I get tons of questions on protein powders... should you use them and if so, which ones? When it comes to protein powder, they absolutely are not all created equal. Choosing a protein powder can be overwhelming and most people just look for something that looks like a healthier option or the most enticing results and go for it.
Think of your protein powder as a supplement. You don't want to supplement something to your body that is harmful.
The Clean Label Project is an organization committed to sharing food and supplement data for consumers to make educated decisions on what they are buying. The clean label project tested 134 protein powder products for contaminants such as lead, arsenic, cadmium, and BPA in the products.
Now, before I jump into their findings I want to share why this matters...
Arsenic is a known human carcinogen, meaning that it causes cancer in humans. (1)
Arsenic is listed as #1 on the priority list as a substance determined to pose the most significant potential threat to human health. (2)
There are NO safe levels of lead and lead can cause irreversible changes to the brain and body. (3)
Cadmium causes cancer and is linked to birth defects and kidney damage. (4)
BPA acts as estrogen in the body and disrupts hormones. (5)
Not to mention, many protein powders are loaded with artificial sweeteners, food coloring, sugar, and chemicals. These are definitely not substances you want to supplement your body with. So, using protein powder can be a convenient way to get in more protein powder but choosing a clean one is essential.
Now, let's dig into the testing results from the Clean Label Project and protein powder testing from popular companies....
Here are products that received the worst ratings:
Garden of Life Organic Shake & Meal Replacement Chocolate Raw Organic Meal
Nature’s Best Isopure Creamy Vanilla Zero Carb
Quest Chocolate Milkshake Protein Powder
360Cut 360PRO Whey Chocolate Silk Premium Whey Protein
Vega Sport Plant-Based Vanilla Performance Protein
Wow. I used to use Garden of Life every day! YIKES!!!
So, what do you do? Here are the guidelines I follow when choosing a protein powder.
Choose a clean protein. I typically go with a whey protein because it is much more likely to be lower in heavy metals and contaminants than a plant based.
If I choose a plant based protein, I go with pea, pumpkin seed, hemp seed proteins. I leave out rice based proteins or make sure it is not the main source of protein, as rice products tend to be the highest sources of arsenic.
Look out for the sweetener. Some protein powders have 10+ grams of sugar added! I also avoid anything with sucralose or aspartame, which is an artificial sweetener. Stevia or monk fruit are better options.
Skip anything that has food coloring, such as red 40.
Here are my personal favorite protein powders:
Just Ingredients Chocolate, Chocolate Coconut, or Pumpkin Spice Protein Powder.
Why I love it: It is made with 100% Grass Fed Whey Protein Powder along with organic pea protein, pumpkin seed protein, chia seed protein, and collagen. Gives a wide variety of protein for building muscle and collagen. There is no sugar and the sweetener is organic stevia and monk fruit. It is definitely my favorite chocolate protein powder! I haven't tried the pumpkin flavor but it's on my list of things to try!
This is for you if you love chocolate, coconut, or pumpkin flavors and you want a high quality protein that also has cocoa and collagen for skin and joint health.
Where to Buy: Just Ingredients
Just Ingredients gives loyal readers a 10% discount using the code: FRIENDS10
2. TRV Nutrition Vanilla Whey
Why I love it: If you are a vanilla lover, this one is SO yummy and purely whey protein. The vanilla is so versatile for smoothies and I add it to protein pancakes too. The high quality whey makes it an excellent choice for muscle building.
Where to buy: TRV Nutrition
TRV Nutrition gives loyal readers a 10% discount using the code: ginaworful
3. Keto Greens
Why I love it: this one is all plant based mainly from pea and sunflower protein with small amounts of rice protein. I like it because it has a lot of greens and nutrients! I also love the individual packets that I can take with me to travel. This is a great option if you are vegan too. It does taste pretty good but this one has a lot of greens in it so it tastes the "healthiest" of the three.
Where to Buy: Keto Greens
These are just my three favorites. I actually use all three of them depending on what flavor I feel like or I just save the Keto Greens packets for when I'm traveling.
This isn't a complete list of the only clean products just a few that I use. You can go with any brand you like but make sure you do your research to find one that is clean!!! It can make all the difference in your health!!! <3