July 4, 2013
Ignore the hype - this is a legit choice
A special thanks to ISam and Cryo for choosing me as a winner in their contest thread. Thanks guys!
I need to write a small intro on why USPLabs marketing drives me batty. It's kind of like marketing on steroids; I'm pretty sure that you'll test positive just reading it. ;)
USPLabs calls this an Advanced Leaning Protein. I assume that this is in part, because of the inclusion of CLA and MCT, two ingredients that are commonly found in weight loss products. Unfortunately the actual results for either of these ingredients are hit and miss with people and quite frankly of such limited value that I would rather not see them in here at all. I understand marketing – it’s a necessary evil. But in this case, the name, label and marketing was tied so closely with the OxyElite line, that it really ended up shifting the focus (in my opinion) to a really sketchy area – the promise of potential weight loss and ended up obscuring the fact that is a totally legit protein supplement, period.
So really guys, quit shooting yourself in the foot by having to always come out with the latest and greatest – call me crazy, but sometimes just having a kick-ass, no frills, no gimmicks, no novel or ground breaking ingredients that I have to Google, high quality supplement that does exactly what it should do is, well, genius. But hey, what do I know – my favorite protein flavor is vanilla, lol.
Ok, moaning, hair-pulling and gnashing of teeth is over. On the good stuff:
Serving Size: 36g (25 servings per tub)
Carbs: 4g (2g fiber, 1g sugar)
This is a pretty robust blend of ingredients: protein, carbs, fiber, fats, enzymes, gums, flavors, sweeteners, etc. It’s worth noting that USPLabs goes to great lengths to focus on what isn’t in this blend – maltodextrin, creamers, added amino acids, etc. and this also resonates with me. And while I won;t go quite as far as USPLabs and call into question the profile of every protein out there, it is a valid point. But keep in mind that even this profile isn’t anywhere close to what I consider the platinum standard in lean and clean - Muscle Feast. Personally, I don’t get even a little concerned over the fat and carbs. There are other isolates out there that have <1 grams of fat and carbs (RCSS Isotropic Max or MF Premium comes to mind) if that’s what you want. Still, I think the amounts are relatively meaningless for me personally as whatever negatives people may think about 3.5 grams of fat can easily be overcome within your daily macro intake. There are far more important things to consider other than a few grams of carbs or fats and for me, that’s the daily picture. So again, I had no trouble fitting this into my nutrition. (And I have one thing to say to anyone who moans about the 35 calories from fat – Really dude? Can I have that pop-tart?)
As I said earlier, USP touts the inclusion of CLA and MCT. I won’t go into the details of the studies that I’ve read quoting effectiveness for these, but suffice it to say that they exist; however, I’m personally pretty “meh” on them for various reasons. If you want to give MCT or CLA a try, then buy them individually; in a protein supplement I find it totally unnecessary and of questionable applicability within the context of this blend. (I personally use MCT oil but I find CLA totally ineffective.)
So why did I rate this so highly? Because this is a high quality blend of milk protein isolate, 80% whey concentrate and micellar casein. All three are solid ingredients and I especially like that the purity of the concentrate is listed (80%) as it they can go quite low - big kudos to USP for resisting the more common trend of combining a few grams of 6-7 different proteins. Also a big plus is that they use micellar casein instead of the cheaper calcium caseinate that is more commonly found in low priced blends. And while there aren’t whey isolate or hydrolyzed proteins here, all in all, it still contains 3 high quality protein choices that I’ve used individually in the past.
This is, without a doubt, the best mixing vanilla or chocolate protein I ever had for mixing in water. It is as rich and creamy in water as many of my proteins are when mixed in milk. (Although the more cynical among us would point out that if you add enough fats, gums and sweeteners to a product, it’s going to taste good.)
I’ve said this elsewhere, but if there is a leaning aspect to this protein, it’s how delicious it is when mixed in water and thus saving the added calories from milk. I found it to have a greater than normal satiety effect. If this were packaged in individual serving packs, I would carry them with me for a quick snack on the go any day of the week. It’s that good. And isn’t that one of the most common downfalls of people’s diet – they just don’t enjoy eating or drinking many of the food based supplements they incorporate into their weight loss program and thus eventually fall of the wagon. I don’t see that as ever being a problem for me with this protein. I’m still holding Pro-Antium up as the best tasting protein that I’ve ever had, but this one is certainly no slouch in the taste department.
There was no clumping and the consistency was smooth and rich. When mixed in coconut or almond milk it was like drinking a thick shake so I had to add a little water in if I wanted it thinner.
How effective is this? Well I bought 4 more tubs with my own money. If you know how cheap I am, then you can infer how effective I felt this was. I’m currently using almost all RCSS proteins but this provides me with a slower acting protein to fill the gap, especially because of the milk protein isolate and micellar casein. Where it really excelled for me was as my late morning or afternoon snack. Typically I would have consumed about 300 calories for my snack but using this with water gave me the same results at half the calories. So using this twice a day really allows me to shave about 400 calories. Is that the leaning aspect that people are after? I can’t say what's in the minds of others, but I will speculate that it’s the higher quality ingredients that provide me with the nutrients I need far more than anything I got from the CLA or MCT (both of which I’ve used in abundance in the past so I think I’m on solid ground in making that statement.)
Recovery is on par with other proteins and had no digestive issues. Used in conjunction with my normal training and nutrition I saw no decrease in strength. I use diet to support my training, not the other way around, so overall this met or exceeded my expectations for performance.
You can find this for sale as low as $28.00 per tub. That’s $1.12 per serving. Let’s take a look at some of its competitors per serving prices: ON Gold Standard - $1.01, Dymatize Elite $.92, Allmax Hexapro $1.08, iForce Protean $.85, Muscle Milk $1.40, Trutein $.70, etc. So as far as whey concentrate blends go, it’s in the upper echelon of price per serving. However, in this case I’m going to agree with USPlabs Marketing department in that a big part of its value is not only what you do get (3 high quality proteins) but all the junk that you don’t get.
I absolutely would recommend this. It’s a solid, top tier protein that has functionality way beyond “leaning”. It’s an excellent choice for post workout, during the day or nighttime. Top quality proteins, no garbage or fillers, great taste and mixing, what more could anyone want? So do yourself a favor and look past all the hype. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed but if you are, blame Cryo. Just kidding – you won’t be disappointed.
- Quality Protein Blend
- Greater Satiety
- Supports Lean Muscle
- Helped Me Reduce Total Calories
- Mixes Fantastic In Water