Not all protein powders are created equal.
And so often, you’ll find these supplements pushed to the spotlight for all of their pledged benefits. However, it is just as important to evaluate the bad when looking at these types of products.
In fact, understanding the risks associated with consuming low-quality protein powders should be your first step when picking the brand that is best for you.
So go ahead and kickstart your learning curve by reading through the following 6 potential dangers of shaking up the wrong supplement.
- Gastrointestinal Distress
Gastrointestinal distress is a fancy way to describe some not so fancy symptoms - bloating, constipation, gas - you get the idea.
These tummy issues are one of the many dangers of picking the wrong protein powder, and can stem from the inclusion of various risky ingredients.
First and foremost, gastrointestinal distress may arise in the presence of dextrins or maltodextrins. These ingredients should not be included in your protein powder, as they are known to increase your glycemic load. In simple terms, they promote fat storage. Dextrins are also most commonly processed with GMO corn, which doesn’t sit well with most stomachs.
Furthermore, protein powders containing gluten, skim milk powders or milk solids can be troublesome to your gut. These ingredients are not digestion-friendly in any context, making them just as turbulent for your tummy when you sip your post-workout shake.
- Sugar You Didn’t Sign Up For
When looking at the label of a protein powder, your eye may first wonder to the section dedicated to protein content. However, it is just as crucial for you to pay attention to the sugar content.
Low-quality protein powders are loaded with artificial sweeteners. These include Sucralose, Aspartame and Saccharin. Known to cause headaches, migraines, weight gain and even depression, these sweeteners are counterproductive to your health and wellbeing.
- Weight Gain
Yes, the wrong protein powder can actually cause weight gain… and not the good kind.
Between added sugar, milk solids and high content of vegetable oils and fats, there are plenty of ingredients in low-quality supplements that may contribute to weight gain.
You want to be sure that your protein powder offers high protein content with low amounts of fats and carbohydrates. This should be the case regardless of your preference for whey protein powder or vegan protein powder.
Another potential danger of going with the wrong protein powder is inflammation.
The driving ingredient behind this side effect? Carrageenan.
Found in plenty of plant-based protein powders, carrageenan is a seaweed extract that should not be consumed frequently or in high quantities. It is used as a thickening agent by many vegan protein powders, but has been linked to not so smooth reactions. More so than inflammation, studies have found that regular consumption of this ingredient may cause stomach ulcers, intestinal lesions and even tumors.
- Hormonal Imbalances
For those that prefer to shake up a vegan protein powder, there is something you should know…
Powders that are heavy in soy protein, and that do not offer a blend of plant-based sources may trigger hormonal imbalances.
So, next time you plan to scoop out a new vegan protein powder, ensure that there are multiple sources of plant protein listed on the ingredient list.
- High Cholesterol
As mentioned earlier in this post, high vegetable oil and fat content is a protein powder no-go.
Not only do these ingredients in high quantities contribute to weight gain, but they can negatively impact your cholesterol by increasing your levels of bad cholesterol and lowering your levels of good cholesterol.
Also, since these fats are commonly derived from hydrogenated sources that contain trans fat, the easiest way to learn if your protein powder is up to par is to check this part of the label. High-quality protein powders will have a bold “0 grams” boasted on the container.