Review: True Nutrition Sciences' Trutein Protein Powder

Review: True Nutrition Sciences’ Trutein Protein Powder

We are proud to introduce Trutein, an ultra-premium protein powder designed for professional athletes. We specifically formulated Trutein to be the best-tasting and most innovative protein available. Consequently, Trutein delivers more health benefits than any other existing protein.

It’s nice to have choices, particularly when it comes to protein supplements. And protein supps are better than ever, thanks to state-of-the art purification technologies and flavoring systems. Who needs Baskin-Robbins, when you can have the sensation of “31 Flavors” without the (obvious) drawbacks? The range of products available means the majority of trainees will be able to find at least one that suits his/her needs, budget and tastes.

Nonetheless, with all the brands on the market, it’s tough for new products to break in. This is why an increasing number of formulas contain “value-added” ingredients: useful nutrients and/or nutraceuticals in addition to the protein. Muscletech’s “Nitro-Tech NOP 47” is an obvious example: in addition to protein, it contains (among other things) free-form amino acids, peptides and creatine monohydrate. Done right, a “protein plus” product can be a real convenience.

Some products, however, offer the illusion without the substance… the additional ingredients are there all right, but in amounts too small to be effective. In other words, the additional compounds are simply “label decoration” or “label dressing.”

Which brings me to Trutein: a relatively new entry into the protein marketplace. In addition to providing a “sustained-release” protein blend, it’s also enhanced with omega-3 fatty acids, nucleotides, fiber and digestive enzymes. These additional ingredients are prominently featured on the label; and the company, True Nutrition Sciences, promises “no label dressing.”

What’s in Trutein?

So is Trutein a true, “value-added” product? Let’s take an in-depth look… starting with the label.

Serving Size: 1 Scoop (34g)
Servings Per Container: 33

Amount Per Serving:
Calories 115
Calories From Fat 10
Total Fat 1.5g
Saturated Fat 0.5g
Cholesterol 30mg
Sodium 45
Total Carb 5g
Dietary Fiber 2.5g
Sugars 1g
Protein 23g

Omega-3 Fatty Acids 75mg
From Flax And Chia Seeds
Nucleotide Blend 20mg
Providing Adenosine, Cytosine, Guanine, Inosine & Uracil Monophosphates
Protease Enzymes 100mg

Other Ingredients:
Trutein® Protein Blend (Pure Undenatured & Nonthermally-Processed Nanofiltered Milk Protein Isolate [Providing Micellar Casein], Ultrafiltered Milk Protein Concentrate, Egg Albumen, Cross-Flow Nanofiltered Whey Protein Isolate, Ultrafiltered Whey Protein Concentrate), Cocoa Powder Blend (Swiss, French, German), TruFiber™ (Inulin, Fibersol2, Beta-Glucan), Natural And Artificial Flavoring, Dried Banana Powder, Protease Enzymes, TruMega-3™ (Flaxseed Oil, Chia Seed Oil), Oat Starch, Nucleotide Mix (Brewer’s Yeast, Cytidine 5′-Monophosphate, Disodium Uridine-5′-Monophosphate, Adenosine, Adenosine 5′-Monophosphate, Disodium Guanosine 5′-Monophosphate), Xanthan Gum, Cellulose Gum, Guar Gum, Acesulfame Potassium, Sucralose, Neotame, Soy Lecithin

It’s easy to go “snow blind” staring at ingredient lists… but we can break the above down as follows:

  1. A blend of protein sources: milk protein isolate/concentrate; egg albumen (egg white protein) and whey protein isolate/concentrate
  2. A dietary fiber blend
  3. 75mg flax/chia seed oil
  4. 20mg of brewer’s yeast + nucleotides
  5. 100mg of (unnamed) proteases (i.e., protein-digesting enzymes)
  6. standard-issue additives (flavorings, thickeners, sweeteners, instantizer)

Pluses and Minuses

At a glance, there are some obvious pluses. For starters, Trutein is a blend of proteins with different digestion profiles: fast (whey), intermediate (egg white) and slow (casein). According to True Nutrition Sciences, these are provided in specific amounts. Of the 23g of protein per scoop, 40% is from casein, 40% from whey protein and 20% from egg white.

Casein, whey and egg white are all bodybuilding standards… so unless you’re a vegan or suffer from food allergies, it would be tough to make better choices. Beyond that, casein and whey protein are a natural pairing: as Mother Nature deemed, they’re better taken together vs. either one alone. For example, a comparison study revealed that total milk protein had the “best nutritional quality” and lower rates of deamination/conversion to urea than either micellar casein or whey protein in human volunteers.

Beyond that, Trutein also boasts a prebiotic fiber blend, consisting of inulin, Fibersol®-2 (digestion-resistant maltodextrin) and beta-glucan. Prebiotics support the growth of beneficial bacteria in the intestine. While Trutein doesn’t supply a whopping amount, 2.5g is enough for it to qualify as a “good” source of fiber.

So far, so good…

However, I have some issues with the remaining ingredients. While I applaud True Nutrition Sciences’ commitment to transparency and avoidance of proprietary blends, the company’s honesty also makes it obvious that the omega-3 and “Nucleotide Recovery Module” ingredients are seriously underdosed. Most trainees down omega-3 oils like flax seed or chia by the tablespoon—roughly 14–15 grams at a time. By contrast, 75mg of flax/chia oil is vanishingly small… the equivalent of (maybe) 1–2 drops from an eyedropper. And it’s ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) to boot. If it was 75mg of pure DHA… maybe. But ALA???

I don’t think so.

Likewise, the nucleotide blend is a mere 20mg, and the lead ingredient is brewer’s yeast—another supplement typically used in much, much larger amounts. Even straight-up ATP doesn’t do a whole lot for strength trainees, when taken in many times the amount available in Trutein.

I hate to say it, but the omega-3 and nucleotide components are strictly “label dressing.”

The protease enzyme blend may—or may not—fall into that category as well. I’m undecided, since, when it comes to enzymes, the amounts are meaningless. It’s the activities that count. For example, NOW’s “Protein Digest” product contains 45,000 HUT per capsule.

HUT???

“HUT” stands for “hemoglobin units in a tyrosine base.” Since the breakdown of a protein like hemoglobin can be easily measured, the HUT assay is a standard laboratory method used for measuring (and thus comparing) protease activities. In the case of the NOW product, it’s this information—not the weight of the protease ingredient—that we need to know in order to assess its effectiveness.

So is the 100mg of protease in Trutein useful? No idea… in the absence of any info on enzyme activity, it’s impossible to come to any conclusion.

So How Does Trutein Measure Up?

Ok, so there are some cracks in Trutein’s facade, but—all things considered—they’re not fatal ones. In the end, Trutein is still a protein supp… and it delivers what most trainees expect from a protein supp.

In addition, it delivers on taste as well: I ordered a container of the vanilla, and found it to be excellent… sweet, creamy and overall, pretty satisfying. And since I keep a bottle of fish oil in the fridge, it’s not like I’m feeling the lack of the omega-3’s—or the other “value-added” ingredients, for that matter. As long as the company isn’t demanding a premium price for these extras (and it’s not…), I’m not gonna get too worked up about it.

Like I said, it’s nice to have choices… and Trutein appears to be a pretty decent one. So despite the fact that it’s not quite all it’s cracked up to be, I could see myself buying it again: it tastes good, is competitively priced and provides a decent amount of high-quality protein, without much fat or lactose. Works for me.

Summary of Trutein
  • Quality protein blend.
  • Source of (some) prebiotic fiber.
  • Tastes good/mixes readily.
  • Competitively priced.
  • Omega-3 and nucleotide components are underdosed.
  • Insufficient info on enzyme blend to determine its usefulness.

Author: elissa

Elissa is a former research associate with the University of California at Davis, and the author/co-author of over a dozen articles published in scientific journals. Currently a freelance writer and researcher, Elissa brings her multidisciplinary education and training to her writing on nutrition and supplements.

2 Comments

  1. Elissa, thanks for your articles. I’m in the process of reading all of them. You’ve saved me a considerable amount of money by cutting through the hype.

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  2. Thank you for the review.

    Just a few quick notes:

    The enzymes are 10,000 HUT/g, so you’re looking at 1000 HUT per serving.

    We no longer use the Omega-3s or Nucelotides in the formula either because we found that people purchase for the taste and nonproprietary protein blend so that’s what we focus on instead!

    Be sure to look out for our new instant Pudding coming soon!

    Thanks
    Greg

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