I have been asked several times by readers lately what protein powder I recommend. This is a question that is hard for me to answer since I don’t use protein powders myself. It is not that I haven’t tried them in the past. There was a time when I experimented with several of the brands at the health food store, quickly returning them or throwing them out because they just tasted TERRIBLE. Lucky for me because since then I have realized that protein powders are extremely unhealthy and generally unnecessary.
What’s wrong with protein powders?
#1 Protein powders are highly processed~
The process of making protein powders often leaves a highly denatured protein , making it useless as a health supplement. Proteins are heated to the point that our bodies do not recognize it as food. This includes the “low temperature” protein powders at the health food store. Though less damaging, low heat denatures the proteins as well. On top of that, many manufactures add synthetic, toxic ingredients to their products Aspartame, saccharin, fructose, and artificial colours are all things you might see on the label. Processed protein powders may also contain large amounts of MSG in the form of protein isolates because separating protein from its food source during manufacturing results in the creation of MSG. You won’t see it in the list of ingredients because it is a by-product of manufacturing and does not have to be listed.(SOURCE)
#2 Eating concentrated protein without saturated fats is harmful to your health~
Without the presence of some good quality fats, your body is not able to assimilate and absorb many vital nutrients. Imbalances in Calcium, Vitamin A, Vitamin K, and Vitamin D could result. Some health issues associated with vitamin and mineral imbalances include heart arrhythmias, eye problems, bone loss, auto-immune disorders, thyroid issues, and kidney problems. Our bodies are meant to have a balance array of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats in order to function optimally. I’m talking REAL food here.
#3 Protein powders can expose you to harmful levels of heavy metals~
In a study of 15 protein drinks, the researchers found:
“All drinks in our tests had at least one sample containing one or more of the following contaminants: arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury.”
Even though the levels were relatively low, imagine consuming these products every day, sometimes 2-3 times a day as recommended by some health coaches. Alarmingly, the amount of lead in a single serving in 8 of the tested protein supplements would require a warning label in the state of California. NO THANKS!!! (SOURCE)
What’s the Alternative?
My recommendation is the get your protein from REAL food sources. You will notice that foods high in protein generally have some healthy fat along with it. Grass-fed meats, pastured eggs, and good quality dairy (especially RAW) are great examples. Adding mineral and collagen rich bone broths and fresh local produce will ensure that you are getting a good balance of fats, carbs, and proteins. Like I said before: REAL FOOD.
If you still feel like you need a little extra protein and want the extra added benefits of collagen, try adding some grass-fed gelatin to your diet. With about 7 grams of protein per tablespoon, it makes for a great supplement. There are 2 kinds of gelatin on the market. I use THIS one in cooking (needs heat to dissolve) and THIS one in my drinks and smoothies. The latter has a smaller molecular structure that allows it to dissolve in cold liquids.
There is no magic “pill” for good health. It takes REAL, unprocessed foods and balanced living. It’s a lifestyle not a diet…..
photo by: Phú Thịnh Co