Can You Put Vegetable Oil In A Protein Shake?

Fact Checked

Tonya McIntosh

Tonya McIntosh—The main person behind TGFFitness as its Founder and Chief Editor. Get to know more about Tonya


Reviewed By: Ashley Castleberry

Adding oil to protein shakes is a popular practice, but not all oils are created equal. While oils like coconut, and avocado can provide healthy fats and nutrients, highly refined vegetable oils may do more harm than good.

This article explores the pros and cons of different vegetable oils in protein shakes.

We’ll look at aspects like nutritional value, health effects, and alternatives to consider instead of common refined vegetable oils.

Key Takeaways
  • Refined vegetable oils are less healthy options for shakes.
  • Coconut oil provides unique benefits over vegetable oils when added to shakes.
  • Oils like avocado, flaxseed are nutritious alternatives.
  • Focus on healthy oils in moderation for shakes.

Can You Put Vegetable Oil in a Protein Shake?

Generally, no. Vegetable oils are usually very high in omega-6 and trans fats, so adding them to a protein shake is not ideal. According to one research, high omega-6 content increases the risk of coronary heart disease. 

Depending on the plant the vegetable oil was extracted from, the processing method, and their content of fatty acids, vegetable oils can also oxidize easily both outside and inside the body.  

Is Vegetable Oil Bad For Protein Shakes?

Yes, vegetable oils extracted from corn, peanuts, sesame, and rice bran are not good for protein shakes. These oils are very high in omega-6 and are usually highly processed, which can increase the risk of chronic inflammation and several other health problems. 

Understand that omega-6 is not all bad for health. However, the Western diet currently has a ratio of 20:1 of omega-6 and omega-3, which is far from ideal. According to one source, the best ratio of omega-6 to 3 is between 1:1 and 4:1, meaning that the omega-6 in current diets is staggeringly high.

So yes, vegetable oil is bad for protein shakes. 

The Different Types of Vegetable Oils

The common types of vegetable oils are:

Refined or processed oils

As the name implies, refined or processed oils are made with chemicals and under high temperatures, which is also why they are called hot-pressed oils. Hot-pressed oils are produced in large quantities, and the added temperature also makes them lose a lot of the nutrients.

Cold-pressed oils

These oils are produced without any chemicals and do not undergo high-temperature processing, so they contain all the nutrients, making them a healthier version than refined oils.

Are there any Benefits of Adding Vegetable Oil to Protein Shakes?

The primary benefit of adding vegetable oil to protein shakes is the calorific benefits. About two tablespoons of vegetable oil in a regular protein shake adds about 250 kcal to your diet without the need to eat anything extra.

Another benefit of adding vegetable oil to a protein drink is adding thickness to the texture of the drink, making it creamy and tastier to consume.

Some vegetable oils in protein drinks can also reduce cravings for food by making you fuller and satiated.

What Are The Drawbacks Of Adding Vegetable Oil To A Protein Shake?

Adding vegetable oils to a protein shake has several potential drawbacks, including:

Increased inflammation

A diet very high in omega-6 increases the risk of chronic inflammation, which is responsible for arthritis, diabetes, cancer, and heart diseases.

Increase free radicals

Most of the common vegetable oils fall into the category of polyunsaturated fats that oxidize quickly inside the cell membrane, leading to an increase in free radicals and, ultimately, cell damage.

Increases bad cholesterol

Most vegetable oils come from hydrogenated sources – meaning they are rich in trans fats, which are known to increase bad cholesterol in the blood and lower the good cholesterol.

Alternatives oil you Should use Instead

If you love adding oils to your protein drinks, below are some fantastic alternatives to the common vegetable oils.

Coconut Oil

As a rich source of MCTs or medium chain triglycerides, coconut oil is quickly absorbed by the body and provides an instant source of energy. This makes it a popular choice among fitness enthusiasts for protein shakes.

Flaxseed Oil

Another effective alternative for adding to protein shakes is flaxseed oil, which is rich in omega-3 and fantastic for reducing inflammation and boosting heart and brain health.

Sunflower and Safflower Oils

Cold-pressed safflower and sunflower oils are also high in oleic acid, which is known to lower bad cholesterol, improve heart health, and reduce inflammation.

The Role of Palm and Red Palm Oils

Palm and red palm oils are other great alternatives to vegetable oils to add to protein drinks. This oil is known for its versatility and is used in several food items around the world.

In recent years, red palm oil has been found to be even healthier than standard palm oil, with its rich content of antioxidants, vitamin E, and carotenoids.

So, adding this oil to your protein shakes can give you the benefit of improved brain, heart, and eye function.

Coconut Oil vs. Vegetable Oil: Which is Healthier for a Protein Shake?

When comparing coconut oil and vegetable oil for a protein shake, coconut oil is the clear winner in terms of health benefits. Particularly when it’s virgin organic, coconut oil contains medium-chain fatty acids that the body can easily digest and absorb.

Research from 2018 indicates that replacing vegetable oil with coconut oil can increase the amount of good cholesterol (HDL) in the body.

Adding one or two tablespoons of coconut oil to your protein beverage can boost metabolism, enhance cognitive abilities, and aid in weight loss by keeping you full for an extended period.

The Bottom Line

Refined vegetable oils from certain plants are not ideal for protein shakes as they increase the risk of chronic ailments. The high omega-6 content, along with the chemicals, can interfere with bodily activities as well.

However, alternatives such as coconut, and avocado oils have excellent health benefits, so you can add them to your protein shakes, provided you keep the oil content in moderation.

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Chief Editor
Tonya McIntosh

Hello there! My name is Tonya McIntosh, and I’m the Founder and Chief Editor of TGFFitness. I’m also a NASM-certified Nutrition Coach and Personal Trainer. With eight years of experience under my belt, I’ve found that one of the most common issues my clients struggle with is remaining consistent.

Finding your main motivator to keep going is easier said than done for Keep Reading.

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