This BioTrust Low Carb Review Reveals the Potentially Harmful Effects of Non-Hormone-Free Protein Supplements

I haven’t tried every protein supplement available.  I don’t think anyone could given there are literally hundreds, if not thousands of brands.

However, after many years of using protein powders and trying many brands, I was keen to give BioTrust Low Carb a try.  Why?  Because it’s different than most other protein supplements available.  It’s different because it’s not just another protein powder touting monster muscles.

Instead, BioTrust’s website provides a ton of information explaining the protein supplement industry and what to look for and avoid when buying a protein powder.

Reading typical labels of most protein supplements is like reading what would be the packaging of anabolic steroids if steroids were sold to the public legally.  I’m talking hype, hype and more hype about how your muscles will grow like weeds simply by taking their brand.

I’m not naive

I’m not so naive to believe that simply taking protein supplements will grow my muscles like crazy.  For me, protein powder is a supplement; it’s something I use to supplement my diet.  It’s also a convenience, especially after a workout to ensure I get sufficient protein.

But, I have been naive about my choice of protein supplements over the years by failing to carefully read labels and investigate the manufacturing processes of protein supplements … until recently.

Over the years I’ve incorporated yoga and more holistic eating into my diet.  I generally avoid processed foods, buy a fair amount of organic foods and now understand that hormones, artificial sweeteners and low-grade supplements aren’t good for me.  In fact, I could be doing myself harm.

I’m all about building big muscles, but I don’t want to do it at the expense of my health.

Introducing BioTrust Low Carb protein powder

Have I used BioTrust?

Yes.  This BioTrust Low Carb review is based on my actual use.  I use the milk chocolate flavor (I almost always buy chocolate flavored supplements).

Why do I buy BioTrust (after all it’s one of the most expensive protein powders per 1 gram of protein – see below)?

I bought BioTrust Low Carb for 3 reasons:

  1. It tastes great (it really does).
  2. It’s hormone and artificial sweetener free.
  3. Protein quality is high.

BioTrust Low Carb protein powder is the healthier choice.  It contains:

  • NO hormones (protein is derived from hormone-free cattle)
  • NO artificial sweeteners (i.e. sucralose) and flavors (i.e. MSG)
  • 25% whey protein;
  • 25% Micellar Casein protein (slow-release);
  • 25% whey protein isolate; and
  • 25% milk protein.

BioTrust Low Carb Ingredients and Nutritional Value (milk chocolate flavor):

Ingredients:  Whey protein, Casein protein, Whey protein isolate, milk protein, creamer, Swerve, stevia leaf extract, monk fruit extract, Cocoa Powder, inulin, cellulose gum, guar gum, xanthan gum, natural flavors, salt, ProHydrolase (proprietary enzyme blend to increase protein absorption).

Nutrition Facts per serving:  Protein: 24 g / Carbs: 8 g / Fat 3 g / Calories:  150

Servings per container:  14 (1.2 lb. container)

See my BioTrust cost analysis below.

Source:  BioTrust

What exactly does hormone-free mean and why does it matter?

When BioTrust says their protein supplement blend is hormone free, they mean it.  If interested, the following is a detailed discussion about hormones and protein supplements.

Whey protein is developed from cow’s milk.  It’s a by-product (I write about protein supplement sources here).  Therefore, the hormone-free protein powder developed by BioTrust means that all the milk used in developing the supplement is from cows not given artificial hormones.

What hormones are given to cows and why?

In the USA, rBST (recombinant bovine somatotropin) and rBGH (recombinant bovine growth hormone) are given to cows to increase milk production.  This practice is not permitted in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Israel and all EU countries.[1]

Is there a difference in the milk from rBGH treated cows?

This is hotly debated.  However, in 2010, the United States Court of Appeal, Sixth Circuit held that “milk from rBGH-treated cows has: increased levels of the hormone Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1).[1][2]

What is IGF-1?

IGF-1 is the hormone that increases growth and milk production in cows.  rBGH stimulates IGF-1 in cows.[1]  Elevated IGF-1 in humans may cause cancer.[3]

At the end of the day, I find it’s most telling that many big dairy producing countries prohibit the use of giving cows rBGH.

How can you tell if a Protein Supplement is rBST and rBGH free (i.e. hormone free)?

The label will specifically state: “rBST and rBGH Free”.  If it doesn’t state this, it means milk used to produce the protein is not derived from cows that are artificial hormone-free.

Is BioTrust Low Carb the only protein supplement I use?

No.  I generally have BioTrust before bed because of it’s time-released protein blend.  I use a pure whey protein after workouts.

Does it matter if protein supplements contain artificial sweeteners?

Maybe, maybe not.  BioTrust Low Carb does NOT contain artificial sweeteners.

Josh Bezoni and Joel Marion (founders of BioTrust) are of the opinion that it’s better to avoid artificial sweeteners.  BioTrust Low Carb uses stevia leaf extract and mon fruit extract for sweeteners.

What artificial sweeteners are used in other Protein supplements?

The most common artificial sweetener used in protein powders is sucralose.  What is sucralose?

Sucralose is the primary sweetener used in Splenda.  This sucralose article is an in-depth analysis of the pros and cons of this artificial sweetener.  The FDA concluded that it’s safe for human consumption (after all it’s used in many products); however, before you conclude similarly to the FDA, do your own research and reach your own conclusions.

What’s stevia (an ingredient in BioTrust products)?

Stevia (short for Stevia Rebaudiana) is an herb that grows in Paraguay and Brazil.[4]  Stevia leaves (and extract) is incredibly sweet … up to 10 to 15 times sweeter than sugar.[4]

BioTrust Low Carb lists “stevia leaf extract” on the label.  Note that the label does not state that stevia is the sweetening agent.  I’m inferring this in this BioTrust Low Carb review.  The FDA has stipulations regarding claiming stevia as the sweetening agent on labels.[4]  Stevia.com is a great Stevia resource.

What’s Monk Fruit (another ingredient in BioTrust Low Carb)?

Monk Fruit is the common name.  It’s scientific name is Siraitia grosvenorii and the extract of this fruit is nearly 300 times sweeter than sugar.[5]  It’s classed by the US FDA as generally recognized as safe.

What about artificial flavors?

BioTrust Low Carb does not contain artificial flavors.

Many protein supplement labels simply state “artificial flavors” on the label.  One of the most well known artificial flavor is monosodium glutamate, better known as MSG, which is approved by the FDA, but labels must specifically list MSG if a product contains it.

MSG isn’t the only artificial flavor used.  There are many.  This is an excellent article I found about artificial and natural flavors, specifically explaining the difference between the two and how both are made (BioTrust Low Carb contains “natural flavors”).

There are many “natural food” websites touting the harm of natural flavors.  I’m not knowledgeable enough to give an opinion … so I leave it to you to decide whether you wish to ingest natural and artificial flavors with your protein powder supplement.

Cost Analysis of BioTrust Low Carb Protein Supplement

BioTrust is not the cheapest supplement on the market.  When you compare the cost per 1 gram of protein with other brands, BioTrust Low Carb is one of the most expensive brands.

The cost per 1 gram of protein with BioTrust Low Carb is $.15.  This means it costs approximately $4.46 for a 30 gram serving.  This is generally twice the cost of many other brands.

The question you must answer is whether it’s worth it to your health to invest in hormone and artificial flavor/sweetener free supplements.  Only you can decide this.

Does BioTrust Low Carb build muscle?

It’s difficult to isolate the effectiveness of any supplement because I’ve consistently been taking supplements for years.  Moreover, there are many other factors that go into building muscle such as workout quality, diet, sleep, and other supplements (such as creatine).  What I can say is my gains are consistent with BioTrust Low Carb.  I haven’t noticed any boost in gains.  I haven’t had gains slow down either.

Moreover. BioTrust Low Carb does taste better than other protein supplements.  It actually tastes like real hot chocolate.  My one complaint is it can clump at the bottom of my shaker (I use a wire whisk ball in a large supplement shaker).  I have to really shake it for 30 seconds to have the powder thoroughly dissolve in the liquid.

Can you mix BioTrust it with water and/or milk?

I take BioTrust Carb with both water and milk.  With milk it’s thick and tastes better.  But it’s fine with water as well.

>>Click here to visit the official BioTrust Low Carb Website.

References

[1]  Bovine somatotropin.  Wikipedia.

[2]  Leagle.com.  International Dairy Foods Ass’n v. Boggs.  June 10, 2012.

[3]  Gallagher EJ, LeRoith D.  Minireview: IGF, Insulin, and Cancer.  PubMed.gov.  Originally published in: Endocrinology. 2011 Jul;152(7):2546-51. Epub 2011 May3.

[4]  Questions & Answers about Stevia.  Stevia.com.  (Excerpted from “Stevia Rebaudiana: Nature’s Sweet Secret“, Vital Health Publishing).

[5]  Siraitia grosvenorii.  Wikipedia.