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Orgain Organic Protein Plant Based Protein Powder Review: Benefits, Downsides, and More

Written by Lauren Panoff, MPH, RD

Published on March 24, 2021

Our Expert Rating:

3.5

About This Rating
The average rating of this product is calculated based on the evaluation of the following factors:
  • Support for Claims:3.0
  • Ingredient Safety:4.0
  • Value for the Price:4.0
  • Brand Transparency:3.0

Organic Protein Plant Based Protein Powder is a supplement made with minimally-processed plant-based ingredients, and without added sugar or artificial flavors and colors. It doesn’t make any specific health claims but promises to deliver good-tasting, high-quality protein.

Orgain Organic Protein Plant Based Protein Powder Review: Benefits, Downsides, and More

Pros

  • Made from whole food plant ingredients, without added sugar or artificial flavors and colors
  • Does not contain dairy, gluten, or soy, which are major food allergens

Cons

  • Does not bear a third-party testing mark
  • Return policy information isn’t easily discoverable

Background

Orgain Protein Powder is a plant-based protein supplement. While there is no target consumer identified, consumer reviews indicate that many who use it are average people with moderate to active lifestyles.

The Orgain brand was created by Andrew Abraham, a medical doctor who is described on the site as an integrative medicine specialist, cancer survivor, and kitchen chemist.

The brand aims to provide good-for-you, good-tasting protein powder made with high-quality, natural, food-based ingredients.

Evaluation of Ingredients

This product is formulated with 100% plant-based ingredients, making it vegan-friendly. Below is what relevant research says about the main ingredients used:

Orgain Organic Protein Blend

This is the main ingredient and is a blend of pea, brown rice, and chia seed protein.

Pea protein is naturally hypoallergenic and derived from yellow peas.

While it’s low in methionine, which is common among many plant proteins, it does contain all nine essential amino acids.

Peas are particularly high in the amino acid lysine, which may support a healthy immune system.

It’s also a good source of branched-chain amino acids that can benefit muscles, circulation, and heart health.

A 2008 animal study found that dietary pea protein stimulated bile acid excretion in rats, which lowered LDL “bad” cholesterol and supported liver health.

Rice is likely to contain the naturally-occurring heavy metal arsenic, chronic consumption of which has been associated with a higher risk for organ damage and cancer.

Studies suggest that people at the highest risk for safety concerns from brown rice are those who eat it in larger, more frequent amounts and who have smaller body stature.

That being said, a 2020 study published in Toxicology Reports stated that based on current research, a typical population intake of protein powders does not lead to a high risk for heavy metal toxicity for most people.

Chia seeds are a good source of antioxidants as well as omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. They are also a concentrated source of protein, containing around 3 grams per tablespoon.

In fact, chia seeds are approximately 19% protein, making them a sensible option for protein powder formulations like this one.

Orgain Organic Creamer Base

This is a blend of acacia, high oleic sunflower oil, rice dextrin, rice bran extract, and rosemary extract.

Its primary purpose is to improve flavor and provide a creamy texture for the final product and prevent grittiness that is often a complaint of protein powders.

Overall, I didn’t find a reason to be concerned about these ingredients.

Acacia is often used as a thickening agent in products and can contribute some prebiotic fiber.

A 2012 randomized controlled trial found that many of the participants who consumed acacia powder experienced some nausea and diarrhea for the first week they used it, which subsided.

Also, they took 30 grams of this ingredient per day, which is far more than what is found in a serving of Orgain.

Organic Stevia

Like many other plant-based protein powders, Orgain uses stevia as a nonnutritive sweetening agent.

It’s listed toward the end of the ingredient list, indicating it’s used in small amounts.

Stevia leaf extract is Generally Recognized as Safe by the FDA. However, animal studies have raised concerns around its potential to alter gut microbiota, long-term effects of which are unknown.

Verdict on Claimed Benefits

Below is our summary of the available evidence for the claimed benefits of Organic Protein Plant Based Protein Powder based on the available research:

  • Provides protein made with high-quality, food-based ingredientsModerate Evidence

Side Effects, Safety, and Dosage

One serving of this product is 2 scoops, which provides 150 calories, 21 grams of protein, 4 grams of fat, 15 grams of total carbs, and 6 grams of fiber.

Directions are to combine it with 12 ounces of liquid, like almond milk or water, or use it to make a smoothie.

This product is USDA organic and certified vegan. Additionally, the product is gluten-free, non-GMO, and contains no added sugar.

However, it may come with a higher risk for containing naturally-occurring heavy metals, a common problem with plant-based protein powders.

If this product had a third-party seal, I would feel better about it being independently tested for heavy metal levels.

This brand was mentioned in headlines in 2018 after it was among plant-based protein powders tested by the non-profit Clean Label Project and was found to contain higher amounts of heavy metals than non-plant-based protein powders.

It’s important to note that the only Orgain product that appears to be poorly rated for purity by the non-profit is the Meal Replacement powder.

Cost

One container of this product contains 20 servings and is priced at $29.99.

Alternatively, you can sign up for their subscription service, which provides a container every 30, 45, or 60 days, with a 25% discount on your first order and a 10% discount on all subsequent orders plus free shipping.

Refunds can be requested if done within 30 business days of placing your order, minus shipping costs.

How It Compares

There are a growing number of plant-based protein powders on the market. Many are formulated with a mixture of pea protein with other proteins, likely for the best flavor purposes.

Most also provide similar amounts of protein and calories per serving.

I also noted that there are very few plant protein powders that are obviously third-party tested, while many do have a USDA organic, vegan, and non-GMO certification.

The main difference is that this particular Orgain product doesn’t use added sugar, whereas many plant protein powders do. It does contain organic stevia, which is common among other products as well.

Orgain is also priced slightly lower per ounce than several of the other options.

The Bottom Line

Organic Protein Plant Based Protein Powder appears to be among the better plant protein supplements on the market for the average consumer.

It doesn’t claim any health benefits, but it’s clear that the brand cares about using quality ingredients.

There are no major concerns with the ingredients used in this product, but third-party testing would be an improvement.

A Word from Our RD

I personally don’t recommend protein powders for the average population, simply because most of us already exceed our protein requirements on a daily basis.

That being said, for people who would benefit from a concentrated source of additional protein, like athletes or someone experiencing poor appetite, this is a good option.

I like that it uses plant-based ingredients that are recognizable, without added sugar, but I would like to see it bear a third-party testing seal.

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