Ascent Protein Review: Potent or Overrated Formulations?

Ascent Protein Review: Potent or Overrated Formulations?


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Ascent Protein is a relatively new and fast-growing nutrition brand. The company markets itself as a healthier alternative to competitors, describing their products as "Clean Products," and claiming that "Ascent uses high quality protein, with no artificial flavors or sweeteners."

But does Ascent Protein use a research-backed protein dose for muscle-building? Does it contain any questionable additive ingredients? How do real users rate and describe the effects of Ascent Protein? And which retailer sells this product for the best price?

In this article we'll answer all of these questions and more, as we analyze the ingredients in Ascent Protein based on clinical studies to give our take on whether or not it's likely to support muscle building, and whether or not it's a healthy choice.

We'll feature unsponsored customer reviews of the brand, and provide a cost comparison to show which retailer sells Ascent Protein for the best price.

Ingredient Analysis

Ascent unflavored whey protein ingredients

Ascent has two different types of protein powder: whey protein and vegan protein. The ingredients in the unflavored version of Ascent Whey Protein are shown above.

This protein powder provides 25 grams (g) of protein per serving, which is the optimal dose for muscle building after resistance exercise according to a 2013 meta-study.

There are no ingredients in this formulation that we consider to be unhealthy, although the brand makes no mention of whether the protein is sourced from pastured animals or conventionally-raised animals.

We consider animal products from grass-fed animals to be nutritionally superior to that from conventionally-raised animals, although this distinctions matters less with a "processed" product like protein powder that contains few fatty acids. 

The ingredients in the Chocolate flavor of Ascent Plant Protein are shown below:

Ascent Plant Protein chocolate flavor ingredients

Like the whey protein, this powder provides exactly 25 g of protein per serving so it should be effective for muscle building.

Organic natural flavors are used rather than natural flavors, which is a healthier alternative in our opinion and an ingredient we see very few protein brands using.

The flavoring guidelines published by the USDA stipulate higher ingredient standards for organic natural flavors than natural flavors.

"Natural flavor" is a broad categorical descriptor that may include questionable chemical compounds, as we discussed in our OWYN reviews article on another protein brand.

Both the Vanilla Bean and the Chocolate Peanut Butter flavors of Ascent Plant Protein contain natural flavor, so we only recommend the Chocolate flavor from a formulation perspective.

Real People Try Ascent Protein

A TikTok creator named "kimchiii" likes the taste of Ascent Plant Protein:

@kimhermosillo good #protein #proteinshake #ascentprotein #plantprotein #plantbased #postworkout ♬ original sound - kimchiii

A TikTok creator named "akintheaz_187" suggests that Ascent is a good option for people with digestive issues due to its clean formulation:

@akintheaz_187 #whey #fitness #diiet #review #bodybuilding #protein #wheyprotein ♬ original sound - Bodybuilding 101

Is Ascent Overpriced?

Here's the price-per-25 g-protein of Ascent Whey Protein compared to other popular protein powders:

Optimum Nutrition (Chocolate Malt flavor): $1.62

Ascent Whey Protein: $1.50

Naked Whey: $1.25

Nutricost (Vanilla flavor): $0.94

Ascent Protein seems fairly priced given that it's a relatively premium formulation. Its price is right in the middle of the pack compared with other popular protein powders we've come across.

Below is a price breakdown for Ascent Protein across different retail channels to highlight the best deals:

Ascent Whey Protein (Unflavored)

Brand website: $44.99 (plus shipping, link)

Amazon: $44.99 (free shipping, link to official Amazon listing)

Ascent Plant Protein (Chocolate, Large Bag)

Brand website: $69.99 (plus shipping, link)

Amazon: $69.99 (free shipping, link to official Amazon listing)

Ascent Protein is around 5% cheaper on Amazon than on the brand's website for a one-time purchase when factoring in shipping fees.

How to Optimize Protein Intake for Muscle Growth

A YouTube video from fitness influencer Jeff Nippard has over 6 million views and discusses the smartest way to use protein to build muscle:

Our Clean Protein Picks

Bulletproof Collagen Protein is our top overall protein powder pick, and costs only $1.32 per serving at the time of updating this article.

The main reason is its formulation: Bulletproof's protein powder only contains one single ingredient: collagen protein sourced from grass-fed animals.

As the core structural protein in skin, supplemental collagen is clinically shown to reduce visible signs of skin aging like wrinkles, which is a secondary benefit not offered by other types of protein like whey protein.

Promix Whey Protein is our top whey protein powder, and costs only $0.93 per serving at the time of updating this article when you purchase the 5 pound bag.

This brand uses grass-fed whey protein and no sweeteners or flavoring additives. Whey protein is a "complete" protein, meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids.

Complement Organic Protein is our top vegan protein powder.

The only ingredients in this protein powder are a blend of nutritious plant proteins: organic yellow pea protein, organic pumpkin seed protein, organic almond protein, organic sunflower seed protein and organic chia seed protein.

All three of the products mentioned in this section are entirely free of additive ingredients that we consider to be unhealthy or unsafe.

Real Customers Review Ascent Protein

Amazon is a better resource for honest customer reviews than a brand's website in our opinion.

Ascent Whey Protein is the brand's most-reviewed product on Amazon with over 7,000 total reviews and an average review rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars at the time of publishing this article.

The top positive review from a verified purchaser comes from a user named "KMD" who gives the product a 5/5 star rating and like its taste, quality and consistency:

"Good quality ingredients, great taste, mixes easily. Perfect protein powder. I mix it daily with milk and a banana."

The top negative review from a verified purchaser is written by a user named "Sleddogmom" who gives the product a 1/5 star rating and dislikes its taste:

"I ordered the Lemon whey protein powder and it was not good. The chemical taste was extremely overwhelming and only tasted like a distant memory of a whisper of lemon. I use a lot of whey protein powders and this was the absolute worst I've ever had."

Ascent Protein currently has an average review rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars on Facebook.

Ascent Whey Protein currently has an average review rating of 4.9 out of 5 stars on Google.

Pros and Cons of Ascent

Here are the pros and cons of Ascent Protein in our opinion:

Pros:

  • Effective protein dose for muscle building
  • No artificial flavors
  • No artificial sweeteners
  • One of the healthier vegan protein formulations we've reviewed
  • Reasonably priced
  • Highly positive online customer reviews

Cons:

  • Some formulations contain natural flavors
  • Brand fails to clearly document whether they source from pastured or conventionally-raised animals
  • Brand website charges for shipping
  • Doesn't appear clinically tested
Stay up-to-date on our research reviews

Conclusion

Ascent protein is a high-quality protein powder brand, and is better than the average protein brand that we've reviewed to date on Illuminate Health.

We recommend Ascent Plant Protein chocolate flavor from a formulation perspective, because it provides an effective protein dose for muscle building and is flavored with organic natural flavors rather than natural flavors.

We do not currently recommend any other versions of Ascent Protein Powder due to either inclusions of natural flavors or a failure to clarify whey protein sourcing.

Ascent is fairly-priced for its quality in our opinion, and has a similar per-serving price compared to other popular protein powders.

This brand has some of the most favorable average online customer review ratings of any protein brand we've reviewed to date on Illuminate Health.

At the time of publishing this article, Amazon has better prices on a one-time purchase of Ascent Protein than the brand's website when factoring in shipping fees.