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Is OWYN (Only What You Need) Bad For You?

Also Known As: Plant-based protein shake



Short answer

OWYN products are plant-based, free from major allergens, and designed to provide balanced nutrition with a complete amino acid profile from protein sources like peas and organic seeds. They contain essential micronutrients, are low in sugar, and do not include artificial additives, making them a potentially good choice for many, including those with allergies. When considering your diet, OWYN could be a beneficial addition, but it's crucial to assess your individual nutritional needs and goals.



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Long answer

Breaking Down the Nutritional Content of OWYN Products

When considering whether OWYN (Only What You Need) products are beneficial or detrimental to your health, it's crucial to dive into their nutritional content. OWYN markets itself as a brand that provides plant-based protein products free from dairy, gluten, and major allergens. The promise is simple yet inviting: delivering only what you need for optimal nutrition without the unnecessary additives found in many other shakes and supplements.

Protein Source and Quality

OWYN's protein blend is sourced from peas, organic pumpkin seeds, and organic flaxseed. This combination not only provides a complete amino acid profile, necessary for muscle recovery and growth, but also includes the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids from flaxseed. A typical OWYN protein shake offers around 20 grams of protein per serving, which aligns with recommendations for a post-workout snack or a meal replacement for some individuals.

Carbohydrates and Fiber

OWYN keeps the carbohydrate count moderate, with a focus on low sugar. Products contain various carbohydrate sources, such as organic cane sugar and monk fruit extract, to achieve a balanced taste without a high sugar spike. The presence of dietary fiber, mainly from organic flaxseed, aids in digestion and promotes a feeling of fullness, which can help to manage weight.

Fats and Omegas

The fats in OWYN products come predominantly from plant-based sources like flaxseed, which are rich in beneficial omega-3 fatty acids. These fats are important for heart health and inflammation control, making OWYN a potentially good choice for those looking to improve their intake of healthy fats.

Vitamins and Minerals

OWYN fortifies its products with a spectrum of essential vitamins and minerals, enhancing the nutritional value of its shakes and powders. These added micronutrients aim to support a healthy immune system, bone health, and overall bodily functions. Specific amounts and types of vitamins and minerals vary by product, so it's important to read labels according to individual dietary needs.

Artificial Additives

One of OWYN's main selling points is the absence of artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives in their products. This is particularly important for those who are cautious about consuming synthetic additives, which can be associated with health risks when consumed in large amounts over time.

Allergen Considerations

OWYN takes pride in being allergen-friendly. Their products are tested to be free from the top eight allergens, providing a safe option for individuals with allergies or intolerances. This is a significant advantage for those who struggle to find protein supplements that align with their dietary restrictions.

In conclusion, from a nutritional standpoint, OWYN products offer a balance of protein, carbohydrates, healthy fats, fiber, and essential micronutrients. They cater to those seeking a clean, allergen-free, plant-based source of nutrition. As always, it's essential to consider personal health goals and consult with a healthcare provider when introducing a new supplement to your diet.

Investigating Potential Allergens and Sensitivities in OWYN

When evaluating whether OWYN products are suitable for consumption, especially for individuals with food allergies or sensitivities, it is crucial to investigate the ingredients used in their formulation. OWYN prides itself on being a plant-based protein drink that claims to be free from major allergens including gluten, soy, dairy, peanuts, and tree nuts. However, every individual's physiological makeup is unique, and sensitivities can still occur based on a person's unique allergy profile and digestive health.

Understanding OWYN's Allergen-Free Claims:

  • Gluten-Free: OWYN products are marked gluten-free, catering to those with celiac disease or a gluten intolerance. The absence of wheat, barley, and rye ingredients supports this claim, making it a safer choice for gluten-sensitive individuals.
  • Soy-Free: As many consumers seek alternatives to soy due to allergies or preference, OWYN's exclusion of soy derivatives appeals to this audience. This is particularly important for those with soy allergies or endocrine concerns related to isoflavones found in soy.
  • Dairy-Free: Those with lactose intolerance or a dairy allergy can feel reassured by the dairy-free label on OWYN beverages, indicating the use of plant-based proteins instead of whey or casein.
  • Peanut & Tree Nut-Free: Nuts are among the most common food allergens. OWYN products excluding these ingredients cater to those who must avoid nuts entirely due to the risk of severe allergic reactions.

Potential Sensitivities to Plant-Based Ingredients:

  • Pea Protein: OWYN relies on pea protein as a primary protein source. Although considered hypoallergenic, some individuals may experience sensitivity or allergy to pea protein, which may manifest as gastrointestinal distress or other allergic responses.
  • Pumpkin Seed Protein: Another protein source in OWYN is pumpkin seed protein. While less common as an allergen, sensitivities to seed proteins do exist and may need to be considered by consumers with extensive food allergies.
  • Flaxseed: Flaxseed is a healthy addition for its omega-3 content, but it may act as a mild allergen for some. Being high in fiber, flaxseed may also cause GI discomfort in individuals with conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Additional Allergen Considerations:

While OWYN's manufacturing processes aim to mitigate cross-contamination with allergens, it is worth noting that individuals with hyper-sensitive allergies should always proceed with caution when trying new products. The severity of food allergies can vary, and even trace amounts of an allergen could lead to a reaction in highly sensitive individuals.

It is also essential for consumers to be aware that new allergies can develop over time, and tolerance can change. Consumers should stay vigilant for any adverse reactions when incorporating new food products into their diet.

In summary, while OWYN's plant-based protein beverages may satisfy the needs of many individuals with common food allergens, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. Consumers with known allergies or sensitivities should thoroughly review product labeling, consult ingredient lists, and if necessary, engage with a healthcare provider before introducing OWYN into their diet.

The Use of Natural Flavors: What Does It Really Mean?

In the landscape of food labeling, "natural flavors" is a term that often pops up, especially in products like OWYN (Only What You Need) which aim to offer health-conscious alternatives. Understanding what "natural flavors" actually mean is crucial to discerning their potential impact on health. Despite the term’s seemingly straightforward implication, its definition in the food industry is broader than one might expect.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), "natural flavor" or "natural flavoring" is defined as a substance that provides flavor which is derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf, or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof. While that definition seems reassuring, it does not necessarily equate to a ‘whole food’ ingredient.

Natural flavors are concentrated extracts that aim to replicate the taste of their source ingredient, and their creation involves both the inception of the flavors in a lab and the extensive processing that characterizes much of modern food production. Manufacturers use solvent extraction, distillation, or other chemical processes to isolate these flavor compounds.

  • Processing Methods: Chemical methods are often used to derive natural flavors from their sources, which may raise questions about the purity and health implications of these additives.
  • Proprietary Blends: The exact constitution of natural flavors is considered proprietary, meaning companies are not required to disclose the specific components, which often includes additional ingredients used to carry and preserve the flavor extract.
  • Health Impact: While natural flavors themselves are not inherently 'bad' for health, individual responses to certain components, like allergens or sensitivities to specific compounds, must be considered.

Studies have suggested that although 'natural,' these flavors may still raise health concerns. For instance, a study in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology presented evidence that certain natural flavor compounds could provoke allergic responses in susceptible individuals. Moreover, because the specific makeup of the natural flavor is usually proprietary, there is a lack of transparency that can be frustrating for consumers with allergies or dietary restrictions.

Furthermore, an investigation into the broad use of natural flavors, published by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), indicated that there could be up to 100 ingredients involved in the creation of a single natural flavor. The FDA's loose regulations in this regard mean that consumers often have little information on the complexity and true nature of the ingredients listed simply as 'natural flavors' on their food packaging.

For those consuming OWYN and other health-focused products, understanding the implications of natural flavoring is critical. While the company endeavors to be minimalistic and transparent with their ingredients, the challenge of unclear terms like "natural flavors" persists in the industry, calling for a push towards greater transparency and more detailed ingredients disclosure for the benefit of consumers’ health and awareness.

Balancing Protein Sources: Pea Protein vs. Traditional Options

When examining protein sources, particularly in plant-based products like OWYN (Only What You Need), it's essential to understand how pea protein stands against traditional protein options like whey or casein. The choice between these sources can have important implications for both health and dietary preferences.

  • Complete Proteins: One of the primary considerations is whether the protein source is 'complete,' meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids the body can't produce on its own. Pea protein is a complete protein, though it has lower amounts of certain amino acids like methionine. In contrast, animal-based proteins such as whey are considered high-quality complete proteins with a rich amino acid profile.
  • Digestibility: Another factor to consider is the protein's digestibility. Animal proteins generally have high digestibility, which means the body can efficiently absorb and utilize these proteins. Pea protein also offers good digestibility, but some individuals may experience gastrointestinal discomfort due to the presence of antinutrients such as lectins and saponins, although these can be decreased through proper processing.
  • Allergy-Friendly: Pea protein is hypoallergenic and, thus, a viable option for those with allergies to dairy, nuts, and soy, which are common in traditional protein sources. This makes OWYN an inclusive choice for individuals with certain food sensitivities or preferences for vegan lifestyles.
  • Environmental Impact: From an environmental standpoint, pea protein is a more sustainable option compared to traditional animal-derived proteins. Producing plant-based proteins typically requires less water and land and generates lower greenhouse gas emissions, aligning with eco-friendly dietary choices.
  • Nutritional Profile: The nutritional profiles of pea protein vs. traditional options vary slightly. Pea protein is high in fiber and may contain additional beneficial nutrients depending on the specific product. Traditional animal-based proteins, on the other hand, can be rich in vitamins like B12 and D, which are less prevalent in plant-based sources.

Studies assessing protein quality, such as those using the Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score (PDCAAS), have often ranked animal proteins higher than plant proteins. However, recent research has suggested plant proteins can fulfill protein requirements effectively, especially when consumed in a varied diet that compensates for any amino acid deficits. An example of this can be found in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, where it was reported that when consumed in sufficient quantity, pea protein can promote muscle thickness gains similarly to dairy-based proteins (Babault et al., 2015).

In conclusion, while pea protein offers a suitable protein alternative for many, it's important to consider individual dietary needs, potential sensitivities, and personal health goals when choosing protein sources. Individuals who opt for pea protein should aim for a varied diet to ensure a complete nutrient intake. Given these considerations, for certain individuals, OWYN's use of pea protein could offer a fitting balance between nutrition, digestibility, and environmental sustainability.

Evaluating the Sweeteners Used in OWYN Products

OWYN (Only What You Need) focuses on creating plant-based protein products that cater to those seeking allergen-friendly, vegan options. Sweeteners play a significant role in the palatability and overall appeal of these products. To determine if the sweeteners in OWYN offerings might be bad for you, it's essential to look at them individually.

The primary sweeteners found in OWYN products are organic cane sugar and monk fruit extract. Organic cane sugar is a natural sweetener derived from the sugarcane plant. It is less processed than refined white sugar, retaining some of the natural molasses, which gives it a distinct flavor and a slightly higher nutrient content. However, it is still a form of sugar and contains 4 calories per gram. Consuming sugar in moderation is key, as excessive intake is associated with an increased risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.

According to the American Heart Association, the recommended daily sugar limit is no more than 6 teaspoons (25 grams) for women and 9 teaspoons (38 grams) for men. It's worth checking how much organic cane sugar is in each serving of OWYN products to ensure it aligns with these dietary guidelines.

Monk fruit extract, on the other hand, is a natural sweetener derived from the monk fruit, a small melon native to Southeast Asia. It's known for its intense sweetness, which can be up to 200 times sweeter than sugar, yet it contains zero calories. Monk fruit sweeteners are generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and can be a great sugar alternative, especially for those managing their calorie intake or with diabetes. Studies, such as one published in the "Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry," suggest that monk fruit extract may also have antioxidant properties, although more research is needed in this area.

Despite the potential benefits, some consumers are concerned about the taste and possible gastrointestinal disturbances associated with sugar substitutes. It’s wise for individuals to observe their body's reactions to monk fruit extract and other sweeteners to determine personal tolerance levels.

In conclusion, the sweeteners used in OWYN products – organic cane sugar and monk fruit extract – have individual characteristics that could influence your health differently. The key is moderating intake and considering personal dietary needs and health goals when choosing to consume these sweetened products.

  • Recommended Daily Sugar Intake:
  • Women: ≤6 teaspoons (≤25 grams)
  • Men: ≤9 teaspoons (≤38 grams)
Sweetener Calories per Gram Relative Sweetness FDA Status Potential Benefits Considerations
Organic Cane Sugar 4 1 (as standard) GRAS Less processed; contains some natural molasses Moderation is key to minimize health risks
Monk Fruit Extract 0 Up to 200 times sweeter than sugar GRAS Zero calories; may have antioxidant properties Monitor for personal tolerance and gastrointestinal response

How OWYN Compares to Whole Food Nutrition

When we consider the relationship between OWYN (Only What You Need) protein shakes and whole food nutrition, it becomes essential to delve into their differences in terms of nutrient composition, bioavailability, and the impact on overall health. While OWYN products are designed to offer a convenient source of plant-based protein and nutrients, it's important to understand how they stack up against the rich tapestry of nutrients found in whole foods.

Nutrient Composition:

Whole foods typically provide a broader spectrum of vitamins, minerals, fibers, phytochemicals, and antioxidants. These elements work synergistically in natural food matrices, enhancing their bioavailability and effectiveness within the body. Conversely, OWYN shakes, although fortified with vitamins and essential nutrients, may lack this complex interplay of components that are inherently present in whole foods.

Protein Quality and Sources:

  • OWYN: OWYN shakes use a blend of pea protein, organic pumpkin seed protein, and flaxseed oil to provide a complete amino acid profile. This is an excellent option for those who have dietary restrictions or find it challenging to consume sufficient protein through their diet.
  • Whole Foods: Natural protein sources such as legumes, nuts, seeds, and grains also offer additional benefits such as fiber and micronutrients. For instance, lentils not only give protein but also are rich in dietary fiber and iron.

Fiber Content:

  • OWYN: These beverages contain a modest amount of dietary fiber, an essential nutrient that supports digestion and satiety. The inclusion of dietary fiber in OWYN can benefit those looking to supplement their fiber intake.
  • Whole Foods: Whole foods, especially fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains, tend to provide much higher levels of fiber alongside other health-promoting compounds.

Bioavailability and Absorption:

The bioavailability of nutrients in OWYN shakes may differ from those found in whole foods. Synthetic or isolated nutrients found in supplements and fortified foods can have different absorption rates and may not be as readily utilized by the body. Studies indicate that nutrients consumed in their natural form—as part of whole foods—tend to be more effectively absorbed and utilized by the body.

Phytochemicals and Antioxidants:

  • OWYN: While OWYN products contain some naturally occurring phytochemicals from their plant-based ingredients, the levels may be less varied compared to the wide range available in whole foods.
  • Whole Foods: A diet rich in whole foods can offer an extensive range of phytochemicals and antioxidants which are critical for reducing oxidative stress, combatting inflammation, and supporting overall health.

To illustrate these differences clearly, let’s consider a comparative analysis in tabular form:

Nutrient Aspect OWYN Whole Foods
Spectrum of Nutrients Limited to what's added during manufacturing Vast and naturally occurring
Protein Source Isolated plant proteins Natural sources with additional nutrients
Fiber Content Added fiber, often less than whole food equivalents Naturally high fiber levels with beneficial gut health impacts
Bioavailability May vary based on supplement formulations Often superior due to naturally occurring nutrient complexes
Phytochemicals & Antioxidants Limited Wide variety with multiple health benefits

In conclusion, while OWYN can be a beneficial part of a balanced diet, especially for those with specific dietary needs or seeking convenience, it's critical to note that these products are not a complete replacement for the diverse nutrients and health benefits provided by whole foods. Integrating OWYN in moderation, alongside a diet rich in whole foods, could yield the best health outcomes.

Frequently asked questions

OWYN products can fit into a weight management plan due to their moderate calorie content, high protein, low sugar levels, and inclusion of dietary fiber which promotes satiety. They can serve as meal replacements or snacks within a calorie-controlled diet. However, a balanced approach that includes whole foods is crucial to provide variety and essential nutrients not covered by meal replacement shakes.

OWYN products can contribute significantly to your daily protein needs, especially if you have dietary restrictions. However, for optimal health, proteins should be consumed from a variety of sources to ensure you're getting a complete range of amino acids and other nutrients not provided by OWYN alone. Including a mix of legumes, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and if applicable, animal products, is recommended for a comprehensive nutrient profile.

OWYN tests their products to ensure they are free from the top eight allergens, including dairy, gluten, soy, peanuts, and tree nuts. The brand's commitment to allergen-friendly practices includes thorough cleaning protocols to mitigate the risk of cross-contamination during manufacturing. However, individuals with severe allergies should always consult labels and perhaps healthcare providers before using new products.

While 'natural flavors' in OWYN products are derived from plant-based sources, the term can be a catch-all for various components. If you have dietary restrictions or allergies, you should be cautious about consuming products with 'natural flavors' due to potential unknown ingredients that could trigger sensitivities. When in doubt, reach out to the manufacturer for detailed information or consult with a healthcare provider.

Ask a question about OWYN (Only What You Need) and our team will publish the answer as soon as possible.

Possible short-term side effects

  • gastrointestinal discomfort
  • allergic reactions
  • sugar spike

Possible long-term side effects

  • increased risk of obesity
  • type 2 diabetes
  • heart disease
  • possible nutrient deficiency compared to whole foods

Ingredients to be aware of

  • artificial additives
  • natural flavors
  • sweeteners
  • pea protein allergens
  • chemical processing of flavors


  • complete amino acid profile
  • omega-3 fatty acids
  • healthy fats
  • essential vitamins and minerals
  • low allergenic potential
  • sustainability
  • antioxidant properties

Healthier alternatives

  • whole foods
  • legumes
  • nuts
  • seeds
  • grains
  • fruits
  • vegetables

Our Wellness Pick (what is this?)

Organic Vegan Protein

  • Superfood enriched
  • Immune support vitamins
  • Keto-friendly option
  • Pea protein source
  • Designed for all genders
Learn More!

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Diane Saleem
Published on: 01-13-2024

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Diane Saleem
Published on: 01-13-2024

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