8 protein powders to stay away from right now

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It can be a challenge trying to meet your daily protein goals, but getting enough of this nutrient is crucial because it can build muscle strength, boost your metabolism, help you maintain strong bones, aid in weight loss, and help reduce fat burning. ‘appetite . This is especially challenging for those who are always on the go, which is why protein powders can be a great option for those who need a quick protein boost. Unfortunately, not all of these products are created equal when it comes to nutrition, and some of the worst protein powders on the market may contain hidden health risks in the form of artificial flavors, thickeners, added sugars, and other shady ingredients.

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What’s worse, a 2018 Clean Label Project investigation found that some of the best-known protein brands contained alarming levels of lead, arsenic, mercury, cadmium and BPA, and because protein powder is considered a dietary supplement and not food , it is the manufacturers, rather than the FDA, who oversee the labeling and safety of products.

“Because the supplement industry is largely unregulated, it’s important to choose well-known brands with third-party safety standards,” Registered Dietitian Rachel Fine, R.D tell us.

With those concerns in mind, we spoke to expert dietitians about the worst protein powders on the market right now, and why you should steer clear of these brands. Read on, and to learn more, don’t miss these 16 high-protein snacks to keep you full between meals.

looking biscuits and cream protein powder
Courtesy of Quest

Per measuring cup: 100 calories, 1.5 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 150 mg sodium, 7 g carbohydrates (1 g fiber, <1 g sugar), 20 g protein

The sugar and fat content of this protein powder is low, but Lisa Young, PhD, RDNshe recommends staying away from this one due to its ingredient list.

«Quest Protein Powder is made with cellulose and sucralose, both of which have been linked to certain health conditions, especially problems in the gut,» says Dr. Young. In fact, a 2015 study published in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health they found that constant consumption of sucralose could potentially break down cells’ DNA and damage the gut microbiome.

«Also, this product contains carrageenan, which can be harmful to your health,» she adds. While there hasn’t been much research done on the impact of carrageenan on humans, some studies have revealed that it can lead to inflammation of the gut.

RELATED: 9 best protein powders to try right now

Optimum nutritional whey powder
Optimal nutrition

Per measuring cup: 120 calories, 2 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 130 mg sodium, 2 g carbohydrates (2 g sugar), 24 g protein

According to Dr. Young, another protein powder to steer clear of is Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey. «This protein powder contains an artificial sweetener known as acesulfame K (or Ace-K), which has been linked to health conditions,» he says. More research is needed on Ace-K, but the Center for Science in the Public Interest warns that it could impact hormone levels, be harmful to pregnant women, and even help increase the risk of some cancers.

«In addition,» adds Dr. Young, «this product contains cellulose gum, which is a food additive,» and the CSPI also found that cellulose gum can lead to negative changes in the gut flora and microbiome.

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Genuine Muscle Milk Protein Powder

For 2 scoops: 280 calories, 9 g fat (3.5 g saturated fat), 135 mg sodium, 21 g carbohydrates (1 g fiber, 2 g sugar), 32 g protein

Similarly to the powders listed above, Dr. Young adds Muscle Milk to the worst protein powders list due to its use of both sucralose and carrageenan.

“Carrageenan can promote health issues like inflammation, bloating, irritable bowel syndrome, and more,” says Young, “but another red flag within this product is the amount of hard-to-pronounce ingredients. A good rule of thumb. practice is to put back anything that contains ingredients you don’t know how to pronounce.»

SecondTrista Best, MPH, RD, LD at Balance One Supplements, Muscle Milk also made the list because «this brand is known for containing lower-quality proteins, particularly in regards to the amounts of essential amino acids it provides, which are necessary for recovery and muscle growth».

Herbalife protein powder
Herbal life

For 2 scoops: 120 calories, 1g fat, 2g carbs (1g sugar), 24g protein

Best puts Herbalife on the list because «the company has faced a lot of litigation and legal issues related to its marketing practices and product claims,» ​​it says. «Some customers have reported experiencing negative side effects, such as digestive upset and allergic reactions, after consuming Herbalife protein powders.»

In fact, there was a lot of controversy surrounding an article published in Journal of clinical and experimental hepatology in 2019, which highlighted a case of liver failure resulting in death that was linked to Herbalife products. According to several websites, this section of the newspaper was removed due to legal threats from Herbalife itself.

RELATED: 10 Best Protein Shake Recipes for Weight Loss

Gatorade protein powder
Walmart

For 1/3 cup: 110 calories, 1.5 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 270 mg sodium, 4 g carbohydrates (0 g fiber, 2 g sugar), 20 g protein

Gatorade is best known for its sugary electrolyte drinks, but the company also makes whey protein powder for post-gym recovery. And while these powders certainly taste delicious and average about 20 grams of protein per serving, the ingredients appear to be less than ideal.

According to their website, this powder contains both carrageenan and sucralose, two ingredients linked to health complications after constant use. Not only that, but the World Health Organization released new guidelines in May 2023 encouraging people not to use sucralose as a sugar substitute due to its link to things like diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Bulletproof collagen peptides
Bulletproof

For 2 scoops: 130 calories, 3.5 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 120 mg sodium, 7 g carbohydrates (2 g fiber), 19 g protein

Collagen is a special type of protein that serves as the building block for all of the connective tissues in your body. In recent years, collagen protein powders have become all the rage, promising a wide range of impressive potential benefits, from increasing muscle mass to supporting bone health. But,Kristin Draayer, RDdoes not recommend it.

“Collagen proteins have been touted to be good for hair, skin and joint health, but there is no solid evidence to back up these claims,” she explains. “Through the process of digestion and absorption, collagen is broken down into amino acids before being absorbed into the bloodstream. The body then uses these amino acids to build the proteins the body needs. There is no guarantee that the amino acids are restructured into collagen.In fact, it is more likely that they are not.

Not only that, but Draayer says collagen is a poor protein for building muscle since it doesn’t contain all nine essential amino acids, especially leucine, which is critical to the muscle-building process.

But the worries don’t end there. The Clean Label Project study of leading collagen supplements found that 64% tested positive for measurable levels of arsenic, 37% tested positive for measurable levels of lead and 34% tested positive for trace levels of mercury .

In particular, Bulletproof’s collagen protein (chocolate flavor) tops the list of worst offenders, containing 2.1 micrograms of arsenic, 9.17 micrograms of cadmium and 1.33 micrograms of lead. A 2022 review in The Journal of King Saud University found that ingesting excessive levels of these heavy metals can cause significant damage to every organ in the body, leading to an increased risk of cancer, neurological defects, respiratory disorders, osteoporosis and other conditions.

bsn syntha-6 protein powder

Per measuring cup: 190 calories, 5 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 180 mg sodium, 15 g carbohydrates (6 g fiber, 4 g sugar), 22 g protein

Bill Bradley, R.DCEO of Mediterranean Living recommends skipping this protein powder because it contains a punch or two of corn syrup and artificial sweetener sucralosian.

«Sucralose and other artificial sweeteners are bad for your gut, and corn syrup can lead to diabetes and obesity,» says Bradley.

That’s not the only reason to avoid this product: The ingredients also include acesulfame-potassium, another artificial sweetener. While the FDA has deemed this ingredient safe in limited amounts, studies have shown that consuming it in high amounts can lead to an increased risk of cancer and metabolic syndrome, and can cause changes in brain function.

RELATED: Avoid protein shakes with these low-quality ingredients

arbonne feelfit pea protein shake

Per portion: 160 calories, 3 g fat (0.5 g saturated fat), 420 mg sodium, 13 g carbohydrates (6 g fiber, 7 g sugar), 20 g protein

The first ingredient in this product is the «Arbonne Protein Matrix Blend», which contains 56% pea protein. The Clean Label project has found that plant-based protein powders, including pea protein, tend to have higher levels of heavy metals than their dairy-containing counterparts. Not only that, but almost all cocoa powder, another ingredient found in this powder, has been found to contain cadmium.

It’s also worth noting that peas contain phytic acid. This anti-nutrient binds to essential minerals like iron, calcium and zinc, as it passes through your intestines, preventing your body from absorbing them.

Arbonne protein powder also contains thickening agents, known to cause gas, bloating, constipation and diarrhea.

An earlier version of this story was published on July 25, 2022. It has been updated to include additional copy and proofreading reviews, as well as updated contextual links.

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Image Source : www.eatthis.com

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