Recently I bought a tub of Legion Whey+ protein, their whey isolate powder.
Now that I’ve finished it off, I thought I’d provide a review of the product and discuss a number of its features in detail.
I’ll also compare it to two other popular whey isolate powders, Optimum Nutrition’s Gold Standard and Muscle Feast’s Grass-Fed Whey Isolate.
Is Legion protein good?
Legion Whey+ is one of the better protein powders on the market.
Being a whey isolate it is nearly lactose-free, and has 22 grams of protein per serving with no fat or sugar & only 3 grams of carbs.
It is sourced from sustainable, non-GMO, hormone-free dairy farms, and has no artificial sweeteners.
Up ahead I’ll dive into the details of the nutritional profile & individual ingredients used in Legion Whey+ protein powder, and offer a subjective opinion on the taste of its Dutch Chocolate version.
Next though, I want to provide a quick summary of key Legion Whey+ facts.
Science resources included
As is my custom here on heydayDo, I will provide links to all of the relevant sports science & medical resources, clinical studies, and nutritional data used in this article.
Legion Whey+ Facts At A Glance
(I’m using the 5 lb. Dutch Chocolate tub for this fact sheet.)
Serving Size: 28.9 grams
Servings per container: 78
Protein: 22 grams
Fat: 0 grams*
Sugar: 0 grams*
* – Independent supplement tester Labdoor found 0.5 grams of fat & 0.3 grams of sugar per serving in Legion Whey+.
In the case of the fat it’s important to note that per the Federal Government’s Code of Regulations, fat that’s under a gram (per serving) can be labeled as zero.
Mix-ability: Pretty good, not the best (more later). Can shake it by hand in anything with a closed lid, no whisk needed.
Taste, per my jaded taste buds: Dominated by stevia & their “natural flavors” secret recipe (more later). Not chocolate-y.
Current cost per 5 lb. tub: $89.97
Current cost per gram of protein: 5¢
Buyer ratings: 4.5 ⭐ – 2,200+ reviews
Legion Whey Protein Ingredients
- 100% whey isolate
- No fat
- No sugar
- Minimal additional carbs
And here’s a list of its ingredients, which I’ll comment on below.
The two most prominent by weight are:
- Non-GMO Whey Isolate (25g/serving)
- Non-GMO Maltodextrin (1g/serving)
Since the serving size is about 29 grams, that leaves 3 grams/serving for all of the following (combined):
- Cocoa Powder
- Natural Flavors
- Xanthan Gum
- Stevia Leaf Extract
- Soy Lecithin
Let’s look at each of these ingredients a little more closely.
Legion’s Whey Isolate
* Whey isolate, by definition, means that it is made up of 90% or more protein (1).
The whey has been isolated while milk fats & most of the naturally-occurring milk sugars have been removed.
My crude math using the Supplement Facts label (25g/28.9g = 87%) confirms this.
* As noted above and in the article intro, the milk used for the Legion Whey+ is non-GMO & hormone-free.
* They source it from small, sustainable farms in Ireland that have been certified for quality, environmental responsibility, & animal welfare (2).
* Maltodextrin is a food additive that is a simple (starchy) carb that’s been processed to remove much of the sugar. (3)
* It is commonly used in processed foods, including protein powders, to:
- thicken the product
- improve its texture
- extend its freshness on the shelf
- sweeten it up a bit (4)
* It’s also a favorite ingredient for supplement manufacturers that sell “mass gainer / weight gain” powders, because in quantity it racks up a lot of simple carb calories.
* In large quantities it can be an issue for diabetics, pre-diabetics, or anyone concerned about spiking their blood sugar level. (5)
* However, there’s very little of it in Legion Whey+, so there’s no concern here at all.
Bottom line is, there’s only 1 gram of it per serving. In a 29 gram scoop, that comes out to around 3% of the product.
Cocoa powder, salt, & stevia leaf
These are all common & familiar food additives made by nature, ingredients used to flavor the whey. Nothing to report here…
I’ll rag on stevia a little down in the section on Legion Whey Protein’s taste, but that’s on me & my taste buds.
I’m a little jaded about the term Natural Flavors, since it is a term that the FDA gives food & supplement makers a lot of leeway when they use it in their products. (6)
I even wrote an article dedicated to misleading food labels here on heydayDo, and “Natural Flavors” was one of my targets.
But don’t let my conspiracy paranoia bum you out. 😁
Shady manufacturers aren’t the only ones using the term natural flavors to hide certain ingredients.
Reputable, top-quality companies use these “secret sauce” flavors all the time, so there’s no reason to worry here with Legion’s use of them either.
I wrote Legion Athletics and asked them about it
I asked a personal trainer on Legion’s website what were the “Natural Flavors” in the Dutch Chocolate flavored Legion Whey+ protein powder I bought.
“We use a third party manufacturer to make our products, and they don’t give the exact formulation so we can’t take it to another competitor to do it cheaper.
So their code is ‘Natural Flavor 594y35057fh’ which is all natural, but the exact ratio of everything are kind of their ‘recipe’ since they have ‘Flavor Labs’ to make the exact formulations with the all-natural ingredients.”
Bottom Line: I’m comfortable with that answer from Legion, because that’s how those “Natural Flavors” are cooked up – in a flavor lab.
And those flavor inventor companies hold those recipes close to the vest, which is their legal right.
Random sidebar – Just wondering though, how “natural” is a lab?
This is a food additive made from fermented sugar that’s used to thicken the consistency of whatever it’s used in. (7)
In a protein powder it can give it a more creamy texture after mixing it with a liquid.
The FDA considers xanthan gum completely safe without any conditions as to its use. (8)
That said, some people may get intestinal gas &/or bloating from xanthan, per WebMD.
Tapioca comes from the cassava plant that grows in South America (9).
When its starch is used as an additive to a processed food product like Whey+, its purpose is to thicken the consistency.
Legion must be using only a very small amount of it in their protein powder, because despite being a starch, the tapioca contributes almost no calories to Whey+’s total.
Soy lecithin shows up quite a bit in processed foods including ice cream, baby formula, margarine, and products like protein powders. (10)
Its role when used in a protein powder like Legion’s Whey+ is that of an emulsifier.
In case you’re unfamiliar with the term, adding an emulsifier to something like a protein powder helps it mix with a liquid more easily.
And nobody likes them protein powder clumps.
Back in the day before soy lecithin, our protein shake rituals had some tough sledding…
American soy’s bad rap
Soy has a lot of negativity surrounding it here in the U.S. over concerns it’s responsible for certain medical problems.
However, much of the bad press isn’t backed by strong scientific facts.
On the Legion Whey+ Supplement Facts label, you’ll see soy lecithin listed down in the “Contains” section.
This is because a few people are allergic to soybeans, and that’s where allergenic ingredients must be listed. (11)
Legion Whey+ vs. competitors
In this section I’ll provide a quick comparison of Legion Whey+ to Muscle Feast Grass-Fed Whey Isolate and Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey.
As you can see from my photo, they’re all chocolate.
And I’ll use their 5 lb. tub sizes & Amazon’s pricing when comparing their current costs.
Optimum Nutrition 4.7 ⭐ – 5,000+ reviews
Muscle Feast 4.6 ⭐ – 800+ reviews
Legion Whey+ 4.5 ⭐ – 2,200+ reviews
Protein per serving size (1 scoop)
(Each of their scoops is a different size, listed in parentheses.)
Optimum Nutrition –24 grams (30g)
Legion Whey+ – 22g (29g)
Muscle Feast – 20.5g (24g)
Protein % per serving
Muscle Feast 85%
Optimum Nutrition 80%
Legion Whey+ 76%
Calories plus carbs & fat in grams
Muscle Feast – 88, 0.2, 0.2
Legion Whey+ – 100, 3, 0.5* (* – per 3rd party testing)
Optimum Nutrition – 120, 3, 1
To test & compare these head-to-head, I used the handheld shakers you see in the photo above.
I never use one of those metal whisk balls, just elbow grease.
Ranked from the quickest to completely mix to the slowest:
Optimum Nutrition – 4 shakes (you could probably use a spoon & still be fine)
Muscle Feast – 8 shakes
Legion Whey+ – 8 shakes (& it still had 2 dry clumps. Gave it 6 more & it was fine)
Taste (very subjective category)
I’ve said it a bunch here on heydayDo but whatever, I’ll do it again: we all have different taste buds & different preferences regarding flavors & such.
So this ranking is just my subjective opinion.
I mixed these with plain ol’ water, and they are ranked from best to worst-tasting.
1. Optimum Nutrition
* A little artificial but tolerable ‘as is’ to me in water. Not weird at all, which is always good when it comes to protein powders.
*Mostly a typical whey/dried milk flavor, a little chocolate-y thing, and that artificial sweetener ‘afterglow’. 😉
* And any artificial taste disappears (for the most part) once it’s in a blender with fruit, veggies, yogurt, or whatever.
2. Muscle Feast
* They use stevia to sweeten, which has a..umm, ‘unique’ taste to it, shall we say.
It’s a little too strong for me & my sensitive taste buds, but it works OK with the cocoa’s chocolate flavor.
* Note that the stevia’s milder than you’ll find elsewhere in Protein Powderville.
Muscle Feast’s use of it isn’t as strong/bad of a stevia flavor as other protein powders I’ve taste-tested, including Legion Whey+
* Some people love stevia but I’m not one of them, hence my bias.
*When mixed with my fruit in a smoothie, the chocolate flavor pokes through with a light stevia linger…
By the way, I like chewin’ on stevia leaves, they taste nice – I have a plant in the front yard. But the processed version that’s in a lot of protein drinks? Not so much.
3. Legion Whey+
* Its taste profile is dominated by a combo of a strong stevia flavor & that Natural Flavors secret recipe I wrote about earlier.
* It tastes very artificial to me; just kinda weird actually.
* Not chocolate-y at all.
* Neither bananas, pineapple, or strawberries could bury that taste for me.
Bottom Line: If you like the flavor of processed stevia, you’ll probably be fine with Muscle Feast’s taste.
With Legion Whey+ you’ll also need to be OK with that “odd” Natural Flavors taste.
Cost per gram of protein comparison
For these I standardized them to their respective 5 lb. tub prices on Amazon, with links to their respective product pages if you want to check ‘em out. Many supplement prices change often these days…
Optimum Nutrition 3.2¢
Muscle Feast 3.4¢
Legion Whey+ 5.6¢
Why is Optimum Nutrition the cheapest?
It’s important to note that Optimum Nutrition’s Gold Standard Whey Isolates is in actuality a blend of whey isolates, whey concentrate, & whey peptides.
You can tell it’s mostly whey isolates by the combo of low fat, low sugar, & high protein %.
However, the fact remains it’s a blend and not pure whey isolate like Muscle Feast or Legion Whey+.
Whey concentrate is a cheaper product than pure whey isolate, hence Optimum’s lower price.
Also, Optimum Nutrition is part of a gigantic Irish-based conglomerate (Glanbia) that cranks out all kinds of dairy-based fitness supplement products.
It’s probably safe to assume they don’t take all of the extra steps Legion does to source the milk used for their Whey+.
Muscle Feast is cheap & really well-made
But look at Muscle Feast: they’re just a hair more expensive than Optimum Nutrition and they produce a high-quality pure whey isolate product.
Update: I bought some of Muscle Feast’s Unflavored grass-fed whey isolate, and love its stevia-free simplicity — tastes like skim milk.
Related protein powder articles here on heydayDo
I hope that my article on Legion protein powder is useful to you, and I wish you well on your fitness journey.