Between those wanting to make the most of their hard-earned muscle and those looking for meal-replacement shakes to help lose weight, I’m constantly asked for recommendations on high-quality, well-made and effective protein supplements.
If you’re just figuring this whole protein powder thing out, you may want to read about the difference I saw in my musculature once I started drinking protein shakes (no, I did not turn into a She-Hulk but yes, I did find my abs!) or why I’m not a fan of isolated proteins.
Now, after two years of using the same plant-based protein powder, I had started to wonder if it was time to mix things up a bit. But for many of the same reasons my readers come to me looking for answers, finding another protein powder that meets my stringent standards wasn’t looking like a whole lot of fun.
Thankfully, NOW Foods came to the rescue! After having the chance to sample and review four of their protein powders, I can now spare you the torturous experience of reading every label in the protein supplement aisle, Googling god-and-wikipedia-only-knows ingredient names, struggling through a cost analysis, and spending money on taste-testing!
What Impressed Me
It’s clear that NOW Sports is dedicated to innovation and staying on top of the latest health research. For example, NOW Sports tends to use Xylitol (the most natural of all sugar alcohols) and stevia (yay!) while most their competitors are using cheaper and more harmful sweeteners such as sorbitol, sucralose (don’t even get me started!!!), and aspartame (are you kidding me?!). Other protein powders typically include cheap oils (canola oil, vegetable oil, soy oil…bleh!) and that’s just not the case with NOW Sports Protein Powders. I could tear into almost every other protein powder on the market (and I have…) but I was impressed with NOW Sports recipe formulas. Any “cons” I found were all very minimal. On that note, click on the graphics below for more details such as the ingredient lists and nutrition labels to see for yourself.
The Domestica Straight Talk
Listed in order of my least to most favorite, here are my reviews of the four NOW Sports Protein Powders I tried:
|Protein Powder||Pros||Cons||Domestica’s Verdict|
Vegans love pea-based protein because it’s animal-free and known for its high biological value (i.e. our bodies can absorb it well).
Has a milder pea taste than the others I’ve tried.
Just one ingredient!
|Pea-based proteins are notorious for being thick, tasting like peas, and having a chalk-like consistency.||If you can’t stomach any other type of protein source or are looking for a strictly plant-based powder, I do recommend trying NOW Sports Pea Protein powder and using it for baking and blended smoothies.
Serving = 24g protein, 120 calories
Cost per Serving = $0.93 per serving
Whey has been proven time and time again to be the most effectively absorbed protein powder.
I like that this product uses mostly whey protein concentrate instead of isolated proteins.
It lacks that bitter stevia-aftertaste.
Cost per serving might seem high compared to the pea protein but remember, you don’t need a smoothie to drink this mix-and-go protein powder.
|Even though Xylitol is considered a safe alternative sweetener and the best sugar alcohol to use (the hard-hitting Dr. Mercola even says so), some people find they have adverse reactions to this “natural” sugar alcohol (which is synthesized with man-made chemicals).
Although primarily concentrated whey, this does contain a portion of isolated whey.
|If you don’t have a problem with Xylitol and you enjoy vanilla over chocolate, I say try this powder! It is delicious in a berry smoothie.
On that note, unless you’re a man who’s looking to build muscle mass, 26g of protein is a bit much for what a woman’s body can absorb in one serving. Using 2/3 of a scoop lessens the caloric load and stretches out the number of servings you can get in each tub while not compromising protein intake.
Serving = 26g protein, 170 calories
Cost per Serving = $1.81 per serving
This tasted a LOT better than I expected! The idea of egg white protein has always grossed me out a bit but I’m now over it!
Blends really well, has a nice chocolate flavor and is just sweet enough without any bitter stevia aftertaste.
A great alternative for those who can’t stomach whey.
|I try to avoid Soy Lecithin and as I said earlier, some people have adverse reactions to Xylitol.||In future, I’d like to try NOW Sports EggWhite Protein which is just 100% egg white and nothing else. I think this would be a great flavorless addition to smoothies and since I’m fine with eating animal products, would be even better than the pea protein.
Serving = 20g protein, 110 calories
Cost per Serving = $1.82 per serving
The milky whey consistency has it tasting like a chocolate milkshake, even when mixed with only water.
As mentioned earlier, whey protein is considered to have the highest biological value of any protein source.
Super easy mix-and-go option since it tastes so great with plain water. I even took it camping!
When mixed with cold water or milk, it can get a little clumpy no matter how much you shake it.
Contains a portion of isolated whey.
|This was hands down my absolute favorite!
I found that putting a bit of room temp water in my shaker cup and mixing the powder with that before adding cold water or milk totally solved the clumping issue. Plus, the fact that it can clump under ice-cold water or milk means the company hasn’t filled it with anti-caking agents. And that’s a good thing!
Since I’ve had issues in the past with whey protein making my stomach turn, I actually used this powder for two weeks straight to see if it would do the same. To my surprise, I had no adverse reactions and I found my new favorite protein powder!
Serving = 24g protein, 160 calories
Cost per Serving = $1.81
NOW Foods Reader Giveaway
One reader will receive the protein powder of their choice as well as this great NOW Foods gift pack, worth a total value of over $100!
To enter, leave a comment telling me which NOW Sport Protein Powder you would want as your prize! Want to increase your chance of winning? Simply leave an additional comment to let me know you “liked” NOW Foods on Facebook and another comment if you follow NOW Foods on Twitter!
I will randomly select one comment as the winner on Monday, July 8, 2013!