Sometimes folks reach out with good ideas, and sometimes they reach out with bad ones. This True Athlete Natural Whey Protein review is a good example of a review that occurred out of a special request on Twitter. I’m usually willing to oblige, so yesterday on my way home from work I stopped by Vitamin Shoppe and grabbed some True Athlete Whey Protein to review. I don’t have any other True Athlete flavors for comparison, but hopefully this vanilla review gives you enough information for you to make a good decision. Just like all my other protein powder reviews, I’m going to talk about more than just the flavor. Much more than just the flavor. I’ll talk formulation, packaging, and of course value. this protein is pretty cheap, and in this review I’ll be able to let you know if it’s worth a shot. It’s a very basic product, so this review won’t be terribly long, but I think it’ll be an effective snapshot of True Athlete and will tell you all you should need to know. Let’s jump right into this True Athlete Whey Protein Powder Review.
You know what? I’m going to flip this review upside down on it’s head and tell you everything I know right up front. Yeah. I’m in an adventurous mood. I’m going to stick it to the status quo. Stick it to the establishment. Just like Bernie Sanders. Lol. That guy is such a nut. But anyways. Let me tell you what I know about True Athlete. The flavor is pretty good. It’s not amazing, but it’s good enough. Keep in mind that True Athlete is actually a Vitamin Shoppe Store Brand. That means that this product was produced in MASSIVE quantities at very low cost. You are getting a relatively well-made product from True Athlete because like I said, it has the full power and resources of Vitamin Shoppe behind it. This is a company that knows how to make protein powder. After all, they sell millions of dollars worth of it every year.
Vitamin Shoppe True Athlete Natural Whey Protein Formula Grade: 8.0
From a formulation standpoint, True Athlete is pretty basic. It’s a natural, non-blend protein shake that uses natural sweeteners and natural flavors. The key macros are as follows:
Calories from Fat: 15
Total Fat: 1.5g
Sat Fat: 0.5g
Dietary Fiber: 1g
I like these macros- they are about as basic as you can get with a protein shake. Some proteins have more protein, some have less. I prefer a protein with a minimum of 18 grams of protein- and so this one fits the bill in terms of protein quantity. I do like to see 22 or higher, but 20 is adequate. True Athlete uses just one protein source and that is whey protein concentrate- not the highest quality to be honest. One thing to be aware of when discussing the formulation is that you aren’t necessarily getting a 100% non-synthetic product. Yes, it uses stevia- but it’s ‘Reb-A’ stevia, which is basically anything but a 100% natural sweetener. If you do some research you will see that ‘Reb-A’ stevia undergoes a fairly invasive de-bittering process that, by the time it is finished, is more or less as synthetic as sucralose. But honestly I’m ‘over’ the sucralose vs stevia debate. We all put worse things in our bodies than splenda (sucralose). But yeah. That’s about it on the formulation side of things. Let’s talk flavor.
Vitamin Shoppe True Athlete Natural Whey Protein Flavor Grade: 8.0
Stevia proteins are usually not my favorite, and so this one should be happy to have gotten up into the ‘B’ range on the flavor assessment from me. I bought the 23-serving tub of vanilla flavored True Athlete protein and mixed up a full shake the moment that I got home. I used my standard recipe of a scoop and a half of powder combined with a cup and half of whole milk, and some ice cubes. I also threw some spinach leaves into mine to give it a little ‘pick me up’ of greens’. My initial reaction was ‘meh’. Because the first thing that hit me was just pure coldness. I had some dental work done recently that made all my teeth feel terrible when I drink something cold. It’s super frustrating when you’re trying to shotgun a cold beer. Wait what. I meant drink a cold protein shake. Lol. But seriously every time I drink something cold now, my whole face scrunches up because of the sensitivity. Not a good time at all. but once my teeth (sort of) adjusted to things, I became a little more at peace with the flavor. The vanilla is just a standard vanilla bean, and the the sweetness level, while subtle, is pleasant. I think True Athlete is a drinkable protein, but not one that I would consider ‘delicious’. There are certainly better options out there- even if you want to stay ‘natural’. (see our recently released top ten protein list here).
True Athlete Natural Whey Protein Packaging Grade: 7.5
Booooring. That’s what I think of this packaging. Similar to the Isagenix protein powder, this one uses the same old, same old white jar with the gold lid and the boring label. I get that Vitamin Shoppe wants to reinforce the whole ‘natural’, ‘pure’, thing- but there are ways to do that without creating something that just makes you bored to death. I mean. What even are those graphics along the bottom right side? Is that the wing of an airplane? A road? Like…how is that the winning design? I can’t even imagine a group of execs sitting around a table looking at various design options and picking this one. It’s beyond comprehension. If they did one thing right on the True Athlete Protein label, it is using big, bold fonts for the product title ‘natural whey protein’. From a mile away you can tell what the product is and what it’s for. So props to Vitamin Shoppe/True Athlete on that. But just to make sure I’m ending the True Athlete protein grade on a downer of a note- where the heck is the flavor graphic? Give me a low-res, stock image of a vanilla bean stock, or something. I mean. Come on. The way it is now you have no idea what the flavor is like.
True Athlete Natural Whey Protein Review Summary
- Vitamin Shoppe True Athlete Natural Whey Protein Formula Grade: 8.0
- Vitamin Shoppe True Athlete Natural Whey Protein Flavor Grade: 8.0
- True Athlete Natural Whey Protein Packaging Grade: 7.5
- True Athlete Natural Whey Protein Value Grade: 8.8
The formula is a basic, entry-level whey. The taste is average- not great- not bad. The price-point is fair at about a dollar per serving. If you don’t feel like ordering something online and waiting, or simply don’t have the money to shell out for a premium blended protein, I think True Athlete gets the job done just fine.*
True Athlete Natural Whey Protein Final Review Score: 8.7
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