If you’re a Walgreens customer, stay away.
Why? We’re going to focus the spotlight on CVS Whey Protein Powder in this review, a supplement which has rocked the industry with so much controversy, and then some.
There’s no better time to revive this once-promising product than now, folks. We feel it had so much promise once it hit CVS’ shelves several years ago.
We feel its second coming is drawing near.
About CVS Whey Protein Powder
CVS’ official website does not resort to fancy marketing tactics for CVS Whey Protein Powder. It just mentions it has 26 grams of protein per serving and then rattles off each ingredient.
- Twenty-six (?) grams of protein per serving. But… CVS has undergone major scrutiny due to alleged amino spiking.
- Cheap. $19.99 for a two pound container.
- High in cholesterol. Twenty-three percent the daily value for this ingredient.
CVS Whey Protein Powder Supplement Facts (Chocolate, 2 lb)
|Serving Size: 1 Scoop (41 g)
Servings Per Container: About 22
|Nutrient||Amount Per Serving||% Daily Value|
|Calories From Fat||25|
|Ingredients: Protein Blend (Whey Protein Concentrate, Whey Protein Isolate), Maltodextrin, Cocoa Powder (Dutch Process), Natural and Artificial Flavors, Soy Lecithin, Cellulose Gum, Sodium Chloride, Xanthan Gum, Acesulfame Potassium, Sucralose. Contains: Milk, Soy.|
|Directions: Mix one scoop (41 g) with 6 to 8 FL OZ of cold water or Vitamin A and D fortified fat-free milk.|
Sizing Up CVS’ Foray Into the Bodybuilding Supplement Industry
If you’re a CVS regular and bodybuilding supplement user, you might have one less trip to take to GNC, or one less order to place on Amazon – CVS Whey Protein Powder is here to save the day.
When you visit CVS’ website, you won’t find any of the big-time marketing ploys other supplement manufacturers resort to. All you’ll see are the product, its ingredients and a few descriptions here and there. Nothing fancy at all.
CVS Whey Protein powder’s protein content isn’t fancy, either.
In fact, it’s downright simple, folks – a combination of whey protein concentrate and whey protein isolate. That’s it. No fuss, no frills.
Just whey protein powder in the usual forms.
- Whey protein concentrate (WPC) is the less pure form of protein (80 percent at most). It’s the less processed form – thus, it contains some fats, carbohydrates, and lactose. In comparison, it’s also bigger on flavor than its whey protein isolate (WPI) counterpart.
WPC powders are not ideal for individuals who are lactose intolerant. We advise them to purchase a WPI supplement instead.
Whey protein isolate undergoes microfiltration to reduce the fat and carb content further. Because of this, it has at least 90 percent pure protein content. Your system also absorbs WPI faster than WPC. The former tends to taste a bit on the bitter side, though.
Despite their differences, WPC and WPI are both high in branch-chained amino acids (BCAAs) and have good solubility – you get both of these benefits from CVS Whey Protein Powder.
At first glance, the protein content is impressive.
Each scoop yields 26 grams of protein.
Hold the applause for just a minute, folks.
Just so you know, a fellow by the name of Derek Gubala of Illinois filed a lawsuit against CVS on November 11, 2014, for “amino spiking” (a ploy where manufacturers put in less protein than what is stated on the label).
Here’s part of the CVS protein “amino spiking” memorandum order PricePlow.com obtained:
Plaintiff alleges that CVS makes false statements regarding the product’s (1) total protein content in grams, (2) protein daily value percentage (‘DV%’), and (3) amino acids under ‘Ingredients’ on the back label.
Plaintiff also alleges that the product name ‘Whey Protein Powder’ and representation ’26 grams of high-quality protein,’ appearing on the product’s front label, are misleading.
According to Plaintiff, the only protein source that is an ‘actual protein’ is whey protein. Plaintiff alleges the product contains only 21.8 grams of whey protein, and he attached a copy of a laboratory report to support the allegation.
The remaining 4.2 grams of protein CVS advertises on the label is not made up of whey protein but free-form amino acids and other non-protein ingredients, which are cheaper and less nutritionally beneficial than whey protein.
Plaintiff alleges that this difference is significant because ‘[s]everal studies show that free-form amino acids are not absorbed as effectively as whole protein’ and therefore ‘do not provide the same beneficial effects as whole protein.’
For its part, CVS requested United States District Judge Thomas M. Durkin to dismiss the case because the Food and Drug Administration authorizes supplement manufacturers to determine their products’ amino acid levels toward their protein-per-gram content.
Durkin promptly rejected CVS’ motion to dismiss in March 2016.
Nonetheless, CVS spokesman Michael DeAngelis told Law360.com’s Jessica Corso that month the company’s health products “are designed to maximize quality and assure the products we offer are safe, work as intended, comply with regulations, and satisfy customers.”
Looking at things from Gubala’s perspective, it’s a shame – a major shame – if CVS is found guilty of “amino spiking.”
- We were stoked about the 26 grams of protein only to find out four grams of it is not protein, but free-form amino acids instead.
On the other hand, if CVS stands by its products and proves Gubala’s accusation is off the mark, it’ll be well and good for the company’s consumers. Even if Durkin rules CVS innocent, the damage is done – a consumer filing a major lawsuit is an embarrassment of epic proportions.
According to the University of California, “the ingestion of amino acids through protein supplements augments muscle hypertrophy and retention of lean muscle mass, promoting positive nitrogen balance after resistance training.”
To be fair to CVS, other protein supplement manufacturers may not be as innocent.
Look no further than Labdoor.com. Many consumers turn to this website for information about supplements. The folks at Labdoor test protein powder products for label accuracy. According to their findings, some of these manufacturers provide a lower amount of protein than what is indicated on their label.
What was Labdoor’s finding on CVS Whey Protein Powder’s protein content? According to the former’s website, “Total protein was measured at 65.6 per 100g of product. A 39g serving will yield 25.6 g/serving, 1.6% below its label claim.”
Assuming Labdoor’s procedures are sound, we can imagine CVS Whey Protein Powder reaching its 26-gram claim for protein powder if we take a 41-gram serving (as the label indicates) into account. If Labdoor can come to CVS’ defense, the company will be off the hook (fact: Labdoor lists CVS Whey Protein Powder 53rd on its list of top protein supplements).
On the other hand, CVS Whey Protein Powder is a delicious supplement – many consumers swear by it in reviews. Its solubility is also pretty good, so it mixes into water or drinks easy and smooth.
And did we mention the price to buy ($19.99 for a two-lb. container) is pretty reasonable?
CVS Whey Protein Powder comes in two flavors:
- Chocolate – great Chocolate flavor. Some consumers say combining this with peanut butter makes the shake even tastier. We agree. We give this flavor a nine out of 10.
- Vanilla – great taste, too. It’s not in the league of BSN SYNTHA-6 of Dymatize ISO100 as far as Vanilla-flavored protein supplements go. Still great, nonetheless. We feel this one gets an 8.5 out of 10.
That’s one hang-up we have about CVS Whey Protein Powder – the lack of variety.
Chocolate and Vanilla are safe options. Here’s one way CVS can clean up its image: Come up with an advanced formula sweetened with stevia. Oh, and more flavors, please.
Now, let’s check out the formula ingredients:
- Total fat, 2.5 g: You may notice a huge discrepancy between what we wrote here and the 25 grams of fat per serving written in the ingredients list above. Well, we based the latter on CVS’ official website. We feel it’s a typographical error. Why? Twenty-five grams of fat per serving cannot be equal to just four percent the daily value. It’s safe to say CVS Whey Protein Powder has 2.5 grams of fat per serving, which is not too high for a WPC/WPI combo.
- Cholesterol, 70 mg: A major downer: CVS Whey Protein Powder’s cholesterol content is 23 percent the daily value for this ingredient. That is sky high, folks. Please consult with your doctor if you have any cardiovascular issues.
- Total carbohydrate, 9 g: Nine grams per serving looks high at first glance, but if it’s just three percent of the daily value, it isn’t. Each serving of CVS Whey Protein Powder also has one gram of fiber and just two grams of sugar, folks.
- Sodium, 160 mg: If you’re watching your sodium intake, aim for five percent or less of the daily value. CVS Whey Protein’s 160 milligrams per serving accounts for seven percent – it’s not that high but worth noting. Check with your physician to be on the safe side.
So, does CVS Whey Protein Powder really have 26 grams of protein, like it claims?
We hope so.
Here’s the big reveal:
Labdoor sees it much differently than Derek Gubala. The former is a credible source, so we’ll take their word for it. If the product’s 26 grams of protein holds true, it trumps the likes of Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey and MyProtein Impact Whey Protein.
That’s saying a lot right there.
Quality-wise, CVS Whey Protein Powder’s protein content doesn’t measure up to the two aforementioned competitors, although its whey protein concentrate and whey protein isolate combo is simple and effective.
Fats and carb content are within reasonable means. Most of the ingredients are as simple as the product’s protein content. Despite the embarrassing lawsuit, CVS manages to avoid including any questionable proprietary blends. It’s also a good source of calcium (14 percent the daily value). Good stuff.
Some red flags, here folks: CVS Whey Protein Powder is high in cholesterol and somewhat high in sodium. Please take heed if you have any cardiovascular issues.
CVS Whey Protein Powder Benefits
CVS Whey Protein has the following benefits:
- Quality whey protein isolate and whey protein concentrate protein blend
- 26 grams (?) of protein per serving
- Low in sugar
- High in calcium
- Delicious taste
This product is simple and effective, as some customers attest. Plus, it’s also a tasty supplement. Good taste, a good amount of protein, and simple ingredients should resonate well with the clientele.
Who Takes It?
CVS Whey Protein Powder is intended for healthy individuals over the age of 18 years who want to build lean muscle mass, boost recovery, and meet their daily protein requirements.
Any Side Effects?
While CVS Whey Protein Powder has no glaring side effects, its whey protein concentrate may be of some concern to lactose intolerant individuals. As such, we advise them to purchase a whey protein isolate supplement such as PROGENEX Recovery instead.
CVS Whey Protein Powder also has a high cholesterol content (23 percent the daily value) and somewhat high sodium content (seven percent the daily value). People who have heart issues should consult with their physicians before purchasing.
The manufacturer also issues a warning:
CVS Whey Protein Powder Summary
- Quality WPC and WPI protein blend. For building lean muscle mass.
- Twenty-six grams (?) of protein per serving. Still under scrutiny, however.
- Good calcium source. Fourteen percent the daily value.
- Great taste. Many consumers swear by it.
- Cheap. $19.99 for a 907-gram container.
- Under scrutiny. Consumer filed lawsuit in November 2014.
- High in cholesterol. Twenty-three percent the daily value.
Pricing & Buying Info
- 1 2-lb. container (22-Day Supply): $19.99
- Available online and in retail
Final Word on CVS Whey Protein Powder
CVS Whey Protein powder packed a lot of promise prior to the infamous lawsuit scandal that rocked the bodybuilding supplement world.
Thanks to reliable sources such as Labdoor, the product may have found a new lease on life. Once the company has overcome the stigma, it should come back with a bang.
Any time you have a protein powder with 26 grams of quality protein and simple ingredients on your stack, it’s always a plus, folks.
One word of advice to CVS: Come up with an improved formula with more flavors. We’re confident this strategy will win the consumers back.