Vitaflo have released a new flavour of their GMP substitute - Chocolate! (Note, this review was conducted in 2019)
What is a GMP substitute?
If you haven’t heard of GMP substitutes before, here is a quick primer.
Vitaflo Sphere background
Sphere has been available in the UK for more than 18 months and comes in sachets of either 15g or 20g protein equivalents. The Sphere was launched in two, frankly delicious, flavours: Vanilla and Red Berry. I tried both upon release and found them similar to a sweet milkshake. These supplements have a smooth, almost creamy, mouthfeel and almost none of that sharp ‘amino acid’ aftertaste. I was tempted by both of them, though they seemed sweeter than my current supplement - and I do have a sweet tooth!
Vitaflo Sphere & exchanges
Sphere does contain a small amount of phenylalanine (phe):
Sphere15 contains 28mg of phe (or just over half of an exchange).
Sphere20 contains 36mg of phe (or about 3/4 of an exchange).(fn)
This fact gave me pause. If I was to change all my supplement to Sphere I would be having 128mg of phe just in my supplement - that’s nearly 2.5 exchanges folks! I know for a lot of people that may a price well worth paying, and if you struggle with taking your current supplements then it is certainly worth discussing GMP with your PKU Clinic.
I have only 5 exchanges to play with so a complete move to Sphere might mean only 2.5 exchanges left for food. And I like my food! I also have no problems with taking my current supplements, Lophlex Powder and PKUAir. So after trying out the Sphere samples last year I returned to my regular supplement and chalked it up as “would be nice one day.”
Fast forward another PKU clinic or two and I’ve lost weight - whoop! The weight change meant it was time to revisit my supplement amount and perhaps try something different. It is also sheer luck that the chocolate flavour has just been released.
Now I’m a sucker for chocolate and decided it was time to give the Sphere another go. But this time I'd use a method as close to a scientific trial as a layman can manage.
The Vitaflo Sphere trial
Vitaflo delivery service sent out samples which arrived quickly so I can now crack on - thank you team! I’m not going to restrict my dietary phe for this trial as I’d prefer the current supplement to further phe restrictions. This means I will embark on five days of sticking to my usual diet but with Sphere as the supplement. I’ll do a blood test on the morning after the last day of the trial for an objective measure. If the phe in the Sphere is counted, I’d be having nearly 8 exchanges a day rather than my usual 5. Will I notice the extra protein in the supplement or would a switch to GMP be on the cards?
You can find out how the trial went here.
Make sure you check with your PKU specialists before attempting any change to your diet or supplements!