Protein flavour and sweetness tweaking

Posted by Nick Telesca in Feature Articles

Estimated reading time: 6mins

Protein flavour and sweetness tweaking

Yes, you can control the flavour strength!

Think of cordial. We’ve all mixed some up at some point in our lives. Most will buy the syrup and add water to it. Have you ever been offered some at a friend’s house? What happens when the cordial comes out?

The worst thing is when they assume you drink cordial the same way they do... you're either going to be in extreme flavour town, or on the watery end of things. It’s really only something that you can control yourself. More water and less cordial for those that like a weaker flavour or for those that like a stronger flavour, more cordial and less water.

You may be able to see where this is going for the Protein Powders you have at home…

If your protein is too sweet or too bland here is how to you can fix it.

(Group 1) – “Your Proteins are too sweet! Do you plan to add less flavouring/sweetener in future?”


(Group 2) – “I could barely taste the flavour in your protein! I don’t think there was any in it?”

Two comments that come in as often as weekly to us here at Bulk Nutrients where the cordial mixing scenario we all grew up mastering as a child will come in great use.

The Bland is Better Group

Group 1 – typically a group that isn’t exposed to a lot of sweet things. They rarely spend time in the confectionery isle of a supermarket and almost never drink anything other than water during the week.

Their taste buds are super sensitive to sweet taste. Sweeteners are accentuated on the taste buds of this group compared to group 2. This is a group we find that are sometimes new to protein powders.

In some cases, after some questions to the group 1 type of customer, the Bulk Nutrients Customer Service Team find that there is not enough water being added to dilute the taste of their protein.

They may have followed the recommended water amount on the packaging but usually, more is required for them. Just like mixing cordial. This dilutes the flavour and therefore weakens it. Flavour and sweetness are — lessened!

The Sweet Toothed Group

Group 2 – typically a group that is the opposite of our group 1 intro above. The taste buds of this group are usually regularly exposed to sweet foods and beverages.

They may not always indulge in them but they are certainly no stranger to the confectionery aisle on the weekends. The taste buds in this group are to a degree, desensitised.

That being said, in this group, the Bulk Nutrients Customer Service Team find that customers with this question are not always sweet-toothed!

A lot of the time we find that they have been mixing anywhere from 400-500mls of water to a 30-gram serve. This will dilute the flavour and sweetness to almost nothing for most people.

The advice given by us here is to use less water. Again, just like mixing cordial. Less water will strengthen the flavour. Flavour and sweetness are… increased!

How Conditioning of the Palate effects Taste

But why are taste buds so different from person to person?

The current lifestyle your taste buds are exposed to or even everything from birth leading up to this moment now will determine how your sense of taste will make you feel about what has just made contact with your taste buds.

We have already given an example of someone who is no stranger to the confectionery aisle versus someone who rarely walks down that aisle as to the conditioning of these two types of people’s palates.

Seeing as we have a large customer base of dieters, let’s use them as an example as you’re likely one of them reading this.

The current lifestyle of a typical dieter usually sees foods with reduced salt and very bland flavours compared to your “everyday” foods.

They will go through many weeks like this powering through their meals with a determination in reaching their dream bodies, sacrificing tasty foods.

Anyone who has ever had a protein shake during this phase will tell you Protein Shakes have become their desserts!

Due to the current condition of the dieter’s palate, the flavour of the protein shake they used to drink on a normal everyday diet, now has x10 the taste.

Where they used to take more than one scoop usually, now are fine with just a single scoop, such is the flavour intensity due to the current lifestyle of the taste buds in their mouth.

This is something to be mindful of. While you may think you have the sweetest drink in the world, there’s someone else out there having the same batch of protein powder as you that thinks the exact opposite!

What are your taste buds currently going through? What have they been exposed to for the majority of your food and beverage tasting life?

A quick experiment to how quickly palate conditioning can take place is to compare a Chocolate Cake and a glass of Soft-drink. If you take a bite of the Cake first. It’s sweet. Tastes just as Chocolate Cake should.

Now take a gulp of the Soft-drink and swish some around in your mouth. It’ll likely be sweeter due to the sugar content.

Now go back and take another bite of the Chocolate Cake. Tasteless! The Soft-drink has completely desensitised your mouth to sweetness.

That’s a very short term quick experiment (a fun one at that!) but hopefully, you get the point.

Add extra water if you prefer a weaker tasting protein shake or use less water to increase the flavour of your protein shake.

To wrap up…

A quick way you’re able to take control of your Protein Shake flavour strength is by remembering your cordial mixing skills from childhood – more water for a weaker taste. Less for a stronger taste.

group of product images for proteins
group of product images for proteins