Peptides: panacea or PED?

Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Psychonaught

Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Psychonaught

There has been a lot of chatter lately, mostly in the personal-training establishment, about peptides; and depending on whom you talk to or what you read, peptides are either a miracle substance that can cure some of the world’s worst ills or they’re the next big thing for cheats in sport.

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Isagenix e+ energy shot with adaptogens

Nutritional info

Isagenix e+ energy shotUse: I usually drink this product whenever I need a boost of energy (the company recommends no more than two per day), though it can be integrated into a regular regimen.

Opinion: Made from various tree bark and plant leaf and root extracts, it also adds several berries and fruits to give it some form of palatability, though naturally that’s evaluated by the person drinking it. I find a slight medicinal aftertaste, evident if you follow the instructions and hold it in your mouth to savour before swallowing, but it’s not unpleasant and I can taste both apple and pomegranate. It features the equivalent caffeine of a cup of green tea (which is an ingredient); mass market energy shots claim the equivalent of a large cup of coffee. Energy shots are made up of naturally occurring compounds (taurine, for example, as well as glucuronolactone, phenylalanine and dicarboxylic acid) although you might not guess it from their names.

Conclusion: Having never had an energy shot, I found it acceptable in terms of taste, but some who regularly have energy shots didn’t take to the taste at all, which isn’t good when you consider that’s who it’s primarily targeted at. Unlike other energy shots, it is not basically a condensed version of an energy drink, meant primarily for people who want the benefits of the energy drink without taking in all the liquid.

IsaLean chocolate shake comparison

IsaLean chocolate protein shakes

Left is a shaken IsaLean Creamy Dutch Chocolate; right is a blended IsaLean Pro Natural Chocolate. Note the extra volume of the blended shake attributed to the added air from the blending process, which also makes it a more satisfying drink.

People sometimes ask me about protein supplements, or see me drinking a shake or eating a bar and ask “is that good?”

It is to me, otherwise I wouldn’t still be eating or drinking it, and that’s actually the right answer because things taste differently to different people. How else do you explain my daughter’s aversion to fish when it is so delicious?

Anyway, the reason they ask is usually made clear in their next sentences – something along the lines of “I tried a protein bar once and it tasted awful.”

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IsaLean Creamy Dutch Chocolate shake

IsaLean Creamy Dutch Chocolate shakeNutritional info

Use: I usually drink this product for breakfast or as a mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack.

Opinion: It shakes up well in a shaker cup, though you’ll get that “shake” creaminess when you blend it up. I find the mild chocolate taste as satisfying as that of the IsaPro. Isagenix products tend to be less sweet than some products from competitors, probably due to the company’s not adding extra sugars. Unlike with other products from the company, I have the chocolate shakes on their own and they satisfy my hunger and my sweet tooth.

Conclusion: Another nice light shake that doesn’t sit heavy as you’re enjoying it and isn’t sickly sweet to make you rush through it, and it still fills you up through to that next meal two or three hours down the road.

Chocolate decadence protein bar

Nutritional info

Isagenix IsaLean Chocolate Decadence protein barUse: I eat this as a mid-morning or mid-afternoon meal.

Opinion: I like that they’re not completely covered in chocolate, as I find those protein bars that are often have a chalky texture or are way too sweet. In keeping with the IsaGenix trend, it is semi-sweet and I find it delicious as I don’t like overly sweet chocolate.

Conclusion: if you are like me and had given up on chocolate bars, you’d do well to give these a try as they are neither too sweet nor chalky. They’re also filling, so one with a cup of coffee will keep you going for a couple hours.

IsaLean Natural Oatmeal Raisin bar

Nutritional info

IsaLean Natural Oatmeal Raisin barUse: I eat this as a mid-morning or mid-afternoon meal.

Opinion: In keeping with the IsaGenix trend, it’s a semi-sweet delicious bar with a terrific texture. It’s very similar in bite and taste to one of those granola bars that have a layer of icing but is twice as big so it actually does replace a meal.

Conclusion: a delicious addition to any meal plan, these could also double as breakfast with a cup of coffee. I traditionally have oatmeal for breakfast with some protein powder and frozen fruit mixed in, so this would make a nice break from the daily routine.

Energenix Orange

Nutritional info

Isagenix Energenix Orange drink mixUse: I usually drink this product after my run.

Opinion: It tastes more like a drink made from crystals than a sports drink. Great citrus flavour without that metallic aftertaste I often find in many bottled sports drinks. I also find it mixes up more thoroughly (completely, actually) than some powder-based mixtures.

Conclusion: This is a nice refreshing drink on its own, but lacks the branch-chain amino acids to make it an effective sports recovery drink. Rather, it’s probably better used prior to exercise, since its ingredients offer up pick-me-up qualities without caffeine or stimulants.