In this Mana Powder review, we will be taking a close look at one of the most interesting meal replacement shakes in the EU. But does it rank in our top five? Check out our list of the best meal replacement shakes here.
Mana Powder is a meal replacement shake from Czechia and one that has a lot of buzz surrounding it. In this article, we will be taking a close look at what Mana Powder is, what it is made from, and whether it is a good choice for you.
Mana Powder at a Glance
Mana Powder has many good qualities and some bad ones. On the one hand, it is high in protein, high in fibre and contains a sensible number of calories per serving. On the other hand, it contains ingredients such as maltodextrin and isomaltulose, which should be kept far away from any decent meal replacement shake.
Mana Powder contains 400 calories per serving. It has 19 grams of fat, 33 grams of carbohydrates, 7 grams of fibre, and 21 grams of protein. There are three flavours available: original, choco, and apricot, and you can also purchase a pre-mixed drink version, which has the exact same profile.
- High in good-quality protein
- Decent taste
- High in fibre
- Well-balanced macronutrients
- Suitable for vegans
- High in omega-3 fatty acids
- Uses maltodextrin and isomaltulose
- Consistency and texture are a little off
- Quite high in sugars compared to competitors
Who Should Use Mana Powder?
Anyone can use Mana Powder unless they are coeliac or have an allergy to soy. It’s got a decent macronutrient ratio and contains enough calories to actually replace a meal (something that meal replacements such as Ka’Chava and Dare Motivation fail to do).
Mana Powder is a good choice for vegans thanks to the plant-based protein and high omega-3 fatty acid content. But so are most meal replacement shakes these days. It can help with weight loss or building muscle, or it can be used by people who just want to save some time with meal preparation due to a hectic schedule.
Mana Powder Ingredients
There are many ingredients contained in Mana Powder. The protein blend alone contains six different plant-based sources. There are seven different fat sources!
Soy protein, pea protein isolate, oat protein, brown rice protein, pumpkin seed protein, chlorella protein
The plant-based protein blend is perhaps the best thing about Mana Powder. We love the inclusion of both pea protein and brown rice protein, as these two work really well together. The use of soy protein is not that big of a deal, as it will only be in small doses. Unlike Soylent, for example, which has 100% of its protein coming from soy.
Pumpkin seed protein, oat protein, and chlorella protein are all excellent and diverse protein sources. This is a really good protein blend.
One of our least favourite ingredients, maltodextrin, is a simple carbohydrate that has been linked with weight gain . This does not mean that they cause weight gain. No food taken in isolation can do that. But they tend to be found in foods that contribute to an unhealthy diet. Maltodextrin is low in fibre and high in simple sugars.
Using a low GI carbohydrate source such as oats would be a much better option, but maltodextrin is cheaper, and many people prefer the taste. Mana Powder has added other fibre sources (see below) to help lower the GI score, but it definitely would have been better for them to have used a proper carbohydrate source.
If you are going to use carbohydrates such as maltodextrin, you are going to need to add in some fibre from other sources. Oat fibre (beta-glucan) is one of the best fibres around and has been shown to help lower cholesterol levels, increase satiety, and protect the heart. It’s a good ingredient to include, but as mentioned above, it would have been better to have just used oats rather than maltodextrin and oat fibre.
This is what is known as an alternative sweetener that is created by an “enzymatic rearrangement of sucrose using α-glucosyltransferase” . It is used as an alternative to sugar in many recipes in Europe, Japan, and the US. It isn’t quite an artificial sweetener because it occurs naturally in honey. But the isomaltose that you find in foods has been created in a lab.
This is a prebiotic that works like fibre. It is often sourced from chicory. It can help to treat constipation but don’t worry. It doesn’t work like a laxative. It just helps to regulate your digestion and improve gut health .
Carrots do contain fibre, but they are not a common source of fibre in supplements. It’s an interesting choice and should work well with the oat fibre. That being said, Mana Powder has a decent yet unspectacular amount of fibre per serving, so are two different sources worthwhile?
Canola oil, Schizochytrium sp, Microalgae, coconut-based MCT C8 oil, sunflower oil, oat oil, cold-pressed flaxseed oil.
The combination of fats used is actually really good and really helps to contribute to Mana Powder having incredibly high omega-3 levels. If the rest of the ingredients were as good as the protein blend and fat blend, it would be a top-tier product.
This is added as an emulsifier and has few positives or negatives associated with it. Soy lecithin will help the powder mix better and can help with consistency.
Vitamins & Minerals
Potassium citrate, potassium chloride, calcium carbonate, magnesium oxide, zinc gluconate, potassium iodate, vitamin A, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B6, biotin, folic acid, vitamin B12, vitamin C, vitamin D2 and D3), vitamin E, vitamin K1, choline bitartrate.
The vitamin and mineral blend is pretty standard for a meal replacement shake, providing you with all the nutrients required to avoid deficiencies and enjoy a healthy diet.
Alongside isomaltulose, Mana Powder also contains sucralose, an artificial sweetener that is made in a lab by increasing the sweetness of sucrose 600x. This means that you only need 1/600th of the amount of table sugar to get the same result. This is why it is seen as free from calories.
How to Take Mana Powder
Take two scoops of Mana Powder (86 grams) and place them into a shaker (the Mana shaker is terrible, so try and find your own one). Add 300 ml of water and then tighten the lid securely. Shake the shaker hard for 10-20 seconds, or you can use a blender instead.
You can use milk or a milk alternative instead of water to create a thicker and creamier shake, but remember that this will also add calories to your meal. Fruits, seeds, nut butter, and vegetables such as kale or spinach can also be added, provided you use a blender.
Are There Any Good Alternatives to Mana Powder?
There are several excellent alternatives to Mana Powder out there. Considering how important the environment is to Mana customers, we would recommend Rootana. It has similar macronutrients, and it also cares for the environment, but it uses better ingredients and avoids artificial ingredients such as sucralose and isomaltulose.
Is Mana Powder Safe? Side Effects
Yes, there aren’t really any ingredients that are going to cause a problem here. You may have allergies, in which case you should double-check the ingredients list. But Mana Powder is gluten-free and does not have any caffeine.
Mana Powder Review
Mana Powder is by no means a bad meal replacement shake. It tastes good, has a good macronutrient ratio, and is packed full of diverse protein sources and healthy fats. But the cheap and artificial ingredients that Mana Powder uses ruin the experience slightly, and the price per serving, while generous, does not make up for this fact.
There are better alternatives out there, and at similar price points. That does not mean that Mana Powder should be avoided at all costs. If you are curious, then, by all means, give it a go. You may find that it tastes incredible and helps you to stick to your new diet for longer.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Mana Powder good for building muscle?
Mana Powder can be highly effective at building muscle when combined with a progressive weight training program. On its own, it is unlikely to provide any muscle-building benefits. But thanks to its high protein content, it should help with recovery and growth after an intense workout.
Is Mana Powder keto-friendly?
No. Although Mana Powder is high in healthy fats (including MCT oil), it has too many carbohydrates and too much protein to be considered keto-friendly. Most keto-adherents stick to fewer than 50 grams of carbohydrates per day, and there are 33 grams in each serving.
Can Mana Powder help you to lose weight?
Yes. Not only is Mana Powder low in calories (compared to most meals), but it is high in protein and high in fibre. Making it highly satiating. Foods that have a high satiety level are ideal for weight loss diets. But you need to ensure that the rest of your diet is also geared towards weight loss.
Is Mana Powder gluten-free?
No. Mana Powder contains oat fibre which is a source of gluten. According to the Mana website, there are 12 mg of gluten in the powder and 9 mg of gluten in the drink.
Does Mana Powder contain caffeine?
No, unlike many meal replacement shake, there is no coffee or tea flavoured shakes, so there is no need to add any caffeine.