It’s hard to find a good protein powder that doesn’t contain chemicals these days. You drink protein shakes for your health, so why would you want to be consuming possibly dangerous chemicals along with your protein? Most supplement companies are trying to cut costs by using cheap chemical sweeteners, preservatives, and other artificial ingredients in their protein powders, chemical ingredients that in many cases are known to have serious health effects. All-natural protein powder, with ZERO extra chemical ingredients, is worth its weight in gold. The following protein powders are absolutely pure, derived from natural protein sources. We have included a grass-fed whey protein powder, two plant-based protein powders for vegans, and a paleo protein made from eggs as well. The ONLY ingredients in each protein powder are listed in the table. Keep reading to learn why you want to stay away from other chemical-filled protein powders.
|Image||Details||Protein Source||Flavoring||Lecithin||Other ingredients|
|Grass Fed Whey Protein Powder Concentrate - Premium Unflavored Protein. No Gluten, Non GMO, & Cold Processed From Raw Milk of Wisconsin Cows||Grass Fed Whey||None||None||None|
|Pea Protein Isolate - Vegan, Non-GMO, Lactose, Soy and Gluten Free||Raw Peas||None||None||None|
|Paleo Protein Powder Coconut Cream (30 Servings Total) (Keto/Low Carb)||Eggs||Monk Fruit, Coconut & Vanilla Extract||None||Salt, Probiotics (Bacillus coagulans)|
|Organic Vegan Brown Rice Protein Powder, GMO Free, Gluten Free & Soy Free||Organic Sprouted Brown Rice||None||None||None|
Natural, Pure Ingredients Only
Each of these protein powders has only a few ingredients on the label: the protein source itself, a natural extract for flavoring (and no, we aren’t counting undefined “natural flavoring” here), and an agent used to keep the protein from clumping. Most companies use soy lecithin, but we never recommend soy of any kind, because of its estrogenic activity and the anti-nutrients it contains. All the protein powders listed here are totally free of soy, including soy lecithin. These proteins are also made from all-natural sources, with minimal pesticide or other chemical contamination.
Chemical-Filled Protein Powder: The Worst Offenders
Not all protein powders are free from chemicals, probably the majority of available brands have artificial chemicals in them. Even supposedly “organic” protein powder brands frequently include weird, processed ingredients. The most popular whey protein powder brand on Amazon.com (we won’t mention the brand by name) contains the following ingredients in addition to whey:
Lecithin, Cocoa, Natural Flavors, Artificial Flavors, Acesulfame Potassium
While cocoa is a natural ingredient, lecithin is a highly-processed compound added to the protein during the manufacturing process in order to make it blend better. Most probably this refers to soy lecithin, which is the sludge left over after soybeans are pressed into soy oil. Soy lecithin can only be produced by an industrial factory process.
The natural flavors (which usually refers to a highly processed factory-made byproduct of a real natural product) and artificial flavors are also very concerning. According to Harvard University, “All flavors, … as well as natural and artificial flavor additives, are small chemical compounds or mixtures of compounds.”
Acesulfame Potassium is an artificial sweetener, known to be quite bad for your health. It should be strictly avoided, according to the Center For Science in the Public Interest.
Flavoring, Sweeteners, and the “Natural Flavors” Question
Oddly enough, so-called “natural flavors”are not necessarily much better than artificial flavors. To be labeled a natural flavor, according to the FDA, the compound has to be isolated from a material that was at one time part of a plant or animal. This is typically a factory process, and the flavor may have been modified afterwards, but it will still be labeled a “natural flavor” no matter how processed an unnatural it has become. Usually both natural and artificial flavors are made in factories.
Sweeteners are a class of chemical which is typically added to foods so that they can claim to be sugar-free. While sugar is not very good for you, these artificial sweeteners are quite bad to put into your body. The most common artificial sweeteners in protein powders are the following:
- Aspartame – a highly unnatural chemical bonding of amino acids and methanol. Aspartame appears to increase risk of cancer, as well as cause headaches, a higher chance of pre-term delivery of babies, and probably more. Not good!
- Acesulfame K (also known as Ace-K) – its chemical structure is Potassium 6-methyl-2,2-dioxo-2H-1,2λ6,3-oxathiazin-4-olate. Ace-K appears to poorly affect the thyroid. It has not been very well studied and it may have other bad effects.
- Sucralose – a sugar alcohol (linked to bloating and cravings) – this chemical is very bad for you. “In 2016 an independent Italian laboratory published a large study on mice. The study found that sucralose caused leukemia and related blood cancers in male mice that were exposed to it throughout their lives starting from before birth.” (source)