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FutureLife High Protein – Review

Food For Sport reviews FutureLife High Protein

A large number of my clients and friends are faithful users of FutureLife as a breakfast porridge or smoothie ingredient. I reviewed the original Smart Food version last year (more on that here), a high energy cereal that is suitable for the active individual. The pros of FutureLife include a low Gi, added vitamins and minerals, a good source of fiber and inclusion of Moducare®, a plant sterol formula. FutureLife is also free from gluten, wheat, egg, trans fatty acids and cholesterol.

 futurelife high protein

FutureLife High Protein is similar in terms of these benefits but lower in total energy and carbohydrate and obviously higher in protein. The aim apparently was to produce a product with greater relevance to athletes, diabetics and those wanting to lose weight. The carbohydrate content is both maize and soya based. Thankfully the extra protein is in the form of whey isolate which is included in combination with soy isolate and calcium caseinate. The regular product is only soy based protein. On its own soy protein is a good quality option but protein blends such as this have shown great promise in research into recovery nutrition. The three proteins provide an immediate and sustained supply of amino acids that encourage protein synthesis. This characteristic also benefits satiety (keeping you fuller for longer). Amongst these three proteins they provide a good supply of essential amino acids and in particular branched chain amino acids (BCAA). BCAA are important for muscle growth and repair as well as exercise performance due to their role in fatigue. In comparison to the regular option, the high protein version provides almost double the amount of BCAA.

The recommended serving is 75 g compared to 50 g for the regular one. From experience most people seem to consider 75 g a serving for the regular version anyway so I have converted the nutritional information to that and tabulated the differences for the nutrients of interest below:

NutrientUnitSmart FoodHigh Protein Smart Food
Energycalories297261
Carbohydrateg43.87527
    sugarg11.259
Fatg7.355.1
    saturatedg2.1751
    monounsaturatedg2.6251
    polyunsaturatedg2.553
    omega 3 (ALA)mg375375
    omega 6mg26252625
Proteing13.523
    leucinemg10201830
    isoleucinemg5701223
    valinemg637.51170
Fiberg4.5755
Moducareμg3750037500
Inulinmg375375
Lecithinmg375375

As far as “breakfast-out-a-box” goes FutureLife High Protein is suitable. I always advocate something a bit more fresh but for convenience it works. As a pre or post exercise snack I think it is ideal. It gives you the 20-30 g protein goal you should be aiming for. I would however include it with an extra source of carbohydrate after an endurance session. Add a fruit, fruit juice, energy bar or energy drink to help restore muscle glycogen after more than 90 minutes of exercise. Alternatively as part of a smoothie made with fruit or fruit juice it could provide the ±60 g serving of carbohydrate that you are looking for.

For weight loss goals I might err on the side of smaller portions (50 g) but this would depend on the remainder of your daily dietary intake and how much exercise you are doing.

My main concern with FutureLife High Protein, as well as the regular version, is the high omega 6 content and omega 6:omega 3. We should be striving to reverse this and reduce the pro-inflammatory effect a high ratio promotes. Obviously the remainder of your diet will determine what your ultimate ratio is but choosing low omega 6 foods is a good start.

Quite a lot has been said about the safety and concern of soya products, a topic I recently reviewed. These are issues that can be kept in mind when choosing soya based food items. Both FutureLife products use soy bean flour as a base and soy isolate for protein as well soy lecithin as an emulsifier. FutureLife High Protein, as mentioned, does include whey and casein to provide the majority of protein however. After contacting FutureLife they provided this media release article on soy with permission to add to this post for further information.

Taste wise I found the original flavour fairly similar to the regular version although much less rich which was an improvement for me. The fine gritty nature of the porridge remains naturally from the maize and soy flour but this is somewhat moderated by the creaminess that the added whey provides. It can be mixed with water or milk and in contrast to the regular version mixing it with milk does not make it over-rich, too much so for me personally. Do bear in mind however that if you add milk you will further add to the nutritional value with a little extra carbohydrate, protein and fat. FutureLife High Protein is also available in chocolate. It retails for around R 49 a box which is more expensive than the R 34 regular version but a small price to pay for that extra protein. You will get about 7 servings per box which makes it roughly R 7 per 20 g of protein. Not bad.

An added bonus for athletes is that the product is registered and tested by Informed Choice providing assurance of a low-risk product in terms of banned and/or unlabeled ingredients.

Depending on your dietary needs, the remainder of your diet and your personal goals this product may be suitable for:

  • athletes
  • diabetics
  • weight loss

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16 Responses to FutureLife High Protein – Review

  1. Andrew Jul 22, 2013 at 10:15 am #

    I’m seriously impressed with the carb content being a low as 27g for a “cereal”.

    Still wondering (seeing 9g of sugar) when we’re gonna see completely sugar-free cereals.

    Nevertheless, for us low-carbers, it does seem like a suitable option over the other rubbish out there.

    • Jeremy James May 21, 2014 at 10:15 pm #

      i see they have released the sugar free option. would be nice to have a 3rd column comparing that too.

      • Adrian Penzhorn Jun 23, 2014 at 9:26 pm #

        I haven’t forgotten about you, I am on it. Hoping to find a little time to finish the review!

  2. Nick Jul 22, 2013 at 3:27 pm #

    Hey Food 4 Sport,

    Do you think this product is or will be available in the UK?

    • Food For Sport Jul 22, 2013 at 6:20 pm #

      Good question Nick, though that is one for them I am afraid. I do not know. Maybe the Saffa shops should get on that!

  3. Hictory Sep 23, 2014 at 11:24 am #

    Started eating this today. Best breakfast cereal ive ever had.

  4. Muhammad Nov 15, 2014 at 1:03 pm #

    Hey does it build muscle?

    • Food For Sport Nov 24, 2014 at 4:55 pm #

      If muscle gain is your goal make sure that your training programme is spot on and then eat enough to support that. Good quality foods with protein, carbohydrate and fat to meet your individual needs will help.

  5. jackson Dec 16, 2014 at 10:20 pm #

    Is futurelife good for picking up weight.

    Thanks

    • Adrian Penzhorn Dec 18, 2014 at 9:32 am #

      Hi Jackson
      It all depends on the rest of your diet but FutureLife is a good source of energy and protein that can help you eat enough if weight gain is your goal.

  6. Ian Fraser Jul 1, 2015 at 1:37 pm #

    What is up with this stuff’s taste? Am I the only one who finds it completely disgusting? Most foul tasting stuff I’ve eaten in years… It literally makes me gag and I still have to finish the other half of the box. Is the chocolate any better or just as bad? What gets me more than the taste is that gross almost “fur on your tongue”-feeling you get about a second after putting it in your mouth… Or am I just a really unlucky dude that got a particularly bad batch of the stuff? So far the “low price for protein” has not outweighed the terrible taste and consistency. At this rate it would be way more appetizing to add a bit of whey protein to Pro Nutro.

    • Food For Sport Jul 1, 2015 at 2:43 pm #

      Thanks for the comments Ian. I’ve had feedback from folks who love it and others who find it like you do. It’s definitely not the only way to get a little more protein into breakfast. As you suggest ProNutro with whey (same omega 6 concern) or oats and whey (best bet) are other options too.

      • Ian Fraser Jul 1, 2015 at 6:29 pm #

        Thanks for the reply… The omega 6 isn’t that big of an issue for me since I’m supplementing with omega 3 two to three times a day anyway. The reason I bought it was as a quick and easy breakfast since I get up pretty early and have neither the time, nor the will to cook oats in the morning. I’ve made oats with whey on weekends and that’s some pretty tasty stuff. The other reason was that I wanted a quick and easy, low volume snack I can take with me to take as a pre-workout shake 30-45 minutes before I hit the gym. I’m afraid that even though its more expensive, Evox 5xl muscle meal is the winner in both respects for me. Or at least until I find something similar that doesn’t have the same effect as Future Life on me.

        By the way, does the Chocolate flavour have the same weird after taste and feeling as the original flavour? If it does I want to return the box before I open it. For me it truly is money wasted. Eating is supposed to be enjoyable, right?

        • Food For Sport Jul 2, 2015 at 11:02 pm #

          You are spot on, no point eating anything you can’t enjoy. You are obviously looking for something higher energy if 5xl is your option – it is very high in carbs so much different to FL and a different application. Your choice should come down to the purpose of your session and your goals. The FL choc is better tasting in my opinion and a shake in place of a porridge might also help.

  7. Moe Apr 10, 2016 at 11:18 pm #

    Hey, the future life high protein is great in every way until it made me want to stop using it as it includes soy protein, the fact that soy protein causes gynecomastia I don’t think it would be a good idea to use it , the product would be tops if you discarded the use of soy in it

    • Food For Sport Apr 11, 2016 at 9:28 am #

      Hi Moe. Thanks for the thoughts. There is some anecdotal concern around a very high intake of soy isoflavones but most quality research suggests soy, particularly in moderate amounts, is safe. Unless vegan I would not rely on it as an only source of protein but I would not be concerned with a little here and there.

      Regards,

      Adrian Penzhorn R.D. (S.A.) Registered Dietician & Sport Scientist, Food For Sport

      Phone: 021 762 4914
      Mobile: 082 623 7609
      Email: adrian@foodforsport.co.za
      Website: http://www.foodforsport.co.za
      Address: Constantia Sports Medicine Centre, Constantiaberg Mediclinic, Burnham Road, Cape Town 7800