As we have discussed in past BLOG posts, making sure you are getting an adequate amount of protein in your daily diet is absolutely essential to your bodies overall health. Protein is vital to muscular strength and growth and allows your body to function at a higher level. We discussed that the best way consume protein is through meats, fish and dairy. There are also some plant-based proteins that are effective as well. With that being said, the demand for protein supplements are on the rise. People are wanting to replace having to figure out how to prepare and eat adequate protein in each meal, and have accessibility to something quick and easy. The problem is, there are literally dozens (if not more than that) of protein powders on the market today that “boast” they are the best product out there. This is very confusing to those of us that are “rookies” at making these types of decisions. Through the years that I have personally taken protein supplements, I have come across several different articles about how to choose a “good” protein powder. That is, until I went to a seminar held by a prominent Doctor in the health industry. He broke down the specific ways to identify what ingredients found in protein powders, are good for your body and what is bad for your body. FINALLY! I had something I could actually make sense of and now had an idea of what to look for. Now, there are still companies and out there that claim to be all “natural” and that their process for creating protein powder is the most effective way and is not harmful to the body. They too will “show” research data to prove their point. So, what I am going to do today, is go over the information I have learned about what is harmful and what is not, and hopefully explain why. The decision will still be up to you, as I am NOT trying to give any advice on what product to choose. I am only giving information based on what I have learned.
Lets start with the processing method used to break proteins down into powder form. (This information is a compilation of research I did on the subject) The most common method is a process called “Hydrolyzation or Denaturation”. This process is used to break down protein into its component, amino acids. The two most common methods of doing this are: prolonged boiling in a strong acid (acid-HVP) or an enzyme such as pancreatic protease that helps stimulate the process. When proteins undergo this process they lose their proper dimensions intended by nature. These processing methods also give rise to toxic levels of free aspartic acid and glutamic acid (MSG). Like I mentioned above, there are “reports” out there that indicate this process is harmless and necessary. That is for YOU to decide. In MY OWN OPINION, I would say that anytime the use of anything chemical or foreign is part of that process, it is no longer safe to consume and can become harmful to our health. Therefor, IN MY OWN OPINION, protein powders that are NON-HYDROLYZED or Denatured, would be of the best nutritional benefit since they are naturally broken down without that harmful process involved.
When it comes to ingredients found in most protein powders, they will contain sugar or at least some type of sweetener, that does not belong. They may also contain artificial flavors, artificial coloring, and numerous additives. If you were to look at the “Ingredients” on the container, and there are multiple names you cannot pronounce or sound like they may be of a chemical source; or if the list is a mile long, there may be way too many harmful ingredients. As a rule-of-thumb, the shorter the list and the easier it is to read the ingredients, and you know what they are, the product may be worth looking into!
Here is a protein powder that I have started using that comes from, IN MY OPINION, one of the best supplement companies out there. A company called “Garden of Life”. They tend to use all natural products and do a great deal of research and testing before they launch a product. The protein powder I use is a Grass Fed Whey Protein that is very clean (meaning non-hydrolyzed, no dded sugar or artificial ingredients). I couldn’t be happier with it! Again, YOU need to determine for yourself what products work for you.
So, in the grand scheme of things, protein supplements can be very useful and efficient, BUT, you do need to make sure you do your research on the product and how it is processed, and definitely, DEFINITELY, always read the labels.