The Whey Out: 5 Best Natural Protein Powders
Bodybuilders and athletes often seek new ways to increase their ability to perform and recover quickly after the workout is over.
This segment of the population has discovered a way to do this. Protein powder supplements are exactly what bodybuilders and athletes need to recover, but there’s a small problem…
Most protein powder supplements are non-organic and contain several unhealthy ingredients, goes against weightlifters’ goals: to be fit and healthy.
As athletes strive for peak performance, clean eating trends have prompted supplement companies to produce organic, natural grass fed whey protein powders that are much healthier than the options of the past.
How Whey Benefits the Body
Whey protein powder supplements contain the branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) leucine, isoleucine and valine, and studies have shown that they directly benefit the muscles. Leucine is the most important for muscle-building because it aids in protein synthesis.
Bodybuilders and athletes take supplements with leucine before workouts to help increase lean muscle mass gains from the workout. While both BCAAs have proven benefits, isoleucine has been shown to play the largest role in increasing people’s ability to perform physically.
What’s In Your Whey Protein? A Look At Additives
Whereas leucine and isoluceine are welcome additives to protein powder — they help with muscle recovery — there are many unwanted and unhealthy additives, too. If bodybuilders and athletes obtain their whey protein from non-organic sources, they gain other things that they may not have been expecting.
Toxic Heavy Metals
The highly respected consumer advocacy organization Consumer Reports Magazine studied several non-organic whey protein supplements and discovered something disturbing: many of these products contain the toxic heavy metals arsenic, cadmium, mercury and lead in concentrations higher than levels that are considered to be safe.
Cadmium, for example, is known to build up in the liver where it can cause considerable damage. To make things even worse, these products are being marketed as daily supplements to be taken as much as three times a day.
Protein Isolate from Grain-Fed Cows
Manufacturers derive whey protein from milk. Meaning, the protein is isolated during the cheese-making process. Therefore, bodybuilders and athletes are very interested in where manufacturers obtain their whey, and from what cows.
Non-organic whey comes from grain-fed cows, but the grain these cows receive has been tested and found to contain pesticides and fertilizers that are discharged into the milk.
These cows are also given hormones and antibiotics so that they would produce more milk. Bovine growth hormone is just one of those substances, and it has been banned in Europe, Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and Argentina.
Manufacturers of non-organic whey protein add many other unhealthy substances to their products. For example, medical professionals believe that the artificial sweeteners sucralose, aspartame and acesulfame k are unhealthy for humans to consume, but several whey protein products contain these substances (1, 2) .
They may also have the genetically modified organisms or GMOs that are so worrisome to many people in the health industry.
In order to make their products heavier and, therefore, more expensive, manufacturers put fillers into their whey protein powders that do not add any nutritional benefit to the bodybuilder/athlete.
One unnecessary filler that may actually be harmful to some people is a soy product called “soy lecithin.” Generally, whey protein powder is meant to be mixed with milk, water or juice, but it doesn’t always mix easily with these liquids.
That’s why manufacturers place soy lecithin in their powders. The problem is that most soy is genetically modified.
It is also believed to be estrogenic which means that it increases estrogen levels, and this makes it more difficult to lose body fat and gain muscle mass. As if all that wasn’t bad enough, soy can prevent other nutrients from being properly absorbed.
The Other Side
Grass fed protein powder comes from cows that were fed what a cow naturally eats: grass. Because of this, they are missing the fertilizers and pesticides that contaminate the milk of non-organic cows.
Further, organic farmers do not inject their cows with the growth hormones and antiobiotics that keep the body from functioning properly.
Natural Protein Powder Products (Organic)
With so many different organic protein powder products on the market, the best natural protein powder will be a matter of personal preference, but you have several options.
1. Natural Protein by Natural Stacks
Natural Protein from Natural Stacks is an all natural protein powder made from the milk of grass-fed cows. It does not have any antibiotics or hormones and is free of genetically modified organisms.
Along with whey, this product contains collagen protein that reduces the amount of time needed to recover from a hard workout.
It also has one very important ingredient that you will not find in most whey protein powders: colostrum. Colostrum is important to bodybuilders and athletes specifically because it promotes recovery in the muscles, ligaments and tendons.
This product doesn’t have any added sugar, but it does have a significant amount of iron, sodium, potassium, immunoglobulins, lactoferrin and serum albumin. It also contains eight of the essential amino acids that include the three branched-chain amino acids.
Several users considered this product to be the best organic protein powder they have ever tried. Others were impressed with the natural taste. The powder blends well in a shaker and is great for making smoothies or for just mixing with water.