Not Your Average Protein Powder
Gone are the days of a simple protein powder that comes in Chocolate, Vanilla and maybe a Strawberry or Banana (if you were lucky). and that is no different for the good old faithful protein powder. Merica Labz has stepped it up a notch and made us expect more from our protein.
Cold-Processed Microfiltered Whey Protein Concentrate
Whey protein is whey protein, right? Not quite. There are a few different forms of whey protein that all yield different macro & micro-nutrient values. Let’s break down what we have here, Cold-Processed Microfiltered Whey Protein Concentrate.
Generally speaking, you will see Whey Protein Isolate and Whey Protein Concentrate, so how do they differ?
Whey is the by-product of milk being turned into cheese. Milk before processing is generally 80% casein proteins and 20% whey proteins, it’s the 20% whey protein that is left after milk is processed into cheese. After the whey by-product is collected it goes through several processing steps to increase the protein concentration. Once the desired protein concentration is achieved, the liquid is dried to form the whey concentrate powder we know. This whey concentrate powder is, generally, 80% protein and 20% carbohydrates and fats.
When different and more processing steps are taken to reduce the carbohydrate and fat content and create a whey powder that is 90% or more protein, this is considered a whey isolate protein. Isolate proteins are thought to be more pure due to the fact they have a higher concentration of protein per weight. At the end of the day, they both share the same amino acid profiles with isolates just having higher concentrates gram for gram.
Is whey isolate better? Not necessarily. You can argue that isolate may be superior due to providing more protein per gram and therefore fewer calories. On the other hand, concentrate protein being processed less than an isolate, results in a more natural form of protein with more of the naturally occurring nutrients being retained. The slightly higher carbohydrate and fat content will also provide a more sustained digestion rate.
Cold-Processed Microfiltered? Yeah, it sounds fancy to us too. Most commercial whey protein powders have been high-heat-treated, along with other chemical processes, that can strip all the nutrients that are naturally occurring. When a whey powder is processed using low-temperature methods it retains the naturally occurring nutrients which can have a whole host of benefits such as anti-inflammation, immune & metabolism boosting, as well as providing antioxidants and minerals.
When you combine a low-temperature processing method, such as cold-processed microfiltration, with an overall less processed form of whey protein, such as whey concentrate, you will end up with a protein powder that is naturally rich in all the good stuff and potentially of a high standard that conventional isolate proteins. This is what we have in Merica Labz Patriots Whey.
Natural and Artificial Flavours
One of the most common ingredients we see in day to day life, Natural and/or Artificial Flavours. But does anyone actually know what they are? According to the FDA Code of Regulations, the term Natural Flavour can be given to any flavour ingredient that has an edible source, such as animals or vegetables. Whereas the Artificial Flavour is given to any flavour ingredient that comes from an inedible source.
The most important thing to note is regardless of natural or artificial flavours being used, they provide no intrinsic nutritional value to the product. Many companies will try to utilise Natural Flavours to appear healthier to the consumer as it’s perceived that Natural Flavours are better for us. As to whether that is true, we are not convinced.
Another VERY common ingredient we see, Xanthan Gum. Quite simply, it’s a thickener and a stabiliser. Xanthan Gum is used in products to help improve texture, consistency, flavour and even the appearance of food products. You won’t just find it in food products though, Xanthan Gum can be found in Toothpaste, Shampoo and even industrial products such as Adhesives and Paints. Dont get it twisted, it is edible.
Xanthan Gum is produced by the fermentation of sugar using bacteria. This fermented sugar then becomes a goo-like substance which is then made solid and then dried and processed into a powder. Xanthan Gum is a soluble fibre which means it is a type of carbohydrate your body cannot breakdown.
If you havent seen this one before, we dont even know what to say. Sucralose is an artificial sweetener that was discovered in the late 1970s but first approved for use in the 1990s. We would most commonly recognise sucralose as Splenda when sold on supermarket shelves. It is thought to be between 300 – 1,000 times sweeter than sucrose, which is your common sugar, and 3 times as sweet as other artificial sweeteners such as aspartame and acesulfame potassium. Why is being SO sweet valuable, its pretty straight forward, the sweeter the sweetener the less has to be used to achieve the desired level of sweetness. Being so potent in sweetness means products would use the considerably less sucralose to achieve the same sweetness as sugar or even aspartame.
Extra Bits & Pieces
We do need to make special mention the extra ingredients that you get with each tub of Patriots Whey. One of their biggest selling points is the addition of real cereal pieces with most of their flavours. The exact ingredients will vary from flavour to flavour but we have summarized the different flavours here for you.
Double Stuffed: Chocolate Cookie Crumbs
Fortuitous Keepsakes: Dehydrated Marshmallows
Yosemite SMores: Dehydrated Marshmallows, Semi-Sweet Chocolate Drops, Dutch Cocoa & Cinnamon
Yankee FN Doodle: Cinnamon Cereal
Chubby Choco Nutz: Chocolate Peanut Butter Cereal & Cocoa Powder.
Whey Protein macros are generally pretty standard, it will depend on the form of whey powder being used. Below is a general guideline of what macros to expect from different types of whey protein powders.
Patriots Whey comes right on the money with the macros we would expect from a 100% Whey Concentrate Protein Powder. What makes it more impressive is the use of real cereal pieces in most of the flavours and still maintaining these macros. You would expect to see a higher fat and carb content but Merica Labz has worked some magic and kept the macros right where we want them.
As expected given the use of different inclusions (the extra cereal pieces) the macros will change from flavour to flavour. For those that are calorie conscious, or just curious, here is the macro breakdown for each flavour.
Going back to what we said at the start, Gone are the days of a simple protein powder that comes in Chocolate, Vanilla and maybe a Strawberry or Banana. Protein powders have come a long way and we also now expect them to be able to do a lot more as well. Im talking about being able to have your whey protein as a shake, or maybe mix it up into some sludge, or maybe bake it in muffins or cook yourself some protein pancakes.
We can confirm that Merica Labs Patriots Whey is, possibly, the most versatile protein powder we have used on the current market. As a shake the texture and consistency are amazing. You can then cut the water and make yourself some protein sludge / custard and have a nice high protein snack. When it comes to baking, we havent run into any issues. From brownies to muffins, Patriots Whey works perfectly! Not to mention the chocolate chips and marshmallow pieces in the Yosemite SMores really makes the muffins something special!
If you are someone that enjoys using your protein powder in more than just a shake throughout the day, you will enjoy Merica Labz Patriots Whey.
Taste & Consumability:
Of course, we have saved the best for last, or should we say, the most important to last! We think the only way to do Patriots Whey justice is to go through flavour by flavour and give you our thoughts, so let’s get straight into it.
Double Stuffed is designed to replicate the flavour of Double Stuffed Oreos (regular Oreos with double the cream filling), which we can really generalise down to Cookies and Cream. In our opinion Double Stuffed is exactly how it should taste; cookies and cream flavour that is heavy on the cream element! It is probably the most enjoyable to have a shake due to the inclusions only being cookie crumbs which seem to mix throughout the shake but they will settle at the bottom if you leave your shaker sitting. It sludges up beautifully, cooks and bakes well. Its definitely not your typical cookies and cream flavour but it’s true to what it’s trying to replicate.
Fortuitous Keepsakes aka. Lucky Charms Cereal. Lucky Charms is an American cereal that is essentially frosted toasted oat cereal with fun marshmallows mixed through. As a flavour, this is replicated by a cereal milk flavoured protein powder with ample marshmallow pieces floating through the tub of Patriots Whey. As a shake, it can be interesting, we say this due to the marshmallow pieces floating at the top of your shaker. The first few sips will be half liquid and half marshmallow pieces to chew and eat. Once again, sludges up amazingly and can be used in baking and cooking.
Smores are a traditional campfire treat consisting of a marshmallow and a layer of chocolate placed between two graham crackers. For those wondering, graham crackers are semi-sweet cinnamon flavour biscuits. So how does Merica Labz tackle this flavour? A combination of marshmallow pieces & chocolate chips with cocoa and cinnamon mixed into the powder. And it is pretty damn tasty if we dont say so ourselves! As for drinking it as a shake, you have floating marshmallow pieces and sinking chocolate chips, so while the flavour sounds amazing the reality of drinking it is a bit of an experience. As usual, sludges up perfectly and is one of the best for cooking and baking with.
Yankee FN Doodle:
Yankee FN Doodle is well, were not actually sure, other than Yankee Doodle the well-known American song. Anyway it’s a Cinnamon Cereal flavour taking on the challenge of replicating the American cereal Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and Patriots Whey absolutely nails it! Cinnamon flavoured protein powder with actual cinnamon cereal pieces throughout! As for drinking it, you do a similar situation as the Lucky Charms with the pieces floating and you really have to chew the pieces as you drink. But make it into a sludge, muffins, pancakes or even waffles NOW were talking!
Chubby Choco Nutz:
Chubby Choco Nutz the name really says it all. Chubby Choco Nutz is Merica Labz attempt to take on the giant of Reeces Puffs. Reeces Puffs are the cereal interpretation of the, ever popular, Reeces Peanut Butter Cups. Chocolate and Peanut Butter are the key elements here and Patriots Whey has it nailed. A chocolate based protein powder with Chocolate Peanut Butter flavour puff cereal pieces throughout. It really is half protein powder and half box of cereal. Reeces fans will not be disappointed by this flavour. Whether you drink it, sludge it, bake it or even cook with it, Chubby Choco Nutz is a crowd favourite!
What’s The Verdict?
Merica Labz and come into the protein game and said, we see your cereal flavours and raise you real cereal pieces! With possibly the highest level of inclusions across the range of flavours, there is never a dull moment when you are having a scoop of Patriots Whey. Pair the incredible flavours with it being one of the most versatile protein powders we have used and Merica Labz Patriots Whey is sure to be a protein you will always have a tub of on hand!