Monthly Archives: May 2017

Sprout Living Epic Protein Powder Review

Before I get to my Sprout Living Epic Protein Powder review, I want to point out one thing.

If you’ve read any of my reviews, you know I’m not a fan of big brands like HerbalifePlantFusion, Garden of Life … pretty much every large protein powder company on the market.

I have even received letters from the legal teams of two major protein powder corporations to cease and desist.

Why?

Because most of them use junk ingredients, and I’m not afraid to call them out on it.

I base my protein powder reviews on two objective criteria: the ingredients and nutrition facts label.

And if you look at the ingredients and nutrition facts label for every single one of those companies above, you’ll see they use gut-disrupting additives, emulsifiers, “flavors,” and/or sugars.

Yet they market their products as “natural,” “clean,” etc.

And it works … ‘cuz people buy lots of their products.

However …

Sprout Living is one of two companies (out of hundreds) whose protein powders I actually really like, aside from Pure Food

In this review, I’ll tell you what I like about this company and its products and a couple things I don’t love after doing an in-depth analysis of its nutrition facts and ingredients lists.

Let’s get into it …

Researching Plant Protein Powders?

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Who Is Sprout Living?

Sprout Living was started by a couple of brothers who have a similar mission to me (bonus points for that).

They sell vegan / plant based protein powders and superfood mixes like broccoli and kale sprout mix and coconut water mixes.

They are one of the few protein companies (along with Pure Food) to use no gums, “flavoring”, fillers or additives

Now, as I mentioned above, the way I do my reviews is by analyzing the Ingredients and Nutrition Facts. 

Let’s take a look at them for each of Sprout Living’s products …

Epic Protein Ingredients and Nutrition Facts

Sprout Living Epic Protein is available in the following flavors:

  • Vanilla Lucuma
  • Chocolate Maca
  • Green Kingdom
  • Unflavored
  • Mindful Matcha
  • Pro Collagen
  • Real Sport
  • Complete Coffee

Pros:

  • Awesome multi-source organic plant protein blend
  • Good source of dietary fiber
  • Functional superfood ingredients

Cons:

There’s really just one big negative about Epic Protein for me: the added sugar.

Now granted, they use coconut sugar, which is a better sweetener than most because it’s lower on the glycemic index (GI).

However, all of the Epic Protein products except unflavored have 3-4 grams of added sugar:

3-4 grams may not seem like a lot, but when you consider that most people should not be eating more than 30-40 grams of added sugar per day, then you realize that each shake has 10% of your daily sugar intake. Not terrible, but for me personally, I look for health and wellness supplements without added sugar.

The Unflavored version of Epic Protein gets my full stamp of approval:

epic protein unflavored nutrition facts ingredients

Simple Protein Ingredients and Nutrition Facts

Sprout Living all makes a line of products called Simple Protein Powders. They are available in these flavors:

  • Pumpkin seed
  • Pea
  • Sunflower
  • Watermelon seed

 

Here’s how Sprout describes their Simple Protein Powder:

Crafted for the purists at heart, Simple Protein is our line of 100% single ingredient protein powders made from unique whole food ingredients that contain high quality, ultra-clean, hypoallergenic and bioavailable protein as well as other inherent nutritional benefits.

Normally by this point in the review, I’d be pointing out all the red flags (see my Shakeology review for a good example).

But Sprout Living uses only clean, natural, real food ingredients (just like we do).

You won’t see any flavors, gums, fillers, additives, or added sugars that the big guys all use.

And at a price point of $.06/gram, the price is on par with other (alleged) premium powders on the market.

Sprout Living Protein Powders: The Final Verdict

Sprout Living, and particularly their Epic Protein Unflavored and Simple Proteins, is one of the VERY RARE protein powders I recommend other than my own.

I do think there’s a bit too much sugar for my liking in some of the Epic Protein products but I understand that products that taste good sell more.

Click here to get instant access to my FREE Google spreadsheet comparing 20+ plant-based protein powders (including Epic Protein) by ingredients, nutrition, and cost.

*P.S. A few of you have asked me why I would recommend a competitor’s product. The reason is simple: If you decide Pure Food isn’t for you, that’s fine … but I’d much rather help people discover other good products from small businesses like Sprout Living than buy the junk that Orgain, Vega, PlantFusion, Arbonne, and all the other guys sell.

Skoop Protein Powder Review

Skoop is the brain child of James Rouse, a naturopathic doctor, and friends Greg Stroh and Alex Bogusky, a former partner with advertising agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky.

They sell several cleverly-named products:

  • A-Game Greens Blend
  • Endurance Beet Blend
  • Super Skoop Breakfast Protein
  • B-Strong Plant-Based Protein
  • Sleep Protein

While I admire their marketing and positioning as a former ad agency copywriter myself, I do have some concerns about what’s actually in their protein powders, in particular.

You’re about to find out why.

I’ve broken this review into two versions: a quick-and-dirty version for those who have a short attention span like me, and the full version.

Researching Plant Protein Powders?

CLICK HERE to get our FREE Google Sheet comparing 25+ brands by nutrition, ingredients, and cost.

Skoop Protein Powder Review (Short Version)

First, let’s talk about what I like about Skoop …

  • Two of Skoop’s protein powders (Breakfast Protein and Plant-based Protein) have 100% organic ingredients.
  • They contribute 3 percent of every purchase to Project Produce, an initiative they co-founded to help kids eat more fruits and veggies. Very cool.
  • Their marketing materials that come with the product are pretty awesome (yes, I order all my competitors products).

Now, onto what I don’t like …

In case you haven’t read any of my other reviews, I evaluate protein powders based on health and nutrition.

The way I do this is by analyzing the only objective information you will see on any packaged food:

  1. The Ingredients
  2. The Nutrition Facts

Skoop’s ingredients and nutrition facts information for their three protein powders reveal some concerns that I flagged in red:

B-Strong Plant Based Protein Organic Formula skoop Breakfast Protein powder skoop sleep protein

B-Strong Plant Based Protein Organic Formula

Super Skoop All-In-One Breakfast Protein

Skoop Sleep Protein Powder
Calories 100 150 90
Grams of Protein  16  20  8
Protein Source(s) Organic pea protein concentrate, organic flax seed, organic rice protein concentrate Organic pea protein, organic rice protein, organic hemp protein  Organic pea protein, organic rice protein
Grams of Sugar  3  1  4
Free of “Natural” Flavors No No No
Free of Gums & Thickeners Yes No No
Organic  Yes Yes No
Vegan  Yes Yes  Yes
Cost Per Gram  $.08  $.12  $.09

So that’s the short and sweet version. Now let’s break down exactly why I flagged these …

Skoop Protein Powder Review (Full Version)

When reviewing Skoop’s nutrition facts labels and ingredients lists, a few things really stood out:

1. Sugar Content in B-Strong and Sleep Protein Powder

Skoop adds 3 grams of sugar to B-Strong and 4 grams of sugar to its Sleep formula, which is puzzling. The last thing you want to do before bed is eat sugary foods/drinks because they raise your blood sugar, which can block your body’s ability to burn fat (among other health concerns).

Skoop uses coconut sugar in both of these products, which I’d classify as “slightly less bad” than table sugar or HFCS.

Sugar is sugar, folks. Just because it comes from coconuts doesn’t magically make it good for you.

2. “Natural flavors

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) says “natural” flavors are “Unspecified mixtures of as many as 100 flavoring substances and solvents, emulsifiers, and preservatives.”

These flavors are now the 4th most common ingredient on food labels (behind water, sugar, and salt).

You know why?

Because food companies don’t have to disclose what’s in them (and none of them do … trust me, I’ve asked).

So they exploit this loophole for all its worth.

Long story short:

Natural flavors aren’t so natural.

Skoop B-Strong’s second ingredient is vanilla flavor. That means this mystery ingredient loaded with cheap fillers and additives comprises a healthy percentage of the powder you’re ingesting.

To learn more, check out my report, “What Are Natural Flavors?“.

3. Gums, fillers, and thickeners

Here’s the problem with gums: they disrupt sensitive guts and may cause nausea, abdominal bloating and excessive gas.

All-In-One has acacia gum and Sleep has gum arabic, xanthan gum, and guar gum.

Between the sugar and gums, I don’t know how anyone is sleeping well taking this product (it’s gotta be the L-Tryptophan they add … the same chemical that makes you tired when you eat certain foods, like turkey at Thanksgiving for all you carnivores).

4. Cost

I calculate cost per gram because it takes into account different serving sizes of protein powders.

Skoop is really dang expensive!

All-in-One Breakfast protein has the steepest price point of $.11/gram, followed by Sleep Protein at $.09/gram and B-Strong at $.08/gram. To be fair, Skoop does offer a subscription option on its site where you can save 15%.

Here’s a look at the complete nutrition facts and ingredients for each Skoop protein powder:

Product

B-Strong Plant Based Protein Nutrition Facts and Ingredients

Super Skoop All-In-One Breakfast Protein Nutrition Facts and Ingredients

Skoop Sleep Protein Nutrition Facts and Ingredients

Nutrition Facts / Ingredients (click/tap to enlarge) skoop b strong protein powder nutrition facts all in one breakfast protein powder nutrition facts skoop sleep nutrition facts ingredients

Skoop Reviews: The Final Verdict

Great marketing.

Clever positioning.

Not the best ingredients and nutrition profiles.

Too much sugar, too many gums, flavors, and other cheap fillers. At that price point, I would expect more.

Click here to get instant access to my FREE Google spreadsheet comparing 20+ plant-based protein powders (including Skoop) by ingredients, nutrition, and cost.

Sun Warrior Protein Powder Nutrition Facts and Ingredients Review

After reviewing the ingredients and nutrition facts for Sun Warrior protein powder, let’s first talk about what I do like about Sun Warrior products:

  1. SunWarrior Classic Plus, Warrior Blend and Lean Meal Illumin8 all contain 100% organic ingredients. I give the unflavored “Natural” blends for Classic Plus and Warrior Blend a big thumbs up.
  2. SunWarrior reformulated their protein powders with added sugar and now none of their powders have added sugar or artificial sweeteners (they use organic stevia extract).
  3. I’m a fan of the organic, sprouted whole food ingredients they use.
  4. SunWarrior is privately-owned, which means they haven’t been bought by a mega-corporation that puts profits over health (like Vega and Garden of Life, for example).
  5. The price is right with Sun Warrior … their most expensive protein (Illumin8) costs around $.05/gram, which is less than other premium plant protein powders.

However …

There are also some red flag ingredients (cue dramatic music) in many of Sun Warrior’s powders you may want to think twice about if you have digestive issues or if nutrition/ingredients are your top priority when choosing a protein powder.

Find out more in this SunWarrior protein review …

Researching Plant Protein Powders?

CLICK HERE to get our FREE Google Sheet comparing 25+ brands by nutrition, ingredients, and cost.

SunWarrior Protein Powder Review

Like my other protein powder reviews (PlantFusion, Garden of Life, etc.), my analysis is based on the health and nutrition of Sun Warrior protein powder blends … NOT their taste.

I sell a protein powder so I am clearly biased … but this is a short checklist I use when buying most packaged products:

  • Organic, clean, plant-based, real food ingredients
  • No added sugars or other artificial sweeteners used
  • None of these junk ingredients:
    • Soy
    • Corn
    • Dairy
    • Gluten
    • Flavors
    • Gums

SunWarrior meets most of these criteria …

Here’s a summary of what’s in each of their 7 protein powder products:

SunWarrior Classic Protein
$23.99
sunwarrior protein classic
Calories: 80
Grams of Protein: 15
Grams of Sugar: 1
Protein Sources: Rice
Free of Natural Flavors: No (except for the Natural version)
Free of Gums/Thickeners: No (except for the Natural version)
Organic: Yes
Vegan: Yes
Cost Per Gram: $.03

 

Classic Protein Nutrition Facts/Ingredients:

sunwarrior classic protein nutrition facts review

Classic Plus Protein
$23.99
classic plus protein powder
Calories: 100
Grams of Protein: 18
Grams of Sugar: 0
Protein Sources: Organic pea, organic rice, organic quinoa, organic chia, organic amaranth
Free of Natural Flavors: No (except for the Natural version)
Free of Gums/Thickeners: No (except for the Natural version)
Organic: Yes
Vegan: Yes
Cost Per Gram: $.03

 

Classic Plus Protein Nutrition Facts/Ingredients:

 

sun warrior classic plus protein nutrition facts label

Warrior Blend Organic Protein Powder
$39.99
warrior blend powder
Calories: 100
Grams of Protein: 16
Grams of Sugar: 0
Protein Sources: Organic pea, organic hemp
Free of Natural Flavors: No (except for the Natural version)
Free of Gums/Thickeners: No
Organic: Yes
Vegan: Yes
Cost Per Gram: $.05

 

Warrior Blend Protein Nutrition Facts/Ingredients:

Sun Warrior Blend Organic Protein Powder

Lean Meal Illumin8 Protein Powder
$43.97

Lean Meal Illumin8 reviews

Calories: 140
Grams of Protein: 15
Grams of Sugar: 0
Protein Sources: Organic pea
Free of Natural Flavors: No
Free of Gums/Thickeners: No
Organic: Yes
Vegan: Yes
Cost Per Gram: $.06

 

Illumin8 Nutrition Facts/Ingredients:

Illumin8 Nutrition Facts Ingredients

Clean Greens & Protein
$39.99

sunwarrior Clean Greens and Protein

Calories: 100
Grams of Protein: 17
Grams of Sugar: 0
Protein Sources: Organic pea
Free of Natural Flavors: No
Free of Gums/Thickeners: No
Organic: Yes
Vegan: Yes
Cost Per Gram: $.05

 

Clean Greens & Protein Nutrition Facts/Ingredients:

Clean Greens & Protein reviews

Clean Keto Protein Powder
$44.95

sun warrior clean keto protein review

Calories: 280
Grams of Protein: 14
Grams of Sugar: 0
Protein Sources: Fava bean, Organic pea
Free of Natural Flavors: No
Free of Gums/Thickeners: Yes
Organic: No
Vegan: Yes
Cost Per Gram: $.06

 

Clean Keto Nutrition Facts/Ingredients:

clean keto ingredients review

Collagen Building Protein Peptides
$34.95
sunwarrior collagen review
Calories: 80
Grams of Protein: 14
Grams of Sugar: 0
Protein Sources: Organic pea, Organic rice
Free of Natural Flavors: No
Free of Gums/Thickeners: No
Organic: Yes
Vegan: Yes
Cost Per Gram: $.06

 

Collagen Building Protein Peptides Nutrition Facts/Ingredients:

Collagen Building Protein Peptides Nutrition Facts

Ingredients I Don’t Like In SunWarrior Protein Powder Blends

On Sun Warrior’s website, they say:

We believe that plants provide the cleanest and most powerful foods, rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and phytonutrients. Our bodies crave real food, especially in this age where we heavily process everything we eat, stripping out all the benefits and nutrition well before we have a chance to use them.

That’s something SunWarrior and I definitely agree on.

As I mentioned, SunWarrior has a lot of good things going for it: organic ingredients, no/low sugar, probiotics, quality protein sources.

I actually highly recommend all of their “natural” products for anyone looking for a cheap, organic, plant-based protein powder:

But

There are some concerns I have with a few of SunWarrior protein powders (the flavored versions, at least).

Concern #1: Most SunWarrior Protein Powders Have “Natural” Flavors

David Andrews, Senior Scientist at the Environmental Working Group, says:

Natural and artificial flavors really aren’t that different. And those “natural flavors” can actually contain synthetic chemicals! You’re right to be skeptical of the word “natural” – it’s often thrown around loosely.

“Natural” flavors may contain 50 to 100 ingredients, many of which may be chemical solvents and preservatives.
Personally, I avoid products that have them because food manufacturers don’t have to disclose what’s actually in them. Read more about natural flavors here.

If you use Sun Warrior protein powder, I recommend checking with them to see what’s in their “flavor” compounds.

Concern #2: Gums in All Sun Warrior Protein Powders 

Gums are common food additives used to stabilize, emulsify, and thicken the texture of processed foods.

The flavored versions of Illumin8, Classic, Classic Plus, and Warrior Blend all contain gums (either xanthan or guar … they refer to the latter as “guar fiber” in Illumin8).

Xanthan gum can cause gas, bloating, and diarrhea.

Guar gum may lead to digestive side effects like abdominal cramps and diarrhea too.

I recommend avoiding them whenever possible, especially if you suffer from GI issues.

Sun Warrior Protein Reviews Summed Up

I recommend the “natural” versions of the following SunWarrior protein powder blends:

  1. Classic Plus Natural Protein
  2. Warrior Blend Organic Natural Protein
  3. Collagen Building Protein Peptides
  4. Classic Protein

SunWarrior’s other protein powders all have a combination of flavors and gums/emulsifiers. If those types of ingredients don’t matter to you and you’re just looking for a cheap organic plant-based protein, Sun Warrior is a solid choice.

But if you have a sensitive gut or are looking for the cleanest/healthiest option, you may want to try something without those ingredients.

best plant-based protein powders