Orgain is one of the most popular protein powder brands, especially for vegetarians and vegans, as the brand is one of the premier plant-based protein brands.
The brand sells a variety of protein powders, but we’ll be reviewing their Creamy Chocolate Fudge flavor which is their most popular according to Amazon. All of the brand’s organic plant-based protein powders have very similar formulations, so our comments stand for all flavors.
In this article we’ll review both the protein dosage and the ingredients in Orgain protein powder based on medical research to give our take on whether the brand is an effective and healthy choice. We’ll also discuss whether plant-based protein powders are a good idea generally.
Orgain Protein Powder Ingredient Review
Orgain contains a surprisingly large number of ingredients for a protein powder. Many protein powders we review on Illuminate Health have one single active ingredient.
This protein powder provides 21 grams (g) of protein per serving, which is an effective dose for building muscle. A medical review on dietary protein established the effective range to be at or above 20 g per serving for maximizing muscle protein synthesis.
From a nutritional standpoint, we have no issue with the blend of organic pea protein, organic brown rice protein and organic chia seed for the protein blend. However, brown rice protein is not a “complete protein” as it lacks all nine essential amino acids that need to be acquired from diet.
We typically recommend supplementing with protein powders that are complete protein sources.
The “Organic Creamer Base” is decently formulated, containing ingredients like organic acacia which is an effective prebiotic and thickening agent. However, in our opinion a lot of these filler ingredients are somewhat unnecessary. We don’t believe that consumers have a need for additional dietary fats in the form of high oleic sunflower oil or refined, filler carbohydrates like rice dextrin.
This formulation also contains natural flavor which is an ingredient that we recommend consumers avoid. A medical review published in the Environmental Health Perspectives journal documented toxicity concerns with some flavoring agents. We don’t believe there is any need for this ingredient in protein powder.
Orgain Creamy Chocolate Fudge protein powder is sweetened with erythritol and stevia extract which we consider to be healthier choices than added sugar, but we recommend avoiding sweeteners generally.
Overall we consider this to be a decent formulation but we don’t recommend it due to the inclusion of natural flavor and a variety of filler ingredients we consider unnecessary for a protein powder formulation. The product is also relatively expensive per gram of protein which we’ll discuss below.
Our Vegan Protein Powder Recommendation
We recommend Naked Nutrition Pea Protein Powder as our top vegan protein powder choice. This product contains only one ingredient: yellow pea protein. There are no questionable additive ingredients. We consider this to be a simpler and cleaner formulation than the vast majority of vegan protein powders on the market.
Pea protein is a complete protein as discussed in the previous section, and Naked Nutrition Pea Protein Powder provides 27 g protein per serving, which is an effective dose.
The cost of Orgain Creamy Chocolate Fudge protein powder at the time of writing this article is $33.99 and the product contains 420 g total protein, which equates to a cost of $0.08 per gram protein.
The cost of Naked Nutrition Pea Protein Powder is $57.99 and the product contains 2,052 g total protein, which equates to a cost of $0.03 per gram protein, or more than twice as cheap as Orgain.
Interested consumers can buy Naked Nutrition Pea Protein Powder at this link.
Is Plant-Based Protein Powder Higher in Lead?
A non-profit organization called the Clean Label Project published a landmark study in 2018 which analyzed contaminant data from 138 off-the-shelf protein powders. The organization reported that plant-based protein powders had higher lead levels than protein powder sourced from animals.
We understand that some consumers are vegan or vegetarian for ethical reasons, and for those consumers we consider Naked Nutrition Pea Protein powder to be an excellent choice.
However, for consumers choosing vegan protein powder for health reasons, we would suggest they reconsider in light of this information. Whey protein powder sourced from pastured animals may contain lower lead levels.
Naked Nutrition sells a whey protein powder product that has one single ingredient: whey protein sourced from grass-fed animals. This is the protein powder product we typically recommend for consumers without dietary restrictions. Interested consumers can check it out at this link.
Orgain Protein Powder Real User Review
One of the most popular reviews of Orgain protein powder on YouTube is published by a channel called “TheProteinFreak.” The creator shares their thoughts on the taste of the product as well as some usability issues:
Orgain Protein Powder Amazon Reviews
Orgain Protein Powder Chocolate Fudge flavor has been reviewed over 50,000 times at the time of writing this article, which is an impressive amount. The product only scores a “D” grade on FakeSpot which is a software tool that detects potentially fraudulent Amazon reviews.
The average rating on Amazon is 4.6 out of 5 stars, but FakeSpot’s adjusted rating is 2.5 out of 5 stars.
The top positive review of this protein powder from a verified purchaser comes from a user named “Danny A. Escalante” who claims that the product is a healthy option for consumers with food allergies:
“While it doesn't contain as much protein per scoop as other competitors, it offers a great choice for those who are like me and have severe food allergies, but still want their protein. A good product that has the potential to be great”
The top negative review from a verified purchaser is written by a user named “Amanda Grey” who is concerned about some of the additive ingredients:
“‘Natural Flavors’ is not freaking organic or healthy or RIGHT! Why does it even need, natural flavoring??? Aren't the ingredients they are using quality and healthy??? Shouldn't they actually taste good as is and not need a chemically produced Sugar Additive called Erythritol”
Orgain Protein Shake Review
Orgain also sells a protein shake that we consider to have a worse formulation than their protein powder. While it does provide an effective protein dose (20 g), it also contains several ingredients we recommend avoiding.
First, the product has natural flavors added which we recommend avoiding as described in previous sections.
Orgain Protein Shake also contains added minerals such as tricalcium phosphate and magnesium phosphate. We recommend avoiding health products containing added vitamins or minerals, because it seems illogical to take supplemental vitamins and minerals without a deficiency in those vitamins or minerals.
A medical review published in the Clinical Interventions in Aging journal found that supplemental calcium may increase the risk of heart disease in some patients.
This shake contains 3 g added sugar in the form of organic agave. While this is likely a healthier option than table sugar, we recommend avoiding added sugar, especially in the context of health food formulations.
It also contains many ingredients like sunflower oil and vegetable glycerin that just seem unnecessary for a simple protein shake formulation.
We do not recommend this product.