How to Purchase Protein Powder and What to Avoid
You’ve decided to increase your protein consumption because you realize that eating more protein has numerous health benefits, including:
- Keeping hunger at bay by balancing the hormones of metabolism
- Helping stabilize your blood sugar
- Preventing energy crashes
- Speeding up weight loss
- Helping your body become more sensitive to the hormones that tell you when you are full
But the prospect of eating the recommended 45 to 100 grams of dietary protein everyday is a bit daunting, so you decide to try out a protein powder. You head to the store and are overwhelmed by the shear number of options available on the shelf. How do you know what to buy? To ensure that you are receiving the best health benefits, here are the top three things to AVOID.
After the age of two, fewer than 35 percent of humans produce the enzyme lactase, which is needed to break down lactose (milk sugar) and digest milk. Without lactase in your gut, lactose remains undigested, fermenting in your intestines and causing an array of gastrointestinal symptoms that we refer to as lactose intolerance. Even if your body can break down lactose, it’s still bad news, because it is converted to galactose and glucose, which elevates blood sugar and causes inflammation. Additionally, casein (a protein in milk) is an excitotoxin in the brain. When left unchecked, excitotoxins can lead to brain inflammation and neurodegenerative diseases.
Modern commercial marketing would have you believe that soy is the miracle food that can replace dairy. This is not the case. Soy actually contains components that are harmful to our health:
- A high concentration of lectins which are carbohydrate-binding proteins found in a large number of plant foods that can cause biochemical changes to the cellular lining of the intestines; these changes contribute to leaky gut, poor absorption of nutrients (including other proteins), and the death of intestinal cells
- Large amounts of omega-6 fatty acids, which in excessive amounts can lead to systemic inflammation
- A substantial amount of phytic acid, which is believed to reduce the absorption of vital minerals
In addition to being addictive, sugar consumption is associated with a list of health problems. Eating foods containing sugar causes a spike in your blood sugar, contributes to insulin resistance and triggers inflammation in your body. Additionally, simple carbohydrates (like sugar) negatively affect your cholesterol, as well as suppresses the signals sent by the hunger and satiety hormones which are responsible for letting you know when to stop eating. Simply put, the more sugar you eat, the hungrier you will be!
Unfortunately, most protein powders on the market today contain at least one of these ingredients. In addition to being free of dairy, soy, and sugar, BrainMD Health’s new and improved Chocolate OMNI Protein Powder is also free from gluten and GMOs, as well as artificial flavors, colors, and sweeteners.
To help you get started incorporating more protein in your diet in a really easy and delicious way, here is a recipe from NY Times bestselling author, registered nurse, highly respected health and fitness expert, and nationally renowned speaker, Tana Amen, BSN, RN.
Chocolate Pumpkin Protein Bars
1 cup organic pumpkin puree
½ cup almond butter
½ cup chocolate or vanilla protein powder (plant based, sugar free)
½ cup erythritol
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
3 eggs- cage free, all natural
1 cup coconut or almond flour
1 cup rolled oats or grainless granola
2 tablespoons raw honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ounce sugar-free, dairy-free chocolate, melted or chopped (can be used as a drizzle or as chunks)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9-by-11-inch pan with cooking spray, or line with parchment paper.
- In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to combine pumpkin puree, almond butter, protein powder, erythritol, baking soda, spices, honey and vanilla, if desired.
- Add flour, oats and egg. Mix well, until thoroughly blended. Dough will be very thick.
- Press dough into pan, spreading until it covers the entire pan evenly. Make sure the center isn’t thicker than the corners.
- Spread batter evenly into prepared pan. Sprinkle with chocolate chunks if desired, or wait to drizzle chocolate sauce.
- Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- While bars are baking, place chocolate in a microwave safe bowl if you wish to make a drizzle. Microwave for 15-20 seconds at a time, stopping to stir before microwaving for another 15-20 seconds. Chocolate should be thoroughly melted after about 45-50 seconds. If a thinner sauce is desired add a teaspoon of coconut oil while microwaving.
- After pumpkin bars have cooled completely, drizzle melted chocolate in zig zag lines across the pan using a small spoon. Refrigerate for 10 minutes to allow chocolate to set.
Nutritional information per serving:
187calories, 15.2g protein, 11g carbohydrates, 2.6g fiber, 1.3g sugar, 10.8g fat, 0.9g saturated fat, 34.9mg cholesterol, 45.5mg sodium
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