Originally published December 12 2008
Review of the Best Plant Protein Powders - Nutribody, SunWarrior, LivingFuel, Nutribiotic
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, NaturalNews Editor
(NaturalNews) It's challenging to get quality proteins into your diet if you eat a mostly plant-based diet. And thanks to all the scary chemicals in many of the conventional meat products available today, most health-conscious consumers are actively seeking to limit their meat consumption or eliminate it altogether.
What protein products can you use to keep yourself well nourished from 100% plant-based sources? This article reveals my top four choices for plant-based protein products, including one new protein product that's just been released.
I have no financial relationship with any of these companies, and I earn nothing from your purchase of these products. They are presented in no particular order. In fact, all of the products here earn my enthusiastic support and my Editor's Choice Award for quality, trusted protein products.
ALL of the products mentioned here have these things in common:
• NO refined sugars.
• NO artificial chemical sweeteners.
• NO whey protein or animal products.
• NO egg derivatives.
• NO chemical preservatives.
• NO lecithin (often used as a protein filler).
They're all extremely high quality proteins from trusted sources.
Nutribody Protein from John BarronThis product was just released, and it's an amazing protein formula that tastes simply fantastic. I loved it from the very first smoothie (and can't wait to get some more!).
It's made with brown rice protein, yellow pea protein, Luo Han sweetener (a Chinese herb), a balancing amino acid (L-citrulline) and healthy MCTs (medium-chain-glycerides). You can read about these ingredients here: http://www.nutribodyprotein.com/nutrition-fa...
Together, this blend will please your taste buds. It's really, really good. And guess who's the master formulator behind this product? Jon Barron, of course: The same formulator associated with Baseline Nutritionals, one of the herbal tincture providers I've strongly recommended for years. (They still sell the best anti-viral tincture on the market, Super ViraGon. They also sell the best heavy metals detox tincture I've found, called Metal Magic. Lots more at www.BaselineNutritionals.com )
Nutribody is the result of one of Jon Barron's many nutritional formulation efforts. It's a true protein masterpiece, and we even managed to get you a coupon code good for 10% off: n6e.
Yep, that's the code: n6e
Just enter that into the Nutribody shopping cart at www.NutribodyProtein.com to get your 10% discount, exclusive for NaturalNews readers.
This protein product may seem a little pricey, but it's an evolved formulation that contains much more than just raw brown rice protein. Try a canister for yourself and you'll see why I like this so much.
NutriBody Pros: Really great taste. Expert formulation by a veteran of the industry. Awesome taste. Did I say that already?
NutriBody Cons: Expensive. (But use the 10% discount to take the edge off the cost...)
Living Fuel Protein from KC CraichyLiving Fuel's protein product is made with brown rice protein and pea protein, and it adds a touch of freeze-dried fruits plus a few natural sweeteners (stevia, xylitol and FOS).
You also get a healthy dose of digestive enzymes, probiotics and plant-based amino acids to balance out the nutritional profile of the product. The result? A highly bioavailable, deeply nourishing protein source that blends well with any smoothie.
The Living Fuel company, of course, is best known for its Living Fuel Rx superfoods, including my all-time favorite Super Berry formula (which remains one of my most-frequently-used superfoods to this day!). See more at www.LivingFuel.com
The founder of Living Fuel is KC Craichy, an author and nutritional formulator who's deeply committed to bringing really healthy superfood products to the market. His kids are even raised on superfoods, and they're remarkable in so many ways that I bet they're the envy of all the other parents in Tampa, Florida (where Living Fuel is based).
Living Fuel also has an amazing omega-3 supplement made with fish oils and astaxanthin! It's such a great product that I intend to dedicate another review to it, but you can check it out right now by looking for his Super Essentials product on LivingFuel.com.
Living Fuel Protein Pros: Outstanding bioavailability, excellent amino acid profile, great digestibility.
Living Fuel Protein Cons: The taste isn't as sweet as some other proteins, but it's still very good. Some people don't like the xylitol in the formula, but the amount used is quite small.
SunWarrior Protein from Brent Hauver and Nick SternSunWarrior protein has been one of my top choices ever since its introduction. I find myself using this product constantly -- both in the plain and chocolate varieties. I blend the chocolate into my avocado smoothies, and I blend the plain into my berry smoothies.
SunWarrior protein is made from brown rice protein, and it's enzymatically processed (as are all the other proteins here), but one thing that makes SunWarrior stand out is its incredibly small particle size. It's truly a super-fine powder, allowing it to blend very easily into water, almond milk, hemp milk or whatever milk you're drinking.
It works well in a bowl of raw cereal, or any superfood smoothie recipe. You can also work it into breads, muffins or even pancakes if you bake items like that. SunWarrior is raw, vegan and super tasty. Its ingredients are based on brown rice protein, and it adds a bit of carrageenan and xanthan gum to thicken it just a touch. Some consumers don't like carrageenan, but they probably don't realize it's actually made from seaweed, so it's one of the best thickeners you can find, in my opinion.
SunWarrior also has a really impressive amino acid profile, which is surprising, given that it isn't supplemented with additional aminos. I've seen the test results on this, though, and I can tell you it's almost as good as egg protein on the amino acid charts.
You can buy SunWarrior through www.SunWarrior.com or www.SunFood.com or other raw foods retailers (both online and offline).
The SunWarrior company also offers a really nice Activated Barley product that delivers steady carbohydates during workouts. It's a favorite of active people who want a slow-burning, high-quality carb to power their activities. You can find more details about that at www.SunWarrior.com
SunWarrior Pros: Great taste, high bioavailability, good value for the price.
SunWarrior Cons: None.
NutriBiotic Rice Protein from NutriBioticOf all the companies mentioned here, this is the only company where I do not personally know the founders, so I can't say much about the personal integrity of the people running the company. Their vegan rice protein product, however, remains one of the best-tasting plant-based protein products I've ever tried.
I find it very easy to stir into a bowl of unsweetened almond milk, mixed with gluten-free cereals or raw buckwheat cereal. It adds a substantial amount of protein to your meal without adding junk ingredients or sweeteners of any kind. In fact, this product contains only two ingredients: Whole grain brown rice protein and natural vanilla flavor.
Amazingly, even with those two simple ingredients, it manages to taste smooth and sweet. It's also readily available at just about any health food store. The company's website is www.Nutribiotic.com
They've even introduced a new blend called Rice Protein Plus Antioxidants that includes a freeze-dried Vita-Berry fruit blend containing various fruit extracts. This particular item, however, is sweetened with rice syrup solids, so it's more of a dessert shake mix than a pure protein mix. But for kids and health newbies, it might be just the perfect thing to get them drinking some quality proteins for a change!
Nutribiotic Pros: Great taste, simple ingredients, widely available in health food stores.
Nutribiotic Cons: None.
What about hemp protein powders?Hemp protein has an excellent nutritional profile, but as better-tasting protein products like the ones mentioned here have become available, the taste of hemp protein just seems more difficult to tolerate. While I strongly support many hemp protein companies (like Nutiva and Ruth's Hemp Foods), I rarely eat hemp protein anymore because I don't enjoy the taste. In asking around the raw foods community, I find a lot of people saying the same thing. "Hey, you're right! I don't like the taste either!"
Some do like hemp protein, of course, and if you do, then hemp protein is a great choice in terms of its superior nutrition. But I grew tired of the gritty texture and the bitter taste. I believe health food should taste good, and I don't enjoy forcing myself to drink something just because I know it's good for me. That's why I didn't include hemp protein products in this review: I think the rice protein products taste far better.
I have nothing against the hemp protein companies. They're some of the best companies in the health products business, and if you're looking for a hemp protein product that tastes better than most, check out the HempShake product from Nutiva. I also support hemp seeds and hemp oil. In fact, I strongly support the legalization of industrial hemp farming in the U.S., which would bring tremendous financial abundance to U.S. farmers. I'm just not interested in drinking hemp protein anymore.
And soy protein?I don't recommend soy protein at all, for lots of reasons. There are many soy-based protein products in the health marketplace, and in my opinion, many of them are a complete joke in terms of nutrition. The brand "Spiru-Tein" comes to mind. Read the label on that one if you want a good laugh. You might even ask yourself the same question I always ask when I look at that brand: "If it contains spirulina, where's the green?"
In my opinion, soy protein is for health food newbs who don't yet know what to shop for. You can generally tell where people are in the health spectrum by what kind of protein they buy:
Soy protein = newbies
Brown rice protein = Well informed
Hemp protein = hard-core
Macho whey protein stacks = Body builders who often don't know much about nutrition and who blindly eat all sorts of chemical sweeteners that harm their performance
Soy protein is the choice of many "junk" protein bars that are too cheap to use high-quality protein sources, so they pack their bars with ultra-cheap soy protein in order to achieve a protein claim on the front label.
The Bottom Line on Plant-Based Protein PowdersYou'll do well on ANY of the top four protein products mentioned here. So how do you decide which one is best for you?
Here's what's interesting about that: Your taste buds will tell you which protein you need more. If you're missing an amino acid in your diet, the protein product that provides more of that amino acid will tend to taste better to you. So my advice in choosing a protein product is to try all the top contenders and see what the high-tech chemical sensors on your tongue tell you.
You may also find that your taste varies over time. For example, you may really like one protein product a lot at first, but as your amino acid intake gets balanced, your taste buds may tell you to switch to a different protein. This is completely normal. It's one of the ways your brain communicates with you to make sure you vary your diet. It's also why eating the same food over and over again eventually gets boring. That's your brain telling you to eat something different!
In my opinion, plant-based protein products are superior to animal-based proteins for lots of reasons -- not just nutritionally speaking, but also for avoiding the tremendous resources required to produce animal products, the environmental consequences, etc. I used to recommend egg and whey protein products (and I still think egg protein is better than whey), but I stopped recommending whey protein due to all the gas and bloating effects users were reporting. Do you realize, by the way, that it takes up to 2,000 gallons of fresh water to produce just a single gallon of milk from a cow? That means a lot of environmental resources are being consumed to produce whey protein. See http://www.naturalnews.com/023341.html
However, if you're into egg protein or whey protein, the very best source is Jay Robb proteins at www.JayRobb.com
He's the best in the business for "natural" egg protein or whey protein products. He's also a highly ethical entrepreneur who deserves your business. You'll also find his products in health retail stores everywhere.
If you're into meat as a source of protein, avoid processed meats and go with organic, free-range fresh meats only. Avoid ALL packaged, processed meats, unless they are really natural and organic (like the Shelton's brand, which contains no nitrites). Read up on why Shelton's chickens and turkeys don't do drugs: http://www.sheltons.com/philosophy.html
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