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Natural Products Expo West 2010

March 15, 2010 Written by JP       [Font too small?]

This past weekend was a little different than most. Instead of spending it with family or friends, I took a little road trip to Anaheim, California – probably best known as the home of the Angels baseball team and Disneyland. But, my destination was neither a sporting event nor “the happiest place on Earth”. Rather, I was on a mission that would take me deep into the heart of the natural product industry. March 12th through the 14th marked the 30th annual Natural Products Expo West/Supply Expo. I was there along with approximately 56,000 other members of the natural health industry. This is my first report from the field.

Expo West is essentially an enormous trade convention. There are literally thousands of consultants, distributors, exporters, importers, manufacturers and retailers everywhere you look. This disparate mix converges in this same spot once a year to learn about the competition, and to buy and sell an incredible array of raw materials and finished products. But apart from the overt business aspect of the event, there’s also a certain electricity and excitement in the air that is experienced by anyone who truly loves natural health. (1)

The HealthyFellow.com team had a specific, two-fold agenda for this year’s convention. The first goal was to collect as much information about as many products as possible. Secondly, we wanted readers to be able to experience, albeit indirectly, some of what goes on at the show. In order to fulfill the second objective, we acquired samples from a wide array of manufacturers that were presenting new products. We’ll share whatever we’ve been given with you via promotional giveaways on this site and on Twitter.

One of the highlights of the Expo was a lecture given by Dr. Marcus Laux, a best-selling author and naturopathic physician. The topic of his talk was healthy aging. In the middle of his presentation he asked the crowd a provocative question: Who requires more dietary protein? A 16 year old or a 60 year old? I’m proud to say that Mr. Healthy Fellow Sr., also known as my dad, raised his hand and answered the question correctly. If your answer is the 60 year old, you’re right too.

The most recent research suggests that current protein recommendations are likely inadequate. A review in the January 2010 edition of Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care states that the Dietary Reference Intakes (for protein) may be undershooting actual requirements by between 41% – 50%. This is based on a new system for determining protein needs known as “the indicator amino acid oxidation technique”. Other scientists report that age-related muscle loss (sometimes referred to as sarcopenia) caused by chronic inflammation and a relative lack of physical activity may be partly responsible for increased protein requirements. Perhaps this is why Dr. Laux generally suggested aiming for 30 grams of protein per meal. (2,3,4)

Ideal Dietary Protein Distribution
Source: Nutrition & Metabolism 2009, 6:12 (link)

Protein powder is a simple and economic way of increasing amino acid intake without adding large quantities of calories to the mix. At the trade show, I was able to acquire some samples of a high-quality, vegan-friendly brown rice protein powder by Jay Robb. This is an exceedingly “clean” product that tastes pretty good in my opinion. Each serving provides 24 grams of protein, 2 grams of fiber, 0 grams of sugar and absolutely no artificial ingredients. In addition, the brown rice protein is processed without the use of high heat or questionable solvents. Instead, a sprouting and enzyme assisted extraction process is utilized. I also love that stevia is the only sweetener in the product.

There isn’t a great deal of substantive research on brown rice protein in the scientific literature. However, it is generally considered fairly easy to tolerate (hypoallergenic) and a good source of plant-based amino acids. In addition, there are some intriguing studies that point to apparent health benefits stemming from the consumption of “pre-germinated brown rice” – improvements in blood sugar control, learning, liver health, memory and mood quality. Whether or not sprouted brown rice protein will yield similar effects is presently unknown to the best of my knowledge. (5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14)

If you’re interested in trying the Jay Robb Brown Rice Protein, please send me an e-mail at jp@healthyfellow.com. I currently have an assortment of chocolate, strawberry and vanilla packets available. I also have several copies of Jay Robb’s “The Shake Down Diet” which I’ll add to the package. If protein powder isn’t your “cup of tea”, rest assured that we’ll have additional giveaways in the coming weeks that I hope will better match your interests. There is just one small catch with regard to the free products. I’d really like to have your feedback about the new products you try. This will helpful to me, our readership and the manufacturers that have donated the free products. I’ll look forward to receiving your requests and feedback in the coming days.

Be well!

JP

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11 Comments & Updates to “Natural Products Expo West 2010”

  1. Nina K. Says:

    Good Morning JP :-)

    oh im jealous ;-) want to go to the Natural Products Expo too :-) !!

    The rice protein powder sounds very delicious and interesting, do you know if they sell it in Europe? I don’t like protein powders from milk, had one with pea protein wasn’t bad :-)

    Greetings from “G”
    Nina K.

  2. anne h Says:

    Wonderful – as usual!
    That’s a good amount of protein per meal.
    I would love to try it!
    If you like it, that’s all the approval I need to try it.

  3. Mallory Says:

    would love to try vanilla! shootin you an email! will do a recap in a blog post on my site!

  4. JP Says:

    Thank you, Anne and Mallory!

    I’ll be in touch to set up the delivery.

    Be well!

    JP

  5. JP Says:

    Good day, Nina!

    I contacted Jay Robb and was told that their products aren’t currently being sold in Europe. However they did tell me that at least one online (US) vendor ships their products internationally. Here’s a link to their site:

    http://www.totaldiscountvitamins.com/category/jay_robb

    If that’s not a viable option, please let me know and we’ll explore other possibilities.

    Be well!

    JP

  6. John Says:

    Hi JP. We were planning to make it out to this show, but in the end could not make it. We have quite a few other trade shows we’re committed to attend this year and I suppose one cannot go to all of them! Thanks for the report. Brown rice protein sounds intriguing. Besides regular dietary requirements, I know there is quite the market for protein powders in the weight lifting / weight training fields. This might really resonate there. How do you feel about whey protein based protein powders? Besides not being vegan friendly, how would you compare rice based vs. the typical whey based protein powders?

  7. JP Says:

    Good day, John.

    I like whey protein provided that the products in question use carefully sourced whey and gentle processing techniques so as not to denature the protein.

    In terms of the amino acid composition, I think that whey is generally superior to brown rice protein. However some people have issues with dairy allergies and/or sensitivities. Even whey protein isolates, which are lactose-free, sometimes provoke reactions. In those instances, I think well produced (sprouted) brown rice protein is a viable option.

    I also think that brown rice protein may work better in certain recipes. An example is this chocolate hazelnut porridge I recently created: http://www.healthyfellow.com/500/chocolate-hazelnut-porridge/

    Ultimately, it’s just another culinary and dietary resource to choose from as far as I’m concerned. The more resources, the better. :)

    Be well!

    JP

  8. Donna Says:

    I got back on the protein shake train today, so instead of my normal Jay Robb whey protein isolate, I opted for one of the Jay Robb brown rice protein powder samples for my afternoon snack.
    I decided on the strawberry version since I have fresh strawberries to add to help enhance that flavor. I was really surprised at how much it tasted like brown rice and how little of the strawberry flavor came through. I’m not a fan of the flavor of plain rice whether it be brown or white so I have to give this particular sample a thumbs down.
    I will try the chocolate and vanilla samples in the next day or two and leave commentary for them as well.

  9. JP Says:

    Thank you, Donna!

    It’s good to have feedback – whether it’s positive or negative.

    So far, my favorite use for the brown rice protein is in my Chocolate Hazelnut Porridge recipe. Obviously the chocolate or vanilla varieties work best for that one. :)

    http://www.healthyfellow.com/500/chocolate-hazelnut-porridge/

    Looking forward to your reviews of the other flavors.

    Be well!

    JP

  10. Donna Says:

    Well, the verdict is in for the brown rice protein powder. I gotta say, I just couldn’t get past the ricey taste of them. As I said before in my previous post I am not a fan of rice. I was really shocked that the flavor of brown rice came through so strongly despite the additions I tried to cover it up.

    I appreciate you sending me the samples JP! Sorry I wasn’t more agreeable to the flavor.

  11. JP Says:

    Donna,

    Thank you for the feedback! Your honest opinion is all that matters to me. :)

    Be well!

    JP

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