Now, this is just a quick cheat sheet of what I demand from my protein powders, drinks, or meal replacement/supplements.
1. All-natural, pasture-fed cows’ whey, NOT pesticide-treated, grain-fed cows’ whey
Compared to grain-fed cows, pasture-fed cows produce whey that:
o Is nutritionally superior to grain fed
o Contains an impressive amino acid and immuno-supportive nutrient profile
o Is rich in healthy fats–lipolic acid and CLA (conjugated linoleic acid)
2. GMO-free whey
Choose whey made without GMOs.
3. Cold processed, NOT heat processed
Most whey is heat processed which:
o Makes the whey acidic and nutritionally deficient
o Damages the immuno-supportive micronutrients and amino acids
o Makes whey inadequate for consumption
Cold processed whey protects the nutrients in their natural state.
4. Acid-free processing, NOT Acid/ Ion Exchange Processing
Acid / Ion Exchange Processing is cheaper than acid-free processing, but it denatures the amino acid profiles by using acids and chemicals to separate the whey from the fats.
5. Whey protein concentrate, NOT protein isolates
Protein isolates are proteins stripped away from their nutritional cofactors. There are three problems with that…
o All isolates are exposed to acid processing.
o Your body cannot assimilate proteins in isolated form.
o Due to over-processing, isolates are deficient in key amino acids and nutritional cofactors.
You must make sure you get whey protein concentrate instead of protein isolates, which are an inferior product.
When you remove fat, you actually remove components of its immunological properties, such as phospholipids, phosphatidylserine, and cortisol. Additionally, all of the igG immunoglobulins, which are an excellent source of glutamine and cysteine, are also bound to the fat globule. Fat provides not only calories; most foods rich in healthful fat – including nuts and seeds like almonds and chia – are carriers of antioxidants, such as vitamin E and phytosterols.
Therefore, you’re clearly left with an inferior whey protein if you take the fat out. So don’t settle for anything less than whey protein concentrate.
6. Sweetened naturally, NOT artificially
Most whey products are artificially sweetened making them useless if you have sugar sensitivities, or just don’t want to put artificial sweeteners or flavors into your body. Your whey should be low glycemic, and should not contain any artificial sweeteners, sugar alcohol, sucralose, sugar or gluten. (Side note on Sucralose: Sucralose is highly processed with 3 chlorine atoms. It is simply chlorinated sugar and has been shown to damage the thymus gland and inflame the liver and kidneys. Chlorine is a natural antisepticthat harms the human gut and destroys micro-flora leading to candida formation, irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, obesity and cachexia.)
7. Maximumbiological value, NOT compromised or damaged
Most whey proteins provide some benefit. But, due to the ingredients, the source of the whey, the concentration of beneficial nutrients, or the type of processing, many whey products simply don’t deliver what they promise.
You want whey that’s guaranteed to retain its maximum biological value — one with all the key amino acids, cofactors and beneficial micronutrients present and intact rather than compromised or damaged, and not missing any amino acids or essential nutrients.
8. Easy to Digest, NOT Causing Digestive Stress
Many whey products contain long-chain fatty acids, which are hard to digest and require bile acids to absorb.
You want a whey protein powder with medium-chain triglycerides (MCT). These are easily absorbed, digested quickly, and utilized as energy without causing digestive stress. Also, you want to make sure your whey has digestive enzymes in it.
9. Free from Toxic Heavy Metals or at Such Low Levels NOT to be a Health Risk
Many protein powders both whey and non-whey could contain dangerous levels of heavy metals like mercury, lead, cadmium, and arsenic.
A Consumer Reports‘ evaluation showed some leading brands of protein powders exceeded United States Pharmacopoeia’s (USP) recommended safety limits for certain heavy metals.
You want to avoid these products at all costs because any high concentration of heavy metals taken over time could lead to serious health consequences.