Protein Powder Reviews for 14 Top MLM Companies
Since I started my blogs/websites, several people have asked me to do product reviews. I am often asked about protein powders. Here are my protein powder reviews for 14 Top MLM companies. I am not affiliated with any of the MLM companies listed below.
I was going to include these reviews under my blog post – 10 Benefits of Raw Organic Protein Powder – but it would have been a really long blog! If you would like more information about the different types of protein powder; health risks associated with non-organic raw protein powder; health dangers of soy and whey protein; and benefits of raw organic protein powder, please check out my blog http://ahealthfullifestyle.com/10-benefits-raw-organic-protein-powder/
The issues with using a non-organic raw protein powder is the protein powder most likely contains one or more of the following: heavy metals, hormones and antibiotics, chemicals, pesticides, artificial sweeteners, sugars, artificial flavors and colours, GMOs, fillers, additives and preservatives, highly processed denatured proteins, and synthetic nutrients which are not easily absorbed by your body.
As mentioned in my blog post about raw organic protein powder, my purpose for writing this blog is not to bash other companies but educate you about protein powders and the potential health risks associated with the ingredients used in many of them. The protein powder reviews are in no particular order.
First, I would like to talk about some common ingredients used in many protein powders.
Natural vs. Artificial Flavors
Flavors are added to products to enhance the taste. Many people believe that natural flavors are healthier for you than artificial flavors. This is very misleading. Natural flavors are created from substances extracted from ‘natural’ plant or animal sources. However, the FDA does not regulate the terms ‘natural’ or ‘organic’. In the case of natural flavors, the original source must be a plant or animal as opposed to artificial flavors (man-made chemical). But all flavors contain chemicals! In fact, every substance in the world is composed of chemicals including water.
Natural flavors are complex mixtures created by food chemists. These mixtures can contain more than 100 different chemicals, including preservatives, solvents and other substances. Food manufacturers are not required to disclose whether these additives come from natural or synthetic sources. As long as the original flavoring comes from plant or animal material, it is classified as a natural flavor. This can include genetically modified crops.
In terms of chemical composition, the two are very similar. In fact, artificial flavors contain fewer chemicals than natural flavors since they are produced under tightly controlled laboratory conditions. In addition, people who are vegetarian or vegan may unknowingly be ingesting animal-derived natural flavors in processed foods.
From a health and safety standpoint, you probably should avoid foods containing natural or artificial flavors and opt for fresh, whole foods whenever possible. Remember, food manufacturers are only required to list flavors on ingredients lists. They do not have to reveal the original sources or chemical mixtures of these flavors.
It is surprising how many processed foods contain gums nowadays. Whether it is xanthan gum, guar gum, locust bean gum, carrageenan, agar, gum arabic, and others, these ‘gums’ are used as thickening, stabilizing and emulsifying agents. Gums labeled as ‘natural’ and ‘organic’ can be very misleading since they are not found in nature. Most gums are processed. For example, to make cellulose gum, a chemical reaction using natural plant cellulose and chlorine bleach is involved.
Individuals with gastrointestinal problems such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease or small bowel bacterial overgrowth (SBBO) are more apt to react to gums since they have been known to cause digestive problems i.e. gas, cramps, and diarrhea.
Inulin is now starting to appear in a lot of ‘health foods’ including protein powder. What is inulin? Inulin is a carbohydrate belonging to a class of compounds called fructans. It is closely related to fructooligosaccharides (FOS). It is low on the glycemic index and considered a fiber since it is not absorbed by the gastrointestinal tract. It is naturally found in root vegetables such as onions and garlic.
Inulin essentially serves as fertilizer for the bacteria in your colon. However, it feeds both the good and bad bacteria. Studies have shown that inulin/FOS encourages the growth of Klebsiella. Klebsiella is a bacteria implicated in leaky gut. It is harmless in the colon but once it reaches other areas of your body it can cause serious infections such as urinary tract and pneumonia. Many different species of yeast can utilise inulin for energy including Candida albicans.
The only way to know what you are really eating is to read the ingredients label!
Protein Powder Reviews
Shakeology protein powders are not certified organic. They do not use raw ingredients. As for their whey protein isolate, it does not state anywhere on their website if it is grass-fed and organic. The cows could be eating genetically modified corn and soy. Remember, you are what they ate. I also could not find anything about whether the whey is antibiotic or bovine growth hormone (BGH) free.
The other issue is how the whey is processed. They use ion exchange which is a chemical method that utilizes pH adjustment in order to achieve protein separation. Chemical reagents sodium hydroxide and hydrochloric acid are used to release the protein by adjusting the pH. This process yields a high protein content – 90 to 96% with no fats or carbs. However, this pH adjustment can denature the protein and reduce the biological activity of the protein and micronutrients.
It also states on their website that their ingredients are globally sourced, whatever that means. Aren’t most ingredients globally sourced? This does not guarantee quality, purity or safety.
As for the vegan shakes, oat, rice and quinoa protein are all loaded with lectins and phytic acid, gut irritants and enzyme inhibitors. This shake would be very irritating to the GI tract.
Both the whey and vegan shakes have added sugar, natural flavors and a lot of other highly processed ingredients. Xanthan gum is not from a non-GMO source. And all of the synthetic vitamins! Not to mention their shakes are expensive!
*Please read my review for Visalus where I comment on synthetic vitamins.
Chocolate Shakeology - Whey Protein
Café Latte Shakeology – Vegan Protein
Shaklee Life shake mix gives you 25 g of protein per serving, including 16 g of plant-based non-GMO protein. It states on their website that it is a non-GMO protein shake that includes pre- and probiotics. They have a soy and non-soy version. Both are gluten-free, lactose free, kosher and low glycemic. Shaklee is not certified organic and does not use raw ingredients.
If we take a look at the soy version, it contains soy protein concentrate and soy protein isolate, as well as rice protein concentrate. Most soy and rice proteins undergo hexane processing. Many non-organic soy products contain traces of the neurotoxin hexane according to a report by a research group. Soy processors use hexane to divide the beans into fat and protein. Rice protein is also typically extracted using hexane from the bran layer. Plus the soy they are using is most likely unfermented. Please read my blog post about the health dangers of soy.
The non-soy version contains a non-GMO protein blend of sacha inchi protein powder, pea protein, potato protein, and rice protein concentrate. I could not find information on how these proteins were extracted. Since both versions use protein concentrates and isolates, the protein powder is most likely highly processed with denatured proteins.
Both shake mixes contain highly processed and synthetic ingredients/vitamins, and added sugar such as natural cane sugar, natural flavours, soy lecithin, folic acid, ascorbic acid, d-alpha tocopheryl acetate, and thiamine mononitrate.
*Please read my review for Visalus where I comment on synthetic vitamins.
The shake mix that tastes like a cake mix. I remember the first time I heard their slogan at a trade show. One of their distributors was talking to me about their Body by Vi Challenge. I always ask to see the ingredients/nutrition label when I come across a new product.
First, their protein is a combination of whey protein (concentrate and hydrolysate) and soy protein isolate. This means both of their protein sources are highly processed with denatured proteins. Their website does state that their soy protein is non-GMO. It is mostly likely unfermented soy.
They are not certified organic and certainly do not use raw ingredients. Similar to Beachbody, the cows could be eating genetically modified corn and soy. Remember, you are what they ate. I also could not find anything about whether the whey is antibiotic or bovine growth hormone (BGH) free.
Second, the shake mix is full of highly processed ingredients such as natural and artificial flavor, maltodextrin, soy lecithin, xanthan gum (most likely GMO), sucralose (synthetic sugar), and mono and diglycerides (food additive).
Not to mention all of the synthetic vitamins like thiamine mononitrate (synthetic vitamin B1), folic acid (synthetic vitamin B9), retinyl palmitate (synthetic vitamin A) and ascorbic acid (synthetic vitamin C). These synthetic vitamins are not as bioavailable, absorbable or usable. They are not found in natural foods, recognizable to the body, and hard on the kidneys.
Folic acid comes from petroleum derivatives, acids and acetylene. Ascorbic acid is an isolated vitamin from genetically modified corn sugar that is hydrogenated and processed with acetone. It does not include the flavonoids and phytonutrients that make it work.
Synthetic vitamin A is made from combining fish or palm oil with beta-ionone. Unsustainable palm oil development fuels deforestation of rainforest and endangerment of orangutans. Beta-ionone is created using citrus, acetone, and calcium oxide. Thiamine mononitrate is made from coal tar, ammonia, acetone and hydrochloric acid. It is crystalline in structure. Many synthetic vitamins are crystalline. Crystals in our blood stream cause damage and mineral accumulation where it isn’t needed like your joints.
Lastly, the shakes are only 90 calories and 12g of protein. A medium sized apple has less than 100 calories. No wonder you lose weight!
Arbonne protein shake mixes differ slightly depending on the country. For instance, Canada does not have the ready to drink shakes and the United States does not have the meal replacement shake mix. The ingredients are not exactly the same either. I will be using the Canadian labels since I live in Canada.
Arbonne products are gluten-free, kosher and vegan certified. Arbonne is not certified organic and does not use raw ingredients. They provide 20 g of vegan protein but are full of highly processed ingredients, denatured proteins, added sugars, and synthetic ingredients/vitamins such as cane sugar, brown rice syrup solids, maltodextrin, ascorbic acid, thiamine hydrochloride, natural flavours, and sunflower lecithin. And they are very high in sodium – 480 mg!
Sunflower oil is not as bad as corn but it is extremely inflammatory. There needs to be a proper balance between omega-3 and omega-6 fats. Sunflower oil is high in omega-6 fats which causes inflammation. Brown rice syrup has no nutritional value and is high on the glycemic index. One study found that products sweetened with brown rice syrup had twenty to thirty times the amount of arsenic than those not sweetened with brown rice syrup. Brown rice syrup is used to replace corn syrup.
Their shake mixes most likely contain heavy metals, chemicals, and pesticides since Arbonne is not organic or non-GMO verified. I was unable to find out any information about how their proteins were extracted i.e. hexane, ion exchange, alkaline.
*Please read my reviews/comments above and my blog post for more details on the health issues with these ingredients.
Vanilla Meal Replacement Shake Mix
INGREDIENTS: pea protein powder, cane sugar, sunflower oil powder, chicory inulin, brown rice milk solids, brown rice syrup solids, sunflower oil, vitamin/mineral premix (calcium phosphate [dibasic], potassium citrate, magnesium oxide, beta-carotene, ascorbic acid, niacinamide, d-alpha tocopherol, copper gluconate, biotin, zinc oxide, manganese sulfate, d-calcium pantothenate, sodium molybdate, vitamin A palmitate, sodium selenite, pyridoxine hydrochloride, ergocalciferol, riboflavin, thiamine hydrochloride, chromium chloride, folate, cyanocobalamin, potassium iodide), natural flavours, pea fibre, cellulose fibre, sugar cane fibre, sunflower lecithin, rice protein, xanthan gum, flax seed, gum arabic, guar gum, stevia extract.
Vanilla Protein Shake Mix
Isagenix has 3 different types of shake mixes – IsaLean Shake Dairy-Free, IsaLean Shake and Kosher IsaLean Shake. Isagenix is not certified organic and does not use raw ingredients.
The IsaLean Shake Dairy-Free contains 24 g of plant-based protein. A protein complex of whole grain brown rice protein and pea protein isolate. The IsaLean and Kosher IsaLean shakes contain 24 g of protein. The protein used in these shakes is whey protein and milk protein concentrate (undenatured). However, their website does not mention anywhere on how the proteins are extracted to prevent denaturing.
All three shake mixes use highly processed and synthetic ingredients, and added sugars such as evaporated cane juice, natural flavours, sunflower lecithin, folic acid, cyanocobalamin (synthetic vitamin B12), fructose, maltodextrin, and pyridoxine hydrochloride (synthetic vitamin B6). Cobalt and cyanide are fermented to make cyanocobalamin. Pyridoxine hydrochloride comes from petroleum ester, hydrochloric acid and formaldehyde. It isn’t readily absorbed or converted and has been shown to actually inhibit the action of natural B6 in the body.
Their shake mixes most likely contain heavy metals, chemicals, and pesticides since Isagenix isn’t organic or non-GMO vertified. Similar to Beachbody, the cows could be eating genetically modified corn and soy. Remember, you are what they ate. I also could not find anything about whether the whey is antibiotic or bovine growth hormone (BGH) free.
IsaLean Shake Vanilla Chai Dairy Free
INGREDIENTS: PHYTO-ISALEAN COMPLEX™ (WHOLE GRAIN BROWN RICE PROTEIN, PEA PROTEIN ISOLATE), EVAPORATED CANE JUICE, NATURAL FLAVOURS, SUNFLOWER (HELIANTHUS ANNUUS) OIL POWDER, SUNFLOWER LECITHIN, ISOMALTOOLIGOSACCHARIDE POWDER, CHIA (SALVIA HISPANICA) SEED POWDER, WHOLE GRAIN RICE MILK POWDER, OLIVE (OLEA EUROPAEA) OIL POWDER, FLAX (LINUM USITATISSIMUM) SEED POWDER, XANTHAN GUM, INULIN, MEDIUM CHAIN TRIGLYCERIDE OIL POWDER, FRUIT AND VEGETABLE BLEND (ACAI, APPLE, BANANA, BEET, BUTTERNUT SQUASH, CARROT, KALE, POMEGRANATE, PUMPKIN, SWEET POTATO, SPINACH), MOLASSES POWDER, POTASSIUM CITRATE, SILICON DIOXIDE, NUTMEG, MAGNESIUM STEARATE, TRICALCIUM PHOSPHATE, MONK FRUIT EXTRACT, LACTOBACILLUS ACIDOPHILUS, STEVIA (STEVIA REBAUDIANA) LEAF EXTRACT, CINNAMON, CARDAMOM
IsaLean Shake Creamy French Vanilla
MEDICINAL INGREDIENTS PER PACKET / Ingrédients médicinaux par sachet : Myo-IsaLean Complex™: Whey protein concentrate (Bos taurus, milk) undenatured / 19 g Concentré de protéine de petit-lait (Bos taurus, lait) non dénaturée Milk protein concentrate (Bos taurus, milk) undenatured / 7.75 g Concentré de protéine de lait (Bos taurus, lait) non dénaturée Sunflower oil (Helianthus annuus, seed) / Huile de tournesol (Helianthus annuus, graines) 2.5 g Flaxseed (Linum usitatissimum) / Graines de lin (Linum usitatissimum) 1 g Olive oil (Olea europaea, fruit flesh) / Huile d’olive (Olea europaea, chair de fruit) 650 mg Medium chain triglycerides (Cocos nucifera fruit flesh, Elaeis guineenis seed) / 250 mg Triglycérides à chaîne moyenne (Cocos nucifera, chair de fruit; Elaeis guineenis, graines) Yucca (Yucca schidigera) root / Yucca (Yucca schidigera) racine 30 mg Lactase (Aspergillus flavus var. oryzae) / Lactase (Aspergillus flavus var. oryzae) 25 mg (2500 ALU) Psyllium (Plantago ovata) seed / Psyllium (Plantago ovata) cosses 20 mg Cellulase (Trichoderma longibrachiatum) / Cellulase (Trichoderma longibrachiatum) 20 mg (2400 CU) Invertase (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) / Invertase (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) 20 mg (3600 Sumner units) Lipase (Rhizopus oryzae) / Lipase (Rhizopus oryzae) 20 mg (1000 ALU) Lactobacillus acidophilus DDS-1 / Lactobacillus acidophilus DDS-1 1.5 mg (150,000,000 CFU) Magnesium (magnesium oxide, magnesium citrate) / 121 mg Magnésium (oxyde de magnésium, citrate de magnésium) Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) / Vitamine C (acide ascorbique) 24 mg Vitamin E (d-alpha tocopheryl succinate) / Vitamine E (succinate de d-alpha tocophéryle) 15.8 mg AT Zinc (zinc oxide) / Zinc (oxyde de zinc) 6.75 mg Niacinamide / Niacinamide 5 mg Pantothenic acid (calcium d-pantothenate) / Acide pantothénique (d-pantothénate de calcium) 4 mg Niacin / Niacine 4 mg Beta carotene / Bêtacarotène 1500 mcg Riboflavin / Riboflavine 1.2 mg Manganese (manganese HVP chelate) / Manganèse (chélate de PVH de manganèse) 1.2 mg Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine hydrochloride) / Vitamine B6 (chlorhydrate de pyridoxine) 1.2 mg Copper (copper HVP chelate) / Cuivre (chélate de PVH de cuivre) 1000 mcg Thiamine (thiamine hydrochloride) / Thiamine (chlorhydrate de thiamine ) 900 mcg Folate (folic acid) / Folate (acide folique) 320 mcg Biotin / Biotine 135 mcg Chromium (chromium HVP chelate) / Chrome (chélate de PVH de chrome) 96 mcg Iodine (iodine HVP chelate) / Iode (chélate de PVH d’iode) 60 mcg Molybdenum (molybdenum HVP chelate) / Molybdène (chélate de PVH de molybdène) 45 mcg Selenium (selenium HVP chelate) / Sélénium (chélate de PVH de sélénium) 28 mcg Vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin) / Vitamine B12 (cyanocobalamine) 12 mcg Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) / Vitamine D3 (cholécalciférol) 8 mcg Enzyme blend: / Mélange d’enzymes : Protease (Aspergillus oryzae, Aspergillus niger) / 578 mcg Protéase (Aspergillus oryzae, Aspergillus niger) (0.01 SAP & 13.175 HUT) Alpha amylase (Bacillus subtilis) / Alpha amylase (Bacillus subtilis) 408 mcg (6.12 BAU) Bromelain (Ananas comosus, stem) / Broméline (Ananas comosus, tige) 119 mcg (357 FCC PU) Cellulase (Trichoderma longibrachiatum) / Cellulase (Trichoderma longibrachiatum) 136 mcg (0.68 CU) Lipase (Rhizopus oryzae) / Lipase (Rhizopus oryzae) 170 mcg (5.1 LU) Lactase (Aspergillus oryzae) / Lactase (Aspergillus oryzae) 204 mcg (0.347 ALU) Papain (Carica papaya, fruit) / Papaïne (Carica papaya, fruit) 85 mcg (0.213 PU) NON-MEDICINAL INGREDIENTS / Ingrédients non médicinaux : Skim milk powder / poudre de lait écrémé, silicon dioxide / dioxyde de silicium, tricalcium phosphate / phosphate de calcium tribasique, potassium citrate / citrate de potassium, magnesium stearate / stéarate de magnésium, isomaltooligosaccharides / isomaltooligosaccharides, alfalfa (Medicago sativa) leaf extract / luzerne (Medicago sativa) extrait de feuille, d-fructose / d-fructose, maltodextrin / maltodextrine, Stevia rebaudiana leaf / feuille de Stevia rebaudiana, sea salt / sel de mer, xanthan gum / gomme de xanthane, cinnamon / cannelle, natural flavours / arômes naturels, apple powder / poudre de pomme
IsaLean Shake Kosher Natural Creamy Vanilla
INGREDIENTS: EXCLUSIVE ISAPRO™ COMPLEX [WHEY PROTEIN CONCENTRATE (UNDENATURED), CALCIUM CASEINATE (UNDENATURED), LOW-HEAT NONFAT DRY MILK], FRUCTOSE, SUNFLOWER (HELIANTHUS ANNUUS) OIL POWDER, NATURAL FLAVOURS, MALTODEXTRIN, LECITHIN, OLIVE (OLEA EUROPAEA) OIL POWDER, FLAX (LINUM USITATISSIMUM) SEED POWDER, GUAR GUM, XANTHAN GUM, CELLULOSE, ALFALFA (MEDICAGO SATIVA) LEAF EXTRACT, LEMON JUICE POWDER, MAGNESIUM OXIDE, POTASSIUM CITRATE, HONEY POWDER, TRICALCIUM PHOSPHATE, MAGNESIUM CITRATE, YUCCA (YUCCA SCHIDIGERA) ROOT POWDER, VITAMIN C (ASCORBIC ACID), PSYLLIUM (PLANTAGO OVATA) SEED POWDER, CINNAMON (CINNAMOMUM ZEYLANICUM) POWDER, SILICON DIOXIDE, BIOTIN, SELENIUM AMINO ACID CHELATE, ENZYME BLEND [LACTASE (FROM ASPERGILLUS ORYZAE), LIPASE (FROM RHIZOPUS ORYZAE), CELLULASE (FROM TRICHODERMA LONGIBRACHIATUM), INVERTASE (FROM SACCHAROMYCES CEREVISIAE), PROTEASE (FROM ASPERGILLUS ORYZAE, ASPERGILLUS NIGER), AMYLASE (FROM BACILLUS SUBTILIS), BROMELAIN (FROM ANANAS COMOSUS), PAPAIN (FROM CARICA PAPAYA)], 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 HYDROCHLORIDE), VITAMIN B12 (CYANOCOBALAMIN), VITAMIN B2 (RIBOFLAVIN), VITAMIN B1 (THIAMIN HYDROCHLORIDE), LACTOBACILLUS ACIDOPHILUS, FOLATE (FOLIC ACID)
First, I found it very hard to find the ingredients labels for their products. Herbalife is not certified organic and does not use raw ingredients. Their meal replacement shake mix contains only 9 g of protein and 100 calories per serving. The protein mix is 15 g of protein and 110 calories per serving.
Both mixes have the worst combination of ingredients I have seen in a protein powder. The meal replacement shake is full of highly processed ingredients, synthetic ingredients/vitamins, fillers, additives, artificial ingredients, gums, corn-based ingredients and added sugars such as fructose, beet and/or cane sugar, artificial French vanilla flavor, canola oil, sunflower lecithin, carrageenan, natural vanilla flavor, ascorbic acid, folic acid, cyanocobalamin, pyridoxine hydrochloride, and thiamine mononitrate.
Canola is one of the largest GMO crops, so the canola oil is like genetically modified. It is extracted with hexane then bleached. Carrageenan is a processed food additive made from seaweed. It has been shown to cause cancer in lab rats, induce colitis, exacerbate ulcers, and irritating for the gut and digestive tract.
Fructose consumption should be limited. There is also a difference between eating/consuming natural healthy whole foods such as fruits vs. soft drinks, sweets and processed protein powder containing fructose. Fructose is metabolized almost completely in the liver favoring lipogenesis. Basically, your liver uses fructose to create fat. Given enough fructose, tiny fat droplets begin to accumulate in liver cells. This buildup is called non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. The breakdown of fructose in the liver also causes elevated triglycerides, increases in blood pressure, increases in the production of free radicals and increases in harmful LDL.
The protein mix is also filled with highly processed ingredients, synthetic ingredient/vitamins, fillers, additives, artificial ingredients, gums, added sugars, corn and soy-based ingredients such as soy protein isolate, corn syrup solids, mono and diglycerides, soy lecithin, maltodextrin, natural and artificial flavors, sucralose, acesulfame potassium, ascorbic acid, folic acid, cyanocobalamin, pyridoxine hydrochloride, thiamine mononitrate and wheat.
Their protein powders most likely contain heavy metals, chemicals, and pesticides since Herbalife is not organic or non-GMO vertified. The soy is most likely unfermented.
Formula 1 Healthy Meal Nutritional Shake Mix
Protein Drink Mix Vanilla
P96 protein shake gives you 15 g of protein and only 100 calories per serving. The website states the shake is gluten-free, 100% vegetarian and non-GMO. Plexus is not certified organic and does not use raw ingredients. This shake mix like many of the others I have reviewed contains highly processed ingredients, denatured proteins, added sugars, and synthetic vitamins such as whey protein concentrate and isolate, maltodextrin, soy lecithin, glucomannan, natural flavours, ascorbic acid, folic acid, and thiamine mononitrate.
Similar to Beachbody, the cows could be eating genetically modified corn and soy. Remember, you are what they ate. I also could not find anything about whether the whey is antibiotic or bovine growth hormone (BGH) free. Their protein powder most likely contains heavy metals, chemicals, and pesticides since Plexus is not organic. Plexus is not non-GMO verified and I was unable to find information on how their proteins were extracted.
*Please read my reviews/comments above and my blog post for more details on the health issues with these ingredients.
P96 Protein Shake - Vanilla
Like Visalus, I first came across Usana at a trade show. Usana uses science and athletes as a way to promote their products like many of the other MLM companies. Made with InCelligence technology – sounds good doesn’t it? And a scientific advisory board!!! Yet take a look at their ingredients: whey protein concentrate, pea protein isolate, soy protein isolate, inulin, gum arabic, guar gum, natural flavors, and sunflower lecithin. Sound familiar?
Usana makes three different types of protein shakes – soy based, plant based and whey based. The MySmart Soy Shake, MySmart Plant Shake and MySmart Whey Shake all contain 18 g of protein and 150 calories per serving.
All 3 protein shakes contain agave. Agave is high in fructose. Fructose can only be metabolized by the liver. As it gets metabolized, uric acid and free radicals form which can trigger inflammation and damage cells. Fructose metabolism also produces triglycerides which can contribute to the fatty arterial plaques responsible for cardiovascular disease.
Usana is not certified organic, non-GMO verified and does not use raw ingredients. The soy is most likely unfermented. Not all of Usana’s products are gluten-free. They also use animal by-products.
Similar to Beachbody, the cows could be eating genetically modified corn and soy. Remember, you are what they ate. I also could not find anything about whether the whey is antibiotic or bovine growth hormone (BGH) free. Their protein powder most likely contains heavy metals, chemicals, and pesticides since Usana is not organic. I was unable to find information on how their proteins were extracted.
*Please read my reviews above and blog post for more information on the health issues with these ingredients.
AdvoCare uses claims of the latest scientific knowledge and high quality ingredients to sell their products just like Usana and Arbonne. They also have a scientific advisory board. AdvoCare is not certified organic, non-GMO verified and does not use raw ingredients.
AdvoCare has several different types of protein powders: meal replacement shake, ready-to-drink protein shake, performance protein shake mix, and plant-based shake mix. The meal replacement shake mix provides 24 g of protein, ready-to-drink protein shake contains 20 g of protein, and the performance protein shake mix gives you 25 g of protein per serving.
As you can see from the ingredients labels listed below, AdvoCare uses the same highly processed, artificial and synthetic ingredients as the other 13 MLM companies in their protein powders. For example, whey protein concentrate, fructose, folic acid, maltodextrin, gum arabic, guar gum, natural and artificial flavors, sucralose, inulin, and synthetic vitamins.
*Please read my reviews above and blog post for more information on the health issues with these ingredients.
Ingredients for Chocolate Peanut Butter Meal Replacement Shake
Whey protein concentrate, calcium caseinate, milk protein isolate, L-glutamine, L-lysine, L-leucine, L-isoleucine, L-valine, crystalline fructose, dicalcium phosphate, potassium citrate, potassium chloride, magnesium oxide, ascorbic acid, choline bitartrate, ferrous fumarate, inositol, vitamin E acetate, zinc oxide, niacinamide, vitamin A palmitate, copper gluconate, calcium pantothenate, manganese sulfate, chromium citrate, riboflavin, pyridoxine hydrochloride, selenomethionine, thiamine hydrochloride, biotin, folic acid, phytonadione, cholecalciferol, sodium molybdate, potassium iodide (iodine), cyanocobalamin, maltodextrin, gum arabic, natural and artificial flavors, guar gum, beet root extract (for color), xanthan gum, medium-chain triglycerides, citric acid, malic acid, oat fiber, cellulose powder, citrus pectin, soy lecithin, sucralose, bromelain, papain
AdvoGreens Meal Replacement Shake
Protein Blend (Pea Protein, Rice Protein, Flax Protein), Fructose, Maltodextrin, Gum Arabic, Vitamin and Mineral Mix (Dicalcium Phosphate, Potassium Citrate, Potassium Chloride, Magnesium Oxide, Choline Bitartrate, Ascorbic Acid, Inositol, D-Alpha Tocopheryl Acetate, D-Biotin, Niacinamide, Vitamin A Palmitate, Copper Gluconate, Zinc Oxide, L-Selenomethionine, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Phytonadione, Chromium Citrate, Riboflavin, Cholecalciferol, Folic Acid, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Manganese Sulfate, Thiamine Hydrochloride, Cyanocobalamin, Sodium Molybdate, Potassium Iodide), Natural Flavors, Flaxseed, Gum Blend (Gum Acacia, Guar Gum, Xanthan Gum), Rebaudioside A (Stevia Extract).
AdvoCare Musle Gain Performance Protein Shake Mix
Sodium, whey protein concentrate, calcium caseinate, milk protein concentrate, "branched-chain amino acids [L-leucine, L-isoleucine, L-valine]", fructose, natural and artificial flavors, calcium phosphate, magnesium oxide, ascorbic acid, titanium dioxide, sucralose, pyridoxine hydrochloride, calcium pantothenate, niacin, acesulfame potassium, manganese sulfate, papain, bromelain, thiamine hydrochloride, riboflavin, biotin, cyanocobalamin.
Ready-to-Drink Vanilla Protein Shake
FILTERED WATER, MILK PROTEIN CONCENTRATE, FRUCTOSE, CALCIUM CASEINATE, MEDIUM CHAIN TRIGLYCERIDES, WHEY PROTEIN CONCENTRATE, MALTODEXTRIN, INULIN, VITAMIN & MINERAL MIX (POTASSIUM CITRATE, POTASSIUM CHLORIDE, SALT, MAGNESIUM PHOSPHATE, SODIUM PHOSPHATE, SODIUM ASCORBATE, FERRIC ORTHOPHOSPHATE, ZINC AMINO ACID, TOCOPHERYL ACETATE, BIOTIN, VITAMIN A PALMITATE, NIACINAMIDE, PHYTOMENADIONE, POTASSIUM IODIDE, D-CALCIUM PANTOTHENATE, CHROMIUM CHLORIDE, COPPER AMINO ACID, CYANOCOBALAMIN, SODIUM MOLYBDATE, SODIUM SELENITE, FOLIC ACID, CHOLECALCIFEROL, PYRIDOXINE HYDROCHLORIDE, RIBOFLAVIN, THIAMINE, MANGANESE SULFATE), LACTASE, NATURAL & ARTIFICIAL FLAVORS, CELLULOSE GEL, CELLULOSE GUM, SUCRALOSE, CARRAGEENAN.
Melaleuca was founded in 1985. They carry a range of products from nutrition, personal care, home care, essential oils and cosmetics. Melaleuca also claims to use advanced scientific research. The company is not certified organic, non-GMO verified, or vegan.
Melaleuca has two types of protein powder: Ultra-Performance and ProFlex20. The Ultra-Performance protein gives you a whopping 30 g of protein and only 135 calories per serving. That is a lot of protein! The DRI (Dietary Reference Intake) is 0.36 g of protein per pound of body weight per day. If your primary goal is to build muscle, get toned, increase strength or improve performance, your dietary intake is generally between 0.7 to 1.0 g of protein per pound of body weight.
The ProFlex20 gives you 20 g of protein and 150 calories if mixed with water.
As you can see from the ingredients labels listed below, Melaleuca uses the same highly processed, artificial and synthetic ingredients as the other 13 MLM companies in their protein powders. For example, whey protein concentrate, whey protein isolate, sunflower oil, corn syrup solids, mono- and diglycerides, polydextrose, maltodextrin, natural and artificial flavors, sucralose, and xanthan gum.
*Please read my reviews above and blog post for more information on the health issues with these ingredients.
Amway has been around for a long time. It was founded in 1959. Amway is not certified organic, non-GMO verified or vegan. The company has two types of protein powder: Nutrilite All Plant Protein Powder and XS Sports Nutrition Protein Powder. The all plant formula gives you 10 g of plant-based protein in every 12.5 g serving. It is dairy free and lactose free. It does contain wheat so is not gluten-free.
The XS sports protein contains 23 g of protein and 160 calories per serving.
As you can see from the ingredients labels listed below, Amway uses the same highly processed, artificial and synthetic ingredients as the other 13 MLM companies in their protein powders. For example, whey protein concentrate, whey protein isolate, whey protein hydrolysate, milk protein isolate, d-fructose, maltodextrin, fructooligosaccharides, vanilla cream flavor, corn syrup, vanilla caramel flavor, caramel, guar gum, xanthan gum, citrus flavor, and soy protein isolate.
XS Sports Nutrition Protein Powder Ingredients – Vanilla Dream
Medicinal Ingredients per 1 Scoop (41 g)
L-Leucine.... 300 mg
L-Isoleucine.... 100 mg
L-Valine.... 100 mg
Whey protein concentrate (Whey protein concentrate, Bos taurus - Milk) .... 19128 mg (14300 mg Whey protein)
Whey protein isolate (Whey protein isolate, Bos taurus - Milk) .... 585 mg (500 mg Whey protein)
Whey protein hydrolysate (Whey protein hydrolysate, Bos taurus - Milk).... 585 mg (500 mg Whey protein)
Milk protein isolate (Milk protein isolate, Bos taurus - Milk) .... 6825 mg Calcium caseinate (Calcium caseinate, Bos taurus - Milk) .... 1229 mg (1050 mg Casein)
Sodium caseinate (Casein, sodium salt, Sodium caseinate, Bos taurus - Milk) .... 468 mg (400 mg Casein)
Micellar casein (Casein micelles, Micellar casein, Bos taurus - Milk) .... 750 mg
Glycine (Aminoacetic acid) .... 1500 mg
Papain (Papain, Carica papaya - Fruit).... 250 mg (500000 FCC papain units)
Bromelain (Stem bromelain, Stem bromelain, Ananas comosus var. comosus - Stem) .... 50 mg (30 Gelatin digesting units)
Pea Protein (Pea Protein, Pisum sativum - Seed) .... 40 mg
D-Fructose.... 5160 mg
Maltodextrin.... 1580 mg
Non-Medicinal Ingredients: Fructooligosaccharides, Lecithin, Medium Chain Triglycerides, Vanilla Cream Flavour, Corn Syrup, Silicon Dioxide, Vanilla Caramel Flavour, Caramel, Guar Gum, Xanthan Gum, Stevia rebaudiana Leaf, Citrus Flavour.
Per Serving Size 1 Scoop (41g)*:
Calories from Fat 15
Total Fat 2g
Saturated Fat 1g
Trans Fat 0g
Total Carbohydrate 9g
Dietary Fiber 1g
Nutrilite All Plant Protein Powder
Thrive is not certified organic, non-GMO verified or vegan. The company calls their protein powder Thrive Mix Premium Lifestyle Shake. It comes in 4 flavors: vanilla, chocolate, strawberry and apple pie. The protein mixes give you 15 g of protein and 110 calories per serving.
As you can see from the ingredient label listed below, Thrive uses the same highly processed, artificial and synthetic ingredients as the other 13 MLM companies in their protein powders. For example, maltodextrin, soy concentrate, whey concentrate, cellulose, sunflower oil, natural flavors, xanthan gum, sucralose, magnasweet, folic acid, ascorbic acid, thiamine hydrochloride and pyridoxine hydrochloride.
Thrive Vanilla Lifestyle Mix
Juice Plus+ claims to make a whole food based shake mix. The company is not certified organic, non-GMO verified or vegan. It states on their website that the shake mix is plant-based, vegan, gluten-free, non-dairy, non-GMO, fat-free and cholesterol-free. Sounds pretty good!! The shake mix gives you 12.7 g of protein and 120 calories per serving.
I must admit I was a bit disappointed when I saw the label. It looked very similar to the other 13 MLM companies’ protein powder labels. Are there any whole foods present in the protein powder? It is hard to say. It depends on how each ingredient was processed/extracted. I could not find any information on the processing or extraction methods used to make the shake mix.
Juice Plus+ uses a lot of the same highly processed, artificial and synthetic ingredients such as soy protein isolate, fructooligosaccharide, synthetic vitamin B6, synthetic vitamin B12, natural gums (Arabic, guar and xanthan), natural flavor, maltodextrin, and soy and sunflower lecithin.
I first came across It Works at a trade show where someone was demonstrating their wraps. The company is not certified organic, non-GMO verified or vegan. It Works! Shake mix is soy-free, non-GMO, dairy-free and vegan. It also states on their website that the shake mix contains no artificial colors, flavors or sweeteners, and free of antibiotics and growth hormones. The shake mix contains 15 g of plant-based protein and 100 calories per serving.
Of course the shake mix is free of antibiotics and growth hormones, it is a plant-based protein powder! And no artificial flavors! But it does contain natural flavors. I love how companies spin the ingredients they use in their products to make them sound healthy and good for you.
If you take a look at the ingredients label below, you see that It Works uses a lot of highly processed and unhealthy ingredients as the other 13 MLM companies such as natural flavors, corn syrup solids, mono- and diglycerides, sunflower lecithin, guar gum, xanthan gum, and modified corn starch. I could not find anywhere on their website how their pea protein isolate and brown rice protein concentrate were processed or extracted.
People spend billions of dollars a year on protein supplements to build muscle or lose weight. But you cannot always be sure what is in them since the FDA does not approve protein supplements or test them for safety.
In 2010, Consumerlab tested 24 protein supplements. Nearly a third of them failed for quality assurance. Two had high amounts of lead. Others had more cholesterol or sodium than was listed on the label. In 2015, Brazilian researchers tested 20 protein supplements. Eleven of them had less protein than stated on the label. Four of them were made in the U.S.
As stated above, my purpose for writing this blog is not to bash other companies but educate you about protein powders and the potential health risks associated with the ingredients used in many of them. I am not telling you to stop using protein powders, but be aware that not all protein powders are created equal. The only way you can be sure if a protein powder is living up to its claims and safe to use is if it has been certified by a third party. Remember to read the labels!!! Ask the company questions as to how the ingredients are processed, where the ingredients are sourced and how the proteins are extracted.
You want to purchase and use the cleanest, purest protein powder. And the less ingredients the better!!! Only certified organic protein powders will guarantee you that the protein powder will not contain any GMOs, pesticides, herbicides, heavy metals, preservatives, fillers, stabilizers, hormones, antibiotics or any other chemical that could be potentially harmful.
Miessence Complete Protein Powder
I have used some of the protein powders listed above and a few non-MLM brands over the 20 years I have been using protein powder. I now use Miessence Complete Protein Powder. It is certified organic by the ACO and USDA. The term ‘certified organic’ implies the product’s ingredients have been validated by an independent third party. And Miessence’s certified organic raw protein powder has only 5 ingredients!
To be classified Australian Certified Organic (ACO), the products must contain more than 95% certified organic ingredients. The remaining percentage must be natural ingredients that must meet strict processing criteria (no GMOs & no synthetic ingredients are allowed). You can find the full list of allowed ingredients on the ACO website.
Products carrying the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) logo must meet all of the requirements of standards of the USDA National Organic Program (NOP). Products must contain at least 95% organically produced ingredients (excluding water and salt). The remaining ingredients must consist of non-agricultural products approved on the National List.
Miessence Complete Protein Powder Ingredients
Miessence Complete Protein powder is an easily digestible, high protein, low carbohydrate and complete amino acid profile superfood. Some of the benefits:
- Certified organic by the ACO and USDA
- Organic biofermented pea protein
- Organic sprouted brown rice protein
- Organic sacha inchi protein
- Non-GMO xanthan gum
- Vegan & gluten-free
- Environmentally sustainable protein
Miessence protein powder blends well with water, juice, milk, and yogurt or can be added to your smoothies. It can also be mixed into your homemade energy bars, muffins, pancakes, desserts and baked goods. Check out my blog How to Use Organic Raw Protein Powder in Everyday Meals to see all the different ways you can add protein powder to almost any recipe.
Organic Biofermented Pea Protein
Pea protein does not require complicated extraction. The peas are dried naturally and ground to a flour, then it is hydrated. The starch and fiber are then separated, followed by coagulation of the protein. After purification, a multi-stage dryer is used to dry the protein and prepare it for consumption.
Peas are high in protein and highly digestible, allowing for maximum absorbability. For more information on the benefits of pea protein, please visit my blog 10 Benefits of Raw Organic Protein Powder.
Organic Sprouted Brown Rice Protein
The only organic, raw protein source from whole brown rice. The rice protein is enzymatically extracted from multiple layers of the sprouted whole grain. This chemical-free extraction process uses organic enzymes to produce a superior protein. It is manufactured using low heat to avoid protein denaturation and preserve complete protein quality.
Sprouting increases key nutrients; particularly B vitamins and essential amino acids. The natural bio-fermentation process used is a controlled method which neutralizes the plants natural defence enzymes, phytates and increases the whole grains natural nutrients availability, absorption and digestion.
Organic Sacha Inchi Protein
Sacha Inchi grows in the Amazon Rainforest and the high Andes Mountains of Peru. It has been part of the Inca diet for 3000 years.
Sacha Inchi Protein powder is the de-fatted nut once it has been cold-pressed to produce the seed oil. It is a highly digestible, low-irritant, and high quality protein so you absorb it quickly and easily. It is naturally extracted without high temperature processing, deodorizing, preservatives or additives.
I hope you found this information useful and learned something about protein powders. You are what you absorb – skin, nose and mouth.
If you happen to have updated information on any of the protein powder reviews for the 14 MLM companies, please let me know. I would be happy to update my protein powder reviews!
Remember to read your labels! Ask questions! Look for certification logos! Buy certified organic!
Don't forget to check out my other blog posts on organic raw protein powder! I call the three posts - part 1, 2 and 3
Latest posts by Susan Rever (The Organictarian) (see all)
- Protein Powder Reviews for 14 Top MLM Companies - October 8, 2017
- 10 Benefits of Raw Organic Protein Powder - October 6, 2017
- How I Lost 6 lbs in 3 Days with the Miessence Certified Organic Weight Loss Shake - July 8, 2017