After reviewing the ingredients and nutrition facts for Sun Warrior protein powder, I have good news and some not-so-good news for all you clean eaters out there.
First, let’s talk about what I do like about Sun Warrior products:
- SunWarrior Classic Plus, Warrior Blend and Illumin8 (their newest protein powder) all contain 100% organic ingredients. I give the unflavored “Natural” blends for Classic Plus and Warrior Blend a big thumbs up.
- Several SunWarrior protein powders contain probiotics, which may be good for your gut health.
- I’m a fan of the organic, sprouted whole food ingredients they use.
- The price is right with Sun Warrior too … their most expensive protein (Illumin8) costs around $.05/gram, which is less than other premium plant protein powders.
There are also some red flag ingredients (cue dramatic music) in many of Sun Warrior’s powders you may want to think twice about if you have digestive issues or if nutrition/ingredients are your top priority when choosing a protein powder.
Find out more in this SunWarrior protein review …
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SunWarrior Protein Powder Review (Summary Version)
I sell a protein powder so I am clearly biased … but this is a short checklist I use when buying most packaged products:
- Organic, clean, plant-based, real food ingredients
- No added sugars or other artificial sweeteners used
- None of these junk ingredients:
SunWarrior meets most of these criteria … but not all.
Here’s a summary of what’s in each of their 4 main protein powders (I noted my red flags and will tell you more about each below the chart):
There’s a reason I highlighted the things above in red …
It’s because these “gums” and “flavors” are often not as “natural” as food companies would have you believe … and some can even disrupt your gut health.
Read on to find out more …
SunWarrior Protein Powder Review / Nutrition Facts and Ingredients Analysis
As I mentioned, SunWarrior has some good things going for it: organic ingredients, probiotics, quality protein sources.
I actually highly recommend the following products for anyone looking for a cheap, organic, plant-based protein powder:
Classic Plus Natural Protein Powder
Warrior Blend Natural Protein Powder
There are some concerns I have with SunWarrior protein powder (the flavored version, at least)
On Sun Warrior’s website, they say:
“We believe that plants provide the cleanest and most powerful foods, rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and phytonutrients we’re just beginning to understand. Our bodies crave real food, especially in this age where we heavily process everything we eat, stripping out all the benefits and nutrition well before we have a chance to use them.”
That’s something SunWarrior and I definitely agree on.
Here’s my I don’t think all their product meet those criteria though …
Issue #1: Most SunWarrior Protein Powders Have “Natural” Flavors
David Andrews, Senior Scientist at the Environmental Working Group, says:
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.
“Natural” flavors may contain 50 to 100 ingredients, many of which may be chemical solvents and preservatives.
Personally, I avoid products that have them because food manufacturers don’t have to disclose what’s actually in them. Read more about natural flavors here.
If you use Sun Warrior protein powder, I recommend checking with them to see what’s in their “flavor” compounds.
Issue #2: Hidden Sugar in SunWarrior Illumin8
I was surprised to see that Illumin8 has 5 grams of sugar. Check it out …
If Illumin8 were a meal replacement protein powder, I wouldn’t be as concerned.
If you’re an athlete who burns a lot of calories each day, then an extra few grams in your protein powder is not a huge deal.
But 5 grams of sugar is too much for one serving of protein powder for the average person (who consumes 3x the amount of sugar recommended in a day)!
You’re probably well aware of this already, but sugar leads to weight gain, metabolic syndrome, and a whole bunch of other bad things. There’s no reason for it in a supposed “slimming vegan nutritional shake,” which SunWarrior markets this product as.
Problem #3: Gums in All Sun Warrior Protein Powders
Gums are common food additives used to stabilize, emulsify, and thicken the texture of processed foods.
The flavored versions of Illumin8, Classic, Classic Plus, and Warrior Blend all contain gums (either xanthan or guar … they refer to the latter as “guar fiber” in Illumin8).
Xanthan gum can cause gas, bloating, and diarrhea.
Guar gum may lead to digestive side effects like abdominal cramps and diarrhea too.
I recommend avoiding them whenever possible, especially if you suffer from GI issues.
Sun Warrior Protein Reviews Summed Up
The two SunWarrior protein powder products I recommend are:
- Classic Plus Natural Protein
- Warrior Blend Natural Protein
SunWarrior’s other protein powders all have a combination of flavors, fillers, and gums/emulsifiers. If those types of ingredients don’t matter to you and you’re just looking for a cheap organic plant-based protein, Sun Warrior is a solid choice.
But if you have a sensitive gut or are looking for the cleanest/healthiest option, you may want to try something without those ingredients.