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APR 6, 2021

Ingredients To Avoid In Protein Powder

Protein shakes, check the small print for a perfect supplement to your diet.

Not All Protein Supplements Are Equal!

When considering protein supplements it is very easy to just look at the macros on the box (Protein, Carbs & Fats)

However, dig just a little deeper and you may notice a world of fillers, sweeteners, colouring and a number of other ‘ingredients’ that may not be considered the best or healthiest option for you.

6 Ingredients to Avoid.

When considering a protein powder there are a few ingredients worth avoiding.

1. Artificial Sweeteners

Common artificial sweeteners come in the form of:

  • Sucralose
  • Aspartame
  • Neotame
  • Acesulfame K

Aside from being unnatural chemicals, some experience negative effects ranging from headaches, gastric distress, mood swings to weight gain.

A great video from Stephanie Buttermore outlines some of the concerns over these sweeteners.

2. Soy Protein

Soy is a great complete plant protein, however much of the soy produced is genetically modified and can be exposed to pesticides, Soy also naturally contains isoflavones, which are phytoestrogen compounds that mimic estrogen, and can function as endocrine disruptors which may cause hormonal disturbances in some people.

For further information check out this video by Thomas DeLauer

3. Thickeners & Gums

Protein supplements have come a long way since the early days of lumpy, foul smelling drinks, however in the quest for that thick smooth shake, some manufacturers turn to cheap thickening agents and gums, including xanthan gum, which are often manufactured from soy, corn and wheat, in turn cause bloating and gas in some people.

4. Fillers

An easy way to bulk up protein and save the manufacturer money!

Some fillers may include ingredients such as coconut flour or psyllium fiber, which again may cause gastrointestinal discomfort in those who are susceptible to digestive issues, such as constipation and bloating.

5. Milk powders and milk solids

These are also often used as cheap bulking agents, once again as a cost saving exercise.

These ingredients are high in lactose sugars, and can cause bloating, gastrointestinal distress, flatulence, constipation and loose stools in some people.

6. Dextrin and Glucose

Last but not least are Dextrin and Glucose.

Dextrin is often an easy way to increase the fiber content, however, due to its low digestibility some people suffer gastrointestinal distress.

In stark contrast, glucose which is digested quickly and delivered into your bloodstream raises your glycemic load, which translates into insulin spiking, excess fat storage and worse cardiometabolic health over time.


There is a better / healthier way

So now you have a better understanding of what to look out for, you may well ask, what are the healthier alternatives?

Let’s take a look at plant based protein powders, these are generally not as smooth as whey & unlike whey protein which is a complete protein source (contains all 9 essential amino acids) require 2 or more sources..

Complete plant protein without Soy.

By combining two sources of plant protein you get a complete protein, those 9 amino acids) Purism Plant Protein contains both Rice and pea protein.

Pea protein has been shown to contain three times more amino acid arginine than whey protein, and although not a Branched Chain Amino Acid (BCAA), studies have shown arginine to be essential in building muscle, and may explain why pea protein does such a good job at boosting men’s muscle gains.

Acacia the Thickener from a Tree

Gum acacia is sourced from acacia tree sap and ground into a powder, it is a natural source of fibre, free from gluten and has been shown to ease Irritable Bowel Symptoms for certain people.

Another benefit of using this supplement is it’s positive impact on the environment, Acacia trees nourish the soil by fixing and restoring fertility. The trees give shelter to the farmers and farm animals while naturally producing gum acacia, the trees are sustainable and prevent deforestation.

Replace a Filler With a Healthy Ingredient

The best protein powders do not rely on cheap fillers or additional milk derivatives, instead they choose ingredients that are a benefit to the user, that’s why we chose flaxseed powder for Purism plant protein!

Flaxseed powder has many health benefits, top of the list is omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for your diet, but often hard to get, other benefits include:

Lower cholesterol thanks to it being high in alpha-linolenic acid or ALA.

Prevent constipation due to its fibre content.

Get the best protein for you!

So there you have it, next time you are shopping for a protein powder, remember to not only look at the macros but to read the ingredients that make up the entire protein supplement.

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Written by Matthew Stogdon

Matt has been writing for two decades, across print and digital media. He is also an accomplished filmmaker, with several accolades under his belt.


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