Garden of Life Raw Meal and 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:

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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 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. The victims ranged in age from 1 year to 84 years old.

I’ve had Salmonella and it was quite possibly the sickest I’ve ever felt in my life … wouldn’t wish it on anyone. Thankfully, none of the 33 people from the Garden of Life recall died.

4. Garden of Life Nestle Acquisition

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

Despite Garden of Life’s CEO Brain May assuring customers there would be no plans to change anything, many consumers were concerned based on Nestle’s track record of selling junk food and fighting to thwart GMO labeling efforts.

When small companies get bought by big companies, they generally do everything possible to decrease costs, and the first thing they look at is, “How can we reduce the costs of our ingredients.” This often leads to more ingredient sourcing from questionable sources overseas. Not saying Garden of Life is guilty of this, but it’s worth asking them where they source their ingredients from and seeing if you get a straight answer.

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 plants. Research 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:

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Click here to get instant access to my FREE Google spreadsheet comparing 20+ plant protein powders by ingredients, nutrition, cost, and more.

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.

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

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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Unbiased 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 …

Researching Plant Based Protein Powders?

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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.”

Click here to get my FREE report on the dangers of natural flavors.

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 shakes

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)

Want a Better Alternative to Herbalife Shakes (With Organic, Whole Food Ingredients and None of the Junk)?

Then Check Out Pure Food

Shakeology Reviews: An Unbiased Nutrition Facts and Ingredients Analysis

beachbody shakology

Most Shakeology reviews have one thing in common: a vested interest in selling Beachbody (the parent company of Shakeology) products. 

That’s because all these reviews are written by Beachbody “Coaches.” [side note: I was a Coach for a short stint at one point, so I’m very familiar with their marketing methods.]

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 I’ve ever tried.

Unfortunately, there’s a reason for that, as you’re about to see.

Scroll below to see our Shakeology review …

Researching Plant Protein Powders?

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Shakeology Reviews: Methodology

Similar to my other plant-based protein powder analyses, I am judging Beachbody’s Shakeology protein powders based on health and nutrition … NOT taste. It tastes freakin’ great, as I’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 I’ll provide an analysis of Shakeology’s products as a whole and tell you the 5 things that concern me most about it.

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

Let’s jump in …

Shakeology 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.
  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

Click here to get my FREE report on the dangers of natural flavors.

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

Shakeology Protein Shakes Nutrition and Ingredients

Alrighty, let’s start with the good. I 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 I said above, there are 5 major issues I 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, which I recommend over the whey protein based shakes.

I highlighted areas of concern in red below …

Beachbody Shakeology Nutrition Facts Labels

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?

Even though I have strong opinions about protein powders, I tried to remain as unbiased as possible in my Shakeology reviews.

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 problems I have with Beachbody’s Shakeology shakes is 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, I recommend sticking with an organic, plant-based protein with 100% real food ingredients instead.

Aria Protein Powder Review

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:

  1. Ingredients: are there organic, real food ingredients that you can pronounce? Any inflammation-causing soy, dairy, or gluten? How about fillers, flavors, or gums?
  2. Nutrition Facts: What do the key nutritionals looks like (carbs, fat, protein, fiber, sugar)?
  3. 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.

aira chocolate protein powder aria vanilla protein powder aria vegan chocolate protein aria vegan vanilla protein
Aria Women’s Wellness Protein Powder – Chocolate Aria Women’s Wellness Protein Powder – Vanilla Aria Women’s Wellness Vegan Protein Powder – Chocolate Aria Women’s Wellness Vegan Protein Powder – Vanilla
Calories 90 90 95 95
Grams of Protein 15 15 15 15
Protein Source(s) Soy protein isolate, whey protein Soy protein isolate, whey protein concentrate Pea protein concentrate, organic rice protein Pea protein concentrate, organic rice protein
Grams of Sugar 1 1 1 1
Free of “Natural” Flavors No No No No
Free of Gums & Thickeners No No No No
100% Organic No No No No
Vegan No No Yes Yes
Cost Per Gram $.04  $.04 $.04 $.04
Nutrition/Ingredients (click each image to enlarge) aria chocolate protein nutrition aria womens wellness nutrition aria vegan chocolate nutrition facts aria vegan vanilla nutrition

 

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.

aria protein powder review
Look at those fit women doing yoga … if that’s what artificial chemicals and fillers can do to my body, sign me up!

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.

best plant-based protein powders

Chocolate Chip Vegan Protein Cookies

Vegan protein cookies. When most people hear those three words, their first thought is “yuck.”

However, it is possible to create a cookie that’s free of dairy, gluten, and boatloads of sugar and still make it taste good.

These chocolate chip vegan protein cookies are proof.

Now, before we get to the recipe, let me say a few things:

  1. Any cookie recipe with protein powder and without butter, eggs, and/or milk added is going to taste a little drier than what you’re used to. That’s just part of the deal.
  2. The consistency for these cookies was kind of halfway between a cookie and cake or biscuit. So I guess you could call these “vegan protein biscuits” if you want. I think I made mine a little too thick. If you want a more cookie-like consistency, make them a bit flatter (mine were about 3/4″ thick).
  3. I used a combination of oats and gluten free flours (coconut and almond) because I have a lot of customers who can’t tolerate gluten (I, fortunately, don’t have a problem with it). You can try a whole wheat pastry flour or other whole grain flour if you’d like too.
  4. To lower the sugar content, I used dried dates (Costco sells a nice big bag for cheap) and organic dark chocolate with 85% cacao. I always recommend using 70% cacao or higher. The higher you go, the more health benefits you get.  There are several good dairy-free dark chocolate brands. I list my favorite one below. These cookies have more fiber (6 grams) and protein (6 grams) than sugar (5 grams), which is pretty impressive. You can cut down the sugar even more by using less (or no) dates and adding a little stevia.

Dark Chocolate Chip Vegan Protein Cookies Recipe 

What’s In ‘Em:

  • chocolate chip protein cookies ingredients1 scoop Pure Food Raw Cacao protein powder
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup organic dried dates (chopped into small pieces)
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/4 cup pecans
  • 1/4 cup coconut flakes (unsweetened)
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 1/2 organic vegan dark chocolate chocolate bar (I used Alter Eco’s Blackout Chocolate with 85% cacao … it’s my fave)
  • Optional: pinch of organic stevia leaf powder (if you like things a little on the sweeter side … these cookies were NOT super sweet)


How to Make ‘Em:

  1. Put the dates in a food processor and pulse for about a minute. Or, just chop the dates up with a large knife and cutting board (that’s what I did).
  2. Finely chop the pecans.
  3. Chop up the dark cacao into chocolate chip-sized pieces.
  4. Stir together all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl until you don’t see any more dry powder and the chocolate has been distributed evenly.
  5. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread your vegan protein cookies into 2 rows of 5 (or however many you want).
  6. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes (check after 15 and see how they look … I left mine in for 20 and think it was a tad bit too long).
  7. Let cool for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Nutrition Facts (per cookie… this recipes makes about 10):

  • 182 calories
  • 13 g fat
  • 14 g carbs (6.5 g fiber, 5 g sugar)
  • 6 g protein

Here’s the final product:

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Simple Protein Pancakes Mix & Recipe

The problem with most pancake mixes is their nutrition labels look like this: unhealthy pancake mix

High fructose corn syrup, soybean oil, and enriched flour … no thanks.

But most pancake recipes online aren’t much better. They, too, contain various forms of sugar, enriched flour, and junk ingredients. And science shows eating these types of foods definitively leads to major issues down the road.

I created a protein pancakes mix / recipe using Pure Food Vanilla Protein that’s healthy and tasty (my toddler even loves them).

I used 7 all-natural, nutrient-dense ingredients in this recipe.

This protein pancakes mix makes a simple and healthy breakfast and will appease all carb lovers like myself without the added sugar and refined grains. I used white whole wheat flour but you can substitute a combo of almond, oat, and/or coconut flours if you want a gluten-free version.

This recipe is vegetarian/vegan too … it has no butter or milk (I used almond milk instead and coconut milk works too). One serving has 10 grams of fiber and 14 grams of protein. Give it a whirl and let me know what you think!

Simple Protein Pancakes Mix / Recipe 

What’s In ‘Em:

  • 1 cup white whole wheat flourprotein pancakes mix ingredients
  • 1.5 cups almond or coconut milk
  • 1/2 scoop Pure Food Vanilla Protein Powder
  • 2 T coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 apple (sliced into thin pieces)
  • 1 T cinnamon


How to Make ‘Em:

  1. Mix all dry ingredients together in a bowl.*
  2. Heat a medium-sized frying pan to medium heat.
  3. Add 1 T coconut oil to the pan.
  4. Add the almond/coconut milk to the dry mix and stir until it’s clump-free.
  5. Pour about half the batter into the pan (I made 3 pancakes at a time).
  6. Cook for 3-4 minutes then flip and cook for another 3-4 minutes.
  7. Add the other T of coconut oil to the pan and cook the rest of the protein pancakes mix.
  8. Top with apple slices and cinnamon and enjoy!

*Pro Tip: jar up some of the pancake mix by combining only the dry ingredients and saving it for another day.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving (note: this recipe made about 3 pancakes each for my wife and I plus some for my toddler.)

  • 428 calories
  • 17 g fat
  • 54 g carbs (10 g fiber, 10 g sugar)
  • 14 g protein

Here’s the final product:

pancakes with protein powder

And close-up …

healthy high protein pancake

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Plant Fusion Protein Reviews: Nutrition and Ingredients Analysis

Plant Fusion sells a lot of protein powder. But based on the Plant Fusion reviews on Amazon, it’s clear many people are awfully confused about what constitutes a “healthy” protein powder.

Not to worry, because I’m here to clear up the confusion with my typical sardonic wit and wisdom. 🙂

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

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Plant Fusion Protein Powder Review (Short Version)

Similar to my other protein powder reviews, I am evaluating Plant Fusion’s protein powders based on health and nutrition … NOT taste.

There are four key criteria I use to determine the “healthiness” of a protein powder in my reviews:

  1. Organic, whole food ingredients.
  2. No allergens or inflammation-causing soy, dairy, or gluten.
  3. No fillers, flavors, or gums.
  4. No added sugar or artificial/highly processed sweeteners used.

On its website, PlantFusion says:

Let’s stick to the facts … the “supplement facts”

Clever marketing talk, but here’s a fact they’re not telling you:

Plant Fusion uses the same processed junk as every other popular plant protein powder!

Here’s a quick breakdown of their ingredients and nutrition facts:

PlantFusion Organic Protein Powder PlantFusion Complete Protein Powder Plant Fusion Phood Review PlantFusion Lean Protein PlantFusion Ready to Drink
PlantFusion Organic Plant Based Protein Powder PlantFusion Complete Protein Powder PlantFusion Phood PlantFusion Lean PlantFusion Ready-to-Drink
Calories 120 120 200 170 150
Grams of Protein  20  21  18 21  19
Protein Source(s)  Organic pea protein, organic amaranth, organic quinoa, organic flax seed  Pea protein isolate, artichoke protein, organic sprouted amaranth powder, organic sprouted quinoa powder Pea protein isolate, artichoke protein, organic sprouted amaranth powder, organic sprouted quinoa powder, algalin Pea protein isolate, artichoke protein, algae protein, fermented & sprouted organic millet, organic lentil, organic flax, organic chia  Pea protein isolate, artichoke, organic sprouted amaranth, organic sprouted quinoa
Grams of Sugar  0 4  1 2 7
Free of “Natural” Flavors No No No No No
Free of Gums & Thickeners No No No No No
100% Organic Yes No No No  No
Vegan Yes  Yes Yes Yes Yes
Cost Per Gram  $.07  $.04  $.03 $.05 $.01
Nutrition/Ingredients (click each image to enlarge) PlantFusion Organic Protein Powder Nutrition Facts PlantFusion Complete Protein Powder Nutrition Facts Phood nutrition ingredients PlantFusion Lean Nutrition Facts Plant Fusion Ready to Drink Nutrition Label

The “facts” speak volumes about the quality of PlantFusion’s protein powders and shakes. So my reviews of all their products are summed up as-follows:

PlantFusion makes yet another very average line of plant-based protein powders and shakes. If you’re a clean eater who avoids processed ingredients like flavors, fillers, and sweeteners, you may want to choose something with organic, whole food ingredients instead. 

If you’re interested in taking a little deeper dive and learning more about PlantFusion’s ingredients and nutrition facts, keep reading.

Plant Fusion Protein Powder Review (Full Version)

Let’s switch gears for a brief moment and talk about what I like about Plant Fusion. As a company, I admire their commitment to plant-based nutrition and sustainable, eco-friendly products. I also really like most of the plant protein sources they use (pea protein, amaranth powder, chia powder, flax powder).

And their fermented, sprouted foods blend in the organic product is great:

sprouted food blend protein

On its website, you can read about Plant Fusion’s story. Here’s an excerpt:

Plant Fusion Reviews
Ironic they mention “inferior ingredients” …

The second part I highlighted in red is what really concerns me … and what should concern you too if you follow a clean, plant-focused diet.

Allow me to elaborate:

1. “Natural” flavors are NOT natural.

Natural flavors aren’t real food … they’re science experiments. All the big protein powder companies, PlantFusion included, claim that they make “proprietary natural flavor blends”.

This means nothing.

Ask them exactly what ingredients and how many ingredients go into those “natural” flavors and you won’t get a straight answer (if they answer at all … I emailed them and didn’t get a response).

Natural flavors are often chemical-filled junk. Check out our article “What Are Natural Flavors?” to learn more.

2. Inulin

PlantFusion (along with many other protein powder manufacturers) contains inulin, which is a starchy carbohydrate that’s not absorbed by your upper GI tract (and is thus considered a type of fiber).

While protein powder companies will tout inulin’s benefits as a “beneficial prebiotic fiber”, what they don’t tell you is that these prebiotics are not always beneficial … particularly for those with GI sensitivities. Prebiotics can actually lead to small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) or worsen existing digestive ailments. If you have SIBO, certain prebiotics will ferment and create more gas that will cause your symptoms to worsen.

On top of that, studies have shown that inulin encourages the growth of Klebsiella, a bacteria implicated in Ankylosing Spondylitis and leaky gut syndrome. Klebsiella can lead to serious infections in the urinary tract, pneumonia, and even death. So while inulin may indeed promote the growth of good bacteria, it feeds “bad” bacteria too.

If you suffer from GI sensitivities like I do, prebiotic fibers like inulin may only exacerbate your suffering.

3. Xanthan gum

Xanthan gum is another highly-processed, mostly-indigestible starch that’s used to thicken protein powders. It’s made by bacterial fermentation of a sugar-containing food. Usually that food is an allergenic and/or GMO-containing substance such as corn, soy, dairy, or wheat.

Here’s another little-known (and tragic) fact about xanthan gum. In 2013, several infants who consumed a baby formula with xanthan gum tragically passed away after developing necrotizing enterocolitis, a disease where the wall of the intestine is invaded by bacteria, causing infection and inflammation that can ultimately lead to death in infants.

Scientists reviewed the cases of xanthan gum-associated NEC, and found that the xanthan gum caused increased bacterial production of short chain fatty acids in the newborns’ intestines, and thus contributed to the development of NEC, which led to their deaths. (side note: the New York Times reported the story if you care to read about it)

On top of that, it can cause unpleasant gut symptoms in adults. No thanks.

4. Sugar

One of PlantFusion’s products, the Ready to Drink Complete Plant Protein, has 6-7 grams of sugar per serving (depending on which flavor you choose). On its website, Plant Fusion says you shouldn’t worry about this because the type of sugar they use (fructose) is lower on the glycemic index:

Plant Fusion Sugar Content

Patrick Skerrett, former Executive Editor of the Harvard Health, disagrees:

Crystalline fructose … is not fructose gently extracted from fruits or vegetables; it is crystallized high grade HFCS.

Ouch.

Physician and author Dr. Joseph Mercola also warned about the potential dangers of crystalline fructose in a HuffPost article.

Crystalline fructose (a super-potent form of fructose the food and beverage industry is now using) may contain arsenic, lead, chloride and heavy metals.

Sugar is sugar. Please Plant Fusion, do us a favor and stop trying to spin it.

PlantFusion’s other protein powders use a combination of highly-processed fructose, stevia, and erythritol. You can read about the potential dangers of these pseudo-healthy sweeteners here.

Plant Fusion Reviews Summed Up

Plant Fusion makes very average vegan protein powders that contain too much junk, in my opinion. Personally, I’d rather spend a few extra dollars on a product with organic, real food ingredients.

Click here to get instant access to my FREE Google spreadsheet comparing 30+ plant-based protein powders (including PlantFusion) by ingredients, nutrition, cost, and more.