Is Unflavoured Whey Protein Better To Mix With Orange Juice?
Unflavoured whey protein is better to mix with orange juice if you prefer a strong orange juice flavor in your shake. It does not provide any additional benefits outside of the taste. Vanilla whey is also a good option if you’re looking for something sweeter, it will taste similar to a creamsicle.
About The Author
Laura Semotiuk is a Precision Nutrition Level 1 certified nutrition coach. She works with athletes and active individuals looking to improve performance and develop healthy nutritional habits and behaviors. She has a passion for cooking, meal prepping, and creating simple and healthy recipes.