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How to Spot a Crappy Plant Protein Powder

Here are 3 clues to tell if you’re plant protein powder is a concentrate (bad) or an isolate (good).

One of the biggest problems with most plant protein powders is that they use cheap protein concentrates instead of protein isolates.

Why Plant Protein Concentrates Suck

Why are concentrates a problem? Because with protein concentrates, you’re only getting 75% to 80% protein (at most) per scoop – the rest is just carbs and fat. So essentially, you’re paying for protein but are getting short-changed by also getting a bunch of carbs and fat you don’t want.

Here’s another problem with plant protein concentrates: They don’t taste as good as protein isolates! They have that gritty, earthy, almost dirty taste to them. Do you want a protein powder that tastes like crap and that you can’t mix with any other foods (like a banana in a smoothie) because it makes them taste like crap too? I sure as hell don’t!

Why Your Plant Protein Powder Should be Isolates Only

Now let’s talk about plant protein isolates. First of all, you’re not getting skimped on protein content – you’re getting around 90% protein per scoop, which also means considerably less carbs and fat.

And the taste – a plant protein powder that uses only isolates is going to taste far better than the one using concentrates. Instead of gritty and earthy and dirty, you actually have a protein shake that’s smooth, creamy, and actually tastes like the flavor it should (ie, chocolate).

Why Plant JYM is the Best Plant Protein Powder

Truth is, a vast majority of plant protein powders are still using protein concentrates. But my plant-based protein powder – Plant JYM – does not. Plant JYM uses only pea and rice protein isolates. That’s it! Two types of plant proteins, and both are isolates. I don’t use protein concentrates in any of my protein powders.

How to tell if your plant protein powder uses protein concentrates

Want to know what type of protein is in a given plant protein powder – isolates or concentrates? Look at the Supplement Facts panel and that will give you some strong clues.

I wish all product labels gave more than just clues, but unfortunately, plant protein powders that use concentrates don’t just list “Protein Concentrate” on the label. For full transparency they should, but they don’t.

Look at my label. Go to the “Ingredients” list. What’s the first thing you see? “Plant Protein Blend (Pea Protein Isolate, Rice Protein Isolate).” You know Plant JYM uses isolates instead of concentrates because it says it right there on the label: Isolate. Mentioned twice – once for pea, once for rice

Now, go look at the Ingredients list of another plant protein powder. Does it just say “Pea Protein,” or maybe “Organic Pea Protein”? It probably lists a bunch of other plant protein sources, too, like sunflower seed protein, pumpkin seed protein, navy bean protein, maybe some fruit proteins like cranberry. But does it say “isolate” anywhere on the label? If it doesn’t (and it probably doesn’t), that means the proteins in that product are most likely concentrates.

Bottom line: If it lists the plant protein source but doesn’t specify concentrate or isolate, you can bet it’s a concentrate.

And how does that plant protein powder that doesn’t say “isolates” anywhere on the label taste? Probably not good. That’s another clue that you’re drinking protein concentrates.

How does Plant JYM taste? Amazing! Smooth, creamy, delicious – a lot like Pro JYM! Why? In part because it uses only plant protein isolates, and no concentrates.

Comparing “Leading” Plant Protein Brands

Here’s another clue to determine if your plant protein powder is made up of concentrates or isolates: Look at the carbs and fat. If it’s a concentrate, the carbs will be higher than if it’s an isolate. The fat may be higher, too.

Let me show you. I’ll compare the supplement (nutrition) facts of Plant JYM to two other leading plant protein powder brands. I won’t name any names, but if you’ve ever shopped for plant protein powders, I guarantee you’re familiar with at least one of these brands, if not both.

 

Plant JYM (Chocolate Hazelnut)

Serving Size: 38g (1 scoop)

Calories: 140

Total Fat: 2.5g

Total Carbohydrate: 5g

Protein: 24g

 

Plant Protein Powder Comparison #1

Serving Size: 38g (1 scoop)

Calories: 150

Total Fat: 5g

Total Carbohydrate: 8g

Protein: 20g

 

Plant Protein Powder Comparison #2

Serving Size: 39g (2 scoops)

Calories: 170

Total Fat: 6g

Total Carbohydrate: 9g

Protein: 20g

 

*One other fact to mention: Neither Plant Protein Powder Comparison #1 nor #2 has “isolate” listed under “Ingredients.”

*And here’s another fact: Both of the comparison plant protein powders are more expensive than Plant JYM!

 

Crunching the Numbers on Plant Protein Powders

So, look closely at the comparisons. Remember what I said earlier about concentrates having less protein and more carbs and fat than isolates? Look at #1 and #2 above. Same serving sizes, but both of them have 20% fewer grams of protein than Plant JYM (20g versus 24g), twice as much fat, and twice as many carbs! (And as a result, more calories to go along with less protein!)

I said concentrates are usually only 75%-80% protein, while isolates are around 90%. These comparisons bear that out.

Also, I’ve tasted at least one of the comparison plant protein powders, and it didn’t taste good. Nowhere near as delicious and smooth as Plant JYM. I would be curious to try the other comparison, but with those macros, no thanks!

Each of the two comparison products has three “red flags” pointing toward it being a concentrate: (1) “Isolate” appearing nowhere on the product label; (2) considerably higher carbs and fat, and less protein, than Plant JYM at an equal serving size; and (3) the typical gritty, earthy taste you get with a vast majority of plant protein powders.

Jim’s Take-Home on Plant Protein Concentrates and Isolates

Don’t settle for plant protein concentrates. You can do better. Plant protein isolates (like the pea and rice found in Plant JYM) have more protein, fewer grams of carbs and fat, and taste way better than concentrates.

Now you know how to spot a concentrate. How do you spot an isolate? In the case of Plant JYM, it just says “Isolate” right there on the label!

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