Here’s the deal …
There are two things I really like about most of Garden of Life protein powder products: 1.) they’re cheap, and 2.) they’re organic.
When I analyzed the ingredients and nutrition facts in their protein powders, I discovered some things that raised a few red flags.
In this article, I’m going to share those findings 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)
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
- Amount of protein per serving
- Protein sources
- Added sugars or other sweeteners used
- None of these junk ingredients:
- Natural flavors
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
- 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):
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.
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”
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.