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Protein Powder To Never Buy Again (And What To Choose Instead)!

I get a lot of questions about protein shakes and powders. Many of you want to know if I drink them, which brands I recommend, what types of protein are the best, which ones to avoid…etc.

The truth is that most protein powders on the market are filled with highly processed denatured proteins, preservatives, GMOs, and tons of additives. Many are so expensive but also at the same time can be some of the lowest quality ingredients you can buy! 

Let me give you an example of a protein powder that I would NEVER buy…

Protein Powders-2

EAS Soy Protein Powder: Soy Protein Isolate, Fructose, Cocoa Powder (Processed with Alkali), Natural & Artificial Flavor, and Soy Lecithin.

This protein powder is not certified organic or non-GMO project verified – so it can contain GMO ingredients. The soy likely comes from “Roundup Ready” soybeans (a GMO) that is engineered to be doused with Monsanto’s herbicide glyphosate. The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer deemed glyphosate “probably carcinogenic” – This is definitely not something you should be supplementing your diet with!

Besides being GMO, I avoid soy protein because when soy is isolated to just its protein state it becomes denatured and can cause hormonal disruptions. It also endures an extreme amount of chemical processing to become “isolated” – so it is not what I consider real food.

Here’s another popular one I wouldn’t buy…

IsoPure Zero Carb Protein (Vanilla): Ion Exchange Whey [Milk] Protein Isolate, Microfiltered Whey [Milk] Protein Isolate, Vitamin/Mineral/Amino Acid Blend, (Taurine, Potassium [As Potassium Chloride], Chloride [As Potassium And Sodium Chloride], Calcium [As Dicalcium Phosphate Dihydrate], Phosphorus [As Dicalcium Phosphate Dihydrate], L-Glutamine, Magnesium [As Magnesium Oxide], Vitamin C [As Ascorbic Acid], Vitamin E [As DL-Alpha Tocopheryl Acetate], Niacin, Zinc [As Zinc Sulfate Dihydrate], Vitamin A [As Palmitate], Pantothenic Acid [As D-Calcium Pantothenate], Vitamin B6 [As Pyridoxine Hydrochloride], Copper [As Amino Acid Chelate], Manganese [As Manganese Sulfate Dihydrate], Riboflavin, Thiamin [As Thiamin Hydrochloride], Folic Acid, Biotin, Iodide [As Potassium Iodide], Chromium [As Amino Acid Chelate], Vitamin K, Molybdenum [As Amino Acid Chelate], Selenium [As Amino Acid Chelate], Vitamin B12), Soy Lecithin, Natural And Artificial Flavors, Xanthan Gum, Sucralose.

This artificially flavored protein powder is made from whey protein that is not certified organic, so it likely comes from cows that were raised on GMOs, growth hormones, antibiotics and other drugs. It also contains the artificial sweetener sucralose (Splenda) which is linked to leukemia. The Center for Science in the Public Interest says sucralose is not safe and should be avoided

This next protein powder seems pretty clean, but I still wouldn’t buy it…

Vega One Nutritional Shake (French Vanilla): Pea protein, whole flaxseed (micro-milled), organic acacia gum (naturally occurring fiber), hemp protein, SaviSeedTM (sacha inchi) protein, organic gelatinized maca root, organic broccoli, inulin (from chicory root), organic spirulina, organic kale, organic marine algae calcium, fruit & vegetable blend (spinach, broccoli, carrot, beet, tomato, apple, cranberry, orange, blueberry and/or bilberry, strawberry, shiitake mushroom), chlorella vulgaris (cracked whole cell), papaya extract, probiotics (bacillus coagulans [provides 1 billion cfu/serving]), antioxidant fruit blend (grape seed extract, organic pomegranate, açai, mangosteen, organic goji, organic maqui), Contains 2 percent or less of: natural vanilla flavor, natural caramel flavor, stevia extract, citric acid.

This shake is not certified organic, including the first two ingredients, which means that they may have been treated with synthetic pesticides. Roundup herbicide is also used as a desiccant (drying agent) on some non-organic peas and flaxseed crops. Since I try to avoid these chemicals, I choose certified organic foods whenever possible! This powder is also sweetened with stevia extract (instead of whole stevia leaf), which goes through a chemical-laden process.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked to review this next shake… (a lot!) and again, this is one that I wouldn’t buy…

Isagenix IsaLean Shake (Strawberry Cream): Exclusive Myo-IsaLean Complex [whey protein concentrate (undenatured), milk protein concentrate (undenatured), low heat nonfat dry milk], isomaltooligosaccharide powder, fructose, sunflower (Helianthus annuus) oil powder, natural strawberry flavors, olive (Olea europaea) oil powder, tapioca maltodextrin, flax (Linum usitatissimum) seed powder, xanthan gum, medium chain triglyceride oil powder, Ionic Alfalfa™ (Medicago sativa) leaf extract, natural flavors, beet juice powder, magnesium oxide, tricalcium phosphate, potassium citrate, enzyme blend [lactase (from Aspergillus oryzae), lipase (from Rhizopus oryzae), cellulase (from Trichoderma longibrachiatum), invertase (from Saccharomyces cerevisiae), protease (from Aspergillus oryzae), amylase (from Bacillus subtilis), bromelain (from Ananas comosus), papain (from Carica papaya), acid stable protease (from Aspergillus niger)], magnesium citrate, sea salt, stevia (Stevia rebaudiana) leaf extract, silicon dioxide, yucca (Yucca schidigera) root powder, vitamin C (ascorbic acid), magnesium stearate, psyllium (Plantago ovata) seed powder, biotin, selenium amino acid chelate, vitamin E succinate, copper amino acid chelate, vitamin A (beta carotene), zinc oxide, manganese amino acid chelate, iodine amino acid chelate, niacinamide, d-calcium pantothenate, vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol), chromium amino acid chelate, niacin, molybdenum amino acid chelate, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine HCl), vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin), riboflavin, Lactobacillus acidophilus, thiamine HCl, folic acid.

This protein powder is not organic! Although Isagenix claims they make every effort not to use GMOs, this shake is not Non-GMO Project Verified or certified organic so there is a chance that some of the ingredients (such as the fructose) are derived from GMOs. While their website states their whey comes from New Zealand cows fed on a pasture, they readily admit, “we have also sought other suppliers in Australia and the U.S. who meet the same standards for dairy protein“. Without the certified organic or certified grassfed label, there is the possibility that the cows were raised with some GMO feed. The amount of sugar in this shake is pretty high too at 11 grams per serving, which is almost 3 teaspoons! Although this powder is filled with vitamins and minerals, these don’t come directly from real food. The ingredients within the natural flavors in this shake are not identified on the label. Flavors can contain up to 100 ingredients, including “synthetic chemicals such as the solvent propylene glycol or the preservative BHA” as well as GMO-derived ingredients.

Another two I get asked about all the time that aren’t organic either…

Shakeology (Greenberry): Proprietary Superfood Blend, Protein Blend (Whey Protein Isolate (milk), Pea protein, Flax (seed), Chia (seed), Quinoa (seed)), Chlorella (whole plant), Pea fiber (seed), Spirulina, Yacon (root), Cordyceps (fungi), Camu-Camu (fruit), Acerola cherry (fruit), Chicory fiber (root), Spinach leaf, Pomegranate (fruit), Astragalus (fruit), Bilbury (fruit), Blueberry (fruit), Lycium berry (fruit), Maitake (fungi), Reishi (fungi), Rose hips (fruit), MSM (methylsulfonylmethane), Ashwagandha (root), Enzyme Blend (Amylase, Cellulase, Lactase, Glucoamylace, Alpha-galactosidase, Invertase, Kale (leaf), Lactobacillus sporogenes, Shisandra (fruit), Maca (root), Luo Han Guo (fruit), Cinnamon (bark), Green tea extract (leaf), Moringa (leaf), Sacha inchi (seed), Other ingredients (non-GMO Fructose, Xanthan Gum, Natural Strawberry Flavor (with other natural flavors), Citric acid, Himalayan salt, Stevia extract (leaf).

This shake is also not certified organic or Non-GMO Project Verified, but even if all the ingredients are non-GMO, there is a BIG difference between organic and non-GMO ingredients – These ingredients can still contain synthetic pesticides and that’s why I choose certified organic foods whenever possible. This is especially important if you are drinking a protein shake daily, as many people do! The whey is also isolated, which is a heavily processed form and is not the best way to consume it. 
 

Arbonne Vanilla Protein Shake MixProtein Matrix Blend (pea protein isolate, cranberry protein, rice protein), sugar cane, sunflower oil, natural vanilla flavor, inulin, maltodextrin, flax seed, stevia leaf extract, xanthan gum, gum acacia, guar gum.

This protein isn’t certified organic or Non-GMO Project Verified – which is the first reason to not to use this powder. It’s also sweetened with stevia extract, which to me, leaves an odd after taste in your mouth, and they add several gums which are not necessary.

You can still supplement with protein and avoid heavily processed protein powders like these!

I typically prefer to make protein smoothies from scratch with real nutrient-dense foods – but this is not always the most convenient option. I realize there are times when you just need to whip up a quick protein shake and run out the door or want something while traveling – without worrying about poisoning yourself with unnecessary chemicals. Now that I am pregnant, I need extra protein for my growing baby, but want to make sure I am getting it from the safest sources. 

It’s important to note that I don’t like consuming additional no-calorie sweeteners like stevia extract and erythritol on a daily basis. The extra sweet sensation screws with my taste buds and I’d rather have my daily drinks sweetened with fruit and other natural sources that don’t mess with my hunger signals.

That’s why I created my own: Truvani Plant-Based Protein Powder

Our unique protein blend of organic pea, chia seed, and pumpkin seed protein creates a complete plant-based protein that is easy to digest and is smooth (not chalky and lumpy like the other brands!)

We also avoid the plastic tubs that other protein powders use to avoid BPA contamination.

We have strict criteria each ingredient supplier must meet before we’ll consider using them and then we hold them accountable by independently testing their ingredients. For instance, our ingredients need to be not only be certified organic and non-GMO, but they need to pass heavy metal testing as well.

Truvani Plant Based Protein is:

  • USDA Organic
  • Dairy-free
  • Soy-free
  • Free of stevia
  • Free of additives or artificial flavors
  • 100% plant based (made from a unique blend of pea, chia, and pumpkin seed protein for a complete amino acid profile)
  • Made from real protein (NOT an isolate)
  • Easy to mix – even in just water
  • Good for your cardiovascular health, a strong immune system, muscle growth, a healthy metabolism, and youthful skin

To learn more about what makes Truvani Plant Based Protein so unique, check this out.

Do you know someone still consuming protein powders with terrible ingredients? If so, please share this post with them and spread the word!

Xo,

Vani

P.S. Still confused on protein powders? Remember, if your protein powder is not certified organic, it’s not worth putting it in your body – especially on a regular basis. Period. 

 

Updated to remove outdated info 8/27/2016

Updated with Truvani protein powder, as this is what I currently use – 7/17/19

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189 responses to “Protein Powder To Never Buy Again (And What To Choose Instead)!

  1. Hi food babe.
    If I get the context of this article is to discuss “protein powders” correct? If not my bad. 🙂 the review for the Isagenix shake is misleading. Don’t think you did it intentionally… but perhaps just misinformed. If you’re revieweing the “protein powder” then The product you should be reviewing is the Isalean PRO…. NOT the isalean shake. There’s a difference in purpose ingredient rations etc, and the PRO should be what your comparing within the context of the article. Please kindly correct or update the article accordingly. Thanks 🙂

  2. Are you doing anything to get companies to reveal that Vitamin D3 is from sheep and it is widely used in products that appear to be vegetarian ?

  3. Aside from the Vega One powder you reviewed, I haven’t heard of any of these (and I’ve been vegan and eating clean for five years). I found your website and was hoping you could elucidate some questions I had regarding vegan organic protein powders, but it seems you didn’t review/compare any powders that actually rival the Nutiva Superfood 30 Shake… For example, I would love to know your opinion of Garden of Life or Orgain (and other companies like this) and their protein products…

    Thank you for this information. Would be nice if the comparisons you did were actually comparable…

    1. Orgain is delicious and I used to use it daily, so I was horrified to find out it was tested and discovered to have very high levels of glyphosate in it. Google it.

  4. For those who want to avoid dairy and eat a plant-based diet, Dr. Richard Schultz (herbdoc.com) has a very good vegan protein powder. I have it here though I haven’t tried it yet. I still like my dairy and the one I am interested in trying sounds awesome and only Grass-fed, pasture raised isolated whey and no fillers, sweeteners, flavors and what impresses me the most is that it contain 5 grams of BCAA. The Daily Protein powders by wellnessresources.com are reasonably priced and excellent quality. I am planning on buying a couple of theirs this month since they are on sale. This is Byron Richards company. RIP Byron

    I am trying right now the Cafe Mocha from Bio-Trust and so glad I was able to get a trial on this. Very tasty but so expensive for only 14 servings plus I can tolerate organic milk but this powder has given me terrible mucus because of the different protein powders. I just hope I can finish it up because it will give me 24 grams of protein with each serving and I need more protein in my diet. I also started taking E3live with BrainOn about a week ago (1 1/2 T) daily so I don’t know if this is the cause. Before that I took BrainOn Supreme and never had a problem so who knows.

    Love all the great info Food Babe so thanks for all your hard work in trying to keep us healthier. What do you think of citric acid? It is in everything just about

  5. Hi Foodbabe – Can you please look further into the Arbonne ingredient practices before posting about the protein? From what I understand, Arbonne does not buy into the organic label because they test their products for over 2000 ingredients including the pesticides used for crops. The term “organic” is not a guarantee that there is no pesticide residue in the plants. The organic label has been a good first step to cleaner food, but it now needs to be taken further to accommodate for the rise in environmental contaminants. I’m sure you are aware that some organic brands have been revealed to have pesticides in them. So it seems the organic movement needs to be taken to the next step, which Arbonne seems to do.
    Furthermore, as a person with Celiac Disease, I need to be reassured that my food is 0ppm of gluten. The US allows food packages to state they are “gluten-free” when in reality, the food could have up to 20ppm gluten present. This is not good for people like me who react to this small amount. I have been grateful for Arbonne’s diligence in this matter and can, therefore, make an easy meal with their protein mixed with other whole gluten-free foods.
    I would be happy to connect you with one of the board members at Arbonne. Maybe you can also ask her about the changes being made with certified GMO and other topics such as the fact that Arbonne makes a protein mix that is simply protein (no stevia etc). There’s so much I have found in what is offered that I need another comment box!
    Feel free to reach out. Thank you for your time and your wonderful articles.

    1. Yes, thank you for this! I love Arbonne products and hate to see that Vani is bashing them in this post without seemingly knowing much about Arbone as a whole? I’d love to see her do an actual post with on Arbonne to see what she thinks.

    2. Arbonne is an honest, transparent company that are unable to out ‘Certifified Organic’ on the products due tomthe fact that some of the nearby farms in California are not organically farmed, which means it’s out of Arbonnes hands to certify it….

      1. Arbonne is an honest, transparent company that are unable to put ‘Certified Organic’ on the products due to the fact that some of the nearby farms in California are not organically farmed, which means it’s out of Arbonnes hands to certify it…. THEY ARE NON-GMO CERTIFIED though….

        Last reply was full of spelling mistakes

        Reply

      2. Arbonne has now non-GMO Verified.
        Vani, I’ll greatly appreciate your time if you could reach out to Arbonne these concerns you have and look further any other ingredients concern. They have “NOT ALLOWED” more than 2,000 ingredients. I’m sure they will be happy to hear from you. And they are a transparent company being a “B-Corp certified” company.

  6. Do you have any information on Bluebonnet vegan protein powder?
    Have been using for years. Just wondering if there are any bad reviews
    Thank you

  7. Stay Away,,,,Arbone protein powder , caused me inflammation , my body on fire ,have muscle , joint and nerve pain ,I took it for one week only. And I still have the pain for the last 3 weeks now,I have to take cortisone injection. ,and pain killer..my Advice NEVER take this poison .

  8. Arbonne has now non-GMO Verified.
    Vani, I’ll greatly appreciate your time if you could reach out to Arbonne these concerns you have and look further any other ingredients concern. They have “NOT ALLOWED” more than 2,000 ingredients. I’m sure they will be happy to hear from you. And they are a transparent company being a “B-Corp certified” company

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