*UPDATE*: After a brief discontinuation, these chews are back in stock, with a slightly different recipe! I just grabbed a bag Jan. 1st for $19.99 at GNC.
If there is one thing that people always have questions on early in their fitness journey, it is creatine. Is it a steroid? Is it a supplement? Does it actually help, or is it a waste of money?
Short answer, no, it isn’t a steroid. It IS a supplement, but also is a naturally occurring compound created by your body or consumed from red meats, poultry, and a few other sources. Creatine is incredibly useful. It has been a favorite of bodybuilders and amateur athletes for decades to build strength and size while avoiding the side effects found in other substances.
Creatine comes in tons of different forms, but lately I have been using the GNC Pro Creatine Complex chews. For a chew, it works pretty hard and, in my opinion, can stand up to the powders or pills as a fantastic competitor. That is, if you want to pay a premium for it.
These chews are literally just creatine with whatever is needed to make the chew. No filler, no fluff, just the supplement you paid for. Not a bad start. Having cleaner supplements is always a plus.
GNC decided to use monohydrate, which is great, but also threw in some hydrochloride (questionable) as the creatine forms in the chews. Of course, I don’t know the breakdown of one form over the other in this particular product, but if we use the ‘first listed ingredients are the most prevalent’ rule, they started off on a good foot.
The hydrochloride isn’t a ‘negative,’ per say, and was actually created to offset bloating and what not found in monohydrate. The ‘downside’ is just that it hasn’t been studied as deeply, so it isn’t as well known.
Flavor and Texture
GNC has a pretty good record when it comes to flavor and texture. Generally, most of their products (pills aside, obviously) are at the higher end of tolerable compared to other brands. They really do seem to try out their flavors and mold them over time to their consumers liking. Considering that background, these chews might be my favorite tasting product of theirs.
I have honestly only ever seen these chews come in ‘sour cherry,’ but maybe they will expand that out in the future. In the meantime, the sole flavor that these chews come in more than makes up for the lack of flavor profile diversity.
The GNC Sour Cherry flavor is somewhat of a cross between 1990’s Kool-Aid fruit punch and cherry Starburst, leaning closer to the Starburst. It isn’t too intense, but gives you a good kick of cherry exactly like it should.
When stacked against their other chews (glutamine, probiotics, vitamins, etc.), this flavor is the clear winner in my book.
You always have to be careful when it comes to chews. Too mushy and they run the risk of no longer being a chew in the heat; too tough and it is like biting into a brick.
These particular chews are near perfect in most conditions. Generally, they are slightly more dense than a taffy consistency, but a little easier to chew than most Starburst.
Overall, the consistency is very steady across bags, unlike other chews where some batches are slightly harder and others softer.
A huge benefit of this product is that eating a chewable is generally more enjoyable than downing a few pills. This holds true for most any experience in life. Eating a steak or a piece of chicken is always, always more enjoyable than downing a protein shake. Throw in that these are convenient chews you can take on the go like you can a shake, and you get the best of both worlds.
One serving of GNC Pro Creatine complex chews provides 3000mg of creatine. While that isn’t quite in line with the 5g a day recommended dose that comes along with powders, you don’t have to necessarily ‘load’ as much as you do with powders since your body absorbs the creatine in these chews far more readily.
I don’t think I have ever had any negative side effects occur with these chews. The bloating associated with the powder isn’t there. They are high quality and generally cause no discomfort.
Currently, this product can be bought for $19.99/72 chews through GNC. That works out to .83 each day for a 24 day supply. I don’t honestly see too many other chewable creatine products out there, but compared to most powders which average .30 or less per serving, it is a bit pricey.
My major issue with this product is the cost. At .83 a day vs the usual under .30 a day that you find for powders or pills (with more days per bottle!), this product is pricey.
My other issue is with thirst. Like any creatine supplement, these chews definitely cause you to want to drink some water. Since creatine pulls water into your muscles at a much higher rate, you run the risk of dehydration or organ damage if you don’t drink enough water. Of course, this is true for any creatine supplement, not just GNCs line.
Is the product worth trying?
I would say that if you have a few extra dollars to spend, this product is definitely worth trying. The chews taste pretty good and have a pretty good texture, compared to the powder or pill forms you generally see.
They seem to work as well, so that is a huge plus. While the scale jumped a few pounds due to the extra water weight, so did my lifts. I noticed a gain in my bench within a week of starting, and have managed to repeatedly hit new levels while on it. Max weights drop quite a bit about a week and a half after I cycle off, so I know they work.
If you are looking for a new product to perhaps cycle off the powder/pills for a bit, check out GNC’s Creatine chews. I don’t think you would be disappointed. Just make sure you drink enough water!