Lifetime Fitness, the mega-gym that I and millions of others send a big fat check to each month, makes a line of plant protein powders called Life’s Basics. In summer of 2017, they released a newer version called VeganMax.
Most of the reviews for this protein powder brand I found online were pretty good.
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:
- Peak Performance VeganMax Protein (available in Vanilla, Chocolate, and Chocolate Mint)
- Life’s Basics Plant Protein (available in Vanilla, Chocolate, Greens, and Unsweetened)
- Life’s Basics Organic Plant Protein (available in Vanilla, Chocolate, and Unsweetened)
- Life’s Basics Pea Protein (available in Vanilla and Chocolate)
- Life’s Basics Lean Plantein
- Life’s Basics 5-Fruit Blend Plant Protein
- 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 …
Life’s Basics Plant Protein
Life’s Basics Organic Plant Protein
Life’s Basics Pea Protein
Life’s Basics Lean Plantein
Life’s Basics 5-Fruit Blend Plant Protein
Life’s Basics Meal Replacement
Red Flag Ingredients in Lifetime Vegan Protein
Now I’ll tell you why you should care about each of those red flag ingredients.
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 are types of carbohydrate that are widely used as sweeteners. Most are produced industrially, where they are processed from other sugars (usually corn sugar).
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.