Review: Recovery Peanut Butter?

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Recovery peanut butter? Sports nutrition in a spreadable form??

At least that’s the claim from UK company Dr Zak’s. Dr Zak’s was originally founded back in 2013 when it debuted a high protein bread product. Since then, Dr Zak’s has added a high protein pasta, high protein bagels, and high protein nut butter spread to its product line. The concept behind creating this line up of edible food products was to allow active people to passively increase their daily protein intake, be it for muscle development and/or recovery purposes.

Owner and founder of Dr Zak’s, Dr Zak Pallikaros is a bodybuilder and fitness coach. However, having studied Medicinal Chemistry, Bio Technology and Bio Chemistry, it’s safe to say that he also knows a fair bit about nutritional science too. With his science and bodybuilding backgrounds, Dr Zak saw the opportunity to create a line of convenient high protein food products. And hence why I’m here taking photos of jars of peanut butter in my kitchen.

dr zaks recovery peanut butter sports nutrition protein smoothie drink cracker banana kitchen
Peanut butter for sports nutrition? Sound too good to be true?

While it would be safe to say that bodybuilders and cyclists are unlikely to have a whole lot in common (we don’t skip ‘leg day’), using protein as a nutritional supplement is a shared practice. But whereas bodybuilders use protein to build muscle, cyclists and other endurance athletes use protein for muscle recovery post-exercise and ongoing lean muscle development. The idea is to help fatigued and damaged muscle tissue repair after a long ride or a hard race, so that your legs feel fresher sooner. Have a look at any of the many recovery drinks on the market targeted towards cyclists and runners, and you’ll see that each of them uses a fair whack of protein exactly for that purpose.

dr zaks recovery peanut butter sports nutrition protein smoothie drink cracker banana kitchen
It looks like peanut butter, though it’s a little runnier in its consistency.

So, back to the peanut butter. Dr Zak’s offers a range of different flavoured peanut butters that include Salted Caramel, White Chocolate & Coconut, and Apple & Cinnamon. You can also get just plain peanut butter in both smooth and crunchy variants. Regardless of the flavour, Dr Zak’s peanut spread is basically peanut butter with the addition of partially hydrolysed whey protein isolate. The product is high in fibre, low in salt and contains naturally occurring sugars. Here’s what goes into it;

Ingredients

  • Air roasted peanuts
  • Whey Protein Isolate (Milk)
  • Oil: Peanut, Shea & Coconut
  • Chicory Root
  • Dietary Fibre
  • Fructose
  • Emulsifier
  • Sunflower Lecithin
  • Natural Flavour
dr zaks recovery peanut butter sports nutrition protein smoothie drink cracker banana kitchen
Lather it on toast or crackers for a wee snack post-riding.

For each 20 gram serving of peanut butter, there’s 7.2 grams of protein in there. That’s supposedly 14% of your daily recommended intake, so it’s a solid boost to your existing diet. There’s not a whole lot of carbohydrates in the peanut butter, with only 3 grams in that same serving size. That’s good news for people who are carb-conscious and don’t want to be ingesting a lot of sugar and calories.

Taste

As far as the actual flavour of Dr Zak’s Peanut Spread goes, I really, really like it. I do love peanut butter, so that helps, but the actual flavour is pretty darn nice too. I’ve been sampling three different flavours: Fresh Raspberry, Salted Caramel and Crunchy. The overall taste is sweeter than regular peanut butter, and that goes for even the non-flavoured ‘Crunchy’ blend. Dr Zak’s aimed to mask the protein flavour with the Peanut Spread, and they’ve done quite well in this regard. You can still just taste the whey protein, but it’s nowhere near as noticeable as most other recovery drinks I’ve had before. Texturally, it’s a bit runnier than regular peanut butter, but not drastically so.

Oh, and the Salted Caramel flavour basically tastes like Reece’s Pieces. So I’m pretty much addicted to it now.

dr zaks recovery peanut butter sports nutrition protein smoothie drink cracker banana kitchen
Smoothie requirements: blender, milk, banana and peanut spread.

Recipes

I’ve been using the Peanut Spread in a couple of different ways. Either spread on crackers or a slice of toast, or in a smoothie. For a smoothie, I simply add a cup of milk, a heaped dessertspoon of Peanut Spread, and a frozen banana into a blender, and whizz until smooth. The photo above shoes a super-ripe banana, which I’d then peel and chuck into a plastic bag in the freezer, then pull out whenever I’d want to make a smoothie. It makes for a really nice tasting smoothie, and with the combination of whole milk, banana and the Peanut Spread, there’s plenty of protein, carbohydrates, potassium and other good stuff in there.

dr zaks recovery peanut butter sports nutrition protein smoothie drink cracker banana kitchen
With the Salted Caramel flavour, it makes for a very yummo smoothie.

Results

I’ve been using Dr Zak’s High Protein Peanut Spread for a couple of months now. Previously, I’ve used a number of the common recovery drinks on the market, including from the likes of TORQ, Endura and GU, all of which have been effective as sports nutrition products. In terms of where I fit on the mountain biking spectrum, I’d say I’m a medium-volume rider. I’m no elite athlete by any stretch of the imagination, but I do a reasonable number of miles on a weekly basis, and I do the odd race here and there for shits ‘n’ giggles.

Now I’m not going to make any sweeping performance conclusions about how effective it is as a recovery product, because I’m no sports nutritionist. I mean, I have been weighing my stools and analysing the content, but without access to a laboratory, I haven’t been able to extrapolate any worthwhile data. But what I can tell you is this; having a protein-based supplement like the Peanut Spread makes for a thoroughly satisfying snack post-ride. I found that I felt much less hungry throughout the day after having a smoothie or a slice of toast with Peanut Spread on it following a hard morning ride. Normally in that scenario, I’d be hangry come mid-afternoon, but with an extra dose of protein in my digestive system, that hunger is noticeably less likely to appear. And that meant I was much less likely to reach for a sugar-loaded bit of cake as an afternoon snack.

dr zaks recovery peanut butter sports nutrition protein smoothie drink cracker banana kitchen
Normally filled with a different type of recovery drink.

Did I find my performance increasing throughout the test period? Not discernibly so, but that’s quite a hard thing to quantify, so I’m not going to pretend otherwise. What I have found with recovery products is that if you start to utilise them on a regular basis after intense exercise, you definitely notice an improvement to muscle recovery within a 24-hour period. That is to say, that your legs simply feel less achey and tired the next day. And that becomes more noticeable the more you use it. There’s also loads of research that points to the positive effects of whey protein and its effect on muscle recovery, so if you’re looking for more scientific evidence then have a dig for some of those studies. From my own scientific research, I can tell you that I’ve been farting a lot more throughout the day after using the Peanut Spread product. So I knew something was working. As did everyone else in the office…

The Verdict

If you’re not so turned on by the recovery drinks with a list of ingredients that looks like the periodic table, then Dr Zak’s High Protein Peanut Spread will be a very appealing product. It tastes great, you can have it spread on toast or in a smoothie, and it’ll give you a satisfying protein hit that’ll help to sate those hunger pains that seem to last throughout the day after a hard ride. It’s perhaps not as convenient as a powdered recovery drink that you can take with you to a riding event, but as a regular item to have in the kitchen cupboard for post-ride refuelling, it’s great.

Review Info

Brand:Dr Zak's
Product:High Protein Peanut Butter
From:Dr Zak's, www.dr-zaks.com
Price:£4.50
Tested:by Wil Barrett for 2 months

Comments (7)

    I’m sure it’s tasty…..but wow, is there a lot of fat in it….nearly 40g/100g….

    True, but it depends how you look at it @mrlebowski.
    Interestingly, regular peanut butter actually has a higher fat content of closer to 50gm per 100gm. So the Dr Zak’s peanut spread is actually of lower fat content relative to plain peanut butter.

    And when you look at it for a 20gm serving size, there’s only 7.6 grams of fat in that portion, or 11% of your RDI. So not a huge amount.

    That said, natural fats are actually quite an important fuel source for anyone who is engaging in more exercise than your average Joe. So things like nut butters, avocado, olive oil – they’re all good fuel to be consuming in moderation.

    I was thinking of it from a recovery POV where fat can actually slow down the uptake of what you’re actually trying to replace, which seems slightly counter-productive to me as the optimum nutritional recovery window is quite short IIRC.

    Happy to be proved wrong..

    It DOES look tasty though……!!!

    It is indeed! I can definitely attest to that 🙂

    And you’re right about the absorption ‘window’ in regards to muscle recovery post intensive exercise. Depending on who you listen to, that ‘window’ is around 15-30 minutes post-exercise.

    This is likely why sports recovery drinks are so popular. It’s convenience food. It’s easy to store, easy to take with you to events, and only needs water to make up a mix.

    However, most nutritionists actually recommend that you eat proper whole foods post-exercise, rather than a sports supplement. As in, if you have access to whole foods, then that’s a better option than a sports drink. Then again, whole foods can be a little harder for companies to sell 🙂

    Interestingly, bananas and peanut butter are regularly recommended as a post-exercise food source. So a smoothie containing both is a good combo.

    If you get the time, there’s a couple of articles worth checking out on this very topic;

    https://www.britishcycling.org.uk/knowledge/article/izn20130108-Sportive-R-R–Maximise-your-post-ride-recovery-0

    http://blog.skratchlabs.com/blog/endurance-recovery-mix

    Thanks for the questions too!

    Honestly I prefer 100% peanut butter and nothing else in it

    I like eat butter peanut too.But it’s calories are really high

    https://allicdata.com

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