Not all proteins are the same - as we already know - and that goes for your health as well as the planet. That's why today we'll take a look at conventional protein powders, explain which ingredients you should avoid and present alternatives.
What is whey, anyway? Whey is the English term for whey protein, i.e. protein that comes from cow's milk. It is extracted from milk by various methods and concentrated in order to end up as whey protein concentrate, isolate or hydrolysate in the protein powder. Two reasons speak against whey: Firstly, there are more diverse studies the Suspicionthat components of cow's milk can promote the development of acne, arteriosclerosis, diabetes and obesity. Furthermore, both the Rainforest, as well as the overbred "high performance" cows under the production of whey - quite unnecessary in view of the many herbal alternatives. In other words: Why should soy, peas and co. first take the detour via the cow - when we can eat them directly ourselves?
Most conventional protein powders taste quite sweet, but contain no sugar at all. How can this be? The answer is usually a combination of unpronounceable substances like sucralose, acesulfame K, sodium cyclamate or sodium saccharin. These are SweetenersThese are synthetically produced substitutes for sugar, which have no or hardly any calories and therefore far exceed the sweetening power of sugar. Sounds great at first - what's the catch? Basically, artificial substances are always a burden for the body, as they cannot be metabolized normally, but have to be laboriously broken down in the liver or kidneys, for example. Furthermore, it is possible that the cells of the body do not "recognize" them, which can cause defensive or allergic reactions or lead to serious illnesses. Some studies also prove such negative effects for sweeteners: e.g. those of the " American journal of clinical nutrition"(increased risk of diabetes in drinks with sweetener) or that of " American Journal of Industrial Medicine"(increasing risk of cancer due to the sweetener aspartame). A big problem: studies and tests only ever examine the sweeteners separately. However, no research has been done into how harmful combinations of different synthetic substitutes are. It is therefore not yet clear how much sweeteners increase the risk of certain diseases - but that is precisely why they should be avoided for safety's sake.
What about stevia?
Stevia is often advertised as a natural sweetener - but the so-called stevioglycosides are produced by expensive chemical methods which have little to do with "naturalness". Again, it has not been clearly proven that the substance is safe in the long term. Stevia is only natural if you use the leaves of the plant of the same name. However, both fresh and dried leaves fall under the Novel Food Regulation and may not be used as food in Europe.
Blueberry cheesecake or pina colada? The flavours of conventional protein shakes sound exciting. Unfortunately, however, the taste is not due to fruits but to aromas, i.e. also synthetically produced substances that are supposed to imitate "real aromas". Aromas are also not entirely harmless; some contain dangerous toxins. The term "natural flavouring" is misleading. For example, strawberry aroma does not usually come from strawberries, but has been chemically produced from moulds, bacteria and enzymes. Even "natural" peach, coconut or nut flavour has nothing to do with fruits and nuts, but often comes from mould cultures and ends up in protein shakes.
4. other additives
The list of additives is alarmingly long for many conventional protein powders: Emulsifiers ensure that protein powders dissolve well in water or milk, Release agent prevent additional lumps. In order to prevent the colour from being boring or even unappetizing Dyestuffs ...added to it. Acidifier give the whole a sour taste, lower the pH-value and preserve. Like sweeteners, they must be broken down by the liver instead of being metabolized by the body normally.
Fancy some really good protein powder without additives? We have something for you 🙂
What can I get?
Instead of whey, you can use high-quality vegetable protein complexes, e.g. from peas, sunflower or pumpkin seeds. Instead of all the artificial ingredients, there are also natural alternatives: real taste from freeze-dried fruits and spices, natural sweetness, e.g. from coconut blossom nectar, natural gelling agent from the guar bean, natural vitamin C from the acerola cherry, and much more. Why the industry relies on chemistry instead? It's simple: it's much cheaper.
A look at the ingredient lists of products from the supermarket is worthwhile, not only for protein powder. Because almost all convenience products, snacks and sweets unfortunately contain unwanted ingredients. In the end, you decide what can be put into your body - and maybe this decision is a little easier for you now?