Did you know Tesco have launched a range of protein products? No, nor did I, until I was sent some to test. Welcome to this week’s installment of fitness kit I’ve tested this week. I actually tested all of these things some time ago but never mind! Christmas got in the way of this blog post.
I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t think to head to Tesco (other supermarkets are available 😉 ) for a protein hit. Other than, perhaps, rotisserie chicken. Even so, that’s a bit tricky to eat whilst driving out of the carpark.
Obviously it’s best not to be in a position where you need to buy anything from the supermarket on which to snack, but life isn’t perfect. So, Tesco’s Nutri1st Advanced products – a new range of protein shakes and bars – could come in handy.
According to the press release, the Tesco bods have crafted this range with the bamboozled in mind. The products have been designed to make it easier to select a protein product to support your sporting goals. Additionally, the decision was made to have packaging which doesn’t feature muscly models, the idea being that these products might appeal to people who have just started out on their fitness quest.
There are six types of products, all of which are clearly labelled with their intended purpose: muscle definition and strength, lean muscle growth, maximum muscle growth, increasing size and strength, early morning workouts and non workout days and bedtime. I’m not sure there’s a distinct difference between all six, but I can see the value in assisting people new to protein supplementation. The products include only natural colours and flavours across the entire range.
Nutri-Whey Extra – for supporting muscle definition and strength
These high-protein, low-carb shakes and bars contain a triple combination of whey proteins (isolate, concentrate and hydrolysate). I sampled two flavours of the shakes (at around 130 cals, 24g protein, 3g carbs and 2g fat per 34g serving) – strawberries and cream, and chocolate. Both £22 for a 1kg tub. They were perfectly nice tasting, but I’m more interested in what’s in them. As well as the triple hit of wheys, you get amino acids and an enzyme complex, to make the shake more easily digestable. You also get sucralose, unfortunately. In terms of taste, I wasn’t hugely keen on the strawberry (but it’s never my favourite flavour) and thought it was very sweet, but the chocolate was good.
I also tried one of the Nutri-whey extra bars (strawberry again) which was nice, but coated in a chocolate-flavoured layer so, essentially, a protein-rich candy bar. £1.25 for the 60g bar. At 190 cals, 18g protein, 20.3g carbs and 4.7g fat per 60g bar, it’s a decent protein hit for sure, and a better choice than a chocolate bar, but I’d suggest there are better bars out there (or better things to munch on from the supermarket) than a bar covered in sucralose and palm kernel oil. Mind you, I munched my way through it perfectly happily so who am I to tell you what to eat! On the plus side, this bar is bigger than a lot of protein bars out there. In texture, it was chewy rather than crispy or crunchy.
Nutri-Lean Extra – for lean muscle growth
The shakes and bars in this range contain metabolism-boosting ingredients as well as whey protein. I was sent one of the bars in the range, a chocolate/mint concoction. £1.25 for a 40g bar. At 144kcals, 18.7g protein, 11.8g carbs and 3.3g fat per 40g bar, it’s a good chunk of protein but I have to say I wasn’t a fan of the texture. It was a little chalky. The ingredients of note here are good old CLA (1097mg per 100g – the bar is 40g), green tea extract (430mg per 100g), and l-carnitine. To be honest I’m not sure that the thermogenic ingredients would offset the fact that, again, you’re eating the bar’s coating, with ingredients like sugar and glucose syrup. Although the bar is surely a better choice than a Twix or something like that, and undeniably delivers a good hit of protein.
Nutri-Power Complete – help support maximum muscle growth as part of your exercise plan
The shakes and bars in this range are branded as all-rounders, with whey and soya protein, plenty of carbohydrates and supplements including creatine, l-glutamine and HMB. I tried the raspberry and honey flapjack bar which was tasty and carby, but pretty sweet (as you’d expect from something called a honey flapjack). £1.25 for the bar. Per 60g bar (again, it’s a decent size), you’re getting 215kcals, 20.6g protein, 25.8g carbs and 4.7g fat. Not one to choose whilst dieting or trying to having a low-carb day, and I’m not sure that I’d choose a bar with this many sweeteners if there were other options available.
In summary, I think these products are a good entry-level range for people who don’t know about sports supplements and would feel confused or intimidated by some of the existing brands. The packaging does explain in simple terms what the ingredients are useful for. However, for me, the amount of sugar and sweeteners, and vegetable oils, mean I’m unlikely to choose the bars over products from other ranges (in truth I’d rather bake my own!) But I appreciate that a lot of people simply don’t know where to start when it comes to supplementing with quick-grab protein before or after training, and wouldn’t know where to start when it comes to mixing up creatine, l-glutamine, etc for themselves.
The range also includes Nutri-Gain Extra – for increasing size and strength, Nutri1st Advanced Breakfast Shakes – ideal for early morning gym goers and Nutri1st Advanced Staged Release Shake – ideal for non-workout days and bedtime. The range is available in store or from Tesco Direct.
Have you tried anything from Tesco’s Nutri1st Advanced range? What did you think?
Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.