What is a High Calorie Shake?

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  • Written By: Jessica Ellis
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 17 January 2020
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A high calorie shake is a type of drink made to increase calorie intake, usually drunk by those trying to gain weight or muscle. These can be made out of a variety of ingredients to boost caloric and nutritional value. It is important to be careful what ingredients are used; some high calorie shakes can be effective, but many add calories while also drastically increasing sugar and fat intake, which can be unhealthy.

Some people have a naturally high metabolism that makes weight or muscle gain difficult on a regular diet. Even in childhood, a fast metabolism can result in low weight, and even negatively affect health and strength. People with heavy exercise regimens can also have difficulty with weight or muscle gain, as their bodies simply burn far more calories than they intake on a daily basis. For those with quick metabolisms or high exertion rates, a high calorie shake can be a quick and easy way to allow for weight gain.

Many health and fitness experts suggest high calorie shakes as an effective means of getting extra nutrition, but warn against using overly processed or high-sugar ingredients. Some packaged high calorie mixes or high-fat homemade shakes may be no better for health than drinking a giant milkshake every day. Try avoiding corn syrup, processed additives, and extremely high fat foods in order to add calories without compromising on other nutrition.


Suggested ingredients for a high calorie shake include milk, yogurt, bananas, avocados and almonds. Try to keep the use of fruit juices to a minimum in these shakes, as they have about the same calorie content as milk but often contain far more sugar. Although most of these ingredients do have a high fat content, using natural ingredients means that most of the fat is unsaturated, which is generally considered better for the body.

Many people like to add a nutrient boost to a high calorie shake by using protein or vitamin powders. This can be a great way to help give the body building blocks to create muscle and improve overall fitness. There are many protein and vitamin mixes available at grocery stores and fitness suppliers, but be careful to follow dosing instructions; too much of a good thing, such as certain vitamins or even protein, can be very bad for the body.

Fitness experts usually recommend drinking a high calorie shake following a workout to help replenish calories and feed tired muscles. Others suggest drinking them on recovery days between workouts, when muscles grow to replace and strengthen strained tissue. A high calorie shake can also be an excellent breakfast replacement, getting the body a boost of protein and calories that it can use throughout the day.


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