by Athletic Greens
I get a lot of questions from you, and I try to do my best to answer them. However, there have been a few questions that keep popping up about Protein Powders.
Many of you have asked questions like:
“Is protein powder a good source of protein?”
“Is it healthy for me?”
“There’s so many to choose from (soy, casein, whey, vegetable) which one should I take?”
All great questions so I decided you deserve to have a post dedicated to the topic - how to navigate the confusing world of protein powders.
Today, I’ll share with what I think about some of the most popular protein powders around: casein, whey, and vegetable protein powders.
First, when considering any supplement you should look at two very important factors:
1 – The ingredients should be comprised of nutrients from whole food and natural forms to ensure you’re giving your body the nutrition it actually needs and can recognize as food – nature wins.
2 – The ingredients should be undamaged by common processing methods, leaving it its natural, more bioavailable (absorbable) form.
Protein powders are no exception, and should meet the two requirements I just mentioned.
Soy Protein Powders
Soy is one of the most genetically modified grains in the United States and for that reason alone, I would avoid Soy and Soy Products altogether.
Soy Protein Powder is no exception. Soy protein contains isoflavones (also known as soy estrogens) that have been shown to cause chaos with your body.
The isoflavones in soy have been shown to decrease testosterone in men (Goodin et al, 2007; Dillingham et al, 2005) and reproductive outcomes in women (Strom et al, 2001; Dinsdale & Ward, 2010), thyroid disease (Hughes, 2003) and liver disease, and have been linked with increased cancer risk.
Vegetable Protein Powders
There’s nothing wrong with the amino acid chains (protein building blocks) found in Vegetable Proteins. They can be a great source of protein for people who choose not to eat animal sources of protein.
However, vegetable sourced protein isn’t the most bioavailable because it is molecularly bound to vegetable fibers, so it generally passes right through you.
Kiwi Question of the Day: If you are not a vegetarian, is there a point in taking a protein powder that you can’t even absorb properly?
Absorption is key and if you’re looking to get it from vegetable protein, you may be disappointed. That said some people do like to cycle through their protein powders, and the vegetable proteins can be an option.
If you are going to go with vegetable proteins, I recommend hemp or pea protein. If you want most bang for your health (and buck) then animal proteins win hands down.
Casein Protein is one of the two main proteins that come from cow’s milk.
(I’ll share the other one in just a moment)
Though many believe it to be an excellent source of protein even when taken in isolation, I still have my doubts mainly because of some recent studies that have indicated an association between casein protein and tumor development.
Animal studies have shown that isolate casein protein may increase the production of Insulin- like Growth Factor – 1 (IGF-1), in a format that has been shown to increase the risk of cancer.
In fact, two comprehensive human studies from The Harvard School of Public Health and the Journal of the National Cancer Institute highlight the relationship between IGF -1 and increased risk of cancer for both men and women (Ma et al, 1999).
This is enough for me to stay away from any isolated casein products.
Further, many people who have dairy intolerances are intolerant to this protein.
Like all milk proteins, and the main sugar in milk, lactose, if you have ANY intolerance or any allergy then you should avoid those dairy products without exception.
Raw grass-fed cow’s milk when consumed from a source you trust AND if you tolerate it may be another option for you.
However we are discussing supplementation, specifically protein powder.
Luckily, there’s another highly bioavailable protein source from cow’s milk that doesn’t have the reputation that casein has (it may in fact counter the cancer promoting elements of casein), nor require you to milk a cow in your backyard….
In those that tolerate it, QUALITY whey has been linked with improved immune profiles and faster muscle recovery.
Studies have shown Whey Protein Powder, if NOT “cooked” by high temperature processing, also better maintains its amino acid composition.
What does that mean?
It means that your body will better absorb it because it’s still in the form nature intended for absorption into our bodies.
If you’re going to take a protein powder, Whey Protein probably is your best option.
However ONLY if the following 3 conditions are met:
3 Things To Consider Before Purchasing Your Next Whey Protein
1 – You can tolerate whey: Some people can tolerate it, while other people just can’t.
If you fall under the “I don’t tolerate whey” category, it’s best to avoid Whey Protein due to its tendency to ignite an inflammatory response.
If you do not know if you tolerate it, then DO NOT TAKE any dairy, until you have completed my 30 Day Fat Loss plan (The Complete 30 Day Reset)
2- The Whey Protein comes from healthy cows: The nutrients that cows eat effect the quality of its milk and the whey protein it yields.
Whey Protein coming from sick cows is best avoided for specific reasons I’ll share with in an upcoming post. Suffice to say I avoid whey from industrially grain fed cows. Stay tuned...
3- The Whey Protein is NOT over processed using harmful manufacturing methods:
A lot of manufacturing processes utilize methods that literally “cook” the whey protein. The end result is a denatured protein – leaving it in less absorbable isolate form that may even be harmful to consume over the long run.
Overall, Whey Protein can be a powerful way of easily getting more protein in your diet (especially if you’re a busy person)…. IF you tolerate it.
Not only is it one of the more bioavailable forms of Protein Powders around, whey tends to be tastier than the other options.
Also, I should re-iterate that the 3rd condition I just mentioned is VERY IMPORTANT to consider before going out and purchasing a protein powder.
Check out Athletic Greens now!
Friday, March 13, 2015
Top 3 Whey Protein Quality Tests
I am a Lifestyle Weight Management Specialist. Since 2006, I have been the owner of Her Fitness Hut, My Fitness Hut, Sports Fitness Hut and Your Fitness University. I have helped thousands transform their bodies to lean with lasting weight loss.
I encourage clients and readers to make lifestyle changes that lead to better long-term health, which includes acceptable body fat and your ideal body weight. I do not recommend fad diets, quick weight loss gimmicks, starvation diets, weight loss pills, fat burner supplements and the like.