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What’s *Really* In Your Protein Powder?

What’s *Really* In Your Protein Powder?

Ever wondered what's really in that scoop of protein powder you’re adding to your shakes? Or why it even matters? 

As health enthusiasts, we can sometimes overlook the intricacies of what fuels our bodies. It’s not just about the protein count — it’s about the quality, source, and impact of that protein on our health and wellness.

So, let’s talk about it. 

What Even is a Protein Supplement?

Let’s make it simple: protein supplements are a concentrated form of essential proteins with no excess fats or carbs. You can find it in tons of forms like bars, capsules, or powders — and even mixed with other supplements (like our mBreakfast elixir that has 12g of protein).  

And, as the building block of our bodies, proteins are crucial for:

  • Muscle growth & repair
  • Keeping you satiated 
  • Providing a steady source of energy

For the gym goers reading this, and anyone else, protein supplements can be an easy and quick way to get the energy you need to perform at 100%. 

Types of Protein

Most protein is sourced from two main places — plants & dairy. Of those, these are four of the most popular:

How is Protein Made, Though?

Good question! Animal protein specifically is made from whey — which is the milky liquid leftover from making cheese. It’s processed in one of two ways:

  1. Cold Pro-filtration: Whey is filtered at low temperatures so the protein's natural qualities and nutrients are retained. Kinda like cold brewing coffee to extract rich flavors.
  2. High-Temperature Processing: Whey is heated, leading to its structure to change which can be better if you’re allergic to dairy or have a hard time digesting it. 

What you end up with is the white powdery version of protein we all buy at supplement stores. 

Cool! But What’s a Protein Isolate? And Concentrate?

Ah, you’ve done your research — or not and this is your research. When shopping for protein powder at the health store they’ll offer you two options: isolate or concentrate. 

Whey isolate is closer to natural whey (not ideal if you can’t digest dairy), and concentrate is more refined which means it’s a purer protein source (and easier to digest). 

Here’s a helpful comparison chart:

What is My Protein Eating?

We all know what your food eats, you eat — protein powder is no exception. So before you choose your next protein powder make sure you ask yourself: what did this cow eat?

The first thing you should be looking for is that the whey comes from organic fed sources. Otherwise you run the risk of ingesting the same chemicals they did. Ideally, you’d even want them to be regenerative grass-fed. 

Why? Because that means they go beyond organic standards. It means livestock is fed natural diets, benefiting both their health and the environment.

Talk to Me About Glyphosate

Don’t mind if we do! Glyphosate is the residue GMOs leave behind, and most protein powders aren’t tested for this. 

Ever hear about Roundup? That widely used, incredibly harsh herbicide? That’s basically glyphosate. If an animal was fed GMOs you’ll find traces in your protein powder. And plant based protein isn’t the safe way to go either. How many crops used for protein sources are soaked in it? Millions. 

But the solution is simple: find a protein powder that tests for Glyphosate and that uses organic whey.

Good vs Bad Protein

Not all protein is created equal, which is why it’s so important to know what you’re putting in your body. Fillers that irritate your stomach, artificial sweeteners that wreak havoc on your blood sugar levels, and chemicals you can’t even pronounce are all common in the protein supplements you find on the market. 

So, what should you be looking out for? When we choose a protein powder there are a few additives you’ll never catch us consuming:

  • Preservatives: sodium benzoate or potassium sorbate.
  • Added sugars: high fructose corn syrup, dextrose, or maltodextrin.
  • Artificial sweeteners: sucralose, aspartame, and acesulfame potassium.
  • Hydrogenated oils: to improve texture, but can contain harmful trans fats.

Ok, So How Do I Pick One?

Choosing a type of protein is going to depend on your dietary preferences and health goals — and how your body reacts to each.

Are you lactose intolerant? Try a plant source. Do you want something that’ll really help with post workout recovery? Whey is probably ideal for you. 

And if none of the options above work for you? Well, we might have something launching very soon at Crucial FOUR that will revolutionize the world of protein supplements. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!

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