Plnt is a new-ish 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.
When I quickly browsed Plnt 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.
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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:
- Plnt Protein (available in Vanilla and Chocolate)
- 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.
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 …
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.
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”.