The miracle of protein powder, such a boost for your daily protein intake. This stuff is so good, you would wonder what’s in it. Bringing us to the topic of today’s article, what’s in protein powder? What exactly is combined in the making to create such a great supplement? Well, we’re here to discuss the ingredients used in protein powder, and with some of these, you may want to think twice about consuming your everyday protein shake.
To analyze these ingredients, we decide to pick three popular protein powders on the market and look at each of the ingredients they have to offer. We chose 2 whey proteins since whey seems to be the most popular type of protein and 1 vegan protein…
(Note: To fully comprehend the whey protein or vegan sections, it would be advisable to get a good understanding of the proteins themselves. Check out these articles before reading this one for a quick refresher…)
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey Protein Powder
Optimum Nutrition’s whey protein is a staple among lifters and anyone consuming protein powder for that matter. Such a solid and reliable protein powder holding the potential for great results. However, many consumers have no idea what’s even in their beloved power except maybe whey. Here is the ingredients label from the packaging…
Cocoa (processed with Alkali): Alkali processed cocoa, also known as a dutch process, is a chemical process that neutralizes cocoa’s acidity to a pH of 7. When processed by alkali, the cocoa powder is darker in color making it appear more like chocolate. Not only that, but it ultimately alters the flavor of the original cocoa flavor which can be a bit harsh. Since many protein powders offer a chocolate protein powder, cocoa is used quite a lot.
Lecithin: Lecithin is used to add a creamier, more appetizing flavor in your protein powder. Lecithin is a collection of fats, and it allows for the protein powder to not clump up as much, leaving it as a liquid.
Natural and Artificial Flavors: N/A Flavors are both made by a scientist in a laboratory called a flavorist. The difference between these two, although very alike, is that one is made with synthetic chemicals, artificial, and one uses sources from the environment.
Based on the words “synthetic chemicals”, you’d think artificial flavors are dangerous. But it is quite on the contrary since artificial flavors are processed to remove toxic and harmful chemicals unlike natural flavors, which could have the potential for hazardous substances.
Other than that, artificial flavors are cheaper due to it is manufactured in a lab while natural flavors may have to be found somewhere rare, which could cost a fortune.
Acesulfame Potassium: Acesulfame K is a calorie-free sweetener. Lots of controversies have surrounded with this sweetener, as at his been discovered, through rat experiments, that there are links to cancer. However, there is no concrete evidence of the said link. The Ace potassium is used to protein powder for a sweeter taste, seems obvious enough.
Aminogen: Aminogen is a protein-digesting enzyme, added to protein powder to help you smoothly consume your whey. It also reduces excess bloating or gassiness many proteins may come with.
Lactase: Lactase is an enzyme created in your small intestine that helps you digest lactose from milk. People who are lactose intolerant, cannot create enough lactase to consume all the sugar completely without it going to your colon, leading to the known side effects.
Bodybuilding.com Signature Whey Protein Powder
The 2nd whey protein we have on the list is BB.com’s signature line of whey protein, and personally one of my favorites. The company says they have absolutely nothing to hide when it comes to their high quality and heavily researched ingredients…we’ll be the judge of that. Here is the ingredients label from the packaging… (ingredients we have already discussed will not show up again)
Cellulose Gum: Cellulose gum is essentially used to thicken products. It is used to give buyers a more appetizing sight and taste when consuming the protein. Although rare, allergic reactions may come with exposure to cellulose gum, something to look out for.
Xanthan Gum: Made from fermented sugar, xanthan gum is a food additive mainly used to stabilize and thicken products. When I say products, it can vary from foods(ice cream/soups), personal care products(toothpaste/creams) and even industrial products (tile/paints). I know what you’re thinking, “How on earth can something put in tiles be even a little bit edible?”
Well, fellow reader, too many people surprise, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have researched and determined the additive to be completely safe for consumption. Xanthan gum is used in protein powder to add a thicker texture, for flavor and filling. Without it, you’d be left with a more “sludgy” protein shake, not very appetizing.
Carrageenan: Extracted from red seaweed, carrageenan is used to thicken and emulsify properties in protein power. Sounds fancy huh? Well, there’s quite the catch with carrageenan that makes many people want to stay away from the additive.
Carrageenan is rough on your digestive system. It may cause your immune system to respond in ways that cause inflammation, ulcerations, and bleeding in your body. Going to be honest, when reading about this, I thought hard about the protein powders I was drinking.
Sunflower Lecithin: Unlike soy lecithin, sunflower lecithin is much purer and not used in a majority of commercial products. By dehydrating a sunflower, you get oil, gum, and solids, the lecithin comes from the gum. Sunflower lecithin has shown to help liver functions acne due to its richness in choline, an essential fatty acid.
Dipotassium Phosphate: Sources of potassium and phosphorus, Dipotassium phosphate (DKP) is a water-soluble salt that can be used by your body for energy. It’s a popular additive, used for stabilizing and texturizing products.
Side effects from taking DKP for a prolonged time, may include the following due to an imbalance of phosphates in your body…
Prohydrolase: Prohydrolase is a proteolytic enzyme that is meant to maximize the absorption of amino acids into the bloodstream, along with reducing bloating.
Orgain Organic Protein Powder
For our final protein powder, we decided on Orgain’s vegan protein powder. There are quite a handful of ingredients on the label, so we’ll bring it down to 3 we found most interesting. Here is the ingredients label found on the packaging…
Organic Inulin: Organic inulin is a prebiotic fiber that has quite the powerful health benefits. As it is a fiber, inulin may improve your digestive system along with relieving constipation.
Sea Salt: Sea salt in protein powder? Yes, the salt is used to enhance mainly chocolate flavoring (I used all chocolate flavors if you haven’t noticed). The only thing to be aware of is the potential added sodium that may come along with it.
Organic Stevia: Organic Stevia is a natural sweetener, said to be 200 times sweeter than artificial sugar at the same concentration. Wow! These calorie-less sweeteners are appealing to consumers trying to lose weight, however, they may come along with nausea.
In conclusion, observing and analyzing the ingredients label of a protein powder container is a must when purchasing. The list of benefits and especially side effects are right there but unaware to many due to their lack of research before buying. If you have any comments or questions regarding the listed ingredients, feel free to leave them below. If you’d like to have me explain more of the vegan protein ingredients, go ahead and ask below.
If you’d like to know even more about the listed protein powders above, check our reviews on them…