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When it comes to whey protein supplements, the most basic fitness supplement there is, you won’t be lacking for choices. For such a simple and relatively undifferentiated product, you have literally hundreds of options to choose from. So it’s no surprise that most consumers stick to the most popular choices such as Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey.
But just because certain brands of whey protein are the most popular doesn’t necessarily mean they’re the best. Even in the almost similar crowd of whey protein products, some companies try to offer consumers something a little more niche.
Bluebonnet Nutrition is one such company. Founded in 1991, Bluebonnet Nutrition is a family-run, independent supplements manufacturer based in the United States with a focus on the higher end organic and natural products niche. To that end, the company has worked hard to obtain a variety of certifications such as the USDA Organic certification and Kosher certification. The company also has a strict non-GMO policy.
In today’s article, we will be looking at Bluebonnet Nutrition’s whey protein offering – Bluebonnet 100% Natural Whey Protein Isolate Powder. We’ll look at what differentiates this product from other brands, its pros and cons, and whether or not it’s worth your hard earned dollar. Let’s get right to it.
Let’s see what goes into each serving of Bluebonnet Whey Protein Isolate powder.
|Serving Size||31g – 33g|
|Servings per Container||14 or 28 servings*|
|Carbohydrates||3g (0g dietary fiber)|
|Fat||0.5g (0.5g saturated fat)|
|Sodium||60mg – 140mg|
*If you opt for the original flavor, each container will have either 16 or 32 servings.
Right off the bat we can see that Bluebonnet Whey Protein Isolate has very minimal carbohydrates and fats. It has so little of either in fact, that it might be one of the purest protein products we’ve ever seen. Breaking down its macronutrient ratios by protein/carbohydrates/fats gives us about a 86/10/4 ratio.
So if you’re looking for a whey protein supplement that comes with the barest minimum of carbohydrates and fats, then Bluebonnet Whey Protein Isolate seems to fit the bill.
Bluebonnet Whey Protein Isolate uses, as the name implies, whey protein isolate as its protein source. Whey protein isolates are the more processed form of whey and contains more protein by weight compared to the cheaper whey protein concentrate. For instance, whey protein isolate is about 90% protein by weight while whey protein concentrate is about 80%. Hence, whey protein isolate also contains a much lower lactose content (1% or less), making it suitable for people with lactose intolerance or indigestion issues.
Most protein powders contain whey protein isolate, however, they typically mix it with whey protein concentrate to keep costs down. In line with its more upscale target market, Bluebonnet ensures that this product is a 100% pure whey protein isolate.
There’s also one more thing that differentiates Bluebonnet Whey Protein Isolate from the pack, and that is the manufacturing process. The company claims that its whey protein isolate is processed using a special low-temperature method, which does not denature the protein. The company claims that this leaves the beneficial immunoglobulins (which can have positive benefits on the immune system) intact. It calls its whey protein isolate ‘undernatured’.
Note that just because a whey protein is denatured does not mean the protein is ineffective. Denatured whey protein isolates (the most common form) will still give you a dose of quality, complete, and easily digestible protein. That said, if you are looking for some of the additional immune benefits from the immunoglobulins (which is a secondary benefit at best for most whey protein consumers) then Bluebonnet Whey Protein Isolate might be just what you are looking for.
As a note of caution however, keep in mind that just like most supplements, Bluebonnet’s claim that its undenatured whey protein isolate keeps the immunoglobulins intact is a statement that has not been evaluated by the FDA (the FDA does not regulate dietary supplements, hence the amount of spurious and exaggerated claims in the industry).
The research on whether undenatured whey protein isolate is better than regular whey protein isolate is also lacking. Further, if you are looking for the maximum immunoglobulin benefit, then whey protein concentrate, which is less processed than whey protein isolate (but contains more lactose and less protein), will have much more immunoglobulins and other bioactive peptides by comparison.
Finally, Bluebonnet states that its whey protein isolate is rBGH free. rBGH is recombinant bovine growth hormone. The summary of the research surrounding rBGH is thus; it can cause adverse health effects in cows, but any potential harm to humans is inconclusive. However, it is not surprising that some people might prefer to avoid rBGH enhanced dairy products as much as possible.
Carbohydrate and Fat Sources
Bluebonnet Whey Protein Isolate has 0.5g of saturated fat per serving, an almost negligible amount. This small amount of saturated fat probably comes from the whey protein isolate and sunflower lecithin (which the company stresses is non-GMO). We note that the original flavor version of this product also shows a small amount of Medium Chain Triglycerides oil. Similarly, the carbohydrates in the product are also entirely incidental. Very likely they also come from the whey protein isolate.
Flavor and Mixability
Bluebonnet Whey Protein Isolate is currently available in five flavors – Original, Chocolate, French Vanilla, Mixed Berry, and Strawberry. The general consensus is that the Original, Chocolate, Mixed Berry, and French Vanilla flavors all taste good, however, the Strawberry flavor is best avoided. For those wondering how the Original flavor tastes like (the ingredients list a natural vanilla flavor), the best comparison we can give is cake mix. The Original is also the most popular flavor, followed by the Chocolate. A note about the Chocolate flavor; while it doesn’t taste bad, it also doesn’t taste very chocolatey. It tastes a bit like a watery hot chocolate drink.
Given the company’s niche in natural and organic products, the only sweetener that Bluebonnet Whey Protein Isolate uses is stevia. Refreshingly missing from this product are two of the most common sweeteners in the supplements industry – sucralose and acesulfame potassium. While both these ingredients are generally safe and FDA approved, some people prefer to avoid them.
Sucralose has been claimed to be a migraine trigger, and in rats, has been shown to have a negative effect on gut bacteria. The Center for Science in the Public Interest has repeatedly claimed that acesulfame potassium, despite FDA approval, should be studied more closely for its potential cancer risks.
On the mixability side, this product does well, and the vast majority of users report no issues whatsoever.
Value for Money
Since Bluebonnet does not sell its products directly through its official website, we are calculating the product’s value for money based on its current prices listed on Amazon. As mentioned, Bluebonnet Whey Protein Isolate comes in either 1lb or 2lb containers, with the exception of the Original flavor, which comes in 1.1lb or 2.2lb containers. Based on flavor and container size, the price per serving can be broken down as follows:
|1lb / 1.1lb container||2lb / 2.2lb container|
As you can see, the original flavor, due to a higher number of servings per container, is significantly cheaper compared to the other flavors. Nevertheless, even the original flavor is still significantly more expensive compared to the most popular whey protein brands out there which cost on average about $0.75 to $0.95 per serving (they also typically come in the larger and thus better value 5lb container sizes).
However these are typically whey protein concentrate and isolate blends, not pure isolates. Pure whey protein isolates come out to about $1.20 per serving, meaning that Bluebonnet Whey Protein Isolates are still priced at a significant premium.
Bluebonnet Whey Protein Isolate’s price is more comparable to the premium vegan protein products out there. However, keep in mind that vegan protein is quite a specialized product while whey protein isolates are not.
Whey protein is a complete source of protein and as a protein supplement is probably the most ideal source. And whey protein isolates, being so pure, have removed one of the most common downsides of whey protein which is digestion issues from lactose.
If you are looking for a pure whey protein isolate, then Bluebonnet Whey Protein Isolate is ideal for you. We like that it has minimal fat and carbs. We like that it minimizes the use of artificial ingredients. However, this is something you will pay a significant premium for. If you feel that some of the more ‘side benefits’ of this product are worth paying this premium, then you won’t have any regrets buying this product.
Quick Review Table
|Pure whey protein isolate||Premium pricing|
|Very minimal fats and carbohydrates|
Health enthusiast, runner, protein nut. Owen likes to write about protein, particularly alternatve supplementation and supplement comparisons.