Wellness with Natalie: The truth about protein shakes
With current diet trends focusing on high-protein, low carb, and high-fat diets, protein shakes have become quite trendy. Adding protein powders into your dietary routine is so popular you can purchase protein at your local pharmacy or discount shopping club.
But selecting the right protein powder is more important than you know. You may think the most important difference in protein powder is animal-based vs plant-based protein, but the differences go so much deeper than that.
Not all shakes have the ingredients you need to support and nourish your body. Some have ingredients that actually damage your health, potentially causing inflammation, disrupting hormones and negatively impacting gut health.
So with that in mind, here are three important points to consider when choosing a protein powder.
First off, many shakes contain whey or soy protein. Whey is made from milk and many people cannot tolerate whey protein. The result? You feel bloated and low energy. Soy is usually genetically modified (GMO) and highly estrogenic, throwing off your hormonal balance.
Secondly most contain ingredients that are not organic. The chemicals in these shakes can harm our intestines and disrupt the microbiome, potentially causing inflammation, leaky gut and eventually other health challenges such as weight gain and the disruption of the communication between gut and brain. (Remember that serotonin and dopamine are made in the gut).
Finally, most shakes contain artificial flavoring. Protein is not sweet unless formulated into a shake. So, what’s going in that shake to make it taste so darned good? Artificial sweeteners and artificial flavours which again throw off hormone balance and have other negative consequences in the body.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not against protein powders. Studies show that when the body craves carbohydrates it's really lacking protein. Protein stabilizes blood sugar and keeps us fuller for longer.
So what to choose? Look for a quality, wholefood-based protein with the following characteristics:
Whey and dairy free
Containing digestive enzymes
Containing prebiotics and probiotics
No artifical sweeteners and flavourings