Which Protein Powder Should You Use?

There is a vast selection of protein powders available in stores, but they are not all the same. Some contain ingredients that are not ideal and can cause some unpleasant side effects, while others contain additives that are not ideal for health.

  • All forms of whey protein must be cold-processed to be healthy for human consumption

  • Use whey protein isolate that is cross-flow micro-filtered (CFM)

Avoid Carrageenan

This seaweed-derived ingredient is added to products to make them thicker and creamier. It is not only used in protein powders but also in soy milk, coconut milk, ice cream, sour cream, squeezable yogurt, frozen pizza and many more.

It has a negative impact on your gastrointestinal tract, with some studies suggesting that it may even lead to inflammation, intestinal lesions, ulcers and tumors.

So, try to buy a protein powder with the shortest ingredient label you can find!

Avoid Heavy Metals

A Consumer Reports study found that many contained heavy metals including arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury, some in quantities that exceed safety limits. Some heavy metals occur naturally in the earth while others come from pesticides and fertilizer that make their way into the soil and water used to grow the ingredients.

Rice protein powder may seem like a good idea if you are a vegan, but rice contains high levels of arsenic, and it doesn’t matter if it has been organically grown or not.

If you are using chocolate flavored powder, be aware that another source of heavy metals are cocoa powders, which have high concentrations of cadmium and lead.

Avoid Superfoods

Superfoods combine many nutrients into one product and it sounds like a great idea. But the recipe for health and wellness is eating all different kinds of produce in your diet — not just acai, resveratrol or whatever the trendy “superfood” of the day may be at this moment.

A much better idea is to use your own fresh or frozen seasonal produce and adding some plain protein powder to it. You will get more variety in your diet using real food, rather than using the same superfood-enriched powder every day.

It is not known if dried and powdered superfood products have the same biological activity as compared to when they are fresh. What we do know is that real food does.

Avoid Sugar Substitutes

Many protein powder labels state “low-carb,” “low-sugar” or “sugar-free”, but manufacturers often add something else to make their protein more palatable. This is often an artificial sweetener such as sucralose, aspartame or saccharin, or sugar alcohols, which may appear on the ingredient panel as sorbitol or maltitol.

Artificial sweeteners have been linked with weight gain and cancer, while sugar alcohols can cause gas, bloating and diarrhea in some people. Use fresh or frozen fruit to sweeten your drink.

Avoid Lactose

Protein powder can be the source of a stomachache and other unpleasant gastrointestinal symptoms. Milk contains two kinds of proteins, whey and casein. Whey and lactose are the liquid part of milk and during processing of the whey, some of the lactose may not be eliminated from whey protein powder.

If you’re lactose intolerant use whey protein isolate powder. Additional processing results in a purer protein with minimal lactose.