Blog Request: What's the best protein powder?
A quality protein powder made from whole food ingredients can benefit your health and exercise regime in numerous ways. When you’re busy, quality protein powders can come in handy. At any time of day, you can whip up a smoothie/shake and know your body will be nourished and satisfied. I will not be recommending brands in this blog as such but merely sharing knowledge on how to make an educated choice.
Protein helps to:
Support weight loss and healthy metabolism
Support digestive health
Support nutritional needs during pregnancy
Repair and maintain healthy skin and hair
Keep blood sugars stable
Promote satiety so appetite is decreased
Maintain a healthy immune function
Sustain lean muscle and prevent muscle wastage
Assist in hormone production and hormone balance
Assist in recovery from sport or illness (especially when appetite is not there)
Before heading out to buy a protein powder it’s important you choose a protein powder that supports your health in every way. Like all supplement products, protein powders are not created equal. My main advice would be ignore all the marketing hype and endorsements on the front of the container and go straight for the ingredients list. Questions to ask: Do you recognise all the ingredients? Is it low in sugar? Is it free from the things to avoid list below? – If so, you have a winner.
Ingredients to avoid in a protein powder (there are others but these are the main ones – the others would come under the unrecognisable ingredient category)
Casein & WPC Can be called caseinate and whey protein concentrate. Casein and WPC’s protein sources are high in lactose, which can cause causing bloating, flatulence, and cramping. This is due to the majority of the population having inadequate lactase enzyme levels and therefore cannot break the lactose component down.
Skim milk powders & milk solids These are often used as a cheap bulking agents in lesser quality powders. They (like the above) are high in lactose sugars, causing bloating, cramping, constipation, and diarrhea in some people. This form of protein is poorly absorbed into the body, so you wont get all of the benefits.
Artificial sweeteners Sucralose, Aspartame also known as NutraSweet (951), Splenda (955), Equal, or Saccharin (954), High fructose corn syrup and Xylitol etc. Negative side effects like headaches, migraines, bloating, reflux and weight gain are associated with ingesting these ingredients.
Gluten Food sensitivities to gluten are so common now and increases inflammation markers in most people. It is the cause of a range of health issues including headaches, hormonal imbalances, skin problems, fatigue, mood swings, and digestive issues.
Dextrins or Maltodextrin Often added as a filler to bulk out protein powder or make it mix easier with liquid. However, these ingredients can increase glycemic load; which can contribute to fat storage and stomach cramps in some people.
Thickeners or gums Thickeners and gums like xanthan gum, are manufactured from soy or corn and can cause bloating, constipation and gas.
Soy protein Most soy proteins in protein powder come from genetically-modified sources and are subject to high pesticides. Soy contains phyto-oestrogen, which may contribute to hormonal imbalances, gastrointestinal inflammation and suppressed thyroid function in some people.
Vegetable fats and oils Often added to protein powders to increase richness and make a creamy taste in the final product. However, these fats can be derived from hydrogenated sources which contain trans fats. These are proven to be extremely harmful to the human body and contribute to the massive increase of illness we are seeing.
Is protein powder necessary?
Of course not but they can be very convenient. Food can be though to too - it is incredibly easy to increase protein in your diet through food alone. Examples include: Eggs for breakfast, Chicken/meat with your lunch or Fish in a stir-fry at dinner. Pseudo-grains like quinoa and buckwheat are good vegetarian sources. Plants contain small amounts of protein so don’t skimp on those leafy greens. Protein-containing snacks like a handful of activated nuts and seeds, a small tub of organic yoghurt or a hard-boiled egg are as easy as a protein shake if your on the run.