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Kachava Review | Nutrition, Ingredients, Cost Analysis for 2024

ka chava reviews

Most Kachava reviews you see online are unreliable because they have a vested interest in selling more Ka’ Chava through their affiliate links.

Because we sell our own line of plant-based protein and meal replacement powders, we write honest assessments of our competitors’ products to help our customers understand how they compare to ours.

“How do you remain unbiased when selling a competitive product?” you may be asking. The answer is:

  • By focusing on objective criteria in our reviews: ingredients, nutrition facts, and price.
  • By analyzing real customer reviews from other websites (including Amazon).

Ka’chava’s ingredients are better than most.

There are a few things we don’t love about their products too (particularly the sugar content).

Read the rest of our Kachava review to learn more …

Table of Contents

What Is Kachava?

Kachava, also known as “Ka Chava” or “Ka’Chava,” is an “all-in-one plant-based superfood meal,” according to

It’s available in two flavors, Vanilla and Chocolate.

Ka’Chava provides you with all the functional fuel you need to thrive both physically and mentally in a single, ready-to-go meal.


Kachava Ingredients and Nutrition Facts

Kachava shakes are quite nutrient-dense. They contain:

  • 70+ Superfoods & Nutrients
  • Protein
  • Fiber
  • Greens
  • Omega 3s
  • MCTs
  • Probiotics
  • Digestive Enzyme Blend
  • Adaptogens
  • Antioxidants
  • 26 Vitamins & Minerals

Ka’Chava serving sizes (62g Chocolate & 60g Vanilla) are larger than most other shakes on the market.

How Many Calories, Carbs, Fiber, and Protein Are In Ka’Chava?

Nutrition-wise, here’s a summary of what you get per 2 scoop serving:

  • 240 calories
  • 7 grams of fat
  • 4.4 grams of saturated fat
  • 24-25 grams of carbohydrates
  • 9 grams of dietary fiber
  • 6-7 grams of sugar (5-6 grams added sugar)

Here are the complete nutrition panels / ingredient lists for each of the two Ka’chava flavors currently available:

Kachava Chocolate Protein Powder / Meal Replacement Nutrition Facts

kachava chocolate meal replacement powder nutrition

Kachava Vanilla Protein / Meal Replacement Nutrition Facts

kachava vanilla ingredients nutrition facts

Kachava Coconut Acai Protein Powder Nutrition Facts

ka' chava coconut acai nutrition

How Much Does Kachava Cost?

On their website, Kachava costs $69.95 for a 2-pound bag for a single purchase ($4.67/serving), or $59.95 with a monthly subscription ($4/serving).

On Amazon, Ka’chava costs $85 for a 2-pound bag of Vanilla and $100 for a 2-pound bag of Chocolate. The new Coconut Acai flavor costs $85 per bag and has a 4.3-star rating.

Amazon reviewers rate it 3.4 – 3.5 for “value for the money”.

Ka’ Chava Amazon Reviews

Amazon reviewers rate the products as-follows:

Kachava Chocolate Protein Reviews

kachava reviews - chocolate amazon
Kachava Vanilla Protein Reviews

kachava vanilla protein shake review

Here are the three most popular Ka’chava positive reviews on Amazon:

Whether you’re looking for a quick and convenient meal replacement option or simply want to fuel your body with the best possible nutrients, Ka’Chava Meal Replacement Shake has got you covered. Made with a powerful blend of organic superfoods and plant-based protein, this shake is the ultimate all-in-one whole body meal.

If you’re a fan of chocolate, you’ll love the rich and indulgent flavor of the Chocolate Ka’Chava Meal Replacement Shake. Each bag contains 930g of powder, which can be used to make 15 meals with a serving size of 62g.

But it’s not just the taste that makes Ka’Chava so great. This shake is loaded with 70+ plant-based superfoods, including chia seeds, maca root, and acai berries, to provide a broad spectrum of essential vitamins and nutrients. Plus, the protein blend is sourced from peas, chia seeds, and other plant sources, making it a great option for vegans and anyone who wants to avoid dairy.

If you’re looking to improve your overall health and well-being, give Ka’Chava Meal Replacement Shake a try. It’s an easy and delicious way to nourish your body with whole food ingredients.

The Ka’chava meal replacement is packed full of excellent nutrients! I actually really like the sweet chocolate taste, yet it also has 9g of sugar (which appears to be naturally occurring from all the added fruits?). However, there are a few things that I would like the company to alter, before I would purchase this meal replacement again:
1. Please use methylcobalamin Vitamin B12, NOT cyanocobalamin Vitamin B12, because the former is natural and the latter is synthetically bound to cyanide! It appears the only damn reason nutrition labs make cyanocobalamin is because the cyanide gives the B12 a slightly longer shelf life, but at what toxic cost to a human body taking it?!
2. Most of the ingredients are organic, which is good, but it would be truly excellent if all the ingredients were sourced organic.
3. The price for the Ka’chava blend is a bit steep. I predominantly purchase the Sunwarrior and Garden of Life meal replacements, because they both have excellent, all organic ingredients at a far better price to quantity ratio.

The three most popular Ka’ chava negative reviews on Amazon are:

I am a pretty easy to satisfy when it comes to food and beverages… definitely not too demanding on flavors. But I must say that the chocolate flavored version of this product is pretty bad tasting. I carry a very low sugar diet and I do not spice up or season too heavy any of my meals, so I am not expecting “healthy” alternatives to taste particularly good or sweet. But this is ridiculous.
Considering how expensive this product is, that most, if not all of the statements claimed by the product are “non FDA evaluated”, that daily nutritional/dietary values are not established, and that the flavor is *extremely* bad, the price should be subject to a steep downward correction. I would not pay more than $19.99 for a product like this. Yet it is priced at $77.99.
I most certainly don’t want a refund or to be contacted regarding my review. I am just being purely honest about my experience with it.
This review is an on the quality of the taste as it was excellent. But for the price amount of sugar it is very pricey. 15 servings for $100. There are other products in the market that are equally as good and not as expensive

Ka’chava Complaints / Side Effects

Kachava has a pretty good track record of reviews online, and seems unlikely to cause side effects in most people. One user on Amazon reported the following complaint / side effects from Ka Chava:

While I know this is a top notch quality product, it bloated and gave me diarrhea as well as weight gain. Hope it works for you, it sucked for me.
Another user left the following review on Amazon:
We both tried it and agree the flavor is good (the coconut flavor stands out).
The texture is like a thickened milk or a thin shake (we both liked it); blended in blender.
We both also agreed that it stayed with us (1 easily made it to lunch/1 hours after lunch).
We are looking for an allergen free protein drink, something with NO form of corn (it has sooo many names now, about 20 sugar names alone). In this product it is Xanthan Gum that is from corn (it works like corn starch). They say the different names are named for the different ways a product is extracted from the corn. All I know is I am allergic to corn and everything derived from it. My reaction was awful!
PLEASE put CORN under the allergen list!
Protein powders can affect individuals differently. So, no matter which brand you decide on, if you experience these types of side effects, it’s obviously a good idea to look for another option.

Other Unbiased Ka’Chava Reviews

As we mentioned earlier, there’s no shortage of reviews for Kachava online. But most of those reviews are just promoting the product and trying to get you to click on the links so they get a commission.

So, after searching and scouring for unbiased Ka chava reviews, here’s what we found:

Illuminate Labs Kachava Review

Ka’Chava provides an effective protein dose and has a wide range of whole food ingredients. We do not recommend the product overall due to the inclusion of several additive ingredients including digestive enzymes, vitamins and minerals and natural flavors.

The price of Ka’Chava is relatively high at nearly $5 per serving, which is the highest price of any meal replacement product we’ve reviewed on Illuminate Health to date.

Some customers report a poor taste, and this is something we experienced ourselves when we tried the product.

While we don’t recommend Ka’Chava, we don’t believe it’s likely to cause any side effects. Those set on purchasing this product should do so from the official manufacturer website where it’s significantly cheaper than on Amazon.

We consider Ka’Chava to be a healthier option than another popular meal replacement shake called Huel, although it’s significantly more expensive per-serving.

Fitness & Finance Review

Summary: Pros and Cons of Ka’ Chava Protein

Pros (What We Like About Kachava):

  • Solid organic plant based protein blend.
  • Balanced macronutrient profile for a meal replacement.
  • Quality superfoods, adaptogens, and probiotics.

Cons (What We Don’t Love About Ka’ Chava):

  • Get rid of the 6-7 grams of added sugar. Use a bit more organic monkfruit instead.
  • Ditch the “natural” flavors, gums, and added vitamins.
  • Find an organic source of pea protein.
  • Disclose if there’s corn or other allergens on the label.

Compare Our Kachava Alternative–Pure Food Real Meal

Here’s a quick comparison of Ka’ Chava Meal Replacement Powder vs. Pure Food Real Meal:

Ka’Chava Meal Replacement Powder Pure Food REAL MEAL
Calories:  240 205 (note: we wanted to compare an equivalent serving size, so this is for 53 grams of Real Meal, which would get you 10 servings/bag.)
Protein Per Serving 25 grams 26 grams 
Sugar Per Serving  6-7 grams  0 grams 
Cost Per Serving (Subscribe & Save Price) $4.00 $3.50
Contains Gums, “Flavors” and Other Potential Allergens Yes No 
100% Organic Proteins Grown in the U.S. and Canada No Yes
Stevia-free Yes Yes

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KOS Organic Plant Protein Powder Review

kos plant protein powders reviews

The majority of KOS protein powder reviews you’ll find online (and this applies to most brands) are biased because they get commission.

This one is different.

Because, in full disclosure, we sell our own line of plant-based supplements.

And for the last several years, we’ve been publishing honest reviews of our competitors’ products to help our customers understand how they compare to ours.

This KOS protein powder review will focus on objective criteria like ingredients, nutrition facts, and price and analyzing verified customer reviews on Amazon.

Read on to find out more.

Who Owns KOS Protein Powder?

KOS is a privately owned company started by a couple of entrepreneurs based out of Washington.

Where Can You Buy KOS Protein Shakes?

KOS organic proteins and shakes are available for sale at Whole Foods, Target, Vitamin Shoppe, and Amazon.

KOS Organic Plant Protein Ingredients and Nutrition Facts

Is KOS protein powder healthy? Here’s what they say on their website:

KOS’ suite of superfoods are designed to give your engine the high-octane punch it needs — and without the fuel contaminants found in today’s dysfunctional food system. We want to infuse you, and your community, with vibrant, sustainable, organic health and well-being. At the risk of sounding saccharine, we really want to do good by the world, and by you. Blame it on our moms. Food has a problem. KOS is approaching the issue at its energy base, building a brick-by-brick model of individual sustainability that can’t help but scale to the larger world. Because the larger world is All of Us.

Ok, pretty cool, we can definitely get down with that philosophy which closely mirrors our own.

But let’s dig into the numbers a bit deeper and see what we find …

KOS Chocolate Protein Powder Ingredients and Nutrition Facts

KOS Vanilla Protein Powder Ingredients and Nutrition Facts

Overall, I think KOS appears to offer some of the higher quality plant protein powders on the market.

I like that their protein blend is organic and contains a mix of several different plant proteins (bonus points for this because you get more amino acids / better absorption with multi-source plant-based powders).

Here’s a complete list of pros and cons:

KOS Protein Powder Pros and Cons



  • Get rid of the 2 grams of added sugar and boost the fiber intake. Most people already get more than enough sugar, and it’s one of the biggest causes of weight gain. Even though organic coconut sugar is a lower glycemic sweetener choice compared to others, we’d like to see them use a bit more organic monkfruit instead.
  • Ditch the “natural” flavors and gums (although they do use organic versions, which are much better than non-organic flavors, which are often loaded with mystery chemicals)
  • It’s not clear where their ingredients are sourced from. Most plant proteins are grown in China, where standards aren’t as stringent and soils are often more polluted due to industrial contimination–so it’s always a good idea to ask where the ingredients in your protein shake are grown (not just produced).

KOS Flavors

KOS now offers protein powders in these flavors:

  • Chocolate
  • Vanilla
  • Blueberry Muffin
  • Chocolate Chip Mint
  • Chocolate Peanut Butter
  • Salted Caramel Coffee
  • Unflavored

KOS Protein Cost Per Serving

On their website, KOS offers several different pricing options, depending on the serving size. Here is current pricing for their chocolate protein powder:

  • 10 servings: $24.99
  • 14 servings: $34.99
  • 30 servings: $49.99

They also have a Subscribe & Save program that can save you 15%.

KOS Protein Powder Reviews

As discussed, it’s hard to find unbiased reviews on the Internet … but Amazon is still a pretty solid source (despite their many other shortcomings).

Here’s what reviewers on Amazon say about KOS protein shakes:

kos protein powder reviews

Here’s the most liked KOS protein positive review on Amazon:

5.0 out of 5 stars The absolute BEST protein powder I have ever had
Reviewed in the United States on March 20, 2018
Size: 30 Servings Verified Purchase
Alright, I’ll start off by saying this is the BEST protein powder I have ever had. I have tried multiple brands (big and small, MLM or bought at target) and a lot I have trashed. I have a degree in nutrition and fitness, I’m a wife, a boy mom chef, a very busy online nutrition and fitness professional.

I don’t have time for crappy products. I don’t want to be eating or drinking them, I won’t recommend them to my clients and I certainly won’t give them to my kids or family. Thankfully this product hit the amazing mark in everything.

1. The plant protein sources; pea, flax, quinoa, pumpkin and chia. Pea protein is an awesome source of protein along with the carbs we want. Flax and chia are great sources of omega 3’s (which we all need more of since we are typically high in omega 6 which causes inflammation), Chia seeds are perfect for adding in additional fiber into our diets with very little effort. Quinoa is the perfect mix of protein and good carbs and pumpkin is amazing for our reproductive health – women and men!

2. The awesome enzyme blend; amylase, protease, lipase, lactase, and cellulase. Protease which digests protein.
Amylase digests carbohydrates. Lipase for fats and oils digestion. Lactase which digests dairy products. And cellulase that converts glucose. Who wouldn’t want this in their protein shake?

3. The sweet stuff. Organic agave, Organic Coconut Sugar, Stevia, Monk Fruit. Perfect blend of sweet without being too sweet and a bonus because it doesn’t upset any of the little bellies in my home.

4. The fruit and vegetable blend they have formulated is perfect! It leaves no grit, even with foods like quinoa and seeds being in it. It blends perfectly, super smooth, cooks well, freezes in other foods well, isn’t clumpy, and it’s $39? People pay $200+ for a shake that doesn’t taste half as good and is loaded with things that can cause a lot of GI distress. I would easily pay $200 for this shake. They batch test their own weird, sketchy other company needed. If something is too high – the ditch it!

5. This one is pretty important. Their customer service is amazing! I work in an industry where client relations is SO important and these guys nailed it with their team. They’ve answered tons of questions for me and have been so kind!

I ordered the Vanilla to try first – but I love it so much I know that the chocolate will be just as good if not better! I’ll be ordering that tonight. Happy to say I will never have to try or search for another protein powder again! I will 100% be recommending this to ALL of my clients, family, friends and anyone I know because I love it that much!

The most popular negative review of KOS on Amazon is:

1.0 out of 5 stars Gross!
Reviewed in the United States on January 9, 2019
Size: 30 Servings Verified Purchase
With all the positive reviews I thought this was the ONE! Boy was I wrong! Disgusting! If Amazon had a negative star I would say -10!
And no returns at all! Way bad intestinal issues as well!

Compare Our KOS Alternative–Pure Food Real Meal

Here’s a quick comparison of KOS Organic Plant Protein Powder (Chocolate) vs. Pure Food Real Meal:

KOS Chocolate Protein Powder Pure Food REAL MEAL
Calories:  150 170 (note: in order to compare an equivalent serving size with 20 grams of protein, we used a 44 gram serving of Real Meal, which would get you 12 servings/bag.)
Protein Per Serving 20 grams 20 grams 
Sugar Per Serving  2 grams  0 grams 
Cost Per 20 Gram of Protein Serving $2.00 $2.46
Contains Gums and Flavors  Yes No 
Organic ingredients Sourced from the U.S. and Canada ? Yes
Servings Per Bag 10 12

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Best Clean Eats: Plant-based Clean Eating Food List for 2023

what is eating cleanWhen you claim to have created the world’s cleanest plant-based protein powder like we do, you better darn well know a thing or two about clean eats.

So with that said, I can tell you with conviction that I have spent countless hours reading labels, poring over nutrition research studies and articles, and dropping half my paychecks at Whole Foods in search of the healthiest “clean” products on the market that meet my dietary restrictions (I’m allergic to dairy and corn and avoid most products with gluten and soy too).

In this post, I will share my findings with you. You’ll discover:

1) What clean eating actually means.

2) How to spot and avoid brands posing as “clean.”

3) My 10 favorite clean eating packaged foods.

Let’s start with #1 …

Clean Eating Basics

What does it mean to “eat clean”?

clean eatsI’ll be the first to admit that the term clean eating is ambiguous … enough to elicit some scathing reactions.

Like this response from one of the top writers on Quora:

It’s a vague term for faddish eating, mostly with an orthorexic bent. It has no scientific basis and, like pretty much all food fads, is rooted in a fear of modernity.

And this one from a registered dietitian published in the British Medical Journal:

The command to eat cleanly implies that everyone else is filthy, being careless with their bodies and lives. It comes with promises of energy boosts, glowing skin, spirituality, purity, and possibly immortality. But this nonsense is all based on a loose interpretation of facts and a desire to make the pursuit of wellbeing an obsessive, full time occupation.


I disagree with both and I’ll tell you why in a minute.

First, here’s my definition of clean eating:

A whole food, plant-focused diet that’s low in sugar, refined carbohydrates, and other artificial ingredients.

The body of evidence that supports the health benefits of eating this way is enormous. So maybe eating “clean” is just another label … but it’s one that I believe can be of real, tangible benefit to people who don’t know how to eat healthy (or who do but aspire to eat better).

What’s the harm in that?

To me, there are bigger fish to fry anyway …

clean eats product marketing claimsThe real problem with clean eating

One of the underlying reasons for much of the aforementioned ambiguity and debate is Big Food coming in and slapping clean eating claims on all types of unhealthy packaged foods.

For example, some of my competitors in the protein powder industry sell sugar sweetened beverages to children that are marketed as clean and “all-natural”.

Not cool.

In addition to added sugar or artificial sugar, many so-called “clean” products on the market contain mystery ingredients and fillers like gums and “natural flavors,” which are now the fourth most common ingredient on food labels.

It should come as no surprise that those clever food product marketers have found ways to exploit the “all-natural” and “clean” claims, since the FDA doesn’t regulate use of these terms.

So how do you know what’s clean and what’s not?

Well, clearly “clean” is open to interpretation. But here’s what I look for:

  1. Organic ingredients I recognize as whole, real foods.
  2. No added sugar.
  3. No refined white flour.
  4. No lactose from dairy or corn-based ingredients.
  5. No mystery fillers like gums, “flavors”, and other additives.

If you stick with products that meet those criteria, it’s hard to go wrong.

When in doubt, the ingredients and nutrition facts label are the two objective sources of truth on any packaged food product.

If you don’t know what something is, don’t buy it until you research the safety of the ingredients. Check out credible sources that back their claims with peer-reviewed science (like the EWGCSPI and Pubmed).

10 Best Plant-based “Clean Label” Packaged Food Brands for 2023

I’m not saying you need to be a vegetarian or vegan to eat clean. But the focus on my clean eating approach is plants … because 99.9% of us can benefit from eating plant-based.

The clean eating brands I’m going to show you below contains food products with no or extremely minimal:

  • Added sugar
  • Artificial ingredients
  • Allergens like soy, dairy, gluten, and corn
  • Animal products
  • Highly processed ingredients posing as “natural” (e.g., flavors, gums, and other additives)

Malk: Their unsweetened almond and cashew milks are among the very few without gums, fillers, and additives. Here are the ingredients in the almond milk: organic almonds, Himalayan salt, filtered water. They also have a great almond milk/oat milk non-dairy creamer. Use their Store Finder to see if it’s available near you.

Made Good: Made Good Foods has a line of better-for-you granola products and delicious cookies that  are certified vegan, organic, and non-GMO with just 6 grams of sugar and 110 calories.

From the Ground Up: These guys sell some mighty tasty cauliflower crackers, pretzels, and potato chips. Their ingredients are plant-based, super simple, and contain no corn, wheat, dairy, or artificial junk.

Autumn’s Gold: Their grain-free, Paleo-certified granola and granola bars are very good tasting and contain much less sugar than your run-of-the-mill granola. Available on Amazon too.

Italian Volcano: Dream Foods International makes organic citrus juices and natural ethnic foods. The company began bottling juices near the Mt. Etna volcano in Sicily. I absolutely love their Italian Volcano Lemon Juice, which I add to my water (and it’s great for soups and sauces). They sell a 2-pack at Costco here in Michigan.

Nutiva: Great source for organic coconut oil and hemp seeds. Here’s the Store Locator. Most of their products can be found on Amazon as well. I love their coconut manna as a high fat dessert for all you keto people out there!

Bragg Organic: Bragg apple cider vinegar, “liquid aminos” (non-GMO, lower sodium soy sauce), coconut aminos (soy free), and nutritional yeast are staples in my clean eating recipes.

The Brinery: Based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, their fermented products are among the best I’ve ever had. From their website: “People often hear “sauerkraut” and think of vinegary limp vegetables in a can or bag, but at The Brinery, we transform vegetables through the process of lacto-fermentation.  Our name tells you everything you need to know about this ancient art of food preservation – we add a natural salt brine to farm fresh vegetables. That’s it.” Love that.

Wildbrine: My co-favorite fermented foods company. Wildbrine now sells sauerkraut, kimchi, salsa, hot sauce, and plant-based cheese. They are all fantastic. This brand is legit … and so are the health benefits associated with all of its fermented products. Eat more fermented foods, people!

Alter Eco: Alter Eco’s dark blackout chocolate is dairy-free, has 4 simple, organic ingredients, and contains 85% cacao for a healthy dose of antioxidants. It has just 4 grams of sugar and also 4 grams of fiber per serving (a Snickers bar has 20 grams of sugar, for comparison’s sake). They also sell other chocolates, coconut truffles, quinoa, and rice.

Final Thoughts About Clean Eats

Hopefully this provides some inspiration and ideas to help you find cleaner products. It hasn’t been easy in the past but now you’re starting to see a lot of brands jumping on the clean eating bandwagon … and I think that’s a good thing.

Minimally processed foods with ingredients you can pronounce are generally (but not always) healthier.

If you have questions or want to share your favorite clean eating foods and/or packaged products, leave a comment below.

And don’t forget to hit those share buttons on the left if you found this post helpful. 🙂

The Best All Natural Protein Powder for Women

best protein powder for womenI must admit I had some trepidation when writing this post.

That’s because:

a) I’m a man who sells a protein powder, and

b) There is no single best protein powder for women.

Stay with me though …

Because there are certain objective criteria you can look at and questions you can ask to evaluate protein powders to find the best one for you (whether you’re a woman or a man).

In this post I’ll share those insights with you.

Plus, I’ll show you supposedly all-natural ingredients to avoid based on my 15+ years as a science writer/researcher in the health and wellness industry and founder of my own small nutrition company.

Let’s get going …

Types of Protein Powder for Women and Men

We’ll begin by looking at several types of protein.

Whey Protein

You may have heard that whey protein is the best type of protein powder for women.

That may not be the case though.

Here’s why …

Whey is derived from dairy and while it doesn’t contain as much lactose as milk, it does still contain a small amount, which can be problematic for anyone sensitive to dairy-based products.

According to the National Institutes of Health, 65 percent of adults have a reduced ability to digest dairy (this is called lactose intolerance).

Lactose intolerance can cause any number of the following:

  • Bloating and gas
  • Gastrointestinal discomfort
  • Imbalance of gut bacteria (which promotes dysbiosis of the gut)
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Irritability

Aside from these inflammatory responses lactose intolerance may leads to, whey is also hyper-insulinogenic. This means your body secretes a lot of insulin when you eat it.

Hyperinsulinemia is associated with hypertension, obesity, dyslipidemia, and glucose intolerance (collectively known as metabolic syndrome).

Can whey protein help if you’re a woman looking to gain lean body mass / improve body composition? It appears so.

But the potential side effects may outweigh the benefits for those with a lactose sensitivity. Some manufacturers add the digestive enzyme lactase to effectively “cancel out” the lactose in their products.

Plant-based Proteins

Soy Protein

While there are studies that show soy might have some benefits for older women such as lowering cholesterol, easing menopausal symptoms, and reducing risk of breast cancer, other research casts doubt on these findings.

A report published by the DHHS Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Effects of Soy on Health Outcomes, concluded that there was “little evidence to support a beneficial role of soy and soy isoflavones in bone health, cancer, reproductive health, neurocognitive function, and other health parameters.”

Perhaps most alarmingly for women, soy may stimulate the growth of breast cancer cells.

Also, most non-organic soy protein is derived from GMO crops.

Rice Protein

brown rice protein woman weight lossWhey protein is commonly thought of as a superior protein source for women looking to improve body composition (lose fat, increase muscle) compared to plant-based protein powders.

However, when one group of researchers studied whey vs. rice protein head to head, they found that both whey and rice offered similar post-exercise body composition benefits … there were no statistically significant differences between the two groups.

Another study found that leucine, the key amino acid to activate muscle building, was absorbed faster from rice protein than leucine from whey protein. The study also found that amino acids in brown rice protein are highly bioavailable and are non-statistically different from whey protein in trained athletes, despite claims from whey proponents claiming superior digestibility and “bioavailability.”

However, certain brands of rice protein have tested high for heavy metals like arsenic, which has made rice protein the source of much debate as well.

If you’re going to use a rice protein powder, make sure you ask the manufacturer for the heavy metal counts.

Finally, rice protein may be more beneficial when combined with other plant sources

Pea Protein

best protein powder for women Pea protein is one of the best plant-based sources of protein if you’re looking to replace body fat with lean muscle. It may also help you:

Lower levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin and decrease your risk of heart disease and kidney disease.

Pea protein has an impressive amino acid profile that may be complementary with other plant-based sources like rice and hemp.

Hemp Protein

all natural protein powderHemp protein is generally made of about 50% protein and 50% fiber. Because of this, some critics knock it as a protein source.

But hemp is one of the only vegan protein sources that contains all nine essential amino acids.

And hemp protein provides the essential fatty acids Omega-3 and Omega-6 in a well balanced 3:1 ratio.

Consuming hemp is safe, healthy and legal (no, it won’t get you high). On top of that, hemp protein powder may help improve heart health, decrease osteoporosis risk, reduce sugar cravings and boost your immune system.

When combined with other plant proteins it offers a powerful plant-based complement.

Other Plant Based Proteins Powders

There are plenty of other plant-based protein sources on the market (pumpkin seed, sacha inchi, flax, chia, barley, and algae, to name a few).

Not many of them have been studied in humans yet though.

This doesn’t make them bad options. Just stick with ones that are a) organic and b) processed using low heat methods (otherwise, vital nutrients can get destroyed).

What’s the Best Protein Powder for Weight Loss?

Most protein powders can help you lose weight as long as you create a calorie deficit.

Unfortunately, many of the protein products out there are marketed as weight loss supplements with “all-natural ingredients.” I’ll talk about the latter point in a minute, but the truth is, there’s no such thing as a “weight loss protein powder”.

There’s evidence that eating a high protein, plant-based diet is one of the best ways to lose weight.

Supplement companies use this data to their advantage and market their products to supposedly help women lose weight.

Check out this report from the National Institutes of Health for more info about common ingredients touted for their weight loss benefits (spoiler alert: most don’t have a strong body of evidence to support their supposed efficacy).

There are actually certain ingredients protein powder manufacturers put in their products that may do more harm than good for some women … even though they’re marketed as all natural and clean.

Here are a few, in particular, to think twice about …

Protein Powder Ingredients Women Should Avoid

Red Flag Ingredient #1: Sugar 

I’ve reviewed many protein powders that contain 10 grams or more of added sugar per serving.

That’s roughly half a day’s worth if you’re a woman and a third of a day’s worth if you’re a man.

Sugar is one of the biggest causes of weight gain, type 2 diabetes, and obesity.

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

And artificial sweeteners like sucralose and sugar alcohols like xylitol may be worse.

Red Flag Ingredient #2: Natural Flavors

The FDA allows food companies to use the term “natural flavors” to describe any food additive that originated in nature. They’re now the 4th most common ingredient on food labels.

In a fascinating 2011 interview that aired on 60 Minutes, scientists from Givaudan, one of the largest companies in the $24 billion flavor market, admitted their number one goal when creating flavors was to make them addictive!

One of my biggest beefs with these “all natural” flavors is protein powder manufacturers don’t have to tell you what’s in them.

David Andrews, Senior Scientist at the Environmental Working Group (EWG), has this to say about so-called “natural” flavors:

The truth is that when you see the word “flavor” on a food label, you have almost no clue what chemicals may have been added to the food under the umbrella of this vague term. For people who have uncommon food allergies or are on restricted diets, this can be a serious concern. [Natural flavors] will often have some solvent and preservatives—and that makes up 80 to 90 percent of the volume. In the end product, it’s a small amount, but it still has artificial ingredients.

Here’s my final red flag …

Red Flag Ingredient #3: Fillers, Gums, Emulsifiers

We talked about potential allergens and additives in flavors. But there are some other common ingredients to be wary of when you see them on the ingredients list of protein powders.

Food manufacturers love these fillers because they have unique properties that add desirable texture and/or shelf life to processed foods.

But they may come at a price: many have been shown to cause digestive distress and gut imbalances and/or raise your glycemic load, which can lead to a whole other set of issues.

  • Gums (xanthan, locust bean, arabic, carrageenan, guar, carob, etc.)
  • Lecithins (soy and sunflower)
  • Dextrins (maltodextrin and rice dextrin)

Red Flag Ingredient #4: Non-organic Ingredients

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

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

Summary: What’s the Best All Natural Protein Powder for Women?

Let’s not sugarcoat it: most women humans buy nutritional supplements like protein powders because they want to look better and/or feel better.

But what if looking and feeling better comes with a price?

Many protein powders have ingredients that cause inflammation, change your gut flora, raise your blood sugar, or worse.

Even most of the ones marketed as “all natural” have some type of highly-processed pseudo-food like gums, fillers, and other additives.

Most of them are deemed safe for consumption by the FDA … but “natural” has quickly become an ambiguous and over-marketed term in the protein powder business.

At the end of the day, to find the best all-natural protein powders for you, start with the ingredients: do you only see ingredients you recognize as real food on the label or are they pseudo-foods that contain added sugar, fillers, additives, and other junk?

In most cases it’s the latter, unfortunately. In my opinion, the potential price you’ll pay down the road is not worth the risk when it comes to protein powders that contain these types of ingredients.

The best protein powder for you depends largely on your health and fitness goals too.

Are you trying to lose body fat? Gain muscle mass? Eat cleaner, more natural foods?

Again, the ingredients and nutrition facts are really the only objective source of truth you should be using to evaluate your protein powder. If you have further questions/comments, reply at the bottom!

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Womens Best Protein Powder Review

womens best whey protein powder

With a name like Women’s Best Protein Powder, you can bet my expectations were quite high when reviewing this product.

First, I’m going to assume your definition of “best” is similar to mine: high quality ingredients and superior nutrition.

One thing I can tell you with 100% certainty is this:

The ingredients in Women’s Best Proteins are definitely not the highest quality.

In fact, some may be quite detrimental to your health.

I’ll explain why in this review …

What Is Women’s Best?

Here’s the first red flag: I couldn’t find any information about this company. 

Their website is registered in Austria and they claim “Fast Shipping to USA” on their site … so it doesn’t appear as if Women’s Best is a U.S. company (which I don’t have a problem with, for the record … just pointing it out because I found it odd there wasn’t any information about the company available on the site).

Anyways, Women’s Best sells a whole bunch of products. I’m going to focus my reviews on their protein powders, including:

  1. Vegan Protein
  2. Slim Body Shake
  3. Superfood Smoothies,
  4. Whey Protein

Let’s get to it …

Women’s Best Protein Powder Nutrition Facts and Ingredients Analysis

1. Vegan Protein


women's best vegan protein powder nutrition facts
Nice protein blend … but then they add “natural” flavors and the artificial sweetener sucralose. Find out why you should avoid these below …


womens best chocolate protein review
Same junk as the vanilla vegan product.


strawberry protein women best
I’m starting to sound like a broken record …


womens best banana ingredients

Cookies N Cream

cookies and cream protein plant-based

Latte Macchiato

latte macchiato nutrition facts label

Salted Caramel

salted caramel protein reviews
This one also has “caramel powder,” which you can be sure has some additives Women’s Best isn’t listing on the label.

Raspberry Vanilla

womens raspberry vanilla protien


woman best vegan unflavored nutrition ingredients
Heck, even the “Unflavored” has sucralose and stevia? Why??

2. Slim Body Shake


slim body shake nutrition
The “Slim Body” formula is garbage. It’s loaded with corn- and soy-based fillers and additives.

3. Superfood Smoothies

All Green Superfood Smoothie

all green everything superfood smoothie
Lot of good ingredients but unfortunately, they’re not organic. Plus you have gums/synthetic fibers as the #2 ingredient and sucralose!

All Red Superfood Smoothie

red superfood smoothie nutrition
More of the same for the Red Superfood Smoothie.

All Black Superfood Smoothie

all black smoothie ingredients
Same junk as the other smoothie products. Coconut milk powder always contains excipients (fillers) because of its high fat content (or else it clumps together). If it’s not listed on the label, it’s usually GMO corn-based maltodextrin!

4. Whey Protein

womens best whey protein powder
I’m not even going to waste your time reviewing all the whey flavors. They ALL contain junk-filled “aromas” (aka, natural flavors), thickening agents, fillers (lecithin) and the artificial sweetener sucralose. 

Red Flag Ingredients

Here’s a little deeper dive into some of those ingredients I flagged above …

Natural Flavors

Other than salt, water, and sugar, natural flavors are the fourth most common ingredient on food labels today.

The FDA allows food companies to use the term “natural flavors” to describe any food additive that originated in nature. However, it’s not the source ingredient I have a problem with … it’s all the other junk they’re allowed to add.

According to David Andrews, Senior Scientist at the Environmental Working Group:

[Natural flavors] will often have some solvent and preservatives—and that makes up 80 to 90 percent of the volume. In the end product, it’s a small amount, but it still has artificial ingredients.

The EWG goes on to say:

The truth is that when you see the word “flavor” on a food label, you have almost no clue what chemicals may have been added to the food under the umbrella of this vague term.


Sucralose is an artificial sweetener that is the cause of much controversy. Several researchers contend that sucralose negatively impacts the gut. Studies have showed it can induce negative changes in the microbiome and enzymes. And some animal studies have shown that it may cause cancer.

Although the cancer study has been challenged by the European Food Safety Agency (a group that has strong food industry ties), I will side with the unbiased Center for Science in the Public Interest on this one. They say:

Our bottom-line advice to consumers, especially children and pregnant women, is that they continue to avoid sucralose and aspartame, as well as the artificial sweeteners acesulfame-potassium and saccharin.  The potential cancer risk to humans is small, but there is no reason to accept any cancer risk from these products.

Gums and Lecithin

WB uses gums and lecithins, which are popular food additives used to thicken processed foods.

These ingredients can cause major side effects for anyone who suffers from GI issues. Plus, if they’re not organic, they’re usually sourced from GMO soy and/or corn.

Non-Organic Ingredients

All Women’s Best protein powders contain ingredients that are not organic. While there are certainly products with organic ingredients that are bad for you, non-organic ingredients means there’s a good chance you’re ingesting pesticides and other chemicals with your protein shake.

Women’s Best Reviews Summed Up

Because of ingredients like sucralose, “natural” flavors, and gums/fillers, I recommend avoiding all Women’s Best protein powder products.

If you’re looking for a clean, plant-based protein with no additives, fillers, and artificial sweeteners, try Pure Food Protein instead.

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Usana Protein Shake Product Reviews: MySmart & Nutrimeal Nutrition/Ingredients Analysis

usana flavor optimizer ingredients

In this review, I’m going to tell you why you may want to think twice about buying Usana protein shakes and powders.

While I do sell a protein powder of my own, my reviews of Usana proteins are as unbiased as possible because I evaluated all their protein products using two objective criteria: 1.) Ingredients, 2.) Nutrition Facts Labels.

No company can hide behind these two pieces of information.

Long story short, for Usana they revealed some pretty shady stuff.

Let’s get started …


What Is Usana?

According to their website:

USANA manufactures the highest-rated, most effective nutritional supplements and health care products in the worldOur products are the best money can buy.

Usana sells their products through a process they call “direct selling.” It’s also known as MLM (Multi-Level Marketing) or a “pyramid scheme.” This is the same model companies like Beachbody (who sells Shakeology), Isagenix, Arbonne, and Herbalife use. You sign up as a rep and then get a commission for selling Usana protein powders and other products to your family and friends.

The reason I bring this up is not to knock on MLM companies (there are some decent ones out there) but to point out that most Usana protein reviews you see online have a vested interest in selling Usana products.

In this analysis I’ll be focusing on Usana protein powder products.

These include Usana NutriMeal and MySmart Shakes. Usana sells a lot of other products. Some of them look perfectly fine from a nutrition standpoint.

Unfortunately I can’t say the same about their proteins, as you’re about to see …

Usana NutriMeal and MySmart Protein Shakes Review

Here’s how my reviews work …

First I’ll show you the nutrition facts labels and ingredients for each product. You’ll see “red flags” highlighted for each.

Then I’ll go into detail about each of these ingredients below the images.

Let’s have a look …

Nutrition Facts and Ingredients Analysis

NutriMeal Nutrition Facts / Ingredients


usana chocolate nutrimeal nutrition facts review
17 grams of sugar per serving plus all types of gut-disrupting fillers, “flavors”, and additives. More on this below…


vanilla nutrimeal ingredients
More sugar, more junk.

Strawberryusana meal replacement shake

MySmart Shakes Nutrition Facts / Ingredients

MySmart Plant-based Shake

usana mysmart protein nutrition facts
More gums, fillers, and flavors. Don’t let the “plant-based” moniker fool you.

MySmart Soy Protein

usana shakes reviews
Soy protein has some major flaws … more on this below.

MySmart Whey Protein

usana whey protein
More additives, thickeners, and fillers.

MySmart Dark Strawberry Flavor Optimizer

mysmart strawberry nutrition
Erythritol is a sugar alcohol that can cause severe GI distress. Usana adds 7 grams of the stuff to two of their “flavor optimizers”.

MySmart Dark Chocolate Flavor Optimizer

mysmart dark chocolate flavor optimizer

MySmart Milk Chocolate Flavor Optimizer

usana flavor optimizer ingredients
The Milk Chocolate flavor optimizer skips the sugar alcohols and just adds plain ‘ole sugar in the form of evaporated cane juice.

MySmart Whey Protein Plus

usana protein powder reviews
Even Usana’s “pure” whey protein has a highly processed filler ingredient (sunflower lecithin).

Red Flag Ingredients

  1. Protein sources: Most of Usana’s protein products contain whey protein and/or soy protein. Dairy-based protein powders have been shown to have negative side effects for many people. If you can tolerate whey, great. Soy protein may have some beneficial properties for older women. It’s not a good choice for men, however, because it’s high in phytoestrogens, plant compounds that have estrogen-like structures. Soy is also one of the “Big 8” allergens, so it may cause inflammation, a precursor to most diseases, if you’re sensitive to soy. And it’s almost always sourced from GMO soybeans unless it’s organic.
  2. Sugars and sugar alcohols: NutriMeal has between 17 and 18 grams of sugar, depending on the flavor. This is 75% of the amount of added sugar most people are supposed to eat in an entire day. Two of the MySmart Flavor Enhancers I reviewed use the sugar alcohol erythritol. The problems with sugar alcohols are 1.) your body cannot absorb them and 2.) they can cause major gas and bloating and other GI issues.
  3. Natural flavors: Like most flavored protein powders, Usana uses “natural” flavors. Natural flavors are made of 80-90% solvents and preservatives, according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG). Despite their innocent-sounding name, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) says natural flavors “may trigger an acute, allergic reaction, intolerance, or other problems.”
  4. Gums/Fillers/Thickeners: Usana uses a lot of different additives and fillers in its products, many of which can be disruptive to gut health. These include soy or sunflower lecithin, guar gum, xanthan gum, gum arabic, and cellulose gum (aka wood pulp).

Bottom Line: Are Usana Protein Powders Good for You?

Despite Usana’s claims of selling “the best products money can buy,” the fact is Usana’s protein products are:

  1. Not organic, which means most of their ingredients are likely sprayed with chemical pesticides and herbicides.
  2. Have too much sugar (some, not all).
  3. Are loaded with additives, fillers, and “natural” flavors, which are definitely not real food.

There are definitely worse protein powders you can buy, but based on my reviews and ingredients and nutrition analysis for NutriMeal and MySmart proteins, I recommend sticking with a product with 100% real food, organic ingredients instead.

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Progenex Protein Powder Nutrition Label / Ingredients Review

progenex more muscle

The makers of Progenex protein powders talk a big game on their website…

Where most companies’ proteins end, ours is just beginning. Most companies only concentrate their protein to a lower-grade concentrate; we isolate ours, and then we keep going. Our whey protein isolates are then enzymatically hydrolyzed. This hydrolyzation process breaks the isolated proteins down into peptides, including di- and tri-peptides, which are more rapidly digested and absorbed. Before we get to a finished product, the previously isolated growth factors are reintroduced into our whey protein.

In this review, you’ll find out why most of their “superior science” claims like this are just overhyped marketing. I’m also going to analyze the nutrition facts and ingredients lists (the real sources of truth) in the following Progenex protein powders: Recovery, More Muscle, and Cocoon.

To find out more, read on …

Progenex Lawsuits, and Fraudulent Labels Claims

Progenex is pretty popular among CrossFitters. However, in 2015, CrossFit swiftly yanked its affiliation and sponsorship deal they had in place with Progenex and made a clear move to distance its brand from the supplement company. 

So what happened?

Some pretty shady stuff, as it turns out …

This Reddit thread sums it up:

Based on verified sources, including lab tests and legal documents:

  1. Progenex contains the same exact protein as many other brands. Optimum Nutrition and BSN, for example, are owned by the company who sells protein to Progenex. No argument can be made that Progenex contains anything not available from either of those two companies.
  2. Based on #1, Progenex is charging 2-3x more, for the same protein as we can find in other products. Also based on #1, their advertising claim that the product contains a “proprietary whey” is false.
  3. The company has a background and history that most of us do not wish to support, including but not limited to a criminal background for most of the executives (fraud, etc…) and a currently ongoing lawsuit for fraud and another for patent infringement, plus a lawsuit by the original founder against one of their lawyers.
  4. We’ve seen documents indicating that the “support” they had at their first Crossfit Games was as a direct result of paying off SMEs behind the scenes to wear their shirt and endorse their products.
  5. It is still somewhat unsettled to some, but generally there is a belief that they don’t respect us or our community.
  6. Similar or better products can be had through other vendors.
  7. The study we saw passed around the community when Progenex first came on the scene, was based on a whey protein hydrolysate that is no longer found in the product. When Dr. Scott Connelly left the company, that protein went with him, and they replaced it with a generic whey hydrolysate.

Progenex Protein Powder and Meal Replacement Nutrition Facts and Ingredients Analysis

Like I say in all my reviews, we have access to two pieces of information that help us determine if these Progenex marketing claims are really true: the nutrition facts and ingredients.

I’ll be analyzing each of these for Progenex More Muscle, Recovery, and Cocoon.

Let’s get to it …

progenex more muscleMore Muscle

According to Progenex:

More Muscle is one of the most advanced and unique whey protein supplements on the market today. It is specifically formulated for fast absorption and maximum uptake. It is manufactured in a two-stage process. The first stage isolates growth factors that can be found in early-stage cow’s milk, extracting and concentrating them using a unique proprietary process. The second stage microfilters and ultrafilters the cold-processed whey into high quality whey protein isolate.

The other ingredients in the product tell quite a different story though …

progenex more muscle chocolate protein nutrition facts
2nd ingredient added sugar, “natural” flavors, and the artificial sweetener sucralose? Not starting out so well here.
more muscle peanut butter nutrition facts label
This flavor also has GMO soy-based lecithin, a cheap, processed, highly inflammatory filler.

more muscle loco mocha


Recovery is Progenex’s post-workout powder. Here’s a look at the ingredients/nutrition for each flavor…

progenex recovery chocolate protein nutrition
Same crap as the More Muscle powders …

recovery belgian chocolate ingredientsrecovery protein chocolate bananaprogenex chocolate peanut butter protien

progenex tropical protein nutrition label


Cocoon is their “nighttime” protein powder that supposedly helps you sleep better.

progenex cocoon chocolate nutrition ingredients
More of the same … except Cocoon has dextrose, along with corn-based maltodextrin. Don’t think those ingredients are a recipe for a good night’s sleep!

progenex cinnamon cocoon protein label

Now let’s a take a deeper dive into those ingredients I flagged…

Red Flag Ingredients

Added Sugar (“Natural” and Artificial)

Most Progenex proteins have between 5 and 9 grams of sugar per serving, from various sources (fructose, dextrose, and table sugar, or sucrose).

Progenex defends its addition of sugar by saying your body needs sugar after a workout.

Yes, that’s true.

But the average person eats 82 grams of it every day … so there’s no reason for it to be added to your protein powder.

Sugar, in excess, makes you fat and leads to disease, period.

Then there’s the artificial sweetener they use, sucralose, which was shown to cause cancer in animal studies …

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

There are also negative gut health effects associated with sucralose:

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

If this stuff causes cancer in animals, do you really want to be eating it?

“Natural” Flavors

The FDA allows food companies to use the term “natural flavors” to describe any food additive that originated in nature.

The Environmental Working Group found in its research of 80,000 food products that only salt, water and sugar are listed more often than “natural” flavors on food labels.

According to David Andrews, Senior Scientist at the Environmental Working Group (EWG):

[Natural flavors] will often have some solvent and preservatives—and that makes up 80 to 90 percent of the volume. In the end product, it’s a small amount, but it still has artificial ingredients.

Problem is, we don’t really know the impact that years of consuming these additives could have on our bodies.

If you see any type of “flavors” on a food label, that’s a big warning sign.

GMO Corn- and Soy-based Fillers

Maltodextrin is a corn-based thickener/filler used in processed foods. A 2012 study found that consuming maltodextrin increased bacterial adhesion to human intestinal epithelial cells and enhanced E. coli adhesion, which is associated with autoimmune disorders and dybiosis in your gut.

Another study found that maltodextrin impairs cellular antibacterial responses and suppresses intestinal antimicrobial defense mechanisms, leading to inflammatory bowel disease and other GI conditions that arise from an inappropriate immune response to bacteria.

For people with grain allergies and intolerances, maltodextrin can exacerbate any current unpleasant symptoms you’re experiencing.

Soy lecithin is a processed thickener that’s usually extracted from GMO soybeans using chemical-based methods.

If you have any GI issues or suffer from joint pain, inflammation, and/or fatigue, avoid products with corn- and soy-based fillers like maltodextrin and soy lecithin.

Protein Sources

If you’re one of the few people who can tolerate dairy products (2/3 of the population cannot), then an organic, grass-fed whey protein isn’t a bad option.

But I’m sick and tired of companies like Progenex citing industry-backed studies claiming whey’s superiority over plant-based protein sources. Just because hundreds of millions of dollars have been poured into studies by companies trying to push more whey protein powder on unsuspecting customers, doesn’t make it “better.

Whey actually has a lot of side effects that these guys don’t tell you about. Listen to your body. If you feel any type of gas, bloating, inflammation, or fatigue after taking whey protein, then stop immediately and try something else.

Non-organic Ingredients

None of the ingredients in Progenex protein powders are organic. This means there’s a chance your protein shake also contains pesticides, herbicides, and other chemicals.

Progenex Reviews Summed Up

On its “Science” page, Progenex says:

Many protein brands include hard-to-digest fillers and “junk” ingredients that can leave you feeling bloated.

Yet the hard-to-digest fillers and junk ingredients is exactly what they use in every protein powder I analyzed!

Progenex likes to tout their “superior science” yet cites studies like these with tiny samples sizes:

progenex protein lawsuit

And others that are 20-30 years old:

Any protein powder manufacturer can cherry pick studies to back up their product.

Long story short, there’s a reason Progenex has been slapped with a bunch of lawsuits: their products do not work as-advertised.

My $0.02: stick with a protein powder with organic, real food ingredients instead of ones like Progenex that are loaded with sugar, processed fillers, and “flavors”.

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Vitamin Shoppe Plnt Protein Powder Reviews

plnt vitamin shoppe

Plnt is a plant protein powder brand created by Vitamin Shoppe. Upon first glance, it looks like a viable plant-based protein for those looking to avoid dairy and other animal proteins.

However …

When I quickly browsed Vitamin Shoppe Plnt Powder reviews on their website and Amazon, I was surprised to find that most people who have tried it are not big fans.

And in this review, I’m going to share another (totally different) reason why you might want to avoid it: the junk ingredients they put in it!

I haven’t tasted Plnt, nor do I plan to, because one glance at the nutrition facts label and ingredient list is all I needed to determine that this protein powder is complete crap.

To find out more, read on …

*Disclaimer: I sell a protein powder. So naturally, I am a bit biased. But I keep my reviews as unbiased as possible by focusing on two objective pieces of information: the nutrition facts and ingredients list. These reveal a lot about Plnt and Vitamin Shoppe as you’re about to see.

What Is Plnt?

From Vitamin Shoppe’s website:

Welcome to the world of plnt®: an array of earth-friendly herbs, supplements and whole foods independently tested to ensure purity, potency and consistent quality. The plnt line of products is gluten-free and dairy-free, with ingredients sourced in nature. That’s why we leave out the “a” in plnt, to represent the absence of artificial preservatives, colors, flavors or sweeteners. The result is nutrition that you can believe in.

Sounds great on paper.

Like I said before though, we have access to two pieces of information that help us determine if these warm and fuzzy marketing claims are really true: the nutrition facts and ingredients.

I’ll be analyzing each of these for Vitamin Shoppe’s two Plnt products:

  1. Plnt Protein (available in Vanilla and Chocolate)
  2. Plnt Protein Meal Replacement (available in Vanilla and Chocolate)

Let’s get to it …

Plnt Protein Powder and Meal Replacement Nutrition Facts and Ingredients Analysis

1. Plnt Protein

Things don’t look so bad upon first glance. Until you get to the “Other Ingredients”.

This is where things get dicey.

Scroll down to the “Red Flag Ingredients” section to learn more about the ones that are most troublesome.  


plnt vanilla nutrition facts
Read more below about “natural” vanilla and caramel flavors, gums, and maltodextrin.


Plnt Protein Powder Nutrition Facts
Same junk-filled “Other Ingredients”. And where’s the cacao? There’s no actual chocolate in the product, just “flavors.”

2. Plnt Meal Replacement

I’ll be honest: there are some really impressive ingredients here. I like the protein blend, the digestive blend (they use the same probiotic strain as we do), and the fermented whole food blend (even though there’s just a speck of it at 50 mg)

But same story for the meal replacement product … it’s those pesky “Other Ingredients” that ruin an otherwise decent product.

See what I’m talking about …


 plnt vanilla meal replacement nutrition

plant meal powder ingredient list

is plnt protein good for you
The Plnt Meal Replacement shake also has corn starch … not good.


plnt vitamin shoppe plnt chocolate meal replacement ingredients

vitamin shoppe plnt protein reviews

Red Flag Ingredients

Now we’ll take a deeper dive into some of those ingredients I flagged above …

“Natural” Vanilla, Chocolate, Caramel, and Chai Flavors

Natural flavors are far from natural. Here’s what scientists at the Environmental Working Group (EWG) say about them:

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

If you see any type of “flavors” on a food label, that’s a big warning sign … 99% of companies won’t disclose what’s in them because they don’t have to.

Corn-based Thickeners (Maltodextrin, Corn Starch)

Maltodextrin is a corn-based thickener/filler used in processed foods. A 2012 study found that consuming maltodextrin increased bacterial adhesion to human intestinal epithelial cells and enhanced E. coli adhesion, which is associated with autoimmune disorders and dybiosis in your gut.

Another study found that maltodextrin impairs cellular antibacterial responses and suppresses intestinal antimicrobial defense mechanisms, leading to inflammatory bowel disease and other GI conditions that arise from an inappropriate immune response to bacteria.

For people with grain allergies and intolerances, maltodextrin can exacerbate any current unpleasant symptoms you’re experiencing.

If you have any GI issues or suffer from joint pain and inflammation, avoid products with corn-based fillers like maltodextrin and corn starch.


All Plnt proteins contain xanthan gums, which are popular food additives used to thicken processed foods.

Xanthan gum can cause some very unpleasant side effects though (gas, bloating, cramping, etc.). And people who are exposed to xanthan gum powder might also experience flu-like symptoms, nose and throat irritation, and lung issues.

Again, if you have any gut health or inflammation issues, it’s best to avoid gums.

Non-organic Ingredients

Most of the ingredients in both Plnt protein powder and meal replacement are not organic. The problem with any plant-based food that’s not organic is there’s a strong probability it was grown with the use of pesticides, herbicides, and other chemicals.

Nobody wants pesticides in their protein shake.

Vitamin Shoppe Plnt Reviews Summed Up

Vitamin Shoppe’s Plnt is a run-of-the-mill protein powder that has a lot of red flag ingredients.

Stick with an organic plant-based protein powder with real food ingredients instead of the processed thickeners, fillers, gums, and “flavors”.

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Biotrust Low Carb Protein Powder Review

Biotrust Low Carb Protein Powder Ingredients and Nutrition Facts

biotrust low carb protein review

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

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

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

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

Anyways, there’s a point to my story …

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

However …

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

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

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

Biotrust Low Carb Protein Powder Reviews

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

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

However, I have concerns about some of their ingredients …

Ingredients and Nutrition Facts

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

Biotrust Low Carb Protein Powder Ingredients and Nutrition Facts

Red Flag Ingredients in BioTrust Proteins

Sunflower Creamer and Lecithin

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

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

Natural Flavors

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

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

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

Sugar Alcohols

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

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

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

Researchers have also found that erythritol is a potent insecticide.

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


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

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

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


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

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

I have a few things to say about that …

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

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

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

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

And this:

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

And this:

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

Non-Organic Ingredients in BioTrust Low Carb

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

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

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

BioTrust talks a big game:

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

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

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

However …

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

Low Carb Protein Powder has”natural” flavors, fillers, and gums.

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

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

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

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LifeTime VeganMax & Life’s Basics Plant Protein Reviews

lifetime plant protein powderLifetime Life’s Basics sells a protein called VeganMax.

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

However …

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

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

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

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

Lifetime sells several different types of vegan protein powders:

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

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

Nutrition Facts and Ingredients Analysis

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

Here goes …

VeganMax Protein


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


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

Chocolate Mint

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

Life’s Basics Plant Protein


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


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


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


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

Life’s Basics Organic Plant Protein


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


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


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

Life’s Basics Pea Protein


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


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


Life’s Basics Lean Plantein

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

Life’s Basics 5-Fruit Blend Plant Protein

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

Life’s Basics Meal Replacement

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

Red Flag Ingredients in Lifetime Vegan Protein

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

Natural Flavors

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

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

Added Sugars (Fructose, Cane Sugar, Cane Juice)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sugar Alcohols

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

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

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


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

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

One Final Red Flag to Note

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

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

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

That’s up to you to decide.

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

best plant-based protein powders