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Is Your Protein Powder Toxic?

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Is Protein Powder Healthy?

Besides the concern of actual toxins in your product one should also consider the relative merits of the different kinds of protein and carbohydrates involved.

Protein #1 Soy:

In the past, most protein powders were focused on soy protein There has been a lot of recent concern for various problems associated with it.

  • Raw soybeans contain a form of phytic acid that can block certain mineral absorption.
  • Soy contains goitrogens: substances that block the synthesis of thyroid hormones and interfere with iodine metabolism, thereby interfering with your thyroid function. Since many people suffer from an underactive thyroid, this is worth considering.
  • Soy can possibly negatively affect estrogen levels in the body.
  • Soy foods contain anti-nutritional factors such as saponins, soyatoxin, phytates, protease inhibitors, oxalates, goitrogens and estrogens. Some of these factors interfere with the enzymes you need to digest protein.
  • Soy contains hemagglutinin: a clot-promoting substance that causes your red blood cells to clump together. These clumped cells are unable to properly absorb and distribute oxygen to your tissues.

Dr. Mercola lists a number of health challenges associated with soy, including:

  • Breast cancer
  • Brain damage
  • Infant abnormalities
  • Thyroid disorders
  • Kidney stones
  • Immune system impairment
  • Severe, potentially fatal food allergies
  • Impaired fertility
  • Danger during pregnancy and nursing

The Chinese have been using soy for centuries but only if it was fermented or properly processed. Fermented soy products include tempeh, miso, natto and soy sauce.

Also some companies claim that their particular processing methods deal with some of the soy problems. Unfortunately processing can have its own problems.

According to nutritionist Sally Fallon, author of Nourishing Traditions: “manufacturing soy protein isolate involves acid washing in aluminum tanks that leeches high levels of aluminum into the final product. Nitrites are formed during spray drying, and numerous artificial flavorings, including MSG, are added to improve taste. These chemicals are associated with the development of Alzheimer’s disease, cancer and severe allergic reactions.”

Protein #2 Whey:

Whey protein is a byproduct of the cheese-making industry. If you are allergic to dairy products or if you cannot digest the sugar in milk products (lactose intolerant), then this clearly is an issue.

Isolated whey protein contains fewer sugars than concentrated whey protein and both have known health benefits. The Whey Protein Institute lists a host of them including positive help in general wellness, weight management, immune health, cancer prevention, gastrointestinal health, heart health and AIDS/HIV.

The benefits of whey can vary depending on the source of milk (organic grass fed cattle best) and processing.

Protein #3 Pea Protein:

A more recent addition to the popular protein area, pea protein, has many benefits. The most obvious is that it is plant-based. Also the source of this protein is the yellow pea, an environmentally safe crop that has been grown for centuries.

Protein #4 Casein:

Casein in the main protein in milk. It is more slowly absorbed, and lasts longer in the body, so is better for a meal replacement than other proteins or before bed. It is unsuitable to those with dairy sensitivities.

Other Common Questionable Ingredients:

Sugar
Most people are trying to cut down on sugar because:

1. Sugar makes you fat.
2. Sugar makes you nervous.
3. Sugar depresses your immune system.
4. Sugar cause wrinkles.
5. Sugar rots your teeth.

Read: 7 Tips to Stop White Sugar Cravings

Artificial Sweeteners

These include Aspartame, Sucralose and Maltodextrin. There is nothing good about these and they actually cause weight gain! Read: Are You Dying to Be Thin?

Vitamins and Mineral

Unless this is a high quality shake, these isolates will often be synthetic (man made) and not extracts from whole foods. These isolates have their own problems. To learn more, read: Vitamins VS Foods

Next: Is Protein Powder Necessary?

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Diana Herrington

Diana Herrington turned a debilitating health crisis into a passion for helping others with healthy, sugar-free, gluten-free, eating and cooking. After testing and researching every possible healthy therapy on her delicate system she has developed simple, powerful principles which she shares in her recent book Eating Green and Lean, and as host to Care2 groups: Healthy Living Network and Healthy Cooking. She is the head chef at Real Food for Life, where she shares recipes and tips. Sign up for the Real Food for Life weekly newsletter or catch her on Facebook or Twitter (@DancinginLife).

64 comments

+ add your own
11:01PM PDT on May 30, 2013

A good nutritional powder should have more than one type of protein in it; it should have fiber, minerals, and vitamins; and it should be GMO-free. It really needs to have a pleasant taste and it needs to be affordable relative to a comparable amount of solid food to achieve the same level of nutrition. Such a nutritional powder can be safely used either as a meal replacement for weight loss, or as a supplement for muscle building. Healthy snacks and at least one solid meal a day is recommended no matter what.

8:22AM PDT on Jul 31, 2012

Interesting, but I would be suspicious of a highly processed powder and prefer protein in other forms. Love tasty red quinoa not to mention kasha (buckwheat groats).

Dr. Mercola is known but is fairly controversial within medical circles. I did subscribe to his newsletter which talked a lot about toxins but gave it up as he was always flogging his own stuff for sale-things that are unaffordable on a tight budget-sticking to the conventional sources. He also goes on about how whole grains, especially wheat is toxic to mental health-everything is getting toxic to eat everyday which is frustrating. For those allergic to gluten avoiding wheat is fine but one likes breads and whole grains and now to hear these are bad?

There is a study for everything depending on what one chooses to believe, will stick to quinoa, small portions of meats, veggies-non GMO, fruits, nuts and other tasty things! Powder, no thanks!

11:52AM PDT on May 31, 2012

Thanks for sharing

6:22PM PDT on May 28, 2012

huh.., protein powder?

10:14PM PDT on May 12, 2012

Thanks, fresh and natural can't really do better than that.

2:13PM PDT on May 12, 2012

I eat good organic home grown and wild meat..never store bought. I'm 55 years old and very healthy! I believe, judging from our physiology that we are naturally omnivores but can live healthy on a variety of diets.I don't believe that we should be ingesting anything processed like these protein powders. If it's not from my garden, neighbors farm or from the wild (where I live) then I don't touch it. Here's a bit of interesting info about why I believe we are naturally omnivores. http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/674/are-humans-meat-eaters-or-vegetarians-by-nature

and no matter what you harvest...be kind and give thanks ♥

1:59AM PDT on May 12, 2012

Thank you for those important reminders..........
No wonder we have so many people who never experience optimal health

3:40PM PDT on May 11, 2012

Eat an egg.

12:10PM PDT on May 11, 2012

scary finding--much like the testing done on many vitamin lines. Choosing something that meets pharmaceutical standards (cleaner manufacturing environment) can help minimize risks

10:12AM PDT on May 11, 2012

Don't do protein powders.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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