LifeTime VeganMax & Life’s Basics Plant Protein Reviews

lifetime plant protein powderLifetime 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.

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.

Get my free chart comparing 20+ protein shakes similar to Life’s Basics by ingredients, nutrition, cost, and more.

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

Vanilla

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.

Chocolate

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

Vanilla

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.

Chocolate

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

Greens

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.

Unsweetened

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

Life’s Basics Organic Plant Protein

Vanilla

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).

Chocolate

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.

Unsweetened

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

Vanilla

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

Chocolate

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.

Gums

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.

Click here to get my free PDF comparing 20+ plant protein powders/shakes by ingredients, nutrition, cost, and more.

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