Among the countless protein powder brands and formulations on the market, very few stand out from the rest, and one of these is Redcon1’s MRE powder. This is more than just a protein powder; it is packed with different meat-sourced proteins and other essential nutrients. It is marketed as a meal replacement or a Meal Ready-to-Eat, but is it really? Here’s my take on it:
What I Didn’t Like
Before I get to the various pros and cons of this product, let me point out one particular thing I didn’t like about it, or rather about the way it was presented in an official promotional video.
In the video, Aaron Singerman — CEO of Redcon1 — tries to make a comparison between Redcon1 MRE shake and another one made from the same ingredients in the MRE formula in their fresh, raw food form.
So, in a blender, he dumps some canned yams, a raw beef steak, a couple of raw eggs, a handful of rolled oats, a piece of raw salmon, a raw chicken breast, some blueberries, coconut water and oil.
After giving all of these a good whirl, he does a taste test by asking another guy — Rudy — to sample both the raw food protein shake and the Redcon1 MRE shake. As you’d expect, he didn’t like the taste of the raw concoction while he approved of the MRE shake’s taste.
Well, I found that a little misleading and I didn’t really like it! First of all, people don’t eat (or drink) raw meat! For a more realistic and fair comparison, he should’ve brought cooked and seasoned chicken, salmon, beef, and the rest of the ingredients to be eaten like people normally eat them, i.e. on a plate not in a blender! Compare that to the MRE shake, and it’s obvious which one would be the tastier, healthier and all-around better choice for a meal.
No ready-to-eat meal, protein powder or supplement will ever be as good and nutritious, or serve as a replacement to fresh food — Redcon1 MRE is no exception.
However, Aaron does make a valid point in the video; an MRE can be a less expensive and a less time-consuming alternative to preparing your own food. So, when that’s not an option, and when you are looking for a quick-fix, on-the-go, protein-rich “meal”, Redcon1 MRE powder is one great choice to consider. Although I wouldn’t consider this a meal replacement as you’d still be missing out on many important nutrients and goodness only found in fresh, whole food.
Pros of Redcon1 MRE
Contrary to what my criticism of the taste comparison video might suggest, this isn’t meant to be a negative review. I actually think that this product is one of the best, well-rounded protein formulas you can scoop out of a tub! Let me list some of the main pros of this product:
- It is made from animal protein, not cheap whey protein. It is not actual ground up meat, but rather protein isolates sourced from beef, salmon and chicken.
- It is a unique option and a break from regular whey supplements. As far as gains are concerned, I don’t think this gives any better results though. I think it’s a good idea to alternate between animal and whey proteins, like one or two days on MRE then one or two days on whey, and so on. As you know, each body is different, so give it a try and stick with what works better for you.
- It contains additional nutritious ingredients like oats, yam, sweet potato, coconut water powder, blueberry, goji berry and MTC oil.
- It tastes good for a protein powder — not “meaty” or “fishy” as you might think. It comes in several flavors so you’re probably gonna have to try a couple of those to find the one you like most. The best two flavors they offer are blueberry cobbler and oatmeal chocolate chip, but taste is very subjective. Most flavors include cinnamon, the taste of which will be quite apparent in the shake.
Cons of Redcon1 MRE
On the downside, the following are some of the major cons:
- It is a proprietary formula, so you don’t know how much of each individual ingredient you’re getting. It has 47 grams of protein per serving, but how much of that is beef vs. salmon vs. chicken is anyone’s guess. The same goes for carbs and other ingredients.
- This isn’t a typical MRE, because Meals Ready-to-Eat usually contain whole, precooked and preserved meat, not protein isolates. It’s more of an animal protein powder enhanced with other nutrients, rather than a full meal replacement.
- Because it contains ground rolled oats, the powder will not dissolve completely. You’ll feel a “gritty” or “grainy” texture.
- Contains artificial flavors — you may not like all of the flavors.
- Contains sugar and an artificial sweetener (sucralose).
- Contains potential allergens: eggs, milk, fish (salmon), coconut. May also contain traces of soybean, wheat, shellfish, peanut.
- It is one of the most expensive protein powders on the market, but it wouldn’t be fair to compare the price to that of cheaper whey-based products because this is a different type of protein.
- This is a more subjective one, but I didn’t like some of the company’s marketing tactics/messages (see example above).
MRE Original vs. Lite
The product comes in two formulations: the original and the Lite formula. The main difference is that the Lite version contains less carbs (fiber and sugars). It comes with the same protein blend as the original formula, but excludes some of the high-carb ingredients like yam, sweet potato and pea starch.
If you are on a low-carb diet and just want the protein, then go with Lite, but if you are interested in having the additional nutrients, then go with the original formula.
You can buy both versions of Redcon1 MRE at Muscle & Strength.