What are the pros and cons of protein powder?
Here are the pros and cons of protein powder. Basically, protein powder offers an easy way to boost your protein intake, but not all protein powders are created equal.
The pros and cons of protein powder.
The pros and cons of protein powder.
Proteins are the building blocks of life. They are found in every cell in the human body and play an essential role in muscle growth and repair. Protein itself is composed of amino acids, some of which are made by the body and some of which come from food. The latter are called essential amino acids, and are found in animal sources like eggs and meat, as well as in plant sources like legumes and nuts.
Most people can get more than enough protein by eating a balanced diet, but others – athletes, pregnant women, people dietary restrictions, etc.– may need to supplement. This is where protein powder comes in. Protein powder can be a convenient way to boost your protein intake and ensure that you are meeting your nutritional needs. That said, there is a lot of misinformation about what protein powder is and what it can do for you. Now without further ado, here are some of the pros and cons of protein supplements.
Protein powder is convenient. In just a few minutes and with minimal cleanup, you can consume 20 + grams of protein. Try cooking quinoa that fast. Plus, if you have a shaker bottle, you can bring your protein powder with you wherever you go. This is a blessing for athletes looking to start the recovery process immediately after a workout.
Compared to other sources of protein, protein powder is expensive. The protein in chicken, for example, can cost less than 2 cents per gram whereas the protein in your average protein powder costs over 4 times that much.
Protein powder is versatile. The most popular way to consume protein powder is in a shake or smoothie, but protein powder can be added to many different recipes. Have you ever had protein powder popovers? They are delicious.
Many protein powders taste bad. One of the biggest issues people have with protein powders is the chalky aftertaste. Protein powders tend to have a chalky aftertaste because they are made with protein concentrates and isolates, foods stripped of everything but the protein.
Protein powders can also taste bad because they are made with artificial sweeteners or stevia. These sugar substitutes have bitter bitter aftertaste because they activate bitter taste receptors in addition to sweet taste receptors.
Protein powder has a long shelf life. Most protein powders will last anywhere from 12-18 months in your cupboard. How would eggs taste after that long?
Dairy-based protein powders like whey and casein can cause acne. Dairy indirectly stimulates insulin production, which regulates sebum production. Sebum, an oily, waxy substance produced by your body’s sebaceous glands, can clog your pores and cause pimples. Dairy can also hinder your ability to process blood sugar efficiently, which can cause inflammation in your skin. This matters because acne is an inflammatory disease, that is, clinical evidence shows that inflammation occurs at all stages of acne development.
Protein powder offers an easy way to measure your protein intake. How much protein is in a cup of chickpeas? You could figure it out, but it would take a minute. How much protein is in a scoop of protein powder? Just read the Nutrition Facts.
Many protein powders can cause gastrointestinal (GI) side effects. This is often due to added ingredients, not the protein itself, but some protein sources are harder to digest than others.
Why drink wholesome?
drink wholesome is additive-free.
One of the reasons why we make the best protein powder is that we do not use food additives. Most protein powders, on the other hand, are full of food additives.
Food additives may improve characteristics like taste, texture, and shelf stability, but they can also cause uncomfortable side effects and long-term gut damage. Basically, because they look nothing like real food, food additives are hard to digest. They therefore sit in your gut for longer than food should, which gives your gut bacteria more time to eat. As they eat, these bacteria produce gas, causing bloating and stomach pain.
Gas also slows colonic transit (the amount of time it takes food to travel through the colon), which can lead to constipation. Over time, food additives can add up (especially if you drink a protein shake every day), and disrupt regulatory pathways in the intestine. Eventually, this can lead to the development of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and systemic inflammatory disorders.
When buying protein powder, one additive to avoid in particular is artificial sweeteners. Artificial sweeteners are among the most harmful food additives in the long term as they alter the composition of your gut microbiota. This can lead to serious, chronic GI problems, widespread inflammation, and permanent damage to the gut microbiome.
Some sweeteners, especially sugar alcohols like xylitol, are poorly absorbed by the gut, meaning they feed your hungry gut bacteria. They can also cause diarrhea because they draw water into your intestines. Now you may finally have something to blame for those post-protein shake trips to the bathroom!
Here is a list of the most common food additives in protein powder:
acacia gum, acesulfame potassium, artificial flavors, aspartame, carrageenan, cellulose gum, dextrin, dextrose, erythritol, gellan gum, guar gum, gum arabic, inulin, locust bean gum, “natural” flavors, maltodextrin, rice syrup solids, soy lecithin, silica, sucralose, sunflower lecithin, xanthan gum, xylitol
When it comes to identifying food additives, go with your gut. 😉 As a rule of thumb, additives are ingredients that you cannot pronounce. Food additives are not the only thing to avoid when buying protein powder, however. There are several other ingredients that can upset your stomach.
Protein Matrix Comprised of (Whey Protein Concentrate, Whey Protein Isolate, Calcium Caseinate, Micellar Casein, Milk Protein Isolate, Egg Albumen, Glutamine Peptides), Polydextrose, Sunflower Creamer (Sunflower Oil, Corn Syrup Solids, Sodium Caseinate, Mono- and Diglycerides, Dipotassium Phosphate, Tricalcium Phosphate, Soy Lecithin, Tocopherols), Natural and Artificial Flavor, MCT Powder (Medium Chain Triglycerides, Nonfat Dry Milk, Disodium Phosphate, Silicon Dioxide), Lecithin, Cellulose Gum, Salt, Yellow 5, Sucralose, Acesulfame Potassium, Papain, Bromelain.
*This is the actual ingredient list of one of the best-selling protein powders in the United States.
drink wholesome is dairy-free.
Another reason why we make the best protein powder is that we do not use dairy-based proteins. Many protein powders are made with whey and casein, which are byproducts of cheese and yogurt production, and known to cause digestive issues. This is especially true for people with lactose intolerance and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
drink wholesome is made with real foods.
A final reason why we make the best protein powder is that we do not use protein isolates. Most protein powders, on the contrary, are made with protein concentrates and/or isolates, foods stripped of everything but the protein. They appear on the ingredient list as “pea protein” and “whey protein” as opposed to “peas” and “whey.”
I will not go into the details, but protein concentrates and isolates undergo heavy mechanical and chemical processing before becoming protein powder. Sometimes, manufacturers use chemical solvents like hexane to isolate (separate) the protein from the food. This means that what you end up putting into your body looks nothing like real food.
If you think about it, your gut was designed to digest naturally occurring foods, not laboratory formulated imitations, so if you feed it anything but real food, it might get upset. The long term implications of eating processed foods like protein isolates are still not well understood, but more and more research is finding that it can alter the composition of your gut microbiota, and lead to permanent damage to your gut microbiome.
Your gut does more than just help you to digest food; it protects against pathogens, educates your immune system, and affects directly or indirectly most of your physiologic functions. Disruptions to the gut microbiome have therefore been linked to the development of many chronic diseases. It follows that it is in your best interest to avoid protein powders made with protein concentrates and isolates.
Instead of using protein concentrates or isolates, we make the best protein powder with whole foods like egg whites and almonds. Egg whites are simply pasteurized and dried before becoming protein powder. Almonds are just roasted, pressed to remove some of the oil, and ground. Whole foods like these are an easy to digest, gut-friendly alternative to protein concentrates and isolates.
Whole foods contain a variety of enzymes and other digestive aids that help to break down the food, making it easier for the body to absorb the nutrients. Protein isolates and concentrates, on the other hand, have been stripped of these digestive aids, making them harder for the body to digest and absorb. Moreover, minimally-processed plant-based foods like almonds are rich in fiber, which helps promote healthy digestion and regular bowel movements.
Unless you have a sensitivity or allergy to eggs, egg white protein is the best protein for your gut. Egg whites are low in fiber, low-FODMAP, naturally alkaline, and have the highest protein digestibility-corrected amino acid score (PDCAAS) of any whole food. Our customers have experienced fewer digestive issues with egg white protein powder than with any other type of protein powder.
If you cannot eat eggs, try our vegan almond protein powder. We prefer almonds to other plant protein sources because they are more gut-friendly. Research suggests that almonds possess prebiotic properties that can improve the diversity and composition of the gut microbiome.
drink wholesome is the best protein powder.