Thursday, April 3, 2014

Protein Powder Review

Wow. There are a lot of protein powders out there. To be honest, more than I expected. Egg protein, whey protein, brown rice protein, hemp protein. You name it, I think they've attempted to make a protein powder out of it. 

Why was I trying out protein powders? As it turns out, I wasn't getting nearly enough protein as recommended by My Fitness Pal for someone of my size and activity level.  On days when I run, especially long run days, I get seriously hungry. As in eat-everything-in-the-house hungry known as "runger." The best way to combat this is to up your protein consumption. One friend asked "why not just eat a steak?" Unfortunately, for me, it isn't that easy. About a year ago, I went to a specialist because of some digestive issues I had been having. As it turns out, my esophagus is smaller than normal. That, combined with what turned out to be reflux, meant that I have a difficult time swallowing food. As I have no interest in having another endoscopy, protein shakes are my friend. Solid protein = potential problem. Liquid protein = good solution.

Off I went to Sprouts to check out what kind of protein powders they had. DubyaWife recommended Jay Robb egg protein, so I picked up a bag of that. I also picked up just about every variation of single serving packets to see what I liked. I also picked up a container of Alive Ultra Shake in vanilla because it was in the clearance section. Some were good, some were meh, and some got returned because I picked up duplicates, thinking they'd be good. Ugh.  

To be comparing on an "apples to apples" basis, I mixed all of these powders with 2 cups of unsweetened vanilla almond milk.

These are my opinions. I bought the powders with my own money.

So, here are the overall results:

Jay Robb Egg White Protein (chocolate) - 24 g protein/120 calories per serving: This was a pretty good protein powder. I like that it has 24 grams of protein per serving. This was the highest per serving of all the powders I tried. It's made with stevia, so it does have a weird sweetener taste. I'm not a big fan of stevia because of its taste. It blends well and isn't gritty. Would I buy this again? Yes, in fact, I already have.

PlantFusion (chocolate) - 21 g vegetable protein/120 calories per serving: This is an entirely plant based protein powder. There's pea protein, artichoke protein, amaranth powder and quinoa powder. I tried the chocolate flavor. It was good, it blended well, didn't feel gritty and it didn't leave gritty residue in my blender bottle. The stevia taste wasn't overly noticeable. Would I buy this again? Possibly, if it was on sale.

Tera's Whey Grass Fed Organic Whey Protein (chocolate) - 20 g protein/110 calories per serving: I picked out the fair trade organic dark chocolate flavor of this protein powder. Oh, man. I had such high hopes for this powder. Such high hopes that it was the first one that I tried. It blended well, didn't leave residue in my blender bottle, but there was something very odd and weird about this powder. It tasted like steak. Would I buy this again? No. I returned the second packet to the store.
Garden Of Life Raw Protein (vanilla spiced chai and chocolate) - 17 g protein per serving/90 calories: Vegan, gluten free, dairy free, this protein blend is primarily sprouted brown rice protein, but there is everything from amaranth, to millet, to garbanzo bean to pumpkin seed sprouts. It also contains stevia, so it had the stevia after taste. This one wasn't as easy to blend. I had to remove the top of the bottle and mush the powder clumps up with a spoon. It was gritty, and left residue in my blender bottle. Would I buy this again? Not terribly likely since there are other good powders out there. One interesting thing about this powder is that the vanilla chai packet touts itself as having no pea protein.

Alive Ultra Shake (vanilla) - 15 g vegetable protein/120 calories per serving: This blend has pea protein, fiber blend, green food/spirulina blend, citrus complex, garden veggie juice powder blend, orchard fruits blend, mushroom blend, digestive enzyme blend. You name it, it's in here. I have to say that it tastes really "green." I got the vanilla flavor, because that's what they had in the clearance section. The canister weighs 34 ounces and was only $10.97, so I'll continue to use this in combination with almond milk, frozen berries, and perhaps a scoop of cocoa powder. It's fine in green smoothies, because they taste "green" from the spinach. Would I buy this again? Maybe.

Vega One All-In-One Nutritional Shake (berry) - 15 g protein/140 calories per serving: I really liked the flavor of this protein powder. It's a combination of pea protein, hemp protein, sprouted brown rice protein, along with omega 3 EFA, green, antioxidant, probiotic and digestive blends. It was fairly easy to blend, but it was a little gritty. The stevia taste wasn't too bad. I'm guessing that brown rice protein is the culprit. Would I buy this again? Maybe. It was on the pricey side.

Spiru-tein High Protein Energy Meal (chocolate) - 14 g protein/96 calories per serving: At last, a protein powder that isn't sweetened with stevia. This had a really good taste. I just wish it had more protein per serving. Would I buy this again? Maybe.

Amazing Grass Amazing Meal Dietary Supplement (cafe mocha and chocolate infusion) - 10 g protein/90 calories per serving: Raw, vegan, gluten free, no sugar added. These blends contain brown rice and hemp proteins, antioxidant blends and energy blends. I picked these out because the Sprouts employee who was helping me said that these were her absolute favorites. I don't get it. They were super gritty and left grit in my blender bottle. The cafe mocha was just plain bitter. Would I buy them again? No. Not worth the grit for so little protein.

So there you have it. My protein powder review. Hopefully this will help you if you're in the market for a protein powder.


  1. Ohhh. Nice! I'll be sharing this post for sure, just as soon as I re-read it to thoroughly soak in all the protein-enriched knowledge you've presented here. But what about cake protein? You missed that one.

  2. Ohhhh I wish I'd sent you an Arbonne Pea Protein Chocolate shake to enter the competition! They're pretty delicious (and I'm not usually a protein drink fan)! Can I send a 'late entry'?? : )