Sci-Mx Advanced Protein Range PRO 2GO® COOKIE Review
Over the years I’ve tried a significant number of nutritional supplements from a large number of companies, so I was both flattered and excited to be asked to review a new protein cookie flavour by Sci-Mx Nutrition.
Over the years I have picked up a few hints and tips that you should consider when supplementing with protein:
- Beware Protein Spiking. This may be a strange concept for many of you, but a technique that companies use to increase the amount of protein they can put on their label – without actually putting more protein in the supplement – is protein spiking. The current method of measuring the amount of protein in a supplement is quantifying the amount of nitrogen in a supplement and then correlating that to a protein content. Because powdered protein is so expensive to manufacture these days, companies “spike” the supplements with amino-acids (the building blocks of protein) in order to increase the amount of nitrogen without increasing the protein value. Thankfully there is no evidence of protein spiking in the Sci-Mx PRO 2GO® Cookies.
- Eat More Protein Than The Recommended Daily Allowance. The current recommended daily protein intake for 18 – 50 year old males in the UK is 55.5g. That doesn’t sound like much does it? The bottom line is, it isn’t. This figure was derived based on a man weighing 11 stones but the average man in the UK weighs over two stones more than this, so you’re already on a deficit. If you’re taking supplements I’m assuming you’re working out too which means you are taking even less than you need. Proteins, and the amino-acids that the body breaks them down into, are used in almost every bodily function and are essential to cell life. Ensuring you get enough is vital to your optimum health. If you exercise regularly, the actual amount you should be consuming is around 1g for every pound of bodyweight; the more intensely you train, the more you will need. With 23g of good quality protein in every cookie, you can easily reach your target if whole food is becoming a bit of a struggle.
- You Don’t Have To Worry About Carbs And Fat, But There Is A Catch. When I was taking my nutrition seriously, I wasted so much time counting calories, breaking down macronutrients and working out exactly what I was eating. The best thing I did was forget about fat and carbs and solely concentrate on protein, but there’s a catch. It’s not a free ticket to eat what you want, you have to choose carefully. Provided the protein sources you eat are high quality grass fed animals and wild oily fish, you DO NOT HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT THEIR FAT CONTENT. The fat will consist of healthy medium-chain-triglycerides that are metabolised quickly and used to fuel your daily activity. Provided you get your carbohydrates from fresh cruciferous vegetables you will get all of the micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) that you require and because of their low calorie density you can eat as much as you like without fear of insulin spikes, sugar crashes, and calorie surplus. If you do feel sluggish, you can always add a bowl of oat bran before bed or try increasing your sodium levels slightly. Although there are one or two ingredients in Sci-Mx PRO 2GO® Cookies that I would rather they didn’t include (Palm Oil, Soy Protein, Added Sweetener) provided you have them at the right time and in the right conditions, they will only serve to help you reach your goals.
- Protein Timing Is Everything. If hypertrophy (getting bigger) is your goal, then you ignore the ‘anabolic window’ at your peril. If muscle maintenance is your goal, you would be wise to do the same. Net Protein Balance = Muscle Protein Synthesis – Muscle Protein Breakdown. In order to make gains or prevent muscle loss, you need to maximise protein synthesis and minimise protein degradation. Whilst you are in the gym for a short proportion of the day, the nutrition you take in before, during, and after training is quite possibly the most vital for achieving your goals. Get this right and you will stand the best chance of success. Ingesting carbohydrates post workout turns off the production of cortisol and minimises protein degradation, ingesting protein maximises your window of opportunity of exploiting the anabolic window. For generic training 20g of protein has been shown to be sufficient and any more has no greater effect on protein synthesis, but if you train to a high intensity – think body builders not a few push ups whilst chatting in the park – then you may need more. Thankfully Sci-Mx PRO 2GO® Cookies have 23g of protein and 30g of carbohydrates, minimising protein degradation and maximising protein synthesis.
Protein Cookie Review
To thoroughly review the Sci-Mx PRO 2GO® Cookies, I took them in 3 different ways: as meal replacements for two of my daily meals (primarily for dieters); as between meal snacks (for those wishing to gain weight); and as a post workout supplement only. Here are my thoughts:
- Meal Replacements. This was the hardest of the three plans. At approximately 300 calories a cookie it doesn’t sound like an appropriate amount for a meal replacement, but it is almost double that of Slim Fast and with about half of the ingredients. The flavour I received was oatmeal and raisin, but don’t let that put you off, it was actually really tasty. It was lighter than you’d imagine, but it did satisfy me enough to feel full. (I did have a glass of whole milk with mine just so I can have some casein and whey to try to sustain me for a bit longer). I deliberately ate this before training so it didn’t confuse with the the post workout method, and I think this made life a little bit harder for myself. I ate at 0630 trained at 0730 and by 1030 I was really hungry. I filled up on water and drank an extra 3 litres over the course of the day – taking me to 7 litres and I used shots of espresso to try to extinguish the burning desire for sustenance. Lunch was a cookie and a pint of whole milk at 1300 and it seemed to sustain me until dinner at 1800. This method would have the same effect as Slim Fast and other extremely low calorie diets and isn’t one that I would recommend, and neither do Sci-Mx. Not one of their recommendations suggests using them as a whole meal replacement and it seems for very good reason.
- Between Meal Snacks. I don’t normally eat breakfast, but just to see how I got on eating 6 meals a day I deliberately forced myself to eat some scrambled eggs just to tick the box. I ate this at 0630, trained at 0730, had a protein cookie at 1000, lunch at 1300, a cookie at 1500, dinner at 1800, and a final cookie at 2030. I felt bloated, stuffed and really quite uncomfortable for the whole day. The extra breakfast and 900 calories of cookie definitely took its toll. Because I had increased the amount of carbohydrates, my body needed a lot more water to help metabolise them, leaving me feeling dehydrated and sluggish. Not to mention the extra serotonin making me feel increasingly lethargic. I’ve often heard body builders say that food should be treated as an extra workout, and it felt like it. I should caveat with the fact that I wasn’t training as intensely as someone looking to gain a significant amount of weight, but had I done so I’m pretty sure the extra calories would have been invaluable.
- Post Workout Supplement. This, for me, was the best of the three methods. I trained fasted at 0730, drank a pint of skimmed milk immediately afterwards and then had a Sci-Mx PRO 2GO® Cookie at about 0930 (45 minutes post training), lunch at 1230, and dinner at 1730. The cookie didn’t bloat me, I didn’t have any crashes afterwards, and while it’s probably psychosomatic I’m convinced I recovered quicker from the training as well. This was extremely manageable and you can currently get 12 cookies for £14.33 (as at 27 Jan 16). This works out at approximately £10 cheaper a month than my current post workout supplement.
All in all a tasty product that had a positive effect – and if you don’t like oatmeal and raisin, they do them in double choc-chip and strawberry with white choc-chip too. Sci-Mx pride themselves on selling science-based products that have shown proven results. This isn’t something that concerns me too much, it’s the effect that the supplement has on me that is most important, and if I see results taking a supplement that industry says shouldn’t work, then I’ll continue taking it. If I don’t see results, I’ll stop taking it. I didn’t have sufficient time to fully compare brands, or like for like supplements, but from what I saw and what I’ve read, Sci-Mx seem to be a brand that can be trusted, with products that are effective. One word of warning though, if you are a drug tested athlete, or if you are routinely drug tested in your work, only the OMNI MX Hardcore is tested by Informed-Sport and guaranteed to be contaminant free. As with every supplement manufactured by all supplement companies not registered with Informed-Sport, there may be a risk of contamination.
Disclaimer: I was provided with one box of 12 oatmeal and raisin cookies in return for this review, but all words and thoughts are my own.