The quest for the perfect protein supplement goes back decades. First, among the truly hard-core strength athletes were desiccated liver. Really? And, who can forget Rocky Balboa’s raw egg yolk shakes? Things became a little saner with those who drank good old chocolate milk as their post-workout protein of choice. (A trend the dairy industry is currently trying to revive with television commercials). In fact today we have a plethora of options for our protein fix; whey concentrate, whey isolate, grass-fed whey, casein, and plant-based powders and protein bars.
Plant-based proteins can be found in many proteins, like Flow Supplements Protein Plus, and is the fastest-growing segment of protein supplements, projected to reach $7.38 billion globally by 2025. Plant-based has been stealing share from whey, which is found in other protein supplements like Ghost Whey Protein, and other dairy sources for years and is expected to represent a full one-third of all protein supplement sales. As a result, this growth has been fueled by an ever-increasing demand for vegan sources of protein.
One of the pioneers in plant-based proteins is a company named Orgain Clean Nutrition. In this review, we’ll explain the inspiration for the organic, non-GMO, and plant-based products. In brief, we will also:
- Detail the varieties offered
- Review the benefits of plant-based proteins
- Discuss consumer’s reviews
- Identify potential side effects
- Illustrate where you can access the products
- Provide pricing details
And, finally, we will assign our rating of the products efficacy and value.
What is Orgain?
Perhaps a better question to begin this review is, who developed Orgain, and why? The founder and CEO of Orgain are Dr. Andrew Abraham. In his teens, Andre was diagnosed with an aggressive form of tissue cancer. Post-surgery, his medical team recommended protein shakes as a means of returning to his normal weight. Moreover, the recommended dairy-based products did not work for Andrew. Seeking a better solution, Andrew and his Mother began blending homemade shakes using only whole organic ingredients.
Years later, now Dr. Abraham, created Orgain, based on the recipes he and his Mother used during his recovery. The patient turned Doctor, turned Entrepreneur.
Initially formulated as a protein powder supplement and RTD (Ready to Drink) Orgain has since dramatically expanded its offering to include:
- Protein Powders
- Protein RTDs
- Protein Bars
- Kid’s Protein RTDs and Bars
- Superfood Powder
- Grass-Fed Pasture Raised Collagen Peptides
- Grass-Fed Whey Protein
- Organic Meal Powder
For this review, we will focus on plant-based protein powder and RTDs. Although we acknowledge the health benefits of grass-fed cattle, we find it just a bit contradictory that Orgain is now using dairy products.
Key Ingredients in Orgain Protein Powders & RTDs
Orgain’s protein products are soy-free, gluten-free, non-GMO, and free of artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives, and certified organic. Basically, the powder delivers approximately 21 grams of 100% vegan protein, with zero sugars, 7 grams of fiber, and only 150 calories. The RTD delivers the same nutritional. Above all Both products contain 5 grams of Fat, and Erythritol, sugar alcohol.
Powder, key ingredients:
Organic Protein Blend ™ (Organic Pea Protein, Organic Brown Rice Protein, Organic Chia Seed), Orgain Organic Creamer Base ™, Organic Erythritol, Organic Stevia, natural flavors, and sweeteners.
Filtered Water, Organic Pea Protein, Organic Erythritol, Organic Stevia, natural flavors, and sweeteners.
For the powder, the company recommends a two-scoop dose, 46 grams, delivering 21 grams of protein and 150 calories. In other words, RTD is a 14-ounce single-serve container also providing 21 grams of vegan protein and 150 calories.
Nutritional Benefits of Orgain Products
As an overview, plant-based proteins tend to have fewer calories, and less fat than animal proteins yet are higher in fiber and other nutrients. Additional benefits specific to Orgain’s protein powder and RTDs:
- No Added Sugars
- Soy Free
- Certified USDA Organic
How Do Orgain Products Perform – the Claims versus the Reality
Amazon has nearly 6,000 consumer reviews of this product with about 60% giving it five stars. People will cite reduced cravings for sweets, weight loss, and improved energy after taking the product.
Although the negative reviews almost universally mentioned poor taste, most likely due to the Stevia (bitter) and Erythritol, and problems with digesting the product; nausea, bloating, etc and this again is most likely attributable to the Erythritol.
Although there is no amino acid profile on the packaging, we’re pretty sure that the combination of pea, brown rice, chia, and hemp provides all the essential amino acids.
Especially, for those who grew up using a whey protein, plant-based products can take some time to become accustomed to. And, very common in the plant-based industry the vanilla flavor, always number one or two in sales rankings is typically green in color. We guess green is the new vanilla.
Orgain normally receives high grades for creaminess due to its “Organic Creamer Base.” For those still not satisfied with the texture, we recommend almond or coconut milk instead of water.
Potential Side Effects of Orgain Products
You’ll note we called out the Organic Erythritol as a key ingredient. Erythritol is a sugar alcohol. You’ll find it in many bars where the manufacturer is playing the net carb game.
In addition, sugar alcohols are a type of carbohydrate. They have named sugar alcohols due to their chemical structure, part of which is similar to sugar, and the other part similar to alcohol. They occur naturally in certain fruits and plants yet can also be manufactured. Moreover, it is not calorie or carbohydrate-free but is used to reduce the caloric intake of sugar in a variety of products.
The downside to sugar alcohols is that they are not digested well universally. They are known to promote side effects such as indigestion, bloating, nausea, intestinal gas, and stomach rumbling.
Best Places to Buy
Orgain has been in business for over ten years and has built a solid base of distribution both online and in brick and mortar stores. Whether you shop in a grocery store, mass merchandiser (Walmart or Target), Chain Drug (Walgreens and CVS), or specialty store (Sprouts and Whole Foods) or (GNC and Vitamin Shoppe) you will find Orgain products.
Most e-tailers, such as Amazon, will also carry a full assortment of Orgain.
Many of those who reviewed the Orgain products cited price as influencing their decision. The Orgain products are priced below many of the other popular vegan proteins such as Garden of Life, Sequel Vega, and SunWarrior. On a price per ounce basis, Orgain is about one-third less than the other brands.
Orgain Organic Protein Powder, 2 lb. container, $29.99
Orgain Vegan Protein, RTD, 11 oz. $349
Orgain is an experienced manufacturer in the vegan, plant-based space and has built a considerable business over the past decade. Products are manufactured in a cGMP facility and are very clean; vegan, kosher, gluten-free, non-GMO, and certified organic. Hence we recommend you start small to determine if the taste suits your palate. Additionally, If so, we think you have found a cost-effective method to supplement your vegan protein requirements.