Unpopular opinion: Why we don't like protein powder

Protein powders have become very popular and over-used in the last two decades. Every brand that sells protein powder claims that it is healthy and that it will help you lose weight.


Protein, indeed, is very satiating as it helps you to feel full; so if you are trying to lose weight it prevents anxious eating and snacking. Moreover, protein powders were originally made from dairy. However, due to many people becoming either intolerant or allergic to dairy, companies started producing an array of protein powders made from rice, pea, hemp, soy, and pumpkin seeds. These powders have to be highly processed in order to get them to a form that is easy to use and palatable. This means that they can contain ingredients such as: added sugars, artificial sweeteners/flavoring, thickeners, vitamins and minerals.

Protein powders are in fact not regulated and as such, the FDA leaves up to the manufacturers to evaluate their safety. This means that the ingredient list may not contain what the manufacturer claims it does. Also, according to a nonprofit group, the Clean Label Project, there are toxins such as heavy metals (lead, arsenic, cadmium, and mercury), BPS, bisphenol-A (used in plastic bottles), pesticides, which have been shown to cause kidney and liver failure, cancer, and other diseases. In addition, if you are dealing with any kind of health condition, as minor as digestive issues, thyroid condition, just to name a few, over time the toxins and additives will not leave your body and will overburden it by slowing down detox pathways.

In my practice I almost never recommend protein powders, unless the person is severely malnourished and in that case I would only suggest Hemp Protein with no additives. Protein has gotten a lot of unnecessary hype by manufacturers as a marketing strategy to sell their product. I have seen several health conditions that could have been prevented if one was not consuming these products.

Over my years of practice, I have come to learn and understand that we do not need to consume large quantities of protein in order to meet the estimated needs, all you need is .8g per kilogram of body weight, and this can be easily met. For instance, a person who weighs 12 pounds, needs about 50 grams per day, which can be met by eating 9 servings of fruits and vegetables, 4 ounces of animal protein, and 2 cups of whole grains and legumes.

Lastly, I highly encourage sticking to eating lots of fruits, vegetables, legumes, which contain easily absorbed protein for vegans, or lean grass fed beef, chicken, turkey, or wild fish. In my experience, there is a price for convenience; if it does not come from a wholesome source, your health is at stake.