Recently, we got our hands on the GNC Total Lean Shake 25. GNC, as many of you might know, has been a trusted name in the nutrition world for years, and their Total Lean series is designed with a clear purpose in mind: to support those who are on their weight-loss or management journey. This shake offers 25 grams of protein per serving. It also packs a huge 8 grams of dietary fiber, plus a modest 3 grams of fat.
Total Lean Shake 25 primarily uses Whey Protein Concentrate and a small amount of Whey Protein Isolate. These complete protein sources contain all nine essential amino acids. They are also easily digestible and quickly absorbed by the body. The inclusion of Milk Protein Concentrate provides a slower digesting protein source, complementing the fast-acting whey for a more prolonged feeling of fullness.
We found the inclusion of Maltodextrin a bit strange. On the one hand, it's a quick source of energy, especially pre-workout. On the other, it has a high glycemic index which is not exactly ideal for those seeking weight loss. If not utilized, this quickly-digested carbohydrate can contribute to weight gain. Not exactly what you want in a weight loss product.
A pleasant surprise is the addition of Fructooligosaccharides, a prebiotic that supports gut health. Plus, the Vitamin & Mineral Blend ensures you're not just getting protein but a spectrum of essential nutrients. This blend includes everything from Vitamin A to Chromium, making it a well-rounded supplement.
Lastly, artificial flavors and sweeteners like Sucralose and Acesulfame Potassium are included and might not sit well with everyone, especially those who prefer all-natural products.
As a meal replacement, mix one serving (one heaping scoop) (52g) with 8-10 fl. oz. of cold water. Mix well. Drink two shakes daily in conjunction with a healthy weight management program.
GNC Total Lean is positioned as a tool for weight management, but we are not so sure it's the right tool given the maltodextrin inclusion.
Starting with the protein content, a serving offers a substantial 25 grams. The blend of Whey Protein Concentrate and Whey Protein Isolate is a smart choice. On the other hand, the inclusion of Milk Protein Concentrate introduces a slower-digesting protein, ensuring a sustained release of amino acids. This combination caters to both immediate and prolonged protein needs, enhancing the product's effectiveness.
The net carb content stands at 11 grams per serving, with a commendable 8 grams being dietary fiber on top of this. This fiber content can aid in satiety, which is beneficial for those using the shake as a meal replacement or for weight management. However, we'd prefer fewer carbs for a product positioned as 'lean'. Carbs can be okay in a meal replacement protein, but low-GI carbs would be more fitting.
However, it's not just about the macronutrients. The shake's rich vitamin and mineral profile means that while you're getting your protein fix, you're also nourishing your body with essential micronutrients. This holistic approach amplifies its effectiveness, especially for those who might use it as a meal substitute occasionally.
While GNC Total Lean Lean Shake 25 does a decent job of delivering on its goal, its carb content is less than ideal. We are not really sure why maltodextrin was added, unless as a filler. It seems counterproductive in a weight-loss product. That is unless it's used directly before a workout to provide the energy needed to expend during that workout.
First off, the taste. The French Vanilla flavor is delightful. It has a subtle creaminess that reminds us of a soft vanilla bean ice cream. Compared to other vanilla-flavored shakes we've had, this one strikes a good balance - it's flavorful without being too sweet.
The texture is very smooth. There's a creaminess to it that feels indulgent like you're having a treat rather than a supplement. We suspect the inclusion of the Coconut Creamer and Milk Protein Concentrate plays a role in achieving this velvety consistency.
As for mixability, it's top-notch. We mixed it with both water and milk and in both cases, it blended seamlessly. With water, it's lighter but still flavorful. No annoying clumps at the bottom of the shaker, which is always a win.
The blend of fast and slow-digesting proteins, coupled with a comprehensive vitamin and mineral mix, positions it more towards the mid-to-premium end of the spectrum. The inclusion of ingredients like Fructooligosaccharides, a prebiotic, further elevates its standing.
Comparing it to other products in the market, many protein powders might offer high protein content but skimp on the added vitamins, minerals, and other beneficial ingredients. GNC's offering seems more holistic, aiming to provide a well-rounded nutritional profile rather than just being a protein source. This comprehensive approach adds value.
However, the use of maltodextrin and the presence of some artificial ingredients might be a detractor for some, especially those who are willing to pay a premium for all-natural products. While these ingredients might help with flavor and texture enhancement, they could also be a cost-saving measure.
Price-wise, it's a bit more expensive than we would like, though not exorbitantly priced. It sits further toward the premium-range category. Given its offerings, the price would seem justified if it wasn't for the maltodextrin inclusion. Consumers are paying for quality ingredients, but also a filler that is counterintuitive to the products goals in our opinion.
GNC Total Lean Lean Shake 25 in French Vanilla flavor offers a compelling blend of quality, taste, and nutritional benefits. When stacked against the competition, it holds its ground with a decent protein profile, includes a comprehensive range of vitamins and minerals, and has a flavor that's both delightful and indulgent. The shake's dual protein source, combining fast and slow-digesting proteins ensures users get both immediate and prolonged benefits.
However, like any product, it has its considerations. The presence of artificial ingredients might be a point of contention for some, especially those leaning toward all-natural products. Its maltodextrin inclusion seems to be counterintuitive and for us, it really spoilt this otherwise well-thought-out product.
Would we recommend it for weight loss management? Probably not. With the one exception, that this may be a good pre-workout product while working towards a weight loss goal. This is because the extra energy from the maltodextrin would be beneficial for the workout routine requirements.
So, what's the best use for this product? We think its best use would be as a meal replacement for those with a busy lifestyle. As this product is packed with protein and energy plus a vitamin and mineral supplement to boot, it makes for a quick meal on-the-go when you don't have time to sit down to something more substantial.