No matter your personal feelings about Tom Brady, there’s no arguing that the guy is a legend. With seven Super Bowl rings won on two different teams, it’s fair to say that he may be greatest quarterback of all time. At age 44, he’s also the oldest active player currently in the NFL.
Given his GOAT status and longevity in such a grueling sport, it’s no surprise Tom Bray’s diet is just as dialed-in as his on-field performance. According to his personal chef, about 80 percent of what he eats is vegetables, plus whole grains, lean meat, and fish.
Another mainstay on Brady’s menu? Smoothies. Brady previously told Men’s Health that he starts his morning with two smoothies: one containing blueberries, bananas, nuts, and seeds, and the other a post-workout protein shake made (presumably) with his own TB12 protein powder.
As part of the growing TB12 supplement line, there are two TB12 protein powders currently on offer: one made with whey isolate, and the other with pea protein. But just because they’re backed by a world-class athlete, doesn’t necessarily mean they’re the best for the average guy.
Before you try any supplement, including protein powder, it’s important to know that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t officially regulate them. To make sure you’re getting what’s on the label, opt for supplements marked with third-party certifications, like United States Pharmacopoeia (USP) or National Sanitation Foundation (NSF). This ensures the supplement has been tested, is free from banned substances, and its ingredients verified.
“TB12’s protein powders are NSF-certified, which means that it has undergone testing to ensure its quality, purity, and safety,” says Taylor Dixon, M.S. R.D., an Atlanta-based dietitian who works with athletes.
To help you make an informed decision on whether or not this stuff is a good choice for you, I taste-tested the stuff and asked two fellow registered dietitians for their thoughts on the ingredients and nutrition facts.
Here’s our honest review of TB12 protein powder.
TB12 Whey Protein Isolate Review
If you prefer no-frills, unflavored protein powder, TB12’s Whey Protein Isolate hits the mark.
Like all whey protein isolate, TB12 Whey Protein Isolate is derived from milk but does not contain lactose, so it’s easy to digest. It contains all nine essential amino acids (the ones your body can’t produce on its own) and is thus considered a “complete” protein.
What’s the Nutrition Information for TB12 Whey Protein Powder?
One 22 gram scoop of TB12 Whey Protein Isolate contains 80 calories, 20 grams of protein, and zero carbs. There are trace amounts of fat from the sunflower lecithin (more on the specific ingredients later).
Whey protein contains all three branched-chain amino acids (BCAAS) — leucine, isoleucine, and valine—which can help increase muscle growth.
Whey protein also gets a perfect score for digestibility, says Sharon Puello, R.D., a dietitian and certified diabetes care and education specialist based in Yonkers, NY. This is based on the protein digestibility-corrected amino acid score (PDCAAS), a measure to assess how much of the protein in a food your body can actually use.
Dixon says that it’s best to stick to 30 grams of whey protein or less in one sitting, to prevent possible side-effects like gas, bloating, and stomach cramping. But because the optimal amount of protein for post-workout muscle synthesis is between 25 and 35 grams, you may want to use a heaping scoop of this stuff for optimal recovery and strength gains.
What Ingredients Are in TB12 Whey Protein Powder?
TB12 Whey Protein Isolate is made with just two ingredients: whey protein isolate and a small amount (less than 1.5 percent of the powder) of sunflower lecithin, a plant-based fat that acts as an emulsifier and helps the powder mix easily with water.
“Whey protein is one of the highest quality and most bioavailable forms of protein available as a supplement,” Dixon says.
There’s very little sunflower lecithin in the product, and you can rest assured that the plant-based lipid won’t cause any harm. A 2017 review published in EFSA Journal found that there were no negative side effects associated with consuming lecithin as a food additive.
What Does TB12 Whey Protein Isolate Taste Like?
I tasted the whey protein isolate both mixed with water and blended into a banana smoothie. Because it’s flavorless and unsweetened, the TB12 Whey Protein Isolate is best when blended with other ingredients, like fruit in a smoothie.
TB12 Plant-Based Protein Powder Review
The TB12 Plant-Based Protein is an alternative to whey protein powders. Unlike other plant-based powders that contain a mix of protein from various ingredients, like soy and brown rice, this one is derived entirely from peas, one of the only plant-based protein sources that contains all nine essential amino acids.
What’s the Nutrition Information for TB12 Plant-Based Protein Powder?
The plant-based protein powder has a very different nutrition profile than it’s whey-based counterpart.
For starters, it has 20 percent more protein. That said, the amount of protein that’s actually digested and used by your body is likely similar. “While casein and whey get a perfect digestibility score (1.0), pea protein concentrate/isolate gets a score of 0.893, meaning our bodies are able to use less of the pea protein than of the whey and casein,” Puello says. Still, the fact that pea protein contains all essential amino acids is a definite plus.
TB12 Plant-Based Protein (Vanilla)
One 32 gram scoop of TB12 Plant-Based Protein (Vanilla) contains 130 calories, 24 grams of protein, 3 grams of carbohydrates (one of which is fiber), and 2 grams of fat.
TB12 Plant-Based Protein (Mixed Berry)
One 32 gram scoop of TB12 Plant-Based Protein (Mixed Berry) contains 130 calories, 24 grams of protein, 1 gram of carbs (1 gram of fiber), and 2 grams of fat.
In addition to protein, the plant-based powders also deliver 1 gram of fiber and 2 grams of fat, which is pretty negligible but could help with both fullness and texture.
What Ingredients Are in TB12 Plant-Based Protein Powder?
The TB12 Plant-Based Protein (Vanilla) contains: pea protein, salt, guar gum, reb a (stevia), natural flavors, and monk fruit extract.
The TB12 Plant-Based Protein (Mixed Berry) contains: pea protein, natural berry flavor, salt, stevia extract, red beet powder, organic guar gum, and monk fruit extract.
As previously mentioned, pea protein is about as high-quality plant-based sources get. It’s got all nine essential amino acids, including the three BCAAs, and is relatively easy to digest.
Guar gum, used as a thickener and emulsifier to help this powder blend seamlessly with liquid, is a safe choice from a health perspective, with no known side effects.
TB12 Plant-Based Protein Taste Test
Although I worried about these plant-based protein powders tasting grassy, they were actually pretty great. Sure, there’s a hint of chalky aftertaste, but even mixed with just water, these powders taste a little bit like the old-school flavored Quaker instant oatmeal packets, which is a good thing. Shake them a few times and they’ll also foam and thicken, which makes them fun to drink.
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