Plant Fusion sells a lot of protein powder. But based on the Plant Fusion reviews on Amazon, it’s clear many people are awfully confused about what constitutes a “healthy” protein powder.
Not to worry, because I’m here to clear up the confusion with my typical sardonic wit and wisdom. 🙂
Here are the long and short versions of my PlantFusion Protein Powder review:
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Plant Fusion Protein Powder Review (Short Version)
Similar to my other protein powder reviews, I am evaluating Plant Fusion’s protein powders based on health and nutrition … NOT taste.
There are four key criteria I use to determine the “healthiness” of a protein powder in my reviews:
- Organic, whole food ingredients.
- No allergens or inflammation-causing soy, dairy, or gluten.
- No fillers, flavors, or gums.
- No added sugar or artificial/highly processed sweeteners used.
On its website, PlantFusion says:
Let’s stick to the facts … the “supplement facts”
Clever marketing talk, but here’s a fact they’re not telling you:
Plant Fusion uses the same processed junk as every other popular plant protein powder!
Here’s a quick breakdown of their ingredients and nutrition facts:
The “facts” speak volumes about the quality of PlantFusion’s protein powders and shakes. So my reviews of all their products are summed up as-follows:
PlantFusion makes yet another very average line of plant-based protein powders and shakes. If you’re a clean eater who avoids processed ingredients like flavors, fillers, and sweeteners, you may want to choose something with organic, whole food ingredients instead.
If you’re interested in taking a little deeper dive and learning more about PlantFusion’s ingredients and nutrition facts, keep reading.
Plant Fusion Protein Powder Review (Full Version)
Let’s switch gears for a brief moment and talk about what I like about Plant Fusion. As a company, I admire their commitment to plant-based nutrition and sustainable, eco-friendly products. I also really like most of the plant protein sources they use (pea protein, amaranth powder, chia powder, flax powder).
And their fermented, sprouted foods blend in the organic product is great:
On its website, you can read about Plant Fusion’s story. Here’s an excerpt:
The second part I highlighted in red is what really concerns me … and what should concern you too if you follow a clean, plant-focused diet.
Allow me to elaborate:
1. “Natural” flavors are NOT natural.
Natural flavors aren’t real food … they’re science experiments. All the big protein powder companies, PlantFusion included, claim that they make “proprietary natural flavor blends”.
This means nothing.
Ask them exactly what ingredients and how many ingredients go into those “natural” flavors and you won’t get a straight answer (if they answer at all … I emailed them and didn’t get a response).
PlantFusion (along with many other protein powder manufacturers) contains inulin, which is a starchy carbohydrate that’s not absorbed by your upper GI tract (and is thus considered a type of fiber).
While protein powder companies will tout inulin’s benefits as a “beneficial prebiotic fiber”, what they don’t tell you is that these prebiotics are not always beneficial … particularly for those with GI sensitivities. Prebiotics can actually lead to small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) or worsen existing digestive ailments. If you have SIBO, certain prebiotics will ferment and create more gas that will cause your symptoms to worsen.
On top of that, studies have shown that inulin encourages the growth of Klebsiella, a bacteria implicated in Ankylosing Spondylitis and leaky gut syndrome. Klebsiella can lead to serious infections in the urinary tract, pneumonia, and even death. So while inulin may indeed promote the growth of good bacteria, it feeds “bad” bacteria too.
If you suffer from GI sensitivities like I do, prebiotic fibers like inulin may only exacerbate your suffering.
3. Xanthan gum
Xanthan gum is another highly-processed, mostly-indigestible starch that’s used to thicken protein powders. It’s made by bacterial fermentation of a sugar-containing food. Usually that food is an allergenic and/or GMO-containing substance such as corn, soy, dairy, or wheat.
Here’s another little-known (and tragic) fact about xanthan gum. In 2013, several infants who consumed a baby formula with xanthan gum tragically passed away after developing necrotizing enterocolitis, a disease where the wall of the intestine is invaded by bacteria, causing infection and inflammation that can ultimately lead to death in infants.
Scientists reviewed the cases of xanthan gum-associated NEC, and found that the xanthan gum caused increased bacterial production of short chain fatty acids in the newborns’ intestines, and thus contributed to the development of NEC, which led to their deaths. (side note: the New York Times reported the story if you care to read about it)
On top of that, it can cause unpleasant gut symptoms in adults. No thanks.
One of PlantFusion’s products, the Ready to Drink Complete Plant Protein, has 6-7 grams of sugar per serving (depending on which flavor you choose). On its website, Plant Fusion says you shouldn’t worry about this because the type of sugar they use (fructose) is lower on the glycemic index:
Patrick Skerrett, former Executive Editor of the Harvard Health, disagrees:
Crystalline fructose … is not fructose gently extracted from fruits or vegetables; it is crystallized high grade HFCS.
Physician and author Dr. Joseph Mercola also warned about the potential dangers of crystalline fructose in a HuffPost article.
Crystalline fructose (a super-potent form of fructose the food and beverage industry is now using) may contain arsenic, lead, chloride and heavy metals.
Sugar is sugar. Please Plant Fusion, do us a favor and stop trying to spin it.
PlantFusion’s other protein powders use a combination of highly-processed fructose, stevia, and erythritol. You can read about the potential dangers of these pseudo-healthy sweeteners here.
Plant Fusion Reviews Summed Up
Plant Fusion makes very average vegan protein powders that contain too much junk, in my opinion. Personally, I’d rather spend a few extra dollars on a product with organic, real food ingredients.