I've had my fair share of poop problems (read: constipation), but I don't usually take supplements for gut health. I make an effort to eat with my gut in mind — that means including high-fiber foods and probiotics in my daily diet (think: Greek yogurt overnight oats with chia seeds and nut butter).
That said, there are still days when I don't quite hit the mark I'm aiming for with gut-healthy nutrients, so when I found out about the new You've Got Guts Blender-Free Protein Smoothie from Vega, I decided to give it a try — and my bowels are glad I did.
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Why I Chose This Protein Powder
There were a few reasons I opted to try this protein powder:
The Protein Content
I stumbled upon this new product from Vega because, well, I was out of protein powder. I don't always drink protein shakes, but I'll include them on days I'm doing resistance training to support muscle building and recovery.
This powder has 15 grams of plant-based protein, and it comes from a brand I like.
I like organic protein powders from Vega because not only do they come in a variety of tasty flavors, but it's clear that the brand prioritizes quality ingredients and sustainable business practices. (Vega's Plant-Based Essential Shake actually tops our list as the best vegan protein powder on the market.)
The protein in Vega products comes from whole foods like peas, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds, and many of them also include other nutritious ingredients like flaxseed, greens and other veggies. On top of that, they're free of artificial colors, fillers and preservatives.
Vega is also B-Corp-certified, which means they are legally required to meet strict safety, environmental and social standards that help ensure ethical and sustainable business practices.
The Gut Benefits
But as I mentioned, what really intrigued me about this specific product was the gut health focus.
The microbiome, or bacterial environment in your digestive tract, plays an important role in your health beyond just digestion: Having a healthy gut is tied to better immunity, brain and heart health, and a lower risk for a number of health conditions, according to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
On top of protein, this powder has 5 grams of fiber and 2 billion probiotics added to the mix — two key nutrients for gut health.
Eating enough fiber benefits your digestion by adding bulk and helping food move through your digestive tract so you poop regularly. It also keeps cholesterol and blood sugar in check, helps keep you full and has even been linked to helping you live longer overall, per the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that help balance your microbiome, or the bacterial ecosystem in your digestive tract. They're tied to relief from IBS symptoms, diarrhea and constipation, and they may help replenish your gut after a course of antibiotics, according to Harvard Health Publishing.
The specific probiotic strain in You've Got Guts — Bacillus coagulans — has been linked to improvements in digestive symptoms associated with constipation and IBS in small studies, per May 2020 and January 2021 research in Medicine. That said, research including larger study groups is needed to determine the actual benefits.
Everyone’s microbiome is different, and taking the wrong probiotic strain can actually give some people digestive symptoms or worsen digestive conditions.
Talk to your doctor or gastroenterologist to determine if you should be taking probiotic supplements.
What Happened When I Tried It
I wasn't sure what to expect as far as the digestive benefits of this protein powder, but figured the protein and fiber combination could help me reach my daily goals. I didn't use it every day. Instead, I added it on days I ate less fiber and days I lifted weights.
Now, into my second tub of You've Got Guts, I have to say it'll be a regular in my pantry. Here's why:
I Was Less Bloated
There's no way, of course, for me to say that this protein powder has directly improved my gut health, but I have noticed a few changes in how my digestion is functioning.
I Had Easier, More Frequent Poops
Having had my issues with constipation before, I'm pleased to say that I've consistently averaged one poop per day for the last year or so. I've made peace with this number, and consider it a major milestone of my adulthood.
But a week into incorporating this protein powder into my routine, I started going at least twice per day. Not only that, but poops had a healthy shape and were easier to pass (no straining, a sign of constipation), making bathroom trips shorter.
Getting Nutrients Was More Convenient
Not having to whip out the blender to make a protein shake (which can feel like a real effort on busier days) was super convenient for me.
This shakeable protein powder blends into a delicious, smooth consistency in a shaker bottle with a milk of your choice (like dairy milk, almond milk, cashew milk or oat milk). The cashew milk combo was my favorite!
I Loved the Taste
Chocolate is usually a recipe for success in my book, but IMO, some chocolate-flavored protein powders have an unpleasant, artificial-sweetener taste that I don't particularly care for. I was nervous this might be the case with this protein powder, but thankfully, it wasn't.
You've Got Guts has a "Choco Cinnamon Banana" flavor that comes from real cocoa powder, banana powder and Saigon cinnamon, and it's sweetened with monk fruit extract (and no added sugars).
The rich chocolatey taste pairs well with the sweetness of the banana and the subtle spicy notes from the cinnamon. Mixed with unsweetened almond or oat milk (or another creamy milk alternative), this protein shake will feel like dessert.
If you're looking for a protein powder that checks off other boxes in your quest for wellness, give Vega You've Got Guts a try.
For me, it made getting more protein, fiber and probiotics — which are usually separate efforts — super easy and convenient. And it tastes great.