|Part 1 | Part 2|
In Part I of this article we looked at the inception of Meal Replacement Shakes into the sports supplement industry starting with Met-Rx in the mid 1990's. As knowledge of sports nutrition continues to grow with each year it only makes sense that nutritional supplements would also grow.
Enter the "Next Generation of Meal Replacement Shakes"
So what does it take to be considered a Next Generation MRP? A blend of different proteins, "healthy" fats, and low carbohydrates (5-15g). The addition of some fiber would be nice too but hardly any companies are adding this to their products.
Previously I reviewed two very similar products: MuscleMilk by CytoSport & Max Milk by EAS. This time I am going to look at:
Let's get started.
True Mass By BSN:
Flavors: Chocolate Milk Shake, Strawberry Milk Shake,
Vanilla Ice Cream
Servings Per Container: 18
True Mass doesn't fit into this category as well as the other products that I have reviewed but since it is a relatively new product and tons of people seem to love BSN I thought I would give it a more in-depth look.
Putting on muscle requires tons of calories. Many people have trouble sitting down and consuming 500-700 calories in one sitting and then repeating this 6-7 times a day. The upside to True Mass is that it contains 626 calories per serving. This is a serious dose of energy!
Unlike many "mass gainers" of old True Mass contains a blend of some higher quality proteins. The protein found in the largest amount is whey concentrate (not the best but that's okay) that is "rich in alpha-lactalbumin" (nice). This is followed up by a higher quality whey isolate containing whey isolate fractions.
Why should you care about the protein peptide fractions? Because they are absorbed faster than unfractionated proteins. This will give you slow and fast digestion of amino acids allowing your blood amino acid levels to be elevated longer. The longer your blood amino acids levels are elevated the longer protein synthesis will be cranking. And isn't that what we all want?
Other proteins found in True Mass are calcium and micellar casein. However, these are at the end of the list so I'm not sure how much you will actually be getting. The protein blend is rounded out with glutamine peptides and branched chain amino acids (these too will get into your blood stream pretty quick).
Looking at the fat content of True Mass - it contains sunflower oil (more on that later) and medium chain triglycerides (MCT's). I discussed the benefits of MCT's in part one of this article series.
Unfortunately True Mass fails where all "mass gainer" products fail - poor carbohydrate choices. True Mass contains 75 grams of carbohydrates with most of that coming from maltodextrin (ugh). In the fiber category it contains a dismal 5 grams. Since I believe there is no such thing as "bad" food I think that there can be a place for True Mass in ones diet regardless of the less than optimal carbohydrate choices (more on that later too).
The other component of True Mass that I believe could be improved on is the fatty acids composition. The main fat source in True Mass is sunflower oil. Sunflower oil is predominantly (71%) made of omega-6 fatty acids. As I've mentions previously as Americans we get enough omega-6 fats and would benefit more from the addition of omega-3 or monounsaturated fats.
So let's say you love BSN products, you love the taste of True Mass, and you need extra calories in your diet. How can True Mass fit in?
I would recommend having True Mass as the first meal 45-60 minutes after your workout nutrition. During this time period your body's glucose sensitivity is extremely high so hopefully all the maltodextrin will get put to good use aiding in your body's recovery process and not being packed away in fat cells for a rainy day.
Infusion by S.A.N.
Flavors: Chocolate Peanut Butter, Cinnamon Oatmeal,
Vanilla Caramel, Wild berry Yogurt
Servings Per Container: 15
Infusion has the best nutrient profile of all the products that I have reviewed. I don't know why more people don't use this supplement. The tag line for Infusion is "Nutrition so Powerful You Know You are On Something!" I don't think it is THAT good, but it still is a great product.
Let's start with the protein content. Infusion contains more whey protein isolate (WPI) than whey protein concentrate (WPC). As we discussed before WPI is a more pure form of whey than WPC. The rest of the proteins found in Infusion are very similar to MuscleMilk; micellar casein, alpha-lactalbumin, colostrums, and glutamine peptides. All around a great protein blend.
The fatty acids blend in Infusion contains CLA, Flax, MCT, and unfortunately Sunflower Oil. 3 out of 4 is pretty good though! Infusion contains 11 grams of carbohydrates, similar to other products in the category. However, S.A.N. is the industry leader in this New Generation of MRP's in the carbohydrates section because Infusion contains SIX GRAMS OF FIBER!
Finally, a product with a healthy dose of fiber. The icing on the cake is that the fiber found in Infusion comes from oats. Oats are a great source of the so-called "super fiber" beta-glucan.
The bells and whistles that round out Infusion are leucine, phenylalanine (2 of the branched chain amino acids), and the probiotics acidophilus and bifidus. I won't go into details about probiotics, their benefits, and what you need to know about shopping for them because that is a topic for another article. However, the addition of probiotics to the Infusion formula is definitely a plus.
Their claim that the product is "Nutrition so Powerful You Know You are On Something!"
Infusion is my personal favorite of the group. Fiber, a great protein blend, healthy fats - Solid all around.
Muscle XGF By AST Sports Science:
Flavors: Chocolate, Vanilla
Servings Per Container: 16
This is the newest product by AST Sports Science. Although it is marketed as a lean mass weight gainer, it fits perfectly in with my "Next Generation of MRP" heading.
- Calcium caseinate protein
- Milk protein concentrate
- Whey protein concentrate
- Whey protein isolate
- Hydrolyzed whey protein
- Glutamine peptides
- Lactoferrin protein
Starting with the protein content - Muscle XGF contains AST's new 8 stage protein/amino acid blend. Even though it is called MyoGen-8 there are 10 different proteins/amino acids in the formula.
They are (in order):
MyoGen-8 gives the user a blend of fast and slow digesting proteins (this is what you want).
The fats found in Muscle XGF are sunflower, canola oil, flaxseed oil, and CLA. As I've commented on before, I'm not a huge fan of sunflower oil. Canola oil contains both omega-6 and omega-3 (mostly omega-6 though). The amounts of flaxseed and CLA are most likely minimal otherwise I'm sure AST would list their amounts. Muscle XGF does contain 3 grams of creatine and 1 gram of leucine. These are two solid additions to the product!
While AST has put together a solid protein blend the protein quality is something that could be improved on. The leading 3 ingredients are calcium caseinate and two protein concentrates. Protein concentrates are lower in purity when compared to protein isolates.
Another aspect that sticks out is the lack of micellar casein (although it might be present in the milk protein concentrate). Maybe it was cost prohibitive to include it but this is a high quality protein that consumers are becoming accustomed seeing.
The lack of fiber is another downside to Muscle XGF but this is something that most companies fail to put in their formulas.
While Muscle XGF may contain protein concentrates it still has a solid protein blend and healthy doses of creatine and leucine. Creatine and Leucine are often added to products but not in high enough quantities to make a real difference. AST definitely went against the grain including 3 grams of creatine and an additional 1 gram of Leucine in Muscle XGF.
As you can see this new generation of meal replacement shakes is much different that the original products produced by Met-Rx. While these products are an improvement on the original meal replacement shakes they should not be a substitute to a good whole food based nutritional regimen.
Each of the products I reviewed has its positives and negatives. It is important that as a consumer you decided what your goals are, what is important to you, and choose your product accordingly.
Don't forget to check out www.MuscleandCuts.com for more nutritional articles, product reviews, and the Street Smart Nutrition Blog.
Sign up for the Free Max-Out Magazine at www.MuscleandCuts.com and receive the Free 14-day Physique Success eSeries.
|Part 1 | Part 2|