When it comes to assessing new products certain checks quickly help us to determine if a brand or range has something going for it. How clean are the ingredients? What type of sweeteners, protein and other ingredients do they use? And how is the product marketed: with hype or facts? The latest products we put to the test are from the Arborne Phytosport range which claims to develop ‘world-class products with botanicals and cutting-ege science’ for a natural range of nutrition products. The sports market is flooded with big claims and branding which is often let down by poorly developed products with chemically enriched ingredient lists so Arbonne’s range caught our eye due to its simple branding and a natural balance of nutrients across the range.
For endurance athletes energy availability is key, however this can be more complex than the ‘fill it with sugar’ philosophy taken by some brands. In ‘Prepare and Endure’ Arbonne has developed a nice tasting product to fuel long, hard endurance exercise and, while other brands stop at adding sodium and B-vitamins (useful for better energy production) to a basic carbohydrate drink, Arbonne has also included impressive amounts of additional vitamins as well as folate which helps in cell production, minerals and other micronutrients that may help support endurance. The product is also natural and lacks most of the nutritional nasties you’d expect to see in products like this. However, besides the vitamins, there are probably not enough of the other ingredients in ‘a serving’ to have a significant effect.
We also looked at Arbonne’s ‘After Workout’ mix. After hard exercise recovery can be supported by taking on board fluid and sodium to rehydrate, carbohydrate to refuel, complete proteins to recover and plant nutrients to help fix damage from the process of using oxygen for energy. After Workout provides much of this in a powder designed to support metabolism. There is very little to fault with what is found in this product. Unfortunately, much like the pre-sport mix, the quantities are small and also the fact that it misses out protein, the major nutrient needed after sport. The advice is to add this mix (which contains several nutrients key to recovery) to their separately-sold plant-based chocolate protein mix (from the Arbonne Essentials range). Combining the two would make an excellent recovery drink. The question is, why isn’t this an option on its own? Combining the two is expensive, especially since the protein shake mix is at the pricier end of the scale.
It is a similar story with other nutrition products in the Arbonne range: interesting, natural and useful ingredients but misjudged quantities and high prices. We genuinely feel that Arbonne are onto something here and if they could address these issues then they’d have a range of products that have a very real and market leading place in the sports nutrition industry.