What's In Your Protein Powder?

A quality protein drink made from whole food ingredients can benefit your health in a number of ways. Protein powders can balance hormones, assist in weight loss, support detoxification and digestion, boost your immune system, and even support pregnancy.

Protein is also the key nutrient that helps you get ageless, glowing skin and lean, toned muscles.

I’ve been in the health industry for 12 years and have tasted many kinds of protein on the market and seen clients consuming all sorts too. Some made them gain weight, some got constipated for days, and some made them feel bloated.

Here’s what you DON'T want in a protein powder:

1. Casein 

Casein protein sources are high in lactose, which can often cause bloating, flatulence, and gastrointestinal distress in some people.

2. Gluten

Food sensitivities to gluten can elevate inflammation in some people and cause a range of health problems including hormonal imbalances, skin conditions, fatigue, mood swings, and headaches.

3. Dextrin/Glucose

These ingredients can raise glycemic load, which may contribute to fat storage. They can also cause gastrointestinal distress in some people.

4. Artificial sweeteners

Common artificial sweeteners used are sucralose, splenda (955), aspartamine, equal, NutraSweet (951), or saccharin (954). Several negative side effects can come from ingesting these unnatural ingredients, including headaches, migraines, gastric distress, depression, and weight gain.

5. Skim milk powders/milk solids

Skim milk powders and milk solids are often used as a cheap bulking agent in less quality powders. They are high in lactose sugars, which can cause bloating, gastrointestinal distress, constipation, and loose stools. The protein is poorly absorbed into the body, making it harder for you to reap all of its benefits.

6. Soy protein

Most soy proteins come from genetically-modified sources with high pesticide use, and contain the chemical compound phyto-oestrogen, which may cause hormonal disturbances and suppressed thyroid function in some people.

7. Vegetable oils and fats

These ingredients are often added to many weight loss and protein supplements to increase richness. However, these fats 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.

8. Thickeners made from corn

9. Fillers

Fillers are often added to bulk up the protein and save money for the manufacturer. Some fillers include ingredients such as psyllium, which can cause gastric distress in women who are susceptible to digestive issues, such as constipation or bloating.

I do not recommend using protein powders like these two well-known brands below -

Brand A - (pea protein isolate, cranberry protein, rice protein), sugarcane, cocoa powder, natural chocolate flavour, sunflower oil, corn starch, inulin, xanthan gum, stevia leaf extract, flax seed, gum acacia, guar gum.

Brand B - is no better which a ton of nasty ingredients including soy protein, artificial sweeteners and vegetable oils. 

How can protein shakes be incorporated into a diet?

Match your protein to your goal. If you find a clean protein powder, it can be used for a number of things, such as fitness, weight loss, body shaping, etc. However, you will use the protein differently depending on what your goal is.

Weight loss

Protein can work effectively to regulate the appetite, support lean muscle, and encourage significant weight loss. It is recommended you get between 80 — 120 grams of protein per day to aid satiety and repair.

The best way to use protein for weight loss is to use it as a meal replacement. Start the day with a morning smoothie for breakfast after your workout.

I use grass-fed whey protein or organic pea protein, and then a tablespoon or two of blueberries , coconut or almond milk, almond or walnut butter and some ice (and a scoop of Progress powder).

How much protein should a woman get in her diet?

The amount of protein you consume each day varies slightly depending on your age, weight, and activity level. To maintain good health, it’s all about getting a good balance of quality protein over the course of a day.

The average amount for a women it’s 0.75g per kilo of body weight per day. For athletes, pregnant women, or those dieting, aim for about 1.2 grams of protein per kilo of body weight or about 80 grams per day.  But these figures can vary depending on your individual requirements. 

Is plant-based protein inferior to animal-based protein? 

Plant-based protein isn't inferior, as long as you choose one that has a complete amino acid profile and is not loaded with fillers, or the other unhealthy ingredients listed above. The less ingredients the better!

Evaluate the ingredient quality and how it’s made. Like most manufactured foods, protein powders are not created equal. It's important that the protein you use is un-denatured and free from unhealthy chemicals and additives.

These are the powders that I use and and that work for my clients -

  1. Whey Protein Isolate from Grass-fed cows from Nutrilink tel 0845 076 0402

  2. Sun Warrior Warrior Blend Organic Pea protein in various flavours - Amazon or 100% Health in Jersey. 

  3. Progreens powder - not a protein powder but a very good general superfoods blend and general liver detox support tel 0845 076 0402

Pippa Campbell