Orgain Protein Powder Review: Is Vegan Protein Healthier?

Orgain Protein Powder Review: Is Vegan Protein Healthier?


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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 Protein Powder ingredients

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. 

Does Vegan Protein Powder Contain 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 our top vegan protein pick (discussed in the our recommendation section) to be an excellent option since it's tested for lead.

For omnivores, whey protein powder may be a better option than vegan protein powder due to lead content.

A YouTube creator named "Unnatural Vegan" discusses the lead content of vegan protein powders in a well-researched and engaging video for those interested:

Real User Tries Orgain

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:

Our Clean Vegan Protein Picks

Complement Organic Protein is our top unflavored vegan protein powder.

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

The brand also publishes third-party test results for label accuracy and contaminants which ensures product quality and is not common in the vegan protein market.

Interested consumers can check out Complement Organic Protein at this link to the product page on the brand's official website.

Future Kind Vanilla Flavored Protein Powder is our top flavored protein powder pick.

We typically recommend unflavored protein powder from a health perspective, but understand that some consumers strongly prefer flavored powders.

This is the healthiest flavored protein powder we've come across, because it uses organic natural flavors, which is a higher standard of ingredient safety in our opinion than natural flavors or artificial flavors based on USDA flavoring guidelines.

Interested consumers can check out Future Kind Vanilla Flavored Protein Powder at this link to the product page on the brand's official website.

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 average rating on Amazon is 4.6 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 Protein Shake ingredients

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.

Stay up-to-date on our research reviews

Conclusion

Orgain is not a brand of vegan protein powder that we would recommend. Plant-based protein powders tend to have higher lead levels than protein powders sourced from animals. For vegans and vegetarians who must consume plant-based protein powders, we would recommend Naked Nutrition pea protein powder, because it’s a complete protein and has a simple, single-ingredient formulation.

We generally recommend grass-fed whey protein over plant-based protein powders to consumers without dietary restrictions.

Both Orgain protein powder and Orgain protein shakes contain natural flavoring agents that we recommend avoiding. The protein shakes have a worse formulation in our opinion, containing added sugar and a blend of added minerals.




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