My top 10 worst ingredients found in protein powders.
We all need protein to survive obviously, but where that comes from is another story. Many can get it from their foods, but not all of us are. Some of those sources aren’t the best either. For example: Yogurt. It can be high in protein, but loaded with sugar. Also, protein powders can be consumed so quickly – it’s an easy choice in a grab and go society.
Protein is the building blocks of our muscles – choose wisely with a product you consume daily.
1. SOY PROTEIN/ISOLATE.
I would rank this as one of the top worst protein powder ingredients of all. It’s a cheap source of GMO soy that’s highly refined to produce an inexpensive protein powder that isn’t helping your body. It’s highly acidic and very allergenic. It can cause a low functioning thyroid as well. Soy protein can cause allergies, headaches, inflammation, gout, stomach pain and poor digestion outside of thyroid problems.
2. WHOLE MILK POWDER.
This is found in many casein protein powders, used for bulking and helping body builders put on weight quickly. Wrestlers stay away from it and football players welcome it. I suggest avoiding this unless you want to gain a lot of weight quickly. On the other hand, whey protein isolate, or grass fed whey, is a form of milk that can actually help you lose weight.
3. ANYTHING HYDROGENATED.
It means it has been heated at high temperatures and denatured. It creates a rancid oil in your body which is a form of trans fats (the fat that is manufactured and very bod for you). You absolutely do not need a protein powder that has the word hydrogenated on it.
Now why would a company need to put gluten in our protein powder? You’ll never see this directly on an ingredient list, but if you look right below the list you’ll see “ Allergy Warnings”, and it will tell you if that product contains any of the major allergens, including gluten.
5. SOYBEAN OIL.
Usually a GMO product. Companies mostly use small amounts of this as an emulsifier, which thickens the protein in your smoothie or shake. It’s such an unnecessary ingredient you can easily avoid and one you absolutely do not need.
Of course we want our protein powder to taste good, but there is a limit of how sweet it should be. Think protein, not a sugar drink. Sugar comes under many names, so check your ingredient list: evaporated cane syrup, dextrose, fructose (concentrated fruit sugar), high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup solids, tapioca syrup, brown rice syrup, molasses, maple syrup, honey, sucrose, glucose, cane sugar, cane syrup, brown sugar, coconut sugar, palm sugar, and of course, sugar.
7. NON-SPROUTED RICE PROTEIN.
This powder is popular among many vegetarians, but if you’re going to select it, get one that contains sprouted brown rice protein powder, not just “ rice protein”. This ensures you’re getting the most nutritious part of the protein, it makes it higher in protein. When rice protein is sprouted, it changes in genetic makeup to become more bio-available to the body.
8. ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS
I think there will always be a jury out on the artificial sweeteners, especially as more become available – or they change the names of them. Sucralose, aspartame and other artificial sweeteners should always be avoided when buying protein powders. They’re damaging to your body and actually lower the good bacteria in your digestive tract.
9. LOADS OF GUMS
You’ll see these in the form of xanthan gum, inulin, and guar gum. Using one or two of those in a product isn’t a bad thing, but if you see them all listed, try considering another source. Though they’re typically from healthy ingredients, they’re only used as fillers in the product to help thicken them up. Sometimes this is needed, but excessively? I don’t mind using products that use one of these ingredients, but sometimes less is better, we don’t need them all.
This ingredient is the least harmful of all, but still one I would suggest avoiding. It’s basically refined corn, most likely from a GMO source, that’s used as a sweetener. Maltodextrin increases sugar cravings, regardless that it’s low in sugar. It’s proven to raise glycemic index levels, just like sugar does. It’s used in everything from some brands of stevia, to many protein powders. Just like you should avoid stevia products that contain maltodextrin, and other processed foods, you should also avoid it in protein powders. Choose protein powders that only use stevia as the sweetener.
Here is what I look for in my protein powders:
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