Product Review: Svelte Sustained Energy Protein DrinkAngela | July 18, 2011
Amazon Fresh is at it again, and provided me yet another interesting new product to review as part of their customer reviewer program. (Have I ever mentioned how much I love Amazon Fresh?? Oh yeah, just about every week!)
This time, the test product was an individually-packaged protein drink. I won’t lie, I was pretty skeptical about this drink going in. I usually only like to review products that I like or at least moderately like from a time-saving perspective – why waste my time writing and your time reading about something that is just so-so, or, of questionable quality or motives? However, in this case, I think it is important to debunk a little bit of what is going on under the hood of this drink, so to speak.
Svelte Sustained Energy Protein Drink
Topline: This is a convenience packaged food item marketed as “healthy” because it is a protein drink. At $2.99 per serving, its price is pretty steep (probably to pay for all that fancy packaging and ad agency cleverness).
Is it worth it? Perhaps every now and then in a pinch when there is nothing else remotely healthy and you are about to faint from low blood sugar because you forgot to pack your lunch. But in general, I’d say eat real food that will make you satiated and skip this convenient drink purporting to be healthy.
Does it Taste Good?: Yes, the French vanilla flavor tasted to me like melted French vanilla ice cream. However, because of the reliance on sugar substitutes, there is a fairly noticeable and lingering aftertaste.
Here are my main thoughts on this drink. Please note I am not a doctor, nutritionist, or any kind of expert when it comes to diets or what you should eat, so, take it with that context. I am telling you the types of things I consider when buying for me and 2Chili.
- “Sustained Energy Protein Drink?” Confusing messaging is really just marketing speak. While protein is a vital macronutrient and our bodies need it for essential function and muscle repair, as an endurance athlete (I use the term “athlete” loosely, just so we’re clear), I pretty much never reach for protein for “sustained energy.” How is this sustained energy, then? Well, there are plenty of carbs in one serving, that’s how! There are more than double the grams of carbs than protein in this drink (40 g carbs to 16 g protein). That deserves a “Whatchoo ‘Talkin’ ‘Bout, Willis?” if anything ever has!
- One serving has 260 calories and 10 grams of fat. I’m not quite sure how to classify this product. It’s certainly not a snack with that nutritional breakdown, but it’s also not a full meal.
- Misleading sugar profile. While the label only reflects 9 grams of sugar (and that is hyped on the package), there are a mysterious 23 grams of carbs simply labeled “Other Carbohydrate.” This is because the drink is sweetened with Stevia and erythritol (a sugar alcohol), which do not appear as true sugar in lab testing. What do you think those other carbs are? I’ll give you a hint: Sweetener.
- The main protein source is soy. Unlike some really smart folks, I don’t really know enough about soy to have much of a beef with it. But, I am confused on how 16 grams of soy protein can add up to 260 calories (well, I’m not really confused – it’s in the sugar). For comparison, one scoop of Spirutein soy protein powder has 14 grams of protein and 99 calories. Or, a scoop of a quality whey protein like Jay Robb has 110 calories and 25 grams of protein. That’s a lot of wiggle room to add fruit or other nutrition and have a much healthier DIY smoothie before you get to 260 calories.
I have highlighted all the sugar in here to make it easier to spot:
French Vanilla ingredients: Organic soymilk (filtered water, organic soybeans), organic rice syrup solids, erythritol, organic inulin, organic dried cane syrup, natural vegan flavors, vitamin and mineral blend (Vitamin A palmitate, Vitamin D2, Vitamin B12, Vitamin E, Vitamin B2, calcium carbonate, zinc), organic gum acacia, organic guar gum, xanthan gum, sea salt, REB A (stevia extract, a natural sweetener), organic vanilla extract
- Tastes Good
- Has some added fiber in the form of inulin
- Decent source of calcium
- Expensive ($2.99 for 15.9 ounces)
- Relatively high in calories and fat
- Long list of ingredients, including sugar substitutes – four different types of sweetener! For a product that advertises to be “low sugar” and “low glycemic index,” four sweeteners seems a little odd, don’tcha think?
- Added fiber is all the rage right now – fruits and veggies are a much more logical source of natural dietary fiber.
The Verdict: This drink strikes me that it’s probably marketed at the gym-set male demographic with a little expendable income who are looking for every opportunity to knock back some protein. And, it will probably succeed well in that demo. I wish I could say I thought it was worthwhile, but I honestly and truly don’t based on its overall nutritional profile, cost, and reliance on sweetener.
Have I gotten it all wrong? Let me know what you think if you’ve tried this product!