“Why is your protein so sweet?” “Why are your protein flavours so weak?” “Why does your protein taste like it has no flavour at all?” Questions we receive here weekly for as many years as we’ve been operating.

Taste and how a food or drink makes us feel as it hits our taste buds is not entirely what may be shared with the next person. Even if you know someone that has similar taste for food as yourself, somewhere along the food chain you’ll find that even with your favourite eating partner you’re going to disagree with each other on a certain food or beverage taste.

With taste of a product being rated just as equally by our customers as the effectiveness of a product, (in some cases rated more important than effectiveness in one online forum discussion we had in 2014 with supplement users!) we take this seriously and would like to explain how you have control of whether your protein shake is stronger or weaker in taste. Yes, you get to control the level of flavour strength!

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? There’s always the discussion of “how much water / syrup ratio would you like?” 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…


(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. On 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 is — 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 isle on the weekends. The taste buds on 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 almost dilute the flavour and sweetness to nothing with 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 is… increased!

Conditioning of the Palate

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 isle versus someone who rarely walks down that isle as to the conditioning of these two types of people’s palates. Seeing as we have a large customer base of dieter’s, let’s use them as an example as you’re likely one of them reading this. The current lifestyle of a typical dieter usually see’s 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, has now x10 in 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 about. 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 take a Chocolate Cake and a glass of Soft-drink. 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.

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.

Bulk Nutrients Protein


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Nick Telesca

Nick Telesca

Nick has a passion for fast cars and is currently working on a small race car project built for the quarter mile and he loves great tasting food. His weekends revolve around finding the next best burger place! Nick is experienced in weight training and muscle building, and has been training with weights for 15 years. Prior to working with us, Nick was a Personal Trainer and has his Cert 3 & 4 in Fitness / PT, Nick has been working for Bulk Nutrients since 2007 and has been our Technical Officer for around 5 years now. There isn't a question he hasn't heard or answered about supplements, training or diet - so don't be shy to contact him!