Let’s get this point straight off the bat. Protein supplements should be treated as a supplement, they certainly do not replace a healthy diet.
When choosing a protein powder it’s important that it suits your needs and supports your health and most importantly that it is free from chemicals and additives. When it comes to protein powders, the less ingredients, the better.
The below is what you should look for when selecting a protein powder, and what you should definitely avoid.
Signs Of Good Protein Powders
When selecting a protein powder make sure that it is high in natural protein. Rice, pea, hemp, sacha inchi and potato are all plant-based lactose-free options. Aim for above 80g of protein per 100g and less than 10g sugar and 5g fat.
Avoid added fats or sugars and look for naturally sweetened protein such as Stevia.
Protein shakes are best taken immediately after training for muscle recovery and may also be used as an easy, tasty mid-meal snack on the run.
Bad Protein Powders To Avoid
You will commonly find these ingredients in many proteins and it’s recommended that you avoid most if not all of them.
Skim milk powders/milk solids: These are often used as a cheap bulking agent in lower quality powders.
Thickeners and gums: Thickeners and gums, including xanthin gum, are manufactured from soy or corn and can cause bloating, constipation and gas.
Soy protein: Some soy proteins come from genetically-modified sources with high pesticide use. They contain chemical compounds which may cause hormonal disturbances in some people.
Worst Protein Powder To Stay Away From
Be warned, these are definitely the ingredients to avoid in any protein powder.
Vegetable oils and fats: These are often added to many protein powders to increase richness and make them taste creamy.
However, these ingredients are often derived from hydrogenated sources that contain trans-fats, which are thought to be more harmful than saturated fats. Trans-fats raise levels of bad cholesterol and lower levels of good cholesterol.
Artificial sweeteners: Several negative side effects can come from ingesting artificial sweeteners including headaches, migraines, gastric distress, acid reflux and weight gain.
Dextrins/Maltodextrin: These ingredients can raise glycemic load, which may contribute to fat storage. Most are processed with GMO corn and they can also cause gastrointestinal distress in some people. They are mostly added to protein powders as fillers to bulk it out or make the protein mix easier.
Mark Robinson, aka ‘Health Man Mark’, is a practicing Dietitian with a Masters Degree in Nutrition & Dietetics and a Bachelor Degree in Exercise Science. He is also a leading figure in the natural body building industry, taking out the World Fitness Model America title.