Thursday, November 23, 2017

USN Whey & Oats

I’m sure you know the maxim ‘breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and supper like a pauper’. It’s hackneyed but is also quite apt for athletes – it’s the breakfast that sets us up for the day ahead. And the breakfast of choice for many athletes is good old-fashioned porridge. A great source of slow-burning carbs that gives a steady supply of energy until lunch.

But what about protein? We all know that protein is important to recovering and building muscles.

USN’s answer is its ‘Whey & Oats’, essentially a porridge with added protein and some other nutrients including magnesium and Vitamin B6. Sounds promising, so I chose to give it a go for a couple of weeks.

Preparation

Whey and OatsWhey & Oats comes as a powder, not dissimilar to the protein powders you’re probably already familiar with. The idea is that you place two scoops’ worth into a bowl and then add 150ml of boiled water from the kettle, stir and then leave for a minute or two to settle, cool and thicken. And the practice pretty much follows the theory.

I did find that the powder mixes much better with the water when a fork is used to do the mixing, rather than a spoon. Doubling-up on the washing up, but worth it to achieve a smoother texture rather than leaving lumps.

Speaking of a texture, I’m pretty sure a hardened Scotsman would scoff. Mixed well, it is a very smooth texture, perhaps more like a super-thick hot protein shake rather than traditional porridge made with jumbo oats and salt. Let’s not forget though, we’re not making a Michelin-star breakfast here, speed and convenience win the day.

Taste

The Apple and Cinnamon flavor I tried is perfectly fine. Yes, it tastes a bit artificial – probably because it is artificial – but for a quick breakfast it’s really quite pleasant.

Effectiveness

Let’s be clear that this wasn’t a scientific review, so I’m going on anecdotal evidence alone. USN touts Whey & Oats as part of its weight management range and (hand on heart) I lost about 1 kilo while I was testing the product (two weeks, using it every morning as my breakfast). I put this down to the fact that I noticed I was less-inclined to take a mid-morning snack; the porridge seemed to be doing a good job of keeping me satisfied for longer than the usual muesli or eggs-based breakfast.

Similarly, I noticed no lack of energy in my lunchtime training sessions. I also did not notice any bulging muscles (unfortunately!), so this isn’t a product for the body builders (not in isolation, anyway).

Overall

I haven’t really touched on the ‘ideal breakfast’ debate here. I’m inclined to agree with those that argue that a freshly-prepared breakfast of natural ingredients is the best option. But I also don’t live in a fantasy world and there are often days where I have 15 minutes to grab breakfast after an early-morning turbo session, before doing the school run and heading off to work. For those circumstances, the USN Whey & Oats seems a pretty good option.
At around £30 for a tub, which provides 15-20 servings, it’s not bad value for money. The facts that it kept me feeling full and also helped me shift some of my ‘winter padding’ make it a good option for the time-poor athlete that wants to keep their energy and recovery levels up – until I can afford a personal chef to cook me a fresh breakfast every day, anyway!