Fair warning: I don’t hold back any punches in my Aria Protein Powder review. I call ’em as I see ’em, and out of all the other protein reviews I’ve done (Vega, Orgain, Arbonne, and PlantFusion), Aria has some of the most questionable ingredients.
For those who don’t know, Aria is a top-selling protein powder marketed to women. It’s sold at Walmart and at their online store, Jet. Aria is owned by Designer Protein (which I used as a teenager back in the 90s!).
Before we get to my Aria protein review, it’s important to note that all my protein powder reviews are based on the nutrition, ingredients, and overall value for the money of each product. I don’t review products based on taste, because I don’t care to taste most of the products I review because of what’s in them. If you want a great tasting protein powder with a bunch of crappy ingredients in it, then this is not the review for you.
However, if you are (or aspire to be) a clean eater, then I’ll show you some facts about what’s in Aria’s proteins that may make you think twice about buying it (to that end, check out Pure Food if you’re looking for a clean protein powder alternative).
Here are the long and short versions of my Aria Protein Powder review:
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Aria Protein Powder Review (Short Version)
There are three main things I look at when reviewing protein powders:
- Ingredients: are there organic, real food ingredients that you can pronounce? Any inflammation-causing soy, dairy, or gluten? How about fillers, flavors, or gums?
- Nutrition Facts: What do the key nutritionals looks like (carbs, fat, protein, fiber, sugar)?
- Cost: What’s the cost per gram and overall value of the product given the other two pieces of information above?
Aria fails miserably in each of these areas.
Here’s a quick breakdown … if you scroll down further after the chart, I’ll explain which of these concern me most.
Aria Protein Powder Review (Long Version)
When I browsed through various Aria Protein Powder reviews online, they all had one thing in common: a vested interest in selling Aria! In other words, bloggers create “review posts” in which they get incentivized for every time someone clicks on a link and buys Aria. On Amazon, my most trusted source for reviews, Aria has a 3.9 rating (out of 5 stars).
On Aria’s website, it’s abundantly clear their products are marketed toward women.
Behind the pretty packaging and stock imagery of “aspirational” women doing yoga (that’s a term marketers use … it means they think you should aspire to be like the women in this happy photo), I have some major issues with the ingredients in Aria’s protein powders.
Here we go …
1. None of Aria’s Protein Powders Are Organic
This means their ingredients are likely contaminated with pesticides and herbicides. Yuck.
2. Aria Uses “Natural” Flavors
Natural flavors are NOT natural. They can contain hundreds of chemical ingredients that food companies may disguise under the name “natural” flavors. See this CNN article for a good explanation or check out my article about natural flavors if you want to learn more.
3. Aria’s Protein Powders Are Loaded with Highly Processed Fillers, Gums, and Additives
Aria uses lots of cheap, processed fillers in their protein powders. Here are a just a few:
- Lecithin: a processed thickener that’s usually extracted from GMO soybeans using harsh, chemical-based methods.
- Prebiotic Vegetable Fibers: While protein powder companies like Aria will tout their “beneficial prebiotic fiber”, the truth is these prebiotics are not always beneficial … especially for those with sensitive stomach. Prebiotics can actually lead to small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) or worsen existing digestive issues. If you have had any type of food sensitivities before, these prebiotics will likely ferment and create more gas that will cause your symptoms to worsen. Get your fiber from vegetables, fruits, whole grains and seeds instead. The good bacteria in your gut will thank you.
- Gums: Aria uses guar gum and xanthan gum, which can be disruptive to your gut as well.
4. Aria Sweetens Its Protein Powders With Stevia Extract and Monk Fruit
Stevia extract is often derived using chemicals or alcohol. It’s certainly not the worst sweetener in the world but it doesn’t have the same health benefits as actual ground stevia leaves.
Monk fruit is a healthy sweetener in its natural state. But if the other aforementioned ingredients are any indication, my guess is Aria uses the cheap, processed version of monk fruit that’s extracted using GMOs (or contains the sugar alcohol erythritol).
Summary: Is Aria Protein Good for You?
I rate Aria Protein Whey/Soy Protein a 1/10 and Aria Vegan Protein Powder a 2/10.
Aria’s proteins are loaded with highly processed fillers. They’re not organic, which means they most likely have chemical pesticides. And at $.04/gram, you can pay a couple cents extra and get an organic protein powder with probiotiocs instead.
They’re sold at Walmart and marketed to women … but ladies, please make sure you give that ingredients and nutrition panel a second look and really understand what you’re getting.