It’s no secret by now that if you are trying to put on muscle or even lose fat, making sure that your protein intake is high enough is key. Typically a good rule of thumb is one gram of protein per pound of lean body mass. So a 29 year old female that weighs 133 lbs and is 19% body fat would have a lean body mass of approximately 104 lbs. That would mean her minimum daily protein requirement should be about 104 grams of protein. Of course this number can increase depending on an individuals goals and it will even increase as we age. Protein powders are extremely popular to consume before and/or after a workout or throughout the entire day as low calorie option to help reach their goals.

 

 

Protein ingredient labels should not be a mile long

 

When choosing the perfect protein powder, one quick way to weed out the not so good options is to take a look at the ingredient list. If the protein contains more than five to ten different ingredients, you should already be suspicious. If you can’t pronounce most of the ingredients, RUN!

Here are five ingredients that also have no business being in your protein powder:

 

Carageenan

 

A cheap seaweed widely used in the food industry. It’s purpose is to thicken or gel the mixtures it is added to, also used in ice cream, frozen pizza, sour cream, and squeezable yogurts. Carrageenan can also be found in other household products such as toothpaste and air fresheners, both things you definitely shouldn’t be ingesting. If your protein advertises how thick and creamy it is, be sure it is not due to carrageenan being an ingredient. Research has shown that carrageenan can lead to inflammation of the colon an cause other gut dysfunctions when regularly consumed.

 

Artificial Sweeteners

 

Protein shakes are a great low calorie way to reach your daily protein intake but not when they cut corners by adding artificial sweeteners to keep the calories down. Studies conducted at Harvard have suggested that artificial sweeteners can lead to weight gain, cause us to crave sugar more often and even alter the way we taste food all together. Artificial sweeteners are also known to cause systemic inflammation partially due to interaction in the gut microbiome. Some common artificial sweeteners that are added to protein powders include:

 

  • Aspartame.
  • Sucralose.
  • Acesulfame.

  • Heavy Metals

 

A Consumer Reports study found that 15 popular protein powders contain heavy metals including lead, mercury, cadmium and arsenic. While some say rice proteins are to blame, others suggest the cocoa powder in a wide variety of chocolate flavored proteins is the main culprit. Resources like consumerlab.com are a great way to find out how your protein powder tests.

 

Vegetable oils

 

This is another cheap popular ingredient to add a rich creamy texture to our protein powders. Although this may enhance the texture, these contain trans fats because the origination of these seed and vegetable oils is often hydrogenated. Consuming excess trans fats can lead to systemic inflammation, among many other dysfunctions in our body.

 

Dairy (If you are showing signs of intolerance)

 

This one sounds like it should be way more obvious than it is. Probably the most popular form of protein powder is whey protein which is derived from milk. Whey protein also typically contains casein, one of the main proteins in milk. Not for all, but for some, this can be extremely rough on people’s GI tracts. Not all signs are as obvious that the lactose isn’t sitting will with you. A few things to watch for if you’re wondering if you should consider switching to a plant based protein would be:

 

  • Digestive issues such as bloating.
  • Skin issues such as constant breakouts or inching.
  • Getting sick frequently.
  • Constant fatigue.

 

Switching to a plant based protein is in your best interest if you are showing signs of a dairy intolerance. The unanimous favorite trainers at TriFIT Wellness is True Nutrition  pea protein. Pea protein is definitely recommended over soy and rice based proteins which