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 unhealthy and generally unnecessary.
Now I know that protein powders can be a sensitive topic for those that consume them on a regular basis. I am not here to argue or pass judgement in any way. This post is merely to answer back to my readers who have asked my opinion on protein powders. I prefer not to consume processed foods, and protein powders, in my mind, extremely processed.
What’s wrong with protein powders?
#1 Protein powders are highly processed and loaded with garbage
The process of making many protein powders often leaves a highly denatured and damaged protein , destroying many of it’s health-giving benefits and making it useless as a health supplement. I’m not talking about the kind of denaturing that comes with cooking a steak or egg. I am talking about incredibly high temperatures where proteins are heated to the point that our bodies do not recognize it as food.
On top of that, many manufactures add synthetic, toxic ingredients to their products Aspartame, saccharin, fructose, and artificial colors 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.
I also like to add hemp seeds to my smoothies. One tablespoon of hemp seeds contains 152 milligrams of potassium, 2.3 grams of carbohydrates, 1.6 grams of fiber and 4 grams of protein along with 13 percent your daily need for iron of and about 8 percent of your daily vitamin A. THIS is the brand that I use.
There is no magic “pill” for good health. It takes REAL, unprocessed foods and balanced living. It’s a lifestyle not a diet…..
Read more about the dangers of protein powders here:
- 5 Problems with Protein Powder
- Protein Powders/Drinks Rob Your Health
photo by: Phú Thịnh Co