Protein is an essential part of a healthy body, and getting protein from protein powder sources is becoming increasingly popular not only among body builders, but for weight loss candidates, health enthusiasts, vegetarians, and others. While protein powders can be a great addition to a healthy, whole-foods diet, not all protein powders are created equal. In fact, most of the protein powders on the market today can actually do more harm than good, so it's important to be become informed not only as to what is in the powder mix, but also the source and quality of the protein itself.
How is your protein processed?
When selecting a protein powder, it is important to be aware of the processing of the protein. Unless the product label indicates that the protein is raw, low-temperature processed, or minimally processed, then the protein powder has undergone extremely high temperatures, usually for a prolonged period of time. This is a problem because when the protein is subjected to the high heat, the structure of the protein changes (denatures), which makes it harder for the body to digest and assimilate. These denatured proteins also have an acidifying effect on the body, and an acidic pH is linked to a long list of health problems, ranging from headaches, to arthritis, to cancer. Furthermore, when the original protein source is heated to such extreme temperatures for a prolonged period, all of the health properties of the protein is destroyed, including the immune-boosting immunoglobulins, the enzymes, healthy fats, and other important nutrients. This leaves you with a 'dead' food that has essentially no health benefits.
What source does your protein come from?
Aside from this, the source and quality of the protein is of concern with most of the protein powders on the market today. Many of the protein powders today come from inferior sources, such as soy or whey protein isolates, which have been linked with problems such as hormone disturbances and body acidity. Whey protein isolates are usually very highly processed and have been heated to high temperatures several times, many of them have also been chemically treated using an ion exchange process, and usually come from cows that are grain fed with GMO grains and who receive hormones and antibiotics.
So, what sources of protein is a healthful option? Whey protein concentrates that come from grass-fed cows with no hormones or antibiotics, no GMO ingredients whatsoever, soy free, and that has been minimally processed is an ideal source of quality protein (for more information visit www.supervitalfoods.com)
Does your protein contain MSG?
Sadly, the source and quality of the protein itself is not the only consideration when buying a protein powder. The ingredient list also needs to be examined. Most protein powders available today are loaded with inferior sweeteners, artificial sweeteners, MSG, binders and fillers that are completely unnecessary. MSG can be difficult to notice, because not only does this neurotoxic substance have approximately twenty aliases, but when protein is processed at high heat for a prolonged period, MSG is created. Because the company is not adding MSG to the product itself, they do not need to list it on the label, so the consumer therefore does not know that they are ingesting it. Both MSG and artificial sweeteners should be avoided because they are both linked to a number of health problems, including but not limited to headaches, vision disturbances, ADHD, memory problems, and seizures.
Is your protein contaminated with heavy metals?
Not to mention that most of the protein products on the shelves today have high levels of heavy metals. In fact, according to consumer reports, fifteen popular protein powder supplements were tested for heavy metals, including cadmium, arsenic, lead, and mercury, and three of the fifteen brands not only contained these toxic metals, but three of the brands had levels above the safe allowable limits that were made by the U.S. Pharmacopeia! This is of special concern because these metals accumulate in the kidneys and other parts of the body, and takes years to be eliminated. Heavy metals can cause free radical damage, genetic mutation, tissue damage, increases body acidity, and can cause inflammation that leads to artery damage. If build-up of these toxic metals continues, heavy metal toxicity can occur, which can lead to kidney failure, and even death.
So, while protein powders can be a fabulous part of a healthy diet, it is important to be sure to select a product that will provide all of nature's health benefits without any of the harmful processing or added ingredients.