Monthly Archives: May 2017

Sprout Living Epic Protein Powder Review

If you’ve read any of my reviews, you know I’m not a fan of Orgain, Vega, PlantFusion, Garden of Life … pretty much every major protein powder company on the market.

Why?

Because 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 … ’cause people buy lots of their products.

However …

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

In this review, I’ll tell you what I like so much about this company and its products after doing an in-depth analysis of its nutrition facts and ingredients lists.

Let’s get into it …

Click here to get instant access to my FREE Google spreadsheet (comparing 20+ of the best plant protein powders (including Sprout Living) by ingredients, nutrition, and cost (updated May 2017).

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 the following products:

sprout living epic protein powders
source: sproutliving.com

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 has this to say about the Epic Protein product line:

Epic Protein is an organic plant protein powder made from four vegan protein sources handpicked for their balanced and complete protein, natural bioavailability and rich nutritional synergies. Exotic whole superfoods add an array of nutrients and a burst of real flavors, resulting in a harmonious blend of silky smooth and delicious protein powder.

And here are the nutritionals/ingredients …

epic protein powder nutrition facts

Simple Protein Ingredients and Nutrition Facts

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.

That description is pretty accurate. Just one ingredient each …

sprout living simple protein nutrition facts

Sproutein Ingredients and Nutrition Facts

And finally, there’s Sproutein…

Sproutein is a nutrient-dense protein superfood that combines ten carefully selected, sprouted seeds including Amaranth, Sunflower, Quinoa, Millet, Sesame, Chia, Fenugreek, Radish, Kale and Broccoli, which have been freshly freeze-dried in order to preserve their nutrients, including bioavailable proteins, vitamins, minerals and powerful chlorophyll. Cold-pressed whole Pumpkin Seeds and Yellow Peas provide complete, multi-source protein, and exotic superfoods such as Lucuma Fruit, Goji Berries, Maca Root and Baobab Fruit increase the nutritional profiles while adding subtle notes of real flavor. The unique blend of highly-diverse ingredients provides superior plant-based protein that is empowered by an abundance of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytonutrients, resulting in an ultra-clean and powerful whole food source of nutrition – the perfect boost to your healthy, active and fit lifestyle.

Here are the nutritionals …

sproutein nutrition ingredients

FD Powder Ingredients and Nutrition Facts

From Sprout Living:

FD Sprout Mixes are derived through a unique process that starts by sprouting the finest, certified organic, non-GMO seeds in mineral-rich water and then freeze-drying them in order to lock in their essential nutrients and enzymes. The dried sprouts are then gently milled into a shelf-stable powder that can be conveniently consumed in a variety of ways.

Nutrition/ingredients are as-follows …

rd sprout mix ingredients

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.

Dare I say I’m actually impressed?

Sprout Living Protein Powders: The Final Verdict

Sprout Living is one of the VERY RARE protein powders I recommend other than my own.*

The only thing it lacks is a good probiotic (Pure Food has you covered there though).

If you’re looking for a worthy Pure Food alternative, all of Sprout Living’s products: Epic Protein, Simple Protein, Sproutein, and Sprout FD Powders, get my (incredibly selective) stamp of approval.

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.

Click here to get instant access to my FREE Google spreadsheet ( comparing 20 of the best plant protein powders (including Skoop) by ingredients, nutrition, and cost (just updated May 2017).

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 Formulaskoop Breakfast Protein powderskoop sleep protein

B-Strong Plant Based Protein Organic Formula

Super Skoop All-In-One Breakfast Protein

Skoop Sleep Protein Powder
Calories10015090
Grams of Protein 16 20 8
Protein Source(s)Organic pea protein concentrate, organic flax seed, organic rice protein concentrateOrganic pea protein, organic rice protein, organic hemp protein Organic pea protein, organic rice protein
Grams of Sugar 3 1 4
Free of “Natural” FlavorsNoNoNo
Free of Gums & ThickenersYesNoNo
Organic YesYesNo
Vegan YesYes 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 factsall in one breakfast protein powder nutrition factsskoop 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, I have good news and some not-so-good news for all you clean eaters out there.

First, let’s talk about what I do like about Sun Warrior products:

  1. SunWarrior Classic Plus, Warrior Blend and Illumin8 (their newest protein powder) all contain 100% organic ingredients. I give the unflavored “Natural” blends for Classic Plus and Warrior Blend a big thumbs up.
  2. Several SunWarrior protein powders contain probiotics, which may be good for your gut health.
  3. I’m a fan of the organic, sprouted whole food ingredients they use.
  4. The price is right with Sun Warrior too … 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 …

Compare 20+ of the best plant-based proteins by ingredients, nutrition, cost, and more.

SunWarrior Protein Powder Review (Summary Version)

Like my other protein powder reviews (Vega, 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 … but not all. 

Here’s a summary of what’s in each of their 4 main protein powders (I noted my red flags and will tell you more about each below the chart):

sunwarrior protein classicclassic plus protein powderwarrior blend powderillumin8

Classic Protein (Vanilla)

Classic Plus (Vanilla)

Warrior Blend (Chocolate)

Illumin8 (Vanilla)

Calories80100100160
Grams of Protein15 18 16 20
Protein Source(s)Rice proteinOrganic pea, organic rice, organic quinoa, organic chia, organic amaranthOrganic pea, organic hempOrganic pea, organic rice, organic flax, organic chia
Grams of Sugar 1 00 5
Free of “Natural” FlavorsNoNoNo No
Free of Gums & ThickenersNoNoNoNo
OrganicNoYesYesYes
VeganYes YesYesYes
Cost Per Gram $.03 $.04 $.04$.05
Nutrition Facts / Ingredients (click/tap to enlarge)sunwarrior protein powder nutrition factsclassic plug vanilla ingredients warrior blend chocolate nutrition ingredientsillumin8 nutrition facts information label

There’s a reason I highlighted the things above in red …

It’s because these “gums” and “flavors” are often not as “natural” as food companies would have you believe … and some can even disrupt your gut health.

Read on to find out more …

SunWarrior Protein Powder Review / Nutrition Facts and Ingredients Analysis

As I mentioned, SunWarrior has some good things going for it: organic ingredients, probiotics, quality protein sources.

I actually highly recommend the following products for anyone looking for a cheap, organic, plant-based protein powder:

Classic Plus Natural Protein Powder

classic plus protein ingredients

Warrior Blend Natural Protein Powder

warrior blend natural ingredients nutrition

But

There are some concerns I have with SunWarrior protein powder (the flavored version, at least)

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 we’re just beginning to understand. 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.

Here’s my I don’t think all their product meet those criteria though …

Issue #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.

Issue #2: Hidden Sugar in SunWarrior Illumin8

I was surprised to see that Illumin8 has 5 grams of sugar. Check it out …

illumin8 ingredients nutrition facts

If Illumin8 were a meal replacement protein powder, I wouldn’t be as concerned.

If you’re an athlete who burns a lot of calories each day, then an extra few grams in your protein powder is not a huge deal.
But 5 grams of sugar is too much for one serving of protein powder for the average person (who consumes 3x the amount of sugar recommended in a day)!

You’re probably well aware of this already, but sugar leads to weight gain, metabolic syndrome, and a whole bunch of other bad things. There’s no reason for it in a supposed “slimming vegan nutritional shake,” which SunWarrior markets this product as.

Problem #3: 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

The two SunWarrior protein powder products I recommend are:

  1. Classic Plus Natural Protein
  2. Warrior Blend Natural Protein

SunWarrior’s other protein powders all have a combination of flavors, fillers, 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.

Click here to get my free spreadsheet comparing 20+ plant-based protein powders by ingredients, nutrition, cost, and more.