Purely Inspired Organic Protein Powder Review

purely inspired protein powder nutrition facts ingredients

In case you’re new here, all our reviews, including this one for Purely Inspired organic protein powder, use objective criteria like nutrition facts, ingredient lists, and costs to evaluate the so-called best products out there.

In full disclosure, we also sell our own line of organic proteins.

So long story short, the goal of this review is to provide you with information to help you understand the difference between Purely Inspired and our products so you can decide for yourself which is best for you.

Introduction

Purely Inspired is a nutritional supplement company owned by Iovate, the corporation behind popular brands MuscleTech and Six Star supplements.

Purely Inspired sells organic protein powders, collagen powders, greens / superfood formulas, and several other products for weight management.

And they’re a BIG brand, considering they claim to be the #1 selling organic plant protein brand and their Protein Powders and Shakes are sold at these stores:

Purely Inspired Protein Powder Review!

Purely Inspired Organic Protein Powder Reviews

As mentioned, Purely Inspired sells weight loss supplements and organic protein powders. This review will focus on the latter.

PI offers several types of protein powder:

  1. Organic Protein (Plant-Based)
  2. Organic All In One (Meal Replacement)
  3. Collagen Powder
  4. Organic Protein Shakes (liquid)

Again, we review protein powders based on what’s in them … not how they taste.

So let’s analyze the only objective information you’ll find on the food label:

  1. The Ingredients
  2. The Nutrition Facts

First, here’s a look at the complete nutrition facts and ingredients for each of Purely Inspired’s protein powders:

Purely Inspired Nutrition Facts and Ingredients

Organic Protein Plant-based Nutritional Shake

purely inspired protein powder nutrition facts ingredients

Organic All-in-One Nutritional Supplement Shake

Decadent Chocolate:

French Vanilla: 

These nutrition/ingredients labels reveal a few concerns … I’ve highlighted the biggest ones in red:

 purely inspired organic protein powder purely inspired organic all in one shake chocolate
 Product

Organic Protein

Organic All-in-One Shake

Calories 140 140
Grams of Protein  20  20
Protein Source(s) Organic pea protein, organic rice protein Organic pea protein
Grams of Sugar  2 2
Free of “Natural” Flavors No No
Free of Gums & Thickeners like Maltodextrin No No
Organic  Yes Yes
Vegan  Yes Yes
Cost Per Gram  $.03  $.03

Now let’s break down exactly why we flagged these …

1. “Natural” Flavors, Gums, Thickeners, Additives, and Fillers

Purely Inspired uses “filler” ingredients. Each can have negative health implications (particularly your gut).

Here’s a partial list of junk ingredients in their products (click on each to learn why you should avoid it, according to scientific sources more credible than me):

  • Natural flavors (may be made of hundreds of chemical ingredients)
  • Gums like cellulose, xanthan, guar, acacia (gums are serious gut disruptors)
  • Maltodextrin (a corn-based derivative used as a thickener that can spike your blood sugar and negate the benefits of probiotics)

2. Cane Sugar

Purely Inspired adds 2 grams of cane sugar to every serving of all of their protein powders.

Just because it comes from “cane sugar” doesn’t make it any better for you.

Sugar consumption leads to weight gain, obesity, and diabetes. Adding sugar to a protein powder marketed as healthy defeats the purpose.

3. Ingredient Sources

Another thing to be wary about with some of the cheaper proteins like Purely Inspired is ingredient countries of origin.

Most protein powder manufacturers source their pea and rice proteins from China in an effort to drive down the cost of the product.

Not saying PI is guilty of this but it’s worth asking them where their ingredients are sourced from before you buy. Because in my experience, most products at this price point come from China.

Purely Inspired Organic Protein Powder Review: The Final Verdict

The gist of this review is pretty simple, you guys:

Purely Inspired has a really attractive price and they sell a lot of products, so clearly they’re doing something right.

But to me, some of the “other” ingredients they use, like gums, fillers, and added sugar, just aren’t worth it.






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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 …

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.






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*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.

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.






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Sun Warrior Protein Powder Nutrition Facts and Ingredients Review

classic plus protein powder

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 …

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.






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Garden of Life Raw Meal and Protein Powder Review

garden of life plant protein powder review

There are two things I like about most Garden of Life protein powder products: 1.) they’re cheap, and 2.) they’re organic.

But …

When you analyze the ingredients and nutrition facts in their protein powders, you discover some things that raise a few red flags.

In this article, I’m going to share those with you, so you can decide for yourself whether Garden of Life’s raw protein powders are the right choice for you.

Here are the condensed and full versions of my review:

Garden of Life Protein Powder Review (Condensed Version)

garden of life protein reviews
Source: www.gardenoflife.com

Similar to my other plant protein powder reviews, I am reviewing Garden of Life protein powders based on health and nutrition … NOT taste. If you want to know what it tastes like, read the Amazon reviews.

This is what I look for in a healthy protein powder:

  • Organic, real food ingredients sourced from the U.S. and Canada whenever possible
  • Amount of protein per serving
  • Protein sources
  • Added sugars or other sweeteners used
  • None of these junk ingredients:
    • Soy
    • Corn
    • Dairy
    • Gluten
    • Fillers
    • Natural flavors
    • Gums

Garden of Life meets most of these criteria …

Let’s start with what I like about Garden of Life protein powders:

  • Certified USDA Organic and Non-GMO Project Verified
  • Organic, sprouted grains and seeds
  • Probiotics
  • At $.04/gram, their price point is very affordable
  • The Unflavored version contains no sugar, stevia, gums, or other additives

Here’s a high-level overview of what’s in each of their 6 main protein powders (I noted my red flags and will tell you more about each below the chart):

garden of life organic plant protein raw organic protein garden of life raw meal protein garden of life Raw Fit raw protein and greens SPORT Organic Plant-Based Protein

Garden of Life Organic Plant Protein

Garden of Life Raw Organic Protein

Garden of Life Raw Meal

Garden of Life Raw Fit

Garden of Life Raw Protein and Greens

SPORT Organic Plant-Based Protein
Calories 90 110 120 170 130 85
Grams of Protein 15  22  20  28 20 15
Protein Source(s) Organic pea, organic chia, organic flax, organic cranberry seed Organic pea, brown rice, amaranth, buckwheat, millet, quinoa, chia, flax, garbanzo bean, lentil, pumpkin seed, sesame seed, sunflower seed Organic pea, brown rice, amaranth, buckwheat, millet, quinoa, chia, flax, garbanzo bean, lentil, pumpkin seed, sesame seed, sunflower seed Organic pea, brown rice, amaranth, buckwheat, millet, quinoa, chia, flax, garbanzo bean, lentil, pumpkin seed, sesame seed, sunflower seed  Organic rice, pea, chia, navy bean lentil, garbanzo Organic pea, navy bean, lentil, garbanzo bean, cranberry seed
Grams of Sugar  0  0 0-6 (depending on flavor … see below)  0 6 <1
Free of “Natural” Flavors No No No  No No No
Free of Gums & Thickeners No No No Yes  Yes Yes
Organic Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Vegan Yes  Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Cost Per Gram  $.04  $.04  $.04 $.04 $.04 $.05

Read on to find out why I highlighted the things above in red …

Garden of Life Protein Powder Reviews (Full Version)

Ok, so as we said, GOL looks pretty good at first glance. Organic ingredients, probiotics, quality protein sources.

But

There are a few red flags about GOL organic protein powders I want to tell you more about.

Let’s start with this one …

1. Most Garden of Life Protein Powders Have “Natural Flavors”

raw fit reviews

Here’s what David Andrews, Senior Scientist at the Environmental Working Group (EWG) has to say about natural flavors:

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.

Vandana Sheth, spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, says these flavors may induce food cravings in some people too.

I emailed Garden of Life and asked, “What ingredients, specifically, do your natural flavors contain?”

Here’s what they said:

In the Organic Plant Protein and RAW Organic Meal there will be ingredients that says it’s a flavor, like Organic Vanilla Flavor, which means that the ingredients is not strictly a vanilla bean that was added to the product but an extract form. This just means it’s more concentrated so less of the ingredient can be used without altering the nutrients that are in the product. In other flavors you’ll see a combination of both like the Chocolate Cacao flavor of the RAW Organic Meal. This one will have RAW Organic Cacao which is where chocolate comes from with Organic Chocolate Flavors just to enhance the cholate taste. If you were to just have the cacao then the product will most likely not taste like what most will expect from a chocolate flavored product.

Now, I’m not saying Garden of Life’s “flavors” contain other shady ingredients like most companies add, especially since they’re organic.

However, in general I avoid products with “flavors” because they may contain other additives and preservatives.

Let’s move on and talk about red flag #2.

2. Hidden Sugar in Garden of Life Raw Protein

I was surprised to see that two of Garden of Life’s unflavored protein powder products contain 6 grams of sugar. Check it out …

Garden of Life Raw Meal

raw organic meal nutrition facts

Garden of Life Raw Protein and Greens

protein & greens nutrition ingredients

If you’re buying an unflavored protein powder, added sugar is probably the last ingredient you want in it. And “organic cane sugar” is no better than any other sugar source.

The chemical composition is exactly the same … your body will break the sugar down into glucose and fructose in the digestive tract and it will have the exact same negative effects on your metabolism.

3. Garden of Life Recall and Protein Powder Controversy

Garden of Life was in hot water a few years ago when 33 people got Salmonella poisoning from their Raw Meal Organic Shake & Meal Replacement powdered mixes.

4. Garden of Life Nestle Acquisition

In December 2017, GOL’s parent company Atrium was acquired by Nestle for $2.3 billion.

Read into that what you will.

Garden of Life Protein Powder Reviews Summed Up

The one Garden of Life product I really like and recommend is Organic Plant Protein (Unflavored). It’s a solid product with all organic, real food ingredients and contains probiotics. Here are the ingredients and nutrition facts:

organic plant protein unflavored ingredients nutrition facts

I’ve used Garden of Life’s Raw Fit protein in the past but I’ve since phased out all products with “flavors.”

Unfortunately, all Garden of Life protein powders other than Unflavored Organic Plant Protein (Raw Fit, Raw Organic Meal, Raw Protein and Greens, and SPORT Organic Plant-Based Protein) contain flavors, gums, and/or sugars.

Long story short, I like their Unflavored products with no sugar added and their commitment to organic, real food ingredients … but can’t give their flavored ones my stamp of approval.

Check Out Our Garden of Life Alternatives Here

Essential and Non-Essential Amino Acid Chart

“Amino acids” is one of those buzz terms you probably hear quite often if you’re interested in health and wellness. After reading this article, you’ll understand:

  • What they are
  • Why you need them
  • The difference between essential, non-essential, and branched chain amino acids (BCAAs)

I’ll also show you an amino acid chart for both Pure Food Protein flavors, since it’s a common question I get from customers.

Let’s jump right in …

What Are Amino Acids?

If proteins are the “building blocks of muscle,” amino acids are the building blocks of protein.

Your body uses amino acids to make proteins that help you break down food, grow/repair muscle and other body tissue, and perform many other functions.

There are around 500 amino acids scientists have discovered. Since only 20 appear in human genetic code, we refer to these as the “standard 20“. Here they are, in all their chemical compound glory:

standard 20 amino acids

Types of Amino Acids

There are three main types of amino acids:

1. Non-Essential Amino Acids

Your body makes 11 out of the 20 standard amino acids. This means it’s not “essential” to eat foods that contain them, since your body creates enough.

The 11 non-essential AAs include: alanine, arginine, asparagine, aspartic acid, cysteine, glutamic acid, glutamine, glycine, proline, serine, and tyrosine.

2. Essential Amino Acids

Unlike non-essential AAs, your body can’t make essential amino acids, which means you must get them from the foods you eat. The 9 essential amino acids are: histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine.

essential amino acid chart

3. Conditional amino acids

Arginine has a star next to it in the image above because it’s also considered a “semi-essential”, or conditional amino acid. Your body only needs these types of AA’s in certain situations (when you’re stressed or sick, for example).

Conditional amino acids include arginine, cysteine, glutamine, tyrosine, glycine, ornithine, proline, and serine.

So what happens when you don’t get enough essential amino acids in your diet?

First, a lack of essential amino acids from foods in your diet affects your body’s ability to use protein.

Protein deficiency impacts pretty much all of the body’s organs and systems.

Protein deficiency is one of the biggest public health problems in the world, accounting for about 30-40% of hospital admissions in developing countries.

However, most of you reading this don’t live in developing countries … so should protein deficiency really concern you?

Let’s find out the answer to one of the most common questions I get …

How do I determine how much protein I need?

The short answer: it depends.

The current recommendation for protein intake is 0.8 grams per kilogram (or around 0.36 grams per pound) of body mass in generally healthy adults.

However, this protein intake recommendation is only to prevent protein deficiency and maintain nitrogen balance in the body (a negative nitrogen balance indicates that muscle is being broken down and used for energy).

It’s not necessarily optimal.

Studies show that athletes, active people, and older individuals may require even more protein (1.4 – 2.0 g/kg of body weight).

For healthy adults, low protein diets often lead to weight gain and increased fat mass.

Eating more protein can help increase levels of the hormone glucagon, which helps control body fat. It can also help strengthen bones as you age. And if you’re concerned about negative health effects of protein on kidney function, nearly all of these studies looked at animal sources of protein, not plant-based protein.

One of key indicators of the “quality” of a protein source is not whether or not it comes from a plant or animal … it’s the amount of BCAAs

What Are Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) and Why Do You Need Them?

Of the essential amino acids, three account for as much as 33% of muscle tissue – leucine, isoleucine, and valine. These are called Branched Chain Amino Acids, or BCAAs.

Here’s a breakdown of each:

Leucine is arguably the most important BCAA because there’s clinical evidence that shows it helps your body synthesize protein. Aim for 2-3 grams of leucine per day for optimal protein synthesis. (Side Note: 1 serving of both Pure Food Protein flavors have 2 grams of leucine … more on this below)

leucine bcaa plant protein

Isoleucine is another BCAA. It can help your body regulate blood sugar levels and ensure your muscle cells are metabolizing sugar (instead of fat cells).

Researchers have yet to determine an “optimal” isoleucine level.

Valine is the third branched chain amino acid. Based on current research, it’s the least important BCAA for body composition. It’s also the least-studied, so I’ll report back when more clinical data becomes available.

bcaas valine

Do You Need a BCAA Supplement?

No.

Get your BCAAs from real food instead.

You may have seen BCAA supplement peddlers state that BCAAs may lead to anabolic effects before, during, and after exercise. However, there are zero double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials that show BCAA supplementation is any more effective than getting your BCAAs from food.

If you eat the right amount of protein for your body type, composition, age, and health goals (see above), then there’s no reason to take a BCAA supplement.

Pure Food Amino Acid Chart: Essentials and BCAAs

Vanilla:

Isoleucine 1.108
Leucine 2.117
Valine  1.362
Histidine 0.600
Lysine 1.281
Methionine 0.509
Phenylalanine 1.382
Threonine 0.937
Tryptophan 0.280
Arginine 1.741

Total BCAAs: 4.587 grams

Cacao:

Isoleucine 1.039
Leucine 1.981
Valine  1.279
Histidine 0.565
Lysine 1.197
Methionine 0.479
Phenylalanine 1.294
Threonine 0.880
Tryptophan 0.264
Arginine 1.636

Total BCAAs: 4.299 grams

Wrap Up

Getting the right amount of essential amino acids, and particularly BCAAs, does a body good.

However, contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to choke down whey protein shakes and eat bloody steaks every day to get your BCAAs.

Protein that comes from meat is not “superior” to protein that comes from plantsResearch shows that both protein from plant sources and animal sources seem to work equally well in increasing muscle protein synthesis.

You don’t need a supplement either to get your BCAAs each day. Eat plenty of whole, plant-based foods and if you need a little extra protein (remember, athletes, active people, and older individuals do), consider a clean vegan protein powder like Pure Food, which has 4 grams of BCAAs.

See What Pure Food Can Do for You

 

Plant Head Protein Powder Reviews

Plant Head makes the bold claim of being “Nature’s Highest Quality Plant-Based Protein“:

plant head protein powder review

If you’ve read any of my other plant protein powder reviews, you know my reviews are as unbiased as possible. I evaluate protein powders based on the nutrition, ingredients, and overall value for the money of each product (based on cost per gram).

I don’t review products based on taste. If you want to know what their powders taste like, read the Plant Head Protein reviews on Amazon (which have a pretty average 3.8 rating).

So back to Plant Head’s nutrition facts and ingredients …

Plant Head is definitely not the “highest quality” plant-based protein powder.

Not even close.

Here are the long and short versions of my Plant Head Protein Powder review:

Plant Head Protein Review (Short Version)

As mentioned, there are 3 factors I consider when I review protein powders:

1. Ingredients:

  • Organic, real food ingredients you can pronounce
  • No inflammation-causing soy, dairy, or gluten
  • How about fillers, flavors, or gums?

2. Nutrition Facts:

  • How much carbs/protein/fats per serving?
  • How much fiber?
  • Any added sugar?

3. Cost:

  • What’s the cost per gram and overall value of the product given the other two pieces of information above? Note: cost per gram allows you to account for different serving sizes when comparing protein powders.

Here’s nutrition facts and ingredients for each of Plant Head’s protein powders:

Plant Head Vanilla Protein Plant Head Chocolate Flavor Protein Powder PlantHead Strawberry Plant Head Banana plant head protein
Plant Head Protein Powder – Vanilla Plant Head Protein Powder – Chocolate Plant Head Protein Powder – Strawberry Plant Head Protein Powder – Banana Plant Head Protein Powder – Unflavored
Calories 110 110 110 110 90
Grams of Protein 15 15 15 15 15
Protein Source(s) Pea protein isolate, brown rice protein, algalin protein, hemp protein, cranberry protein Pea protein isolate, brown rice protein, algalin protein, hemp protein, cranberry protein Pea protein isolate, brown rice protein, algalin protein, hemp protein, cranberry protein Pea protein isolate, brown rice protein, algalin protein, hemp protein, cranberry protein Pea protein isolate, brown rice protein, algalin protein, hemp protein, cranberry protein
Grams of Sugar 5 5 5 5 1
Free of “Natural” Flavors No No No No No
Free of Gums & Thickeners No No No No No
100% Organic No No No No No
Vegan Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Cost Per Gram $.03  $.03 $.03 $.03 $.03
Nutrition/Ingredients (click each image to enlarge) plant head protein reviews plant head chocolate protein powder nutrition facts information planthead strawberry nutrition plant head banana ingredients plant head protein nutrition facts

Plant Head Protein Powder Review (Full Version)

There are four key issues with the ingredients in PlantHead’s protein powders:

1. None of Plant Head’s Protein Powder Ingredients Are Organic

This means their ingredients are contaminated with chemical pesticides and herbicides.

2. Plant Head Uses So-called “Natural” Flavors

“Natural” flavors are now the fourth most common ingredient in food. Problem is, food companies don’t have to tell you what’s in them. And researchers say those “natural” flavors–even the organic ones–often contain hundreds of chemical ingredients. Read my What Are Natural Flavors? if you want to learn more about this hidden junk ingredient.

3. Plant Head Protein Powders Are Loaded with Highly Processed “Gums”

Plant Head uses lots of cheap, processed fillers called gums in their protein powders. They dupe unknowing consumers into thinking these are healthy by calling them a “Healthy Gum Complex” on their ingredients panel.

Here’s the truth about each type of gum they use:

  • Cellulose gum is an anti-baking agent that’s actually ground wood pulp. It has zero nutritional benefit for your body.
  • Xanthan gum can be disruptive to your gut, and usually is produced with a GMO medium like corn.
  • Carrageenan: a common food additive that caused harmful GI effects and insulin resistance in animal studies. It’s probably not cancer-causing, as some food bloggers have sensationalized. But if you have a history of digestive problems, it’s probably best to avoid it.

4. Plant Head Sweetens Its Powders With 5 Grams of Cane Sugar Per Serving

Sugar is sugar … “cane sugar” isn’t any better for you than other types.

5 grams in every serving of Plant Head Protein Powder is way too much.

It pretty much cancels out any benefit you get from a protein powder when you see a bunch of added sugar (Shakeology Protein Powder is guilty of this too).

Plant Head Protein Reviews Summary

I rate Plant Head’s protein powders a 2/10. 

All Plant Head Protein Powders proteins are loaded with highly processed fillers. They’re not organic, which means they most likely have chemical pesticides. Their powders are cheap at $.03/gram … but are these junk ingredients worth it to you?

My biased advice: pay a few bucks more for real food, organic ingredients.






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Healthy High Protein Pudding Recipe

If you’re looking for a sweet fix that’s actually good for you, you’re definitely going to want to try my chocolate protein pudding recipe.

Not only is this one of the best tasting recipes I’ve ever created with Pure Food Raw Cacao Protein Powder, it’s quite the healthy dessert.

Check out this impressive stat line:

  • 100% organic, real food ingredients
  • No dairy, gluten, corn, or soy
  • No added sugar
  • 12 grams of protein, 5 grams of fiber, and just 5 grams of sugar (from dates) per serving

Few things to note about this protein pudding:

  1. Use a high-powered blender like a Vitamix or a food processor for best results.
  2. To lower the sugar content even more, cut back on the amount of dates you use.
  3. You can substitute figs or raisins for the dates.

Pure Food Chocolate Protein Pudding Recipe

Ingredients:


How to Make It:

  1. Put the pecans and warm water in a food processor or high-powered blender and grind for about 30 seconds.
  2. Add the dates and continue to blend for another minute or so.
  3. Add the date/pecan/water mixture to a large mixing bowl and add the remaining ingredients (reserve 1 T of hemp seeds to top the protein pudding with).
  4. Stir together all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl until you don’t see any more dry powder.
  5. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving (preferably overnight if you can make it that long).
  6. Top with remaining hemp seeds and enjoy.

Protein Pudding Nutrition Facts (per serving … this recipes makes about 6 servings):

  • 245 calories
  • 11 g fat
  • 25 g carbs (5 g fiber, 5 g sugar)
  • 12 g protein

Here’s the final product:

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Herbalife Protein Powder and Shakes Reviews

I’ve analyzed and reviewed dozens of protein powders, and here’s the truth about what my Herbalife reviews revealed:

Herbalife protein powder and shakes have some ingredients you might want to take a second look at.

In this Herbalife protein powder analysis, I used three objective criteria: 1.) Ingredients, 2.) Nutrition, and 3.) Cost.

Let’s see how they stack up …

What Is Herbalife?

Herbalife Protein Powder has a sales model similar to Shakeology: they pay other people to sell and promote their products (this is called MLM, or Multi-Level Marketing). Former employees have accused Herbalife of running a “pyramid scheme”.

Herbalife has been in hot water several times in the past because of their “Multi-Level Marketing Scheme” (the FTCs words, not mine).

Herbalife Reviews: Is Herbalife Protein Powder Healthy?

The biggest problem I have with most Herbalife reviews you’ll come across online is that they are quite biased because the site owners have a vested interest in selling Herbalife products.

Similar to my other plant protein powder analyses, I am reviewing Herbalife protein powder and shakes based on health and nutrition … NOT taste. If you want to know how it tastes, read the Herbalife reviews on Amazon.

Overall, there are 5 things that I think could be improved with Herbalife protein powders:

1. Their ingredients are not organic, which means they may have been sprayed with chemical pesticides and herbicides.

2. The sugar content in many of their products is high (more on this below).

3. At $.05/gram, Herbalife is not cheap. You can get protein powder with organic ingredients for about the same price.

4. Similar to 99.9% of protein powders on the market, Herbalife protein powders have “natural” flavors. Natural flavors may be filled with chemicals, according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG). The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) says natural flavors “may trigger an acute, allergic reaction, intolerance, or other problems.”

5. The protein sources for most Herbalife shakes are the two I recommend least: whey and soy.

Ninety percent of genetically modified soy is resistant to glyphosate, the pesticide found in Round Up. A concern raised about eating products with soy protein isolate is that you will consume excessive amounts of this chemical.

The data is shaky at best about soy protein. Some studies say it’s safe and effective for older women. Others like the one above suggest it may be harmful. I’ll cite this one published in the Journal of Nutrition:

Overall, existing data are inconsistent or inadequate in supporting most of the suggested health benefits of consuming soy protein.

Next we’ll look at the nutrition facts and ingredients for each of Herbalife’s protein powders and shakes. I’ve listed the nutrition label for all products below, along with red flags under each set of images.

Herbalife Protein Powder Ingredients and Nutrition Facts

Formula 1 Healthy Meal Nutritional Shake Mix

herbalife protein powder shake review

Click/tap to enlarge:

herbalife nutrition facts

Red Flags–Formula 1 Healthy Meal Nutritional Shake Mix:

10 grams of sugar

Contains gums, fillers, flavors, and additives

Contains corn- and soy-based ingredients

Protein Drink Mix Chocolate

herbalife protein ingredients

Click/tap to enlarge:

herbalife reviews

Red Flags–Protein Drink Mix Chocolate:

Contains “natural” flavors

Contains gums, fillers, and additives

Contains corn- and soy-based ingredients

Protein Drink Mix Vanilla

herbalife vanilla shakes

Click/tap to enlarge:

herbalife protein vanilla nutrition

Red Flags–Protein Drink Mix Vanilla:

Contains “natural” flavors

Contains gums, fillers, and additives

Contains corn- and soy-based ingredients

Protein Drink Mix Peanut Butter Cookie

herbalife protein powder drink mix

Click/tap to enlarge:

herbalife peanut butter protein nutrition facts

Red Flags–Peanut Butter Cookie:

Contains “natural” flavors

Contains gums, fillers, and additives

Contains corn- and soy-based ingredients

Personalized Protein Powder

herbalife personalized protein

Click/tap to enlarge:

herbalife personalized nutrition

Red Flags–Personalized Protein Powder:

Contains “natural” flavors

Contains gums, fillers, and additives

Contains dairy- and soy-based ingredients

Formula 1 + PDM Healthy Meal Nutritional Shake Mix

herbalife formula 1 pdm on the go

Click/tap to enlarge:

herbalife pdm nutrition facts label

 

Red Flags–Herbalife Formula 1 Nutritional Shake Mix:

6 grams of sugar

Contains “natural” flavors

Contains a looooong list of high processed gums, fillers, and additives

Contains corn- and soy-based ingredients

Other Herbalife Reviews

Herbalife as a company is rated 2.5 out of 5 stars (out of 294 reviews) on ConsumerAffairs.com.

On TrustPilot, they’re rated 4.2 out of 5 stars.

On Amazon, here are the top positive and negative reviews for two of their protein products:

Top Positive Review: Herbalife Formula 1 Shake Mix

Would definitely buy again.

Started taking this one week ago. Using it twice a day along with the Herbalife tea and the Herbalife active fiber and the Herbalife aloe. I am feeling so much better. Eating a salad with grilled chicken at night. My bloating has gone down some but still no weight loss. Will continue until it is all gone. Not giving up on it yet. Flavor is fine. Taste like birthday cake to me. Weight 153lbs

Update:Been using for 3 weeks. Twice a day, along with the Herbalife herbal tea, Herbalife fiber and Herbalife Aloe. With no exercising lost 5 pounds. Just ordered a new one and a new flavor. Started exercising today and will continue to exercise and take the Herbalife and will come back in a few weeks and update if there has been any change. I eat one meal at night usually a salad, fish or chicken. I am going to continue for 90 days before saying it does or doesn’t work.Hopefully when I get back on here it’ll be to say I lost another 5 and that it’s working. Weight 148lbs

Top Negative Review: Herbalife Formula 1 Shake Mix

CONTAINS NEURO TOXIN (BLACK MOLD) listed in Ingredients.

I had a severe allergic reaction which led me to reading the Ingredients thoroughly and am Highly Disappointed and Disgusted that Herbalife products contain 2 Black Molds Aspergillus Niger and Aspergillus oryzae. Its beyond my understanding why a company would put a NEURO TOXIN which is BLACK MOLD in a health supplement! People actually pay top $ to get trested for Neuro Toxins which make individuals very unhealthy. Herbalife list my business completely. Shame on them for purposefully putting a Neuro Toxin in a health supplement. This is far beyond Illegal !

Top Positive Review: Herbalife Protein Drink Mix PBM – Vanilla

I use this and the Herbalife Meal Replacement Powder.

I really like this powder in conjunction with the Meal Replacement Powder, and some powdered peanut butter for taste. My trainer recommended it for 2 meals a day when I’m trying to shed some weight, and it does work. It’s just hard for my to only have shakes for 2 meals a day every day **blushes** so I’m not consistent with it, but as far as protein powders go, this stuff tastes the BEST of any out there, and Amazon has the best prices for this brand.

Top Negative Review: Herbalife Protein Drink Mix PBM – Vanilla

There’s holes poked in it.

I just purchased this the other day and i got it in the mail this morning. I went to go open it and i noticed that there are holes poked in it. The holes are really small as if they used like a needle or something to put the holes in but I’m scared to use it.

Bottom Line: Is Herbalife Protein Healthy?

Herbalife shakes and protein powders leave something to be desired.

Unfortunately, all of them:

a) Are not organic.

b) Contain sugar or artificial sweeteners

c) Contain fillers, additives, and/or “flavors”

d) Have a premium price of $.05 – .06/gram (you can get a good organic raw vegan protein powder without the fillers and other junk for only $.06/gram)






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Beachbody Shakeology Reviews: Nutrition Facts and Ingredients Analysis

beachbody shakology shakes

Most Shakeology reviews online have one thing in common: a vested interest in selling Shakeology protein and meal replacement products.

While we do sell a plant protein powder of our own, this analysis and review of Shakeology products is unbiased because we use three objective criteria when evaluating their protein powders: 1.) Ingredients, 2.) Nutrition, and 3.) Cost.

Here’s the thing …

Shakeology actually has a lot of good stuff in it.

And, it’s one of the best tasting plant-based protein powders out there.

But there are a few things we’re not crazy about.

Scroll below to see our Shakeology review …

What Is Shakeology?

According to the Beachbody website, Shakeology is:

a nutrient-dense superfood nutrition shake that’s formulated with globally harvested ingredients that supply phytonutrients, antioxidants, enzymes, prebiotics and probiotics, fiber, adaptogens, vitamins, and minerals.

Shakeology Reviews: Methodology

Similar to our other plant-based protein powder analyses, we’re reviewing Beachbody’s Shakeology protein powders based on health and nutrition … NOT taste. It tastes freakin’ great, as we’ve already mentioned. If taste is your only criteria when choosing protein powders, then this one’s a winner.

But if you also care about what’s in it then read on, because in the next section we’ll provide an analysis of Shakeology’s products as a whole and tell you the 5 things that we don’t love about it.

Then we’ll look at the complete nutrition facts and ingredients for each product separately.

Let’s jump in …

Nutrition Summary: All Products

Calories 160-170
Grams of Protein 16-17
Protein Source(s) Regular Shakeology: Whey protein isolate, pea protein, sacha inchi, flax, chia, quinoa

Shakeology Vegan Protein: Pea protein, oat protein, rice protein, chia, flax, quinoa

Grams of Sugar 6-8
Free of “Natural” Flavors No
Free of Gums & Thickeners No
Organic No
Vegan Yes
Cost Per Gram $.10

 

Here are 5 things I wish Shakeology would improve:

  1. Shakeology’s products are not organic (for the price, it should be).
  2. Shakeology shakes have an average of 6-8 grams of sugar per shake.
  3. At $.10/gram, Shakeology is one of the more expensive protein powders on the market. (Note: I use cost per gram to account for different serving sizes).
  4. Most of Shakeology’s non-vegan shakes contain whey protein isolate. Whey protein may do more harm than good for many people with dairy sensitivities or allergies.
  5. Shakeology has “natural” flavors. The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has an awesome web resource that evaluates the safety of the most common food additives. In its “Safety Ratings,” CSPI says natural flavors “may trigger an acute, allergic reaction, intolerance, or other problems.”
is shakeology bad for you
source: https://cspinet.org/eating-healthy/chemical-cuisine

Next we’ll break down the nutrition facts and ingredients for each of Shakeology’s products/flavors separately.

Nutrition and Ingredients: What Is In Shakeology?

Alrighty, let’s start with the good. We actually love a lot of the ingredients in Shakelogy:

  • Seeds: chia, flax, and quinoa
  • Greens: moringa, chlorella, kale, spinach, and spirulina
  • Probiotics/digestive enzymes
  • “Adaptogenic blend”: ashwagandha, maca, etc.

However, like we said above, there are 5 major issues we have with Shakeology’s products:

  1. They’re not organic. Any “superfood” that’s not organic may be sprayed with cancer-causing pesticides and other chemicals. The only way to find out if a protein manufacturer’s ingredients contain these chemicals is to ask if they’ve done independent testing.
  2. Sugar content. 6-8 grams of added sugar is just too much for a 160-170-calorie protein shake for non-athletes. If your body isn’t using that sugar during exercise, it will get converted into fat.
  3. Price. At $.10/gram, Shakeology is one of the more expensive protein powders on the market. It retails at $130 for 30 servings.
  4. Whey protein. For people sensitive to dairy, whey is not a good protein choice. Read my article Whey Vs Plant Protein. Shakeology does make several vegan proteins, as you’ll see below … but they all have 6-8 grams of sugar, depending on the flavor.
  5. “Natural” flavors. Natural flavors can contain hundreds of different substances–many of them chemicals–and still be called “natural.” Here’s what the EWG has to say about them:

Consumers may be surprised to learn that so-called “natural flavors” can actually contain synthetic chemicals such as the solvent propylene glycol or the preservative BHA.  Flavor extracts derived from genetically engineered crops may also be labeled “natural,” because the FDA has not fully defined what that term means.

Shakeology has four different flavors that are available in both whey and plant-based options: chocolate, vanilla, cafe latte, and strawberry.

shakeology review

Let’s have a look at the nutrition facts and ingredients for each, starting with the vegan ones.

We highlighted areas of concern in red below …

Beachbody Shakeology Nutrition Facts Label Information

Vanilla Vegan Protein

beachbody shakeology vanilla vegan protein powder
7 grams of sugar in a protein shake is way too much unless you’re a hardcore exerciser! It doesn’t matter is it’s “organic cane sugar” or high fructose corn syrup … your body processes these the same way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chocolate Shakeology Vegan Protein Powder

beachbody shakeology chocolate vegan protein shake
Added sugars, gums, “natural” flavors…these are all questionable ingredients.

Vegan Tropical Strawberry Protein Powder

shakology plant based protein shakes
This one has 8 grams of sugar per scoop. That’s 16 grams per standard 2-scoop serving…over half a day’s worth of sugar!

Cafe Latte Plant Based Shakelogy Shake

beachbody shakology

Chocolate Protein Powder (Whey)

shakeology chocolate nutrition facts

Vanilla Protein Powder (Whey)

shakeology vanilla nutrition

Strawberry Protein Powder (Whey)

beachbody shakeology nutrition label

Cafe Latte Protein Powder (Whey)

shakeology ingredients

Shakeology Reviews on Amazon

Shakeology’s Chocolate flavor is rated 3.1 out of 5 stars by reviewers on Amazon.

Here are the most helpful positive and negative reviews:

Most Helpful Positive Review:

5.0 out of 5 stars Some people love it, some hate it. We Love it!

I had been wanting to try shakeology for a long time. But the price was just too high for my budget. I have a few friends who are “coaches” and have tried to sell to me. But again, it’s just been too expensive. My financial situation has improved a little and I was encouraged by a friend to at least give it a try. The sample box is $29.95 +shipping and tax. I live in a state that doesn’t have sales tax, luckily, so that saved me a few bucks.

5 days passed and I got my package in the mail. At this point I was really excited to try it and see how it tasted and how it affected my eating habits throughout the day. Let me share with you that I love food. I’m over-weight, but I’m not terribly over weight. I’m 5’5″ and weigh about 160lbs. My ideal weight is around 135-140.

The first day, I tossed a packet of the regular Chocolate flavor in my blender bottle with 16oz water and 4oz 1% (cows) milk and about 5 ice cubes and blended the holy hell out of it. I had read some reviews prior to purchasing about how it smelled better than it tasted. This kinda worried me when I smelled the powder and it smelled gross. Uh-oh, I thought, this is going to be a bust.

BUT IT WASN’T! For a meal replacement shake, it was pretty good! I took a couple drinks to really get a feel for the shake. This is something I could stand to drink everyday. I had my boyfriend try it, he really enjoyed it as well, which is surprising because he is relatively picky AND doesn’t like many healthy foods. So the fact that Mr. Picky also stated he could stand to drink a shake everyday, says something.

The only thing we both noticed was the artificial sugar after taste. It’s not terrible, but you notice it.

I have also tried the Strawberry, Vanilla and Vegan Chocolate. They’re all good. I haven’t tried any of the fancy recipes that you can find on the Beachbody website or Pinterest, I’ve blended them all plain.

As far as food cravings and my food intake throughout the day. I used to eat upwards of 2100-2200 calories per day. I’m a avid snacker and again, I love food. Since starting Shakeo, I’ve been able to keep my calories around 1400-1500 each day. It hasn’t done much in the way of energy, but that could be due to the fact that I’m trying to cut down on my coffee intake and replace it with Shakeo. I will try to come back in the end of June and post an update on if I’ve had any significant help with losing weight from Shakeology.

Most Helpful Negative Review:

1.0 out of 5 stars New formula ruined it
I drank Shakeology for years. I stuck with either the regular chocolate or vegan chocolate. I realize it was very pricey; but, it offered a good amount of nutrition and did a great job curbing cravings so I was willing to pay. I loved it for a long time. In fact, I looked forward to drinking a shake each day. It took care of any cravings for sweets that I had and filled me up. It was a fantastic meal replacement when I was on the go. However, a few months back, I noticed a much different taste to the shakes. I called to see if I had gotten a bad bag or something. I was informed that there was a new formula and that is why it tasted different. The new formula makes the taste so bad that I can’t stomach a couple of sips of it (that is why I cannot give this product more than 1 star). I can’t even describe it, it is just horrible. I am so disappointed in this change. I have yet to find something else that take care of my cravings and fill me up like Shakeology used to.

Bottom Line: Is Shakeology Good for You?

From a nutrition standpoint, there are some really nice ingredients in Shakeology: quality protein sources in their plant-based ones along with a nice mix of adaptogenic herbs, mushroom powders, and other superfoods.

However, the issues with Beachbody’s Shakeology shakes are they a) are not organic; b) have 6-8 grams of sugar per serving, c) contain flavors, and d) are not cheap.

There are definitely worse protein powders you can buy, and the Chocolate Vegan flavor is the “cleanest” of the bunch when it comes to ingredients, based on my analysis.

But for the money, there are better options worth considering.






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