Not all protein powders are created equal.
The key to choosing the right protein powder for you comes with experimentation and measuring your results - but there are a few things worth thinking about before you make your purchase.
One of the most important things to consider is whether or not your protein has been heat treated. The vast majority of protein powders on the market are heat treated, as this is the most cost-effective form of processing. A raw protein, on the other hand, may not be as cheap to make - but it is certainly the most effective choice for your body and general health.
WHY CHOOSE RAW PROTEIN?
To be considered a 'raw' protein, a product cannot be exposed to heat above 42C / 107F at any time during processing. Maintaining low temperatures throughout the manufacturing process locks in all the valuable nutrients and enzymes that allow us to efficiently digest the protein - meaning that your product gets to work exactly where it is needed.
Although a heat-treated protein powder may seem cheaper, if you're absorbing less of the nutrients, you're not getting the same value for money as you would with a raw protein.
For example: Lysine and Tryptophan, two essential amino acids, are denatured by heat above 110F, reducing their effectiveness and availability to the body. Lysine and Tryptophan are especially volatile in whey protein, which is always almost heated or pasteurised before it reaches the consumer.
When a protein powder is raw, you can almost guarantee that the ingredients will be healthy and wholesome. Proteins will be sourced from nutrient dense food sources, such as hemp protein, pea protein, chlorella and spirulina – as opposed to problematic, heat treated proteins commonly whey protein and soy.
Raw proteins are easier to digest, richer in nutrients, and free from the questionable ingredients that rear their ugly heads in many heat-processed protein powders, including aspartame, sucralose, carboxymethylcellulose, emulsifying agents and artificial flavourings. Even vegan proteins often contain fillers and bulking agents, such as maltodextrin.
Be careful, one of the most common vegan protein sources is soy protein – but this is a protein source we recommend avoiding wherever possible. Soy contains anti-nutrients and goitrogens, and has also been proven to have oestrogenic effects on the body. Raw proteins, especially those that are sprouted, have minimal anti-nutrients, are non-toxic, and do not interfere with your hormonal balance in any way.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A PROTEIN SUPPLEMENT
When choosing your protein, always read the label. Check the ingredients list, and make sure there are:
- No fillers, bulking agents, or any questionable additives
- Check to see if it has been cold processed (not heated above 42C)
- Protein should be sourced from nutrient dense whole foods, and should include the full amino acid spectrum for effective recovery
- If the protein is grain or legume based, make sure they are sprouted, as this will further increase the bioavailability and remove any anti-nutrients that could be present.
- Ideally, look for a product that also contains digestive enzymes, in order to improve the digestibility of the product.
When buying a high quality raw protein supplement, you are buying a product that is nutrient dense, easy to assimilate, and free from toxic and artificial ingredients. Choose wisely, and you’ll have a highly nutritious product that supports an active lifestyle and helps you to achieve your performance goals.