Gainful Protein Review: Does "Personalized" Protein Work?

Gainful Protein Review: Does "Personalized" Protein Work?


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Gainful Protein is a personalized protein and supplement brand. The company claims that users can "customize...products, flavors and ingredients to ensure your products work for you."

But is personalized protein more effective than regular protein, or is this just a marketing claim? What's actually in Gainful and how is it personalized? How does the cost compare to other protein powder brands? And how do real users rate and describe the effects of Gainful Protein?

In this article we'll answer all of these questions and more, as we share our thoughts on whether or not Gainful is likely to be more effective (or safe) than regular protein powder.

We'll analyze the ingredients in Gainful Protein based on clinical trials to give our take on whether or not it's healthy, compare the cost to other popular protein brands, and feature unsponsored Gainful customer reviews.

What's Actually in Gainful?

Gainful weight loss protein powder ingredients

The ingredients in Gainful's weight loss protein powder are shown above.

Gainful currently sells four protein bases (Whey, Plant, Low Lactose and Ketogenic). The brand sells three protein "Goal Boosts" (Lose Weight, Gain Weight, Build Muscle).

Green tea extract is the only ingredient in Gainful's weight loss protein powder that we can find research backing for in regard to weight loss.

High dose green tea extract (856.8 milligrams per day) was shown to cause 2.43 pounds of weight loss after 12 weeks in a clinical trial published in the Clinical Nutrition journal.

But while green tea extract appears to be effective for weight loss, it comes with some potential safety concerns.

As we documented in our review of another supplement brand called Arbonne, green tea extract has been shown to cause liver injury in some consumers, which makes its dosing a safety consideration, and Gainful fails to publish the dose of green tea extract in their protein powder ingredient list as shown above.

But is "personalized" protein better than traditional protein for muscle building? We'll share our thoughts in the next section of this article.

Is "Personalized" Protein More Effective?

We consider "personalized" protein powder to be more of a marketing play than a scientific consideration.

Consider that the weight loss and the weight gain formulations sold by Gainful have the exact same amount of calories.

We would expect the weight gain formulation to have more calories, since gaining weight is a simple, thermodynamic process that involves consuming more calories than are expended. 

Another thing we find to be confusing about Gainful's "personalized" formulations is that the "Build Muscle" protein powder has a lower protein dose than the weight gain or the weight loss formulations.

Given that higher levels of dietary protein intake are clinically shown to enhance muscle building in athletes, we would expect the "Build Muscle" formulation to have the highest protein dose of the three formulations.

We can't find any clinical evidence, published by Gainful or elsewhere, suggesting that their unique formulation approach is more effective than regular protein powder for muscle building or recovery.

But is Gainful overpriced compared to the competition? We'll provide a cost comparison in the next section of this article.

Is Gainful Overpriced?

Protein is sold at a wide range of per-serving doses and total serving sizes, so as a value to consumers, we'll provide a price comparison between Gainful and other popular protein brands per-20-grams-protein below:

Gainful: $2.92

Orgain: $1.22

Optimum Nutrition: $0.84

Body Fortress: $0.81

We consider Gainful to be overpriced, because as shown above, it's more than twice the per-gram protein price compared to other popular protein powder brands, and we can't identify any evidence that Gainful is more effective.

For consumers planning to purchase Gainful protein powder, it's cheaper at Target than on the brand's website.

Target currently sells Gainful unflavored whey protein for under $2 per serving, which is around 30% cheaper than from the brand's website.

Real People Try Gainful

A TikTok creator named "choosejaclyn" shares her experience taking Gainful:

@choosejaclyn Honest review #protein #gainful #gainfulprotein ♬ original sound - Choosejaclyn

YouTube creators named "The Supplement Reviewers" tried every flavor of Gainful:

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 Gainful

We typically prefer Amazon reviews to reviews from a brand's website because we consider the former more likely to be unbiased.

However, Gainful isn't currently sold on Amazon so we'll analyze reviews from the brand's website.

Gainful protein powder has been reviewed over 2,000 times with an average review rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

The top positive review comes from a user named "Dawnelise A." who gives the product a 5/5 star rating and likes the taste:

"I absolutely love this protein drink I think it's one of the best flavored protein drinks I've ever tried. The Madagascar vanilla is my favorite."

The top negative review is written by a user named "Tirana K." who gives the product a 1/5 star rating and claims it caused side effects:

"Bloats me and makes me nauseous after an hour."

Gainful currently has an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars on Facebook.

Gainful Whey Protein Powder currently has an average review rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars on Google.

Pros and Cons of Gainful

Here are the pros and cons of Gainful protein powder in our opinion:

Pros:

  • Effective protein dose
  • Options based on dietary restrictions
  • Options based on flavor
  • Fun product experience

Cons:

  • Weight loss formulation contains green tea extract
  • Green tea extract dose is not published in ingredients list
  • Very expensive per-gram-protein
  • We can't find evidence that "personalized" protein is better than regular
  • Weight loss and weight gain formulations contain same calories
Stay up-to-date on our research reviews

Conclusion

Gainful is one of a number of personalized health brands that have exploded in popularity recently.

While there are some benefits to personalized nutrition such as convenience of avoiding specific allergens, we're unconvinced that personalized protein powder is more likely to be effective than traditional protein powder for muscle building.

We're also confused that the weight loss and the weight gain base formulations contain the same calorie count, given that calories are arguably the most important criteria for weight loss or weight gain.

Gainful costs significantly more per-gram-protein than other popular protein powders that we reviewed in this article.

Target currently has a better price on Gainful than the brand's website.

Gainful's weight loss formulation contains green tea extract which is clinically shown to cause weight loss, but which we consider to be a questionable ingredient from a safety perspective given that it can cause liver injury at high doses in rare cases.