Monthly Archives: August 2017

Biotrust Low Carb Protein Powder Review

biotrust protein reviews

Before I get to my Biotrust Low Carb Protein Powder reviews, I want to tell you a quick story.

Back in the mid-90’s, I was a skinny punk teenager with aspirations of “bulking up.” I bought the cheapest protein powder I could find, which at the time meant I alternated between three brands: Optimum Nutrition, Designer Protein, and EAS.

I didn’t care what was in them … I just wanted more protein while I listened to GNR on my Discman and did nothing but bench presses and curls.

Thankfully today I’m just a little more discerning in how I choose protein powders and workout regimens.

Anyways, there’s a point to my story …

One of the founders of Biotrust worked for EAS before starting his own company. As a fellow entrepreneur, I admire how he’s been able to grow his brand. Heck, I’ve read stuff from almost every one of the people on Biotrust’s “Fitness Team,” so these guys clearly have great networking skills.

However …

Despite their boasts of top-notch quality assurance and science-backed nutrition, some of the ingredients Biotrust uses in its protein powders may have some side effects, according to research studies I’ll point out below.

In this review, I’m going to analyze the ingredients Biotrust puts in its products along with their nutrition facts labels. I’ll share some clinical studies about these ingredients.

First a disclaimer: This review is my opinion and based on my interpretation of Biotrust’s nutrition facts and ingredients list. 

Biotrust Low Carb Protein Powder Reviews

Biotrust sells 6 flavors of its low carb protein: chocolate, vanilla, cafe mocha, strawberry banana, peach mango, and chocolate peanut butter.

They have an impressive network of people promoting their product, a fully staffed Science Team, and lots of high quality marketing materials.

However, I have concerns about some of their ingredients …

Ingredients and Nutrition Facts

First, here’s a look at the nutrition facts panels and ingredient lists for all Biotrust protein powders. Below I’ll tell you which ingredients are red flags (hint: it’s most of them).

Biotrust Low Carb Protein Powder Ingredients and Nutrition Facts

Red Flag Ingredients in BioTrust Proteins

Sunflower Creamer and Lecithin

Lecithins are gummy substances left behind as a byproduct of the oil extraction of certain plants (usually soybeans or sunflowers).

The problem with these, aside from the heavy processing they undergo from their natural food state, is they’re high in inflammatory Omega-6 fatty acids. A diet high in Omega-6 fatty acids and low in Omega-3 fatty acids can lead to cardiovascular disease, cancer, and inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.

Natural Flavors

Here’s what scientists at the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) say about so-called “natural” flavors:

Flavors are used almost exclusively in junk foods. Their use indicates that the real thing (often fruit) has been left out. Companies keep the identity of artificial (and natural) flavorings a deep secret and are not required to list them on food labels. That secrecy is unfortunate, because some people may be sensitive to certain flavoring ingredients, such as MSG or HVP, and vegetarians and others may not want to consume flavors that are derived from animals.

These “natural” flavors can contain hundreds of different chemicals and preservatives … and large food companies like BioTrust don’t have to reveal any of them. It’s no wonder flavors are now the 4th most common ingredient on processed food labels, behind water, salt, and sugar.

Sugar Alcohols

Sugar alcohols are types of carbohydrate that are widely used as sweeteners.

Biotrust uses a lab-made product marketed as “all natural” called Swerve, which is a combination of the sugar alcohol erythritol and oligosaccharides.

While the makers of Swerve cite one small study that showed erythritol didn’t cause as many GI issues as another popular sugar alcohol, xylitol, the fact of the matter is your body cannot break down any sugar alcohols.

Researchers have also found that erythritol is a potent insecticide.

For those reasons, if you have any GI issues whatsoever, I recommend avoiding products with sugar alcohols.

Gums

Gums are processed additives used to thicken foods. BioTrust uses several different types (inulin, xanthan, arabic, guar).

The problem with many gums is that your body can’t absorb and digest them, which can lead to gut health issues.

Xanthan gum, in particular, can cause unpleasant side effects like gas and bloating. People who are exposed to xanthan gum powder might also experience flu-like symptoms, nose and throat irritation, and lung problems.

Proteins

Biotrust likes to tout the superiority of its dairy-based protein blend:

And while we still include whey protein concentrate at a 25% ratio due to a number of its unique properties, we also include the more expensive, exotic proteins in our blend like slow-digesting Micellar Casein (the cream of the crop of all proteins), Whey Protein Isolate, and Milk Protein Concentrate at the same 25% ratio, to give you exactly what we’re telling you we’re giving you.

I have a few things to say about that …

First, if dairy works for you, great. For many people though, using milk-based proteins like whey can do more harm than good.

Second, casein is not “exotic” and is definitely not the “cream of the crop” of proteins.

A research review published by the University of Michigan had this to say:

Some, though not all, preliminary research has suggested that diets high in milk products, and therefore high in casein, might be associated with increased risk of type 1 diabetes and heart disease.

And this:

Animal and preliminary human research has also suggested that some types of casein protein might be associated with increased risk or severity of autism.

And this:

Animal research has suggested that a diet high in casein protein (but not a diet with similar amounts of plant proteins) might increase cancer risk.

Non-Organic Ingredients in BioTrust Low Carb

All of the non-organic ingredients in BioTrust proteins concern me because non-organic ingredients may be sprayed with pesticides and other chemicals.

If want to read more about why I recommend choosing a protein powder with all organic ingredients, check out this study.

Review Summary: Can You Trust BioTrust Protein Powders for Quality Ingredients?

BioTrust talks a big game:

We’re much more concerned about delivering only the highest-quality product to you as a consumer than we are about profiting from “cheap” production methods that don’t serve you and your best interest.

BioTrust Low Carb is made with natural ingredients. That means you won’t find any artificial colors, flavors, and most importantly artificial sweeteners in our protein… ever.

And as a former marketer myself, I’ll be the first to admit BioTrust has great marketing and an impressive team of ambassadors and advisers that no doubt have helped propel their success.

However …

I think they’re missing the most important part: a great product.

Low Carb Protein Powder is loaded with “natural” flavors, fillers, and gums.

Plus, they use zero organic ingredients, so there’s a chance your BioTrust shakes may include a steady dose of pesticides and other chemicals.

Hiring expensive scientists to produce and promote your product doesn’t make your product better.

In my (obviously biased) opinion, you can get an organic protein powder with none of the additives, fillers, gums, and “flavors” for the same price.

LifeTime VeganMax & Life’s Basics Plant Protein Reviews

lifetime plant protein powderLifetime Fitness, the mega-gym that I and millions of others send a big fat check to each month, makes a line of plant protein powders called Life’s Basics. In summer of 2017, they released a newer version called VeganMax.

Most of the reviews for this protein powder brand I found online were pretty good.

However …

This was surprising after I analyzed their ingredients and discovered some of the junk they put in their products!

In this article, I will share those findings with you.

*Disclaimer: I sell a protein powder. So naturally, I am a bit biased. But I keep my reviews as unbiased as possible by focusing on two objective pieces of information: the nutrition facts and ingredients list. The facts don’t lie, as you’re about to see.

best plant-based protein powders

Lifetime Life’s Basics and VeganMax Plant-Based Protein Powders

Lifetime sells several different types of vegan protein powders:

  1. Peak Performance VeganMax Protein (available in Vanilla, Chocolate, and Chocolate Mint)
  2. Life’s Basics Plant Protein (available in Vanilla, Chocolate, Greens, and Unsweetened)
  3. Life’s Basics Organic Plant Protein (available in Vanilla, Chocolate, and Unsweetened)
  4. Life’s Basics Pea Protein (available in Vanilla and Chocolate)
  5. Life’s Basics Lean Plantein
  6. Life’s Basics 5-Fruit Blend Plant Protein
  7. Life’s Basics Meal Replacement

Let’s look at nutrition information and ingredients lists for each …

Nutrition Facts and Ingredients Analysis

Quick Tip: You’ll see I noted “red flag” ingredients for each product below. There’s a detailed explanation of why I flagged the ingredient if you scroll down past the images to the section called “Red Flag Ingredients in Lifetime Plant Proteins”.

Here goes …

VeganMax Protein

Vanilla

Life Time Fitness Peak Performance VeganMax Protein (Vanilla)
“Flavors” is the #3 ingredient! If they’re not organic, they’re most likely full of chemicals and preservatives, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest. Sunflower flower is high in inflammation-promoting Omega-6 fatty acids.

Chocolate

vegan max chocolate protein
The chocolate version also has added cane sugar.

Chocolate Mint

veganmax chocolate mint
More flavors, sugars, and junk oil.

Life’s Basics Plant Protein

Vanilla

lifetime life's basics vanilla protein
Fructose = added sugar. “Natural” flavors are anything but natural. And xylitol is a sugar alcohol that may cause major gas and bloating. Read more about each in the Red Flag Ingredients section below.

Chocolate

Same as the vanilla: added sugar from fructose, sugar alcohols, and mystery “flavors.”

Greens

life basics greens ingredients
Notice something missing here? Where are the greens?! I don’t see any listed on label. Plus they add 4 grams of cane sugar … yikes.

Unsweetened

life basic unsweetened nutrition
Even the unsweetened version has natural flavors … more on this below!

Life’s Basics Organic Plant Protein

Vanilla

lifetime organic vanilla protein
More “flavors”. And the gums they add (which may cause digestive distress) aren’t organic, meaning they could be derived from a sugar-containing medium (usually GMO corn).

Chocolate

life's basics organic chocolate review
“Cocoa” is not the same as raw cacao. It’s processed using high temperature methods that destroy many of the vital nutrients.

Unsweetened

organic unsweetened protein lifes basics
Lifetime even managed to find a way to add an unnecessary filler (guar gum) to its organic, unsweetened product!

Life’s Basics Pea Protein

Vanilla

lifetime pea protein
More cane sugar, flavors, and sugar alcohols. Your gut says no thanks.

Chocolate

life basic pea powder
Again, “natural Dutch cocoa” is a fancy way of saying that they use the highly processed, heat treated version of the superfood raw cacao.

 

Life’s Basics Lean Plantein

Life's Basics Lean Plantein 
More added sugar. More flavors. More sugar alcohols. When will it stop?!

Life’s Basics 5-Fruit Blend Plant Protein

Life's Basics 5-Fruit Blend Plant Protein
Hey, I actually like the 5-fruit blend. But then there’s those pesky sugars again and a new “flavor” (natural berry).

Life’s Basics Meal Replacement

Life’s Basics Meal Replacement nutrition ingredients
160 calories is not a meal. Not sure why this product is marketed as a meal replacement. 2 scoops would be a little better … but that also gets you 10 grams of added sugar–half a day’s worth!

Red Flag Ingredients in Lifetime Vegan Protein

Now I’ll tell you why you should care about each of those red flag ingredients.

Natural Flavors

Here’s what scientists at the Environmental Working Group (EWG) say about these so-called “natural” flavors:

The truth is that when you see the word “flavor” on a food label, you have almost no clue what chemicals may have been added to the food under the umbrella of this vague term. In addition to the flavor-adding chemicals themselves, flavor mixtures often contain natural or artificial emulsifiers, solvents and preservatives that are called “incidental additives,” which means the manufacturer does not have to disclose their presence on food labels. Flavoring mixtures added to food are complex and can contain more than 100 distinct substances. The non-flavor chemicals that have other functional properties often make up 80 to 90 percent of the mixture.

Added Sugars (Fructose, Cane Sugar, Cane Juice)

Lifetime seems to be a big fan of adding sugar to its protein powders (fructose, cane sugar, and cane juice).

And it’s true your body needs sugar before and after a tough workout.

However, the average American consumes almost 20 teaspoons (82 grams!) of added sugar every day. The World Health Organization recommends less than 25 grams, to put this number in perspective.

In other words, there’s no need for extra sugar in your protein shake, other than to make it taste better.

That extra sugar may be doing you more harm than good though, because most people get more than enough added sugar from their daily diet already.

Get your sugar from real food like fruits and vegetables instead.

Sugar Alcohols

Sugar alcohols are types of carbohydrate that are widely used as sweeteners. Most are produced industrially, where they are processed from other sugars (usually corn sugar).

Lifetime uses a popular sugar alcohol called xylitol in many of its plant proteins. Xylitol can have a laxative effect and has been shown to alter the gut flora in animal studies.

If you have any GI issues, avoid products with sugar alcohols.

Gums

Lifetime uses guar and xanthan gums, which are popular food additives used to thicken processed foods.

Xanthan gum, in particular, can cause some side effects such as gas and bloating. People who are exposed to xanthan gum powder might also experience flu-like symptoms, nose and throat irritation, and lung problems.

One Final Red Flag to Note

All of the non-organic Lifetime plant proteins concern me because there’s a high likelihood all of those ingredients are sprayed with pesticides and other chemicals.

If want to read what scientists have to say about how these can impact your health, check out this study.

Bottom Line: Are VeganMax and Life’s Basic Protein Shakes Worth the Cost?

That’s up to you to decide.

But in my (slightly biased) opinion, you can get an organic plant protein powder with probiotics and none of the added sugars, fillers, gums, and “flavors” for the same price.

best plant-based protein powders

Almased Wellness Protein Powder Reviews

almased reviewsIn this article, I’m going to give you my (mostly*) unbiased review of Almased Wellness Protein Powder.

I’ll tell you what Almased is, analyze the ingredients and nutrition facts in it, and show you some potential side effects of those ingredients so you can determine for yourself if it’s right for your health needs.

Let’s get started …

*Disclaimer: I sell a protein powder. But I keep my reviews as unbiased as possible by focusing on two objective pieces of info in every review I write: the nutrition facts and ingredients list.

Compare 20+ protein shakes by ingredients, nutrition, cost, and more.

What is the Almased Diet Plan?

The Almased diet plan has four phases. Here’s a description of each, according to Almased’s website:

1. STARTING PHASE

You begin your Almased Diet with the Starting Phase, also known as the Fasting Phase, during which you will have three Almased shakes per day, plus home-made vegetable broth or 100% vegetable juice (ideally low in sodium). In addition, you should drink at least 64 oz of (preferably mineral-rich) water per day. You can stay on this phase from three up to fourteen days. It has been shown that a good initial weight loss at the beginning of a diet is the best prerequisite for success.

2. REDUCTION PHASE

This phase will lead to a healthy, steady weight reduction. You will have two Almased shakes per day and one solid meal, preferably for lunch. If it is more convenient to have your meal for dinner, you can, but be mindful of your carbohydrates. Please limit snacks in between meals and consume fruit in moderation, either as part of your breakfast shake or your lunch meal. This phase can be extended until you reach your desired weight loss goal.

3. STABILITY PHASE

This phase will help your body maintain its new weight long-term as you continue to lose weight at a slower pace in order to avoid the yo-yo effect. For several weeks, have two meals plus one Almased shake (ideally for breakfast or dinner to see best results).

4. LIFE PHASE

Three delicious meals plus one Almased shake (as part of your breakfast or dinner). Sustain the activity level of your metabolism after completing the three Almased weight loss phases. You will feel more motivated to be physically active, approaching your daily tasks with renewed vitality.

My Take:

The marketing team over at Almased is clearly focusing on folks who want to lose weight. Thing is though, any calorie-restricted diet will help you drop a few pounds.

In other words, it’s not the Almased that’s necessarily causing the weight loss … it’s the reduction of calories.

Anyways, I have a much larger concern than the long-term efficacy of Almased’s weight loss plan: the stuff they put in their product. 

Here’s a look at the nutrition and ingredients panels. I’ll tell you about the 3 big red flags I see here below … see if you can spot them:

Almased Protein Powder Ingredients and Nutrition Facts

 

almased shakes nutrition facts

almased ingredients

Red Flag #1: High Sugar Content

Almased has 12 grams of sugar per serving.

Now, they claim that because they use honey, which has a lower glycemic index, this high sugar content doesn’t matter.

However, sugar is sugar.

Doesn’t matter if it comes from all-natural honey or highly-processed high fructose corn syrup … they produce the same metabolic responses in your body.

Don’t get me wrong, I love indulging in a little raw honey once in a while. And I know that in its raw form, it has nutrients you can’t get from these other processed sweeteners.

But the amount of sugar from “powdered honey” in Almased protein shakes is half a day’s worth if you’re a woman and a third of a day’s worth if you’re a man.

Red Flag #2: Protein Sources

You know why Almased is so cheap?

Because they use two of the cheapest sources of protein you can find: soy protein isolate and skim milk yogurt powder.

Skim milk yogurt powder can cause digestive distress for the 65 percent of people who are lactose intolerant. 

Soy may actually have some benefits for post-menopausal women. However, soy is also one of the “Major 8” food allergens and may have inflammatory properties. And if it’s not organic (which Almased is not), you can bet it comes from GMO soybeans that have been bathed in pesticides and other chemicals. 

Which leads to my final red flag …

Red Flag #3: No Organic Ingredients

If you’re using a protein powder that doesn’t have organic ingredients, there’s a high likelihood all of those plant-based ingredients are sprayed with pesticides and other chemicals.

If you’re in the dark about how these pesticides can impact your health, read what scientists have to say.

Bottom Line: Is Almased Safe?

almased protein powder shakes

Almased shakes are cheap.

I just don’t trust these ingredients though because 1. The protein sources are highly inflammatory for too many people, 2. Not a single ingredient is organic, and 3. There’s just way too much sugar per serving.

In my opinion, the potential price you’ll pay down the road is not worth the risk when it comes to protein powders like this.

If you’re looking for a cleaner, healthier, safer alternative, then check out Pure Food instead.

Click here to get my spreadsheet comparing 20+ protein powders/shakes by ingredients, nutrition, cost, and more.

FitMiss Delight Protein Powder / Nutritional Shake Review

fitmiss delight proteinFirst, let’s get this out of the way …

sell a protein powder.

So I may be slightly biased.

But I keep my reviews as unbiased as possible … because I focus on two objective pieces of info in every review I write: the nutrition facts and ingredients list.

The ingredients panel reveals any food product’s true colors.

MissFit Protein Powders’ ingredients are some of the worst I’ve seen.

In this article, I’m going to show you why.

Let’s jump right in …

best plant-based protein powders

First, here’s what I look for in a protein powder:

  • Organic, plant-based, real food ingredients
  • No added sugars or artificial sweeteners used
  • Free of soy, corn, dairy, gluten, and wheat
  • No flavors (so-called “natural” or artificial) or gums

With that in mind, let’s take a deeper dive into the nutrition/ingredients…

FitMiss Protein Powder Nutrition Facts and Ingredients

FitMiss doesn’t appear too bad if you give a quick glance at the nutrition label. 90 calories, 16 grams of protein, and just 1 gram of sugar per serving … what’s not to like?

[cue dramatic music]
<Unfortunately, the ingredients list tells a different kind of story. Here are the full nutrition facts and ingredient panels for their three flavors (Vanilla Chai, Chocolate, and Cappucino). Let’s see if you can spot the red flags, which I’ll tell you more about below:fitmiss protein powder nutrition facts ingredients

Red Flag #1: Artificial Sweeteners

All FitMiss protein powders contain two potentially dangerous artificial sweeteners: acesulfame potassium and sucralose.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest puts both acesulfame potassium and sucralose on their Chemical Cuisine “Avoid” list. They say this about the former:

FDA should require manufacturers to conduct high-quality, modern-day studies of acesulfame potassium or withdraw its approval of it.

But that’s nothing compared to sucralose, which was shown to cause cancer in animal studies …

In 2016 an independent Italian laboratory published a large study on mice. The study found that sucralose caused leukemia and related blood cancers in male mice that were exposed to it throughout their lives starting from before birth.

And then there’s the negative gut health effects associated with sucralose …

Several researchers contend that sucralose negatively impacts the gut, including changes in the microbiome and enzymes. That could have a range of consequences, including effects on blood sugar, regulation of body weight, inflammatory bowel disease, and how drugs and other chemicals are absorbed and metabolized by the body.

Long story short, probably a good idea to avoid products that have this type of stuff. There’s just no reason for it (other than corporate greed), when there are much better, safer sweetener sources available.

Red Flag #2: Artificial and “Natural” Flavors, Fillers, and Additives

David Andrews, Senior Scientist at the Environmental Working Group (EWG) said this about flavors (now the fourth most common ingredient on food labels):

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.

Read more about natural flavors here if you’re interested in learning more.

All FitMiss Delight Protein Powder flavors also contain an ingredient called cellulose gum. It’s safe for consumption … but it’s nothing more than ground wood pulp designed by food manufacturers as a cheap way to make processed foods mix better. This is just an assumption, but it seems to me ground wood pulp wouldn’t be the best thing for those with sensitive guts.

Red Flag #3: No Organic Ingredients

I actually like that FitMiss uses a fruit and vegetable blend in their powders; however, these and all of their other ingredients are not organic. This means there’s a high certainty most of them are sprayed with pesticides and other chemicals you don’t want to be ingesting.

The problem with these chemicals is that their effects haven’t been widely studied on everyday folks like us. Most studies of the health effects of pesticides have focused on occupationally exposed people, like farm workers and pesticide applicators. For these people, studies show that:

Pesticide exposure was associated with respiratory problems, memory disorders, skin conditions, depression, miscarriage, birth defects, cancer and neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease.

It’s safe to say eating foods grown with the use of pesticides isn’t safe, despite what the industry-influenced FDA tells you.

Red Flag #5: Protein Sources

All FitMiss protein powders use a combination of several types of whey, casein, and egg protein.

While these may be effective sources for building lean body mass, they can have serious side effects for people with GI and/or dairy sensitivities.

Red Flag #6: FitMiss Warning

Then there’s this warning listed for the product:

This product is only intended for use by healthy adults over 18 years of age. Consult your physician before using this product if you are taking any prescription or over the counter medications or supplements. Do not use this product if you are pregnant, expect to become pregnant or are nursing. KEEP OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN.

If a protein powder isn’t safe for pregnant women and kids, that’s a huge red flag.

Red Flag #7: Weight Loss Hype

FitMiss and their manufacturer, MusclePharm, include an ingredient called Solathin, which they claim is “the newest weight-loss innovation that helps with making you feel full faster“.

This “new innovation” was actually released in 2011 and doesn’t have a single peer reviewed clinical trial to back its supposed effectiveness.

FitMiss Protein Shake Review Summed Up

fitmiss delight shakeI was looking at some FitMiss Protein reviews on Amazon and stumbled across this statement from their product description:

FitMiss Delight also delivers a full day’s essential nutrients with quality calories.

Uh, sorry. NO protein powder delivers a full day’s worth of essential nutrients and calories.

That’s absurd (and that’s coming from a guy who sells a protein powder).

To get a full day’s worth of nutrients and calories, you need to eat real food. Protein powders are supplements–not substitutes. 

This is the stuff that bothers me, you guys.

Large BroScience (or “B.S.” for short) supplement companies like MusclePharm have been selling garbage products like FitMiss Delight for too long.

FitMiss is cheap now but is the potential price you’ll pay down the road really worth it?

If you’re looking for a cleaner, healthier, safer alternative, then check out Pure Food instead.

best plant-based protein powders