Protein powder: The good and the bad

Julia & Libby show us what to look for and most importantly, what to avoid in a protein powder.

The word protein comes from the Greek word ‘protos’ meaning ‘prime importance’. It’s needed to build lean muscle, help muscle repair and recovery, maintain healthy skin, hair and nails and boost your immune system. Protein is made of important amino acids that are the building blocks of human growth and development, so it’s important that we’re getting the recommended amount of protein we need daily.

Supplements seem like a great idea for people who want to have an healthy active life as they’re a great way to build muscle and burn fat. Protein powders can add a nutritional boost to a smoothie and using it as part of a balanced diet may help you accomplish your fitness and health goals. Protein powders do have their risks though, and have the potential to cause more harm than good. Good quality protein includes organic chicken, organic beef (grass-fed), fish, organic eggs, beans, quinoa, plain yogurt, nuts, seeds, peas and lentils. Some protein drinks, however contain metals such as mercury, lead, arsenic and cadmium, which have toxic effects on the body. This is especially harmful to pregnant women and children. Some people also substitute protein bars and shakes for meals and end up eating extremely high amounts of protein without knowing what it’s doing to their body. Replacing whole meals with protein alone isn’t going to do any wonders for your health because it doesn’t contain any vitamins or minerals. You also need other nutrients in your diet as well, such as carbohydrates and fats. Many of us want to ‘eat clean’ but then consume protein powders and protein bars which are high in sugar, high in soy and dairy, artificial sweeteners and colouring which completely contradicts what ‘clean eating’ really is. Makes you think doesn’t it?

Our daily protein requirements depend on our size, age and how much exercise we are doing. One way to work out our minimum daily protein requirement is to multiply our body weight in kilograms by 0.8. This calculation will tell us how much protein we need daily. Our body can break down 5 to 9 grams of protein per hour and if we are consuming more then that our body will convert it to fat or it will be excreted.

The most common protein sources that are used in protein powders are egg, whey, soy and wheat gluten. Soy and gluten promote inflammatory reactions within the body and are highly allergenic. Whey concentrate is one of the least expensive sources because it has fillers, which can trigger side effects such as bloating, diarrhoea, stomach pain and flatulence. Since whey protein comes from milk, it’s unfit for consumption by people suffering from lactose intolerance. It may also trigger allergic reactions like skin rashes, sneezing and itching. Over time, if undigested, whey protein reside can build up in the liver and kidneys and could cause damage to these organs. When the body has excessive amounts of protein the kidneys have to filter these wastes to eliminate them from the body. Too much protein can build up in the kidneys and lead to the formation of kidney stones or calcium deposits. Due to the side effects that these protein powders have, it’s important to choose one that is going to benefit your health. One of my favourite sources of protein is pea protein, it works effectively to regulate the appetite and encourage significant weight loss. Pea protein delivers large amounts of the necessary branched chain amino acids compared to other sources of protein and it’s also 100% gluten and allergen free.

Julia and I use a product called ‘Clean Lean Protein‘ by a company called Nu Zest which is made from pea protein. It is highly absorbable, alkalizing, low allergenic and contains none of the bad stuff. My favourite flavour is vanilla. I add a scoop to my smoothie every day and even use it in pancakes and muffins. To find out more about Clean Lean Protein you can visit their website or Facebook page. If you purchase Clean Lean Protein from their website, just enter in the promo code JANDB to receive 10% off. Just enter the code when you are at the checkout. If you have any further questions regarding protein powders do not hesitate to ask us.


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