This product has been on the shelves for a while now and was recently given a facelift to align the packaging with the new labeling legislation. It is merely aesthetics however as the nutritional content is still the same although they have also introduced a new flavour, strawberry.
Per 50g serving Futurelife provides 200 calories, 30g of carbs, 9g of protein and 5g of fat. Breaking this down further:
- of the 30 g of carbohydrate, only 7.5 g or roughly 1 1/2 tsp is sugar,
- the product is low GI due to the carbohydrate content being low in sugar and consisting of their specialized and patented partially cooked maize. This is great for those who care about GI (read more here).
- the protein is maize and soy based so is suitable for vegetarians. Despite being plant based it still provides a complete source of protein with all essential and branched chain amino acids in good supply.
- the fat component is evenly spread between saturated (1.5 g) , monounsaturated (1.8 g) and polyunsaturated (1.7 g) fats
- a small amount of the omega 3 fat alpha linolenic acid is included but the omega 3 to omega 6 ratio is 7:1 (more on this here)
- the fibre content is not high at 3 g per serving. A small portion is inulin, a fibre like compound that acts as a probiotic and can assist immune function. Maize itself is generally not a great provider of fiber.
- The vitamin profile shows 50% NRV’s for the included vitamins in each serving which I feel is a great draw card. This might be as much, if not more than, what you are getting from some of your multivitamins!
On top of all this, and a strong marketing point, is the addition of Moducare to FutureLife. Moducare is a plant sterol and sterolin blend which are a group of phytosterols that are essentially the plant based version of cholesterol. Research has shown encouraging benefits for phytosterols lowering levels of their human cousin, cholesterol. Although they may be cholesterol lowering compounds, phytosterols have not yet been shown to improve the health endpoints linked to cholesterol such as cardiovascular disease or mortality rates. Recently these sterols have shown to assist inflammatory conditions and immune function in stressed populations including marathon runners. Most trials are fairly small and short however and the long term benefits are yet to be determined. Clinical trials using Moducare itself are not easy to find, but one recent study reported attenuated growth of cancer cells both test tubes and in mice, although the dosage is EXTREMELY high (10 g/kg body weight) compared to the mere 25 mg you find per serving in Futurelife. These plant sterols are beneficial and while it remains unclear whether the dose in Futurelife will provide these benefits the more we get in through our diet the better.
A 50g serving of Futurelife is, in my opinion, a good part of breakfast or a decent snack for the convenience factor. For an active lifestyle it can be a useful breakfast or used as an addition to breakfast depending on your individual needs. It could also be used around exercise as a source of carbohydrate and protein. If you are on a calorie controlled diet or looking for weight loss then it may not be a great option as it is very high in energy, or if you do include it make sure that it is in small servings. FutureLife have recently added a High Protein variation which I will be reviewing soon which may be better suited to both the athlete and the calorie conscious. Apart from the energy content for the weight conscious I do not like the fact that the omega 6 content is so high. This is a fat we get plenty of and is associated with a number of health issues. Read the link earlier for more on this.
Some sensitive users may also struggle with the inulin content of FutureLife which is a type of non-digestible carbohydrate (fiber) that is promoted is some health circles and warned against in others. This is a topic for another day but a point worth keeping in mind if you experience gut issues after adding FutureLife to your diet.
I have tasted all the flavours in the current range and I find them quite tasty, except for the banana version which is a bit synthetic in taste for me. Personally I prefer mixing it with luke-warm water as opposed to using milk as this makes it too rich for me in the morning but the addition of milk would naturally increase your energy and protein content of each serving and can make a nice starting point for a smoothie.
My pick of a smoothie recipe for use after exercise: 1 banana, 3 strawberries, 3 Tbsp Futurelife, 3 Tbsp Whey Protein and about 100ml peach or apple juice gives a delicious high energy, high protein shake. This smoothie would provide about 70 g carbohydrate, 20 g protein and 5 g fat. The Futurelife website also has a few decent sounding recipes to give a try!!
Authors admission: strawberry sample received from sales representative, all other samples were paid for.