Protein powders have become commonplace in the diets of health-conscious Americans who want to build muscle mass or who are following vegan diets. They appear anywhere from additives in smoothies to pancakes and soups. There are some pros and cons to using these powders, as over-consuming protein can contribute to cancer risks and kidney damage. Adequate protein should be obtained through normal diets, but there are instances where the powders can help – such as in healing from injuries. Here are some of the most common forms they come in.
Whey is it so difficult to understand this protein powder: Whey is a complex protein obtained from cow’s milk. It comes in low-grade concentrates and very high-grade concentrates and isolates. It not only is popular with muscle builders, but also with aging people who wish to boost their glutathione, which modulates the immune system. It, unlike proteins from meat, can reduce cancer rates, combat HIV, reduce stress and lower cortisol and improve liver function. Cons: Whey is expensive, is a source of added calories.
Casein comes from Cows: Casein protein powder, like whey protein powder, is a derivative of milk. It comes in several flavors and price points. When compared to whey protein powder, users who were building body mass shows more fat loss and higher increased strength in the chest, shoulders and legs than those using whey powder. This protein powder has a higher calcium content, too. It also helps promote colon health. CONS: Casein is digested slower, is an animal protein so can promote cancer cell growth, can be behind respiratory problems in some people.
Egg protein powder use is older than whey and casein powders: Egg protein powder is an excellent source of protein and other nutrients. If made from pure egg whites it will provide top quality protein. It is lactose-free and therefore is a great alternative to those who cannot consume whey or casein products. It has minimal carbohydrates, less fat and cholesterol, so it is good for weight loss, and has high amounts of vitamins A, B, D and E (if from free-range chickens). CONS: Egg protein powder needs to be cooked to deactivate avidin, which binds to biotin, a crucial B-vitamin. Deficiencies in vitamin B can cause hair loss, skin problems and neurological symptoms such as depression.
Soy protein powder can be a vegan alternative protein source: Those shunning animal sources for protein may turn to soy protein powder. Soy, rich in nutrients, can help bolster a vegan diet. Soy can have a positive hormonal impact on both sexes, but is known to help women with menopausal symptoms and men with prostate problems. How? It is high in phytoestrogens and isoflavones. Some studies show soy benefitting menopausal bone health and playing a positive role in the prevention of breast cancer. It can lower blood pressure, reduced triglyceride and cholesterol levels and reduced risk of diabetes. CONS: Soy contains some very powerful nutrient blockers known as phylates that can result in a user developing low calcium, magnesium, iron, and zinc levels. High phytic acid diets can cause rickets.
Pea protein powder a solid alternative for vegans. Pea protein powder is a powerful super food for vegans or those reducing their intake of animal protein for health reasons. It has a low allergen profile and is a gluten-free and dairy-free product with a good amino acid profile --- the building blocks of connective body tissue and muscle. Other amino acids in pea protein include glutamine, arginine, leucine, isoleucine and valine, all of which support a healthy digestive tract lining. High in lysine, which converts fatty acids to energy while lowering cholesterol and boosting calcium absorption. CONS: Look for non-GMO brands. Those suffering from gout need to be aware of the purine content.
Hemp protein powder high in nutrients: Nutrient-dense, fiber-rich hemp seed is one of the richest plant sources for protein and omega-fatty acids, among other nutrients such as chlorophyll, minerals like magnesium, iron, zinc and potassium. The powder has a nice nutty flavor that works well in smoothies, oatmeal baked goods such as cookies or in pancakes. CONS: Hemp protein powder is high in carbohydrates and fat, is lower in protein content than other powders.