Protein is an essential tool for any athlete looking to build muscle to outshine the competition. It’s the building block needed to repair muscle tissue and help you grow in strength, size, and help improve your endurance. That being said, the supplement world is a bit of an unregulated mess filled with a staggering number of products, even if you only look at protein supplements. Add to that the fact that most protein comes from whey which is a milk byproduct that contains lactose and the fact that 65% of the human population is lactose intolerant and you get a pretty difficult landscape to navigate.
I, myself, am lactose intolerant, and to add insult to injury, I also have IBS and don’t respond well to sucralose (unless your idea of “responds well” is doubling over in agony as your gastrointestinal system protests with cramping and diarrhea for about 6-8 hours). This meant I was forced to look for alternatives, and I didn’t like what I found in terms of the overall number of products, their quality, and the quality of the reviews on these products. In an effort to dispell rumors and conjecture (to a degree) I’ve decided to start doing protein reviews! So, without further ado, let’s start the party with the ATP Labs Swedish Beef Protein – Protein Review!
When it comes to protein supplements, many of us have gotten used to the “stick it in the shaker cup, shake, then drink it and go about your business” approach. It’s convenient and one of the reasons this form of supplementation is so attractive. When I saw reviews of this and people were claiming that it mixed well and they were happy with it, I had hope. Hell, even the nice girl at Popeye’s said it mixed well. She gave me light warnings but nothing enough to make me think it would be problematic. I just believed her. I shouldn’t have.
The mixability of this product is…well…terrible. My first attempt was to just put it in a shaker cup and shake it like I’m listening to OutKast’s Hey Ya! The result was a layer of lightly brown-tinted milk and a layer of unmixed globs of protein floating above the brownish milk. That day, I basically just ate the protein off the top and drank the milk. The texture was…not the best. The second day, I approached the situation with a whisk ball to see if that would change the outcome. Not even a little bit.
Next, I tried to mix it in a blender, and it succeeded…but the next day the protein had sort of congealed into a sort of jello / pudding mass in my cup. See, I like to mix my protein shakes the night before, then drink them when I finish my workout the next morning. This is partly because of convenience, partly because I like my drinks ice cold, and partly because I don’t like drinking froth and the time overnight lets the froth settle so I can just drink liquid. Clearly that approach with their measurements for liquid to powder was a problem, so I experimented until I found a ratio that worked: 500 ml milk, 1 scoop of protein.
TL;DR this stuff mixes horribly.
Choc – 8.5/10 Strawb – 5/10
I’ll start with the strawberry if you don’t mind. As some of you might know from my post about how to choose a protein powder that’s right for you, I’m not a fan of synthesized berry flavours. That being said, I was picking up 2 containers of protein that day (hooray for sales!) and decided I might want a flavour to break up the chocolate taste. The flavor isn’t great, if I’m honest. It has that fake almost medicine-like taste to it that comes with the fake berry territory and doesn’t enhance the flavor of natural strawberries. All in all, though not inedible, it’s not really that pleasant of a flavor as far as I’m concerned.
One area that this product does shine across both flavours is the lack of beef taste. I was concerned about the taste of beef lingering in the background or foreground after going through a 5 lb tub of Naked Pea protein that tasted ABSOLUTELY HORRENDOUS! I can’t stress that enough, the pea taste just smacks you in the face no matter what flavour you try to use to or how much of it you use to cover it up. That being said, there was none of that in either flavor of this protein powder that I used so that’s a huge plus.
The real star is the chocolate. The flavour you’ll get is like real natural cacao powder, which is thanks to the excellent and simple choice of ingredients. The stevia isn’t overdone so the flavor isn’t overly sweet and it ends up tasting like a cup of chocolate milk. I was seriously impressed here and very few proteins have ever tasted better in my opinion.
Nutrient Profile 9/10
Time to get scientific! The nutrient profile is actually pretty good in this protein. Each serving (1 scoop) is 30 grams and in it you’ll get 24 grams of protein which means the scoop is 80% protein, which is pretty good! Other than protein, the rest of the nutrients compose about 5.628 g of the scoop and the rest are leftovers like the cacao powder and the stevia so I think it’s a pretty clean protein overall. Not a lot of fillers and a good amount of what you’re looking for. Also, since it’s derived from beef, the amino acid content is good, too. Take a look at the picture and see for yourself. Not many other proteins boast this kind of a profile. Overall, it does quite well in this category!
This is another area where this product suffers. Usually, here in the land of maple leafs and igloos, when you shell out $80, you get about a 5 lb tub of protein, and that’s if the provider doesn’t have one of those exclusive 6.5 lb tubs for the same price which is ALWAYS welcome. Here, you’ll pay that same price, and get about half, 2.2 lbs. This is a bit underwhelming, but I guess you have to pay the price for a clean source of protein that isn’t the typical whey powder you see everywhere.
Overall Score 5.7/10
This protein has a lot of potential, but they need to change a few things before it can get bumped up. I originally wanted to bump it to 6/10 to reflect how I feel about the Swedish beef protein, but fair is fair (I averaged out the flavour score between the 2 flavours FYI) and 5.7 is what they get. Maybe with a better price point this can be revisited but until then I’d say it’s a great alternative to whey, but a bit pricey and lackluster if you go for the strawberry…though that last bit is purely subjective.
So what do you think of ATP Lab’s Swedish Beef Protein? What protein would you like me to review in the future? Let me know in the comments and remember, it doesn’t matter what you lift, why you lift does! 😀