Whey protein is probably the most common supplement in the world, next to multivitamins. And why shouldn’t it be; it is, after all, an efficient way, both from a time and cost perspective, for you to get your daily requirements of protein. This is especially true if you are on a high protein diet.
But being such a common and generic supplement, it can be hard to differentiate between brands. Many companies try to add more and more ingredients to their whey protein to stand out from the pack; we have seen additional BCAAs, creatine, digestive enzymes etc. But there’s one company that’s doing the exact opposite; it’s actually taking out ingredients from its whey protein.
That company is Naked Nutrition. Based in Florida, Naked Nutrition aims to target a common weakness of the supplement industry: its overhyped marketing and gimmicks. If you’ve been in the fitness world for any amount of time, then you know what we are talking about.
Unfortunately, the supplement industry is largely unregulated by the FDA, which is why you get all sorts of bombastic claims on the labels and in their marketing.
As such, all of Naked Nutrition products are remarkably low on hype. The company tries to focus on using the purest ingredients possible while maintaining the highest amount of transparency in its labeling and claims.
Today we will be looking at the Naked Nutrition’s whey protein offering: Less Naked Whey Protein. We will give you a detailed breakdown as to what goes into this product, its pros and cons, and whether or not it is worth your hard-earned money.
Less Naked Whey Protein Review
Less Naked Whey Protein is to be used as any normal whey protein supplement. Its main selling points are that its whey comes from grass-fed cows, there is less processing involved in its ingredients and full transparency in its labeling.
The package of Less Naked Whey Protein proudly displays all the ingredients (only three of them) prominently on the front, with the words ‘With Nothing To Hide’ boldly emblazoned beneath them.
And if you were wondering why the product is called ‘Less Naked Whey’ the answer is that the ‘Less Naked’ labeling goes for its flavored whey protein products. The unflavored whey protein variant (which has only one ingredient) is the Naked Whey Protein.
Here are the basics of what goes into Less Naked Whey Protein, presented on a per serving basis.
|Chocolate Flavor||Vanilla Flavor||Strawberry Flavor|
|Serving Size||38g (2 scoops)||38g (2 scoops)||38g (2 scoops)|
|Servings per Container||60||60||60|
|Calories||160 calories||150 calories||150 – 160 calories|
|Carbohydrates||8g (1g dietary fiber)||8g (0g dietary fiber)||8g (1g dietary fiber)|
|Fat||3g (1.5g saturated fat)||2g (0.5g saturated fat)||2g (0.5g saturated fat)|
At 25g of protein per serving, making up over 65% of total calories, Less Naked Whey Protein has a very good amount of protein per serving. When compared to your typical whey protein powder, which has about 20 – 25g of protein per serving, Less Naked Whey Protein’s protein content places it on the high end of the range, which is great.
The whey protein in the product comes from grass-fed whey protein concentrate sourced from small dairy farms based in the United States. As you know, whey protein is derived from cow’s milk, as a byproduct of the cheese manufacturing process.
Most cows are commercially raised, and their primary diet is grain, not grass. The main benefits that grass-fed cows have over grain-fed ones are higher beneficial fatty acids content, namely Conjugated Linoleic Acids (“CLA”) and Omega-3 fatty acids.
In addition to a higher beneficial fatty acid content, there is also the organic factor. Being raised in a less commercial environment, grass-fed cows are also given fewer or no growth hormones so common in commercial cattle raising. In fact, Less Naked Whey Protein proudly boasts that it is ‘Growth Hormone Free, no rBGH or rBST’.
For your information, rBGH stands for Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone and rBST is Recombinant Bovine Somatotropin. Both rBGH and rBST are used to increase milk production in cows. While they were approved by the FDA in 1993, their use is banned in the European Union and Canada.
The American Cancer Society notes that while it can cause adverse health effects in cows, potential harm to humans is inconclusive.
That said, its ongoing usage continues to be controversial, and many health-conscious people prefer to err on the side of caution. However, because there is no regulation stating that rBGH and rBST milk has to be labeled, the only way to avoid it is by explicitly seeking out products that state that they are rBGH and rBST free, such as Less Naked Whey Protein.
Finally, we note that the whey protein used in Less Naked Whey Protein is whey protein concentrate. This is the least processed form of whey but it is also the cheapest and the highest in lactose. Hence, if you are sensitive to lactose (and there is evidence that a significant amount of the population may be), then there is a chance that you may experience digestive issues when taking this product.
This is doubly true considering that it does not contain digestive enzymes such as lactase, which is specifically for digesting lactose.
At 8g of carbohydrates per serving, Less Naked Whey Protein is most definitely not a low carb product. Compared to the majority of whey protein brands on the market right now, 8g of carbs per serving is on the very high end.
And considering that the majority of those carbohydrates are sugars, Less Naked Whey Protein has one of the highest sugar content among whey protein brands. But what kind of carbohydrates go into this product?
Since there are only three ingredients in the product, it is clear that the carbohydrates are coming from the coconut sugar In the case of the Strawberry flavor, the dried strawberries add to the mix and are also probably responsible for its higher sugar content compared to the other two flavors.
Coconut sugar is a natural sweetener that has become quite popular in recent years. It is made from the sap of the flower of the coconut palm tree and its adherents and manufacturers say that it is more nutritious than sugar while having a lesser effect on blood sugar levels i.e. a lower glycemic load and index.
As coconut sugar is basically what remains after the sap has evaporated, it is said to contain some of the leftover nutrients. Notably, coconut sugar has iron, zinc, calcium, and potassium which is backed up by Less Naked Whey Protein’s label, which notes small amounts of potassium, iron, calcium, and phosphorus (but no zinc).
While one study showed that coconut sugar only had a Glycemic Index of 35 (which is low), compared to that of table sugar which is 60, there are some limitations. That appears to be the only study done and only contained a minimum of 10 participants.
Hence, we cannot definitively say that coconut sugar is as low on the glycemic index as its adherents claim. That said, it is still likely lower compared to regular sugar to the presence of inulin, a soluble fiber which may slow glucose absorption.
Further, the Glycemic Index doesn’t tell you how much fructose is in it, since it is metabolized far more slowly. But fructose is far more harmful than glucose as it goes straight to your liver and high fructose consumption has been shown to lead to insulin resistance which leads to elevated insulin levels, less satiety which leads to higher calorie consumption, and leptin resistance which also exacerbates weight gain.
Coconut sugar is about 80% sucrose which itself is 50% fructose. Hence, about 40% of coconut sugar is fructose. Compare that to table sugar, which is pure sucrose meaning 50% fructose. A notable difference to be sure, but not as big as you might think.
To conclude, while coconut sugar is a better source of carbohydrates compared to regular sugar, it is unclear why Naked Nutrition opted not to use other zero calorie natural sweeteners such as stevia instead. Despite what they might tell you, coconut sugar is not that much better than regular sugar.
The fat in Less Naked Whey Protein comes from the coconut sugar and the grass-fed whey. Remember that about 80% of coconut sugar is sucrose, part of the remainder are some healthy fats. Similarly, the grass-fed whey also has a healthy fat component rich in CLAs and Omega-3 fatty acids. Additionally, in the Chocolate flavor, which has the highest fat content, the raw cacao also contributes to the fat profile.
That said, the amount of fat in Less Naked Whey Protein is very low, at about 3g maximum. This places it toward the higher end compared to other whey proteins, but not by much. Overall, like most whey proteins, Less Naked Whey Protein’s fat content comes about incidentally. However, given the grass-fed source, it is likely healthier compared to your average whey protein powder.
Flavor and Mixing
The taste of Less Naked Whey Protein will appeal to those who find the taste of the standard whey protein brands to be overly sweet. Despite the high amount of sugars in the product, the general consensus is that it is not sweet at all. For instance, the Chocolate flavor has been described as cocoa that has only been lightly sweetened. This may be a plus or minus depending on your own personal taste.
Mixability is definitely a negative when it comes to Less Naked Whey Protein. Most powder supplements contain ingredients such as soy lecithin or soy lecithin, which are used to improve the solubility of the product.
Absent these ingredients (soy lecithin, the most common is a known GMO product, which Naked Nutrition strenuously avoids), the product does not mix well at all. There’s quite a bit of clumping, so be prepared to use a blender or some vigorous hand motions.
Value for Money
Less Naked Whey Protein is sold on both its official website and on Amazon for $89.99 for a 5 pound 60 serving container, the only size available. This translates to a price of $1.50 per serving. When compared to a generic whey protein brand, this is definitely expensive (we estimate a premium of about 50 – 75% over regular whey proteins).
Compared to the more premium natural whey proteins and it is still on the higher end but the difference is less stark. It prices comparable to some of the more popular vegan whey protein brands out there.
If you are lactose intolerant, then this product might not be for you. And if you like sweet tasting supplements, then this one may also not be to your liking. Low carb diet? Then you better skip this one. Always looking for the best deals on your supplements to fit your limited budget? Then you definitely don’t want this one.
But if you are the sort of who seeks out organic and grass-fed meat in your daily diet, then you probably want your protein supplements to meet the same standard. In that respect, Less Naked Whey Protein delivers.
You will get grass-fed whey sourced from small American dairy farms that use no growth hormones in their cattle. Yes, you will pay quite a premium for this, but it is really no different when buying organic and grass-fed meat at the store.
Consider that many of the cheaper whey protein brands out there have their whey sourced from China, which may have possible heavy metals contamination. Credible reports indicate that up to 20% of Chinese farmland is contaminated.
In the most famous example, Consumer Reports bought 15 brands of whey protein powders and lab-tested them in 2010. What they found was not insignificant levels of heavy metal combinations in a few of the products.
As we said, the majority of consumers overlook these things, including the abundance of sweeteners such as acesulfame potassium in the majority of their supplements in the name of price. While rated safe by both the FDA and the European Union’s consumer protection agency, experiments on mice show potentially carcinogenic and cognitive impairing effects.
But if the price is not your main factor in choosing a whey protein but the purity of ingredients is, then Less Naked Whey Protein may be the product that suits your needs.
Quick Review Table
|Growth Hormone Free||High In Fructose And Lactose|
|Extra Beneficial Fatty Acids||Doesn’t Mix Well|
|Pure Ingredients||Premium Price|
Further Reading on Grass Fed and Plant Based Protein Supplements:
Health enthusiast, runner, protein nut. Owen likes to write about protein, particularly alternatve supplementation and supplement comparisons.