Product: TruNutrition(TN) Trutein
Claims to Fame: Label Integrity, High Quality Isolates, Taste
Claim: Label Integrity/Full Disclosure/No Label Dressing
TN goes to great lengths to boast that their protein proportions are not hidden in a proprietary blend and the consumer has full disclosure of all ingredients, no pixie dusting, yada, yada, yada. However, as the section on formula will explain, while their disclosure is better than most companies, TN still does not hit full disclosure and gets more than a bit creative in its marketing.
It also touts additives such as omega-3’s and nucleotides that simply aren't included in amounts to be efficacious. Yes, they tell you that you get 75mg of Omega-3’s from flax and chia but the average person doesn't realize that a single fish oil cap gives you 3-5 times that amount.
Claim: Primary protein sources are high quality isolates
TN claims isolates are the primary source of protein in Trutein and that they come from 3 different sources: whey, micellar casein and egg. However, they use both blends of milk isolate+milk concentrate and whey isolate+whey concentrate in the prop blend so we really don’t know the exact ratios of isolate vs concentrate. It could be true, but then why even add the concentrates? (Hint: cost)
Claim: Fantastic Taste
----------- Formula 7.0/10 ----------
Trutein is advertised as 40% whey, 40% casein and 20% egg whites, primarily from isolates. That doesn't totally jive with the ingredient label which list the proteins as a more complex prop blend called Trutein Protein Blend (milk protein isolate, milk protein concentrate, egg, whey isolate, whey concentrate) . So while they do divulge the overall ratio, they don’t come right out and tell you the individual proportions of each component. If we take the 40/40/20 ratio and compare it against the prop blend we can deduce that it’s more like 40%(milk isolate+ milk concentrate),20% ( egg albumin),40% (whey isolate+whey concentrate). Although I find it interesting that whey is listed last as this normally indicates the least abundant ingredients and since it’s after egg, which is 20%, that means each of these is no greater than 20%. The 40% whey is most likely because milk proteins are 80% micellar casein and 20% whey and the whey from the milk proteins adds to the whey isolate and whey concentrate to give it a combined total of 40%. However, this still means that the 3 most abundant proteins are relatively slow acting.
Each 34g scoop contains 23g protein, 5g carbs (2.5g fiber) and 1.5g fats. This results in an overall protein percentage around 68% which is low for me but seems to be rather standard with many of these entry level blends.
Trutein’s formula also includes 75mg of Omega 3’s from flax and chia (insignificant), 20mg nucleotides (no freakin idea why) and 100mg of protease enzyme (bit on the high side- could be to counter poor digestion of concentrates but who knows). There’s also some oat starch and other lesser ingredients that I won’t cover.
The bottom line here is that for each 34g scoop you probably get around 9g casein, 5g egg, 9g whey, 5g carbs, 1.5g fats and 4.5g other materials. Personally due to the way that casein releases its aminos equally over time I think that the egg is a bit redundant. There are other benefits to including egg protein but frankly eating real eggs gets you further and I’d rather have those 5 grams added to the whey category to give the front end aminos a bit more punch. Also please note that this is just ivory tower conjecture and in the bigger picture means relatively little at the end of the day when taken in context of overall protein intake.
-------Taste/Mixability 9.5/10 ---------
I purchased the CinnaBun flavor and loved it. It’s definitely a dessert type flavor and a bit on the sweeter side so some people might find it a bit much to use day in and day out. The cinnamon smell is strong and the consistency is milk-shake like – not the creamiest that I've ever had but better than most. I normally use milk or almond/coconut blend as my liquid but I also tried it with water and it’s enjoyable either way. Maybe it’s because I’m so used to the more bland flavorings and thin texture of Muscle Feast but this tasted just fantastic. It mixed well in a shaker bottle with minimal clumping or grittiness despite the prevalence of casein. You could probably just dump this in a glass and use a spoon.
----------Effectiveness 7.5/10 ----------
Ok, for those of us without a lab, rating a protein is totally subjective. If I get gas and/or poor recovery, then I rate it as a poor quality protein. I got neither of these from Trutein. Recovery did not suffer. Although I said earlier that I believe the entire day’s protein picture is more important than just the post workout window, I still prefer to employ some brotastic reasoning and go with a higher percentage of a faster acting protein post workout, so I’m not sure I would recommend this if you’re first meal of the day is your post workout shake. I don’t have a problem with including casein post workout, in fact I prefer that, but I prefer it in an isolate/casein blend so the inclusion of the concentrates is a negative for me personally.
However this is an excellent choice for all other times of the day or a straight utility protein. It would also make a great MRP or gainer type base and I loved it when I used it to make sludge. I find it to be noticeably higher quality overall than many of the inexpensive whey concentrate blends that seem to be popular these days.
--------- Value 8.0/10 -------
You can get this from Lockout for $44.95 for a 5 lb tub. That’s 67 servings for roughly .65 cents per serving - pretty damn affordable. I actually find it very similar in quality, taste and texture to iForce Protean; both are the same price but you get an extra pound with Trutein. And it’s far superior to the new entry product from Optimum Nutrition, Performance Whey.
Personally I prefer to pay an extra $15-$20 dollars to get pure micellar casein and whey isolate but I also like to keep a blend like this on hand for sludge and smoothies so I think it certainly has value.
-------- Overall 7.5/10 ----------
I’ve got no complaints with this product’s quality and results. While it simply doesn’t live up to its marketing hype (surprise, surprise), I still believe this to be a solid high quality choice as a basic entry level protein, especially if taste is an important factor. All “Consumer Reports” analysis aside, this stuff gave me acceptable results and tasted great at an affordable price. It’s not the top of the line but that’s why TN offers their Wheyology (80% protein) and Iso-ology (88% protein) products.
If you’re a recreational lifter or just working out the basics of training and nutrition then this product is just fine as your protein supplement. If you’re more advanced (translate: obsessed) then there are better choices such as Ultra Peptide or Muscle Feast Premium Blend that deliver the promised functionality in a higher quality product.