For most of us aspiring gym-goers, protein powder is a necesary evil.

Though it isn't cheap—even at bulk quantities, you'll be hard pressed to pay less than $10 a pound for the cheapest on the market—it is still less expensive and mentally taxing than having to stock your shopping cart with mountains of cottage cheese and chicken breasts to hit your daily macros.

However, your savings come at a different price, a gastronomical one: Most protein powder tastes awful.

In one of the greatest mysteries of the modern human condition, almost every single budget-minded protein powder is violently, disgustingly, unbearably sweet. It has the sweetness of a thousand steevia packets poured into a bottle of Diet Coke, a pentrating, tongue-coating chemical flavor that mercilessly punches through any amount of kale or spinach you throw into a morning smoothie to try to offset it. Even the offerings from Optimum Nutrition, the comparatively less-awful stalwart of the inexpensive protein powder market, started grating on me to the point where I stopped consuming regular shakes.

So, I tried something new. At $30 for a two pound bag, TGS' unflavored, unsweetened whey protein powder isn't as cheap as they get, but it was close enough to affordable that I took a chance. And that chance paid off in the thing I've been looking for for years: Almost flavorless protein shakes.

Founded in 2013, TGS is a small company that makes one product: a two-ingredient protein powder (whey protein concentrate and sunflower lecithin, a mixing agent). They source and manufacture their powder in the US, and for those interested, their powder is free of rBGH and GMOs, as well as gluten and artificial preservatives and flavors. A single 30 gram scoop serving contains 130 calories, 25 grams of protein and 2 grams each of carbohydrates and fat, putting it within the normal macronutrient ranges of most inexpensive protein powders.

This is nice and all, but a decent protein powder must accomplish two things: It must not clump in a shaker bottle, and it has to hit a bare-minimum flavor threshold so as not to make every sip a test of will.

TGS' protein powder does both. Off-white and crumbly, TGS' powder is slightly thicker than Optimum Nutrition's, but presents no problems with blending in almond milk or water, smoothly dispersing into a skim milk-textured liquid after shakes in a blender bottle or a vigorous stir with a whisk.

Not a single iota of flavoring in there. (TGS)
Not a single iota of flavoring in there. (TGS)

But what is most important is that it is truly almost completely flavorless. TGS' powder disappears into any smoothie or shake without issue, only contributing a gently "creamy" texture when combined with any flavoring (fruit, cocoa powder, etc) in a liquid. The only time any flavor comes through is when mixed with water, and then it tastes mostly like skim milk. Is it fine dining? No, but it does taste like almost nothing, which is scores better than just about every competitor at its price point.

At my place, we've been using it both in shakes and mixed into overnight oats to eat as a cold breakfast. For a slight premium, TGS' protein powder gets rid of the mental battle one must fight with a disgusting shake following a workout. For me, this is more than worth the extra $10 every two months, especially given that unflavored powders frequently push $20/pound.

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