Supplements, protein shakes, powders – we always get asked about which ones to take or not to take. It’s a difficult one to answer as everybody is unique and different. So we asked Dr. Debbie Bright to explain an alternative view on Whey protein and why it’s doing you more harm than good. Something for you to think about on today’s post.
Protein powders have become one of the most common food items consumed in the fitness industry today. The convenience of a 30-second shake-and- go meal that promises palatable satisfaction, weight-loss and increased lean muscle mass is undeniably appealing. Unfortunately, 95% of protein powders on the market are toxic and cause major inflammation in the body, counteracting many of the reasons that attracted us to them in the first place. I have found that the number one reason people turn to protein shakes is for weight loss.
But I am waving the red flag on whey-based proteins! Whey is a form of dairy and, like most dairy products, it is one of the most highly ranked inflammatory foods we see in diets today. I know this because it shows up in my patients’ food sensitivity blood labs every day.Whey is a form of dairy and, like most dairy products, it is one of the most highly ranked inflammatory foods we see in diets today. Click To Tweet
If you are new to the terms “food sensitivity” or “food intolerance” then allow me to describe these in terms of symptoms that many of you can probably relate to gas, bloating, joint pain, headaches, skin rashes (like psoriasis, eczema, rosacea, and acne), food cravings, fatigue, brain fog, weight gain and irregular bowel movements.
These are your body’s delayed immune responses and a telltale sign that whatever you have eaten is not agreeing with your system. Still not convinced? Below are a few very good reasons why whey protein should find its way out the door.
WHEY PLAYS YOUR HORMONES AGAINST YOU
Whey raises your insulin levels higher than a piece of white bread (and white bread raises your insulin higher than a Snickers bar!). Insulin is the hormone responsible for telling your liver to store body fat. When you send your body the command to create and store body fat, you cannot simultaneously burn it.
The entire purpose of cow’s milk is to turn a 65-pound calf into a 700-pound cow as rapidly as possible. Humans were never meant to factor into this equation. I understand that while elevated insulin may be ideal post-rigorous workout, most people are not using whey as a glycogen- storing fuel nearly as much as they are using it as a meal replacement shake for weight loss, and as a result, their waistline is at a serious disadvantage.
WHEY MAKES YOU HANGRY
Whey protein is absorbed very quickly by the body and leaves you hungry in a short amount of time. This is never ideal as a meal replacement as ideally, you want a slow- releasing protein that keeps you full for long periods of time. Meals should satiate you for up to four to six hours with no snacking in between. This goes hand in hand with the point about hormones above. When you control your blood sugar spikes, you manage your insulin release and therefore better control your food cravings, your moods and your ability to look good naked.
WHEY CAUSES AN INFLAMMATORY IMMUNE RESPONSE
As previously mentioned, whey is a highly reactive dairy food. It causes gas, bloating, a stuffy nose and excess mucus production in the body. Many athletes live in the weight room believing that they have seasonal allergies, are reacting to a dirty gym setting or suffer from a chronic low-grade head cold due to congestion and post-nasal drip.
If you are willing to believe that whey protein builds big muscles, you must accept that whey protein also grows big pimples. Yep, the same hormones that stimulate muscle growth also stimulate sebum production and skin cell growth and hormonally aggravate the skin. Your skin is a direct visual of your internal gut health—meaning that when your insides are inflamed, your skin will tell on you in the form of acne and rashes.
WHEY IS CHEAPLY MADE
Because whey remains a staple among bodybuilders and other athletes, manufacturers often mass-produce it cheaply with added preservatives, sweeteners and artificial flavors. There is even the chance you may be wasting your money on the falsely stamped protein content of your supplement powder as there have been reported issues in the past few years known as “protein spiking” where protein powders fail to meet their label claims as well as product bioavailability.
According to Dr. Michael Jurgelewicz of Designs for Health, a professional-grade nutraceutical company that offers therapeutic-level products only accessible to patients via doctor’s referral (and the affiliate company to which I refer my own patients), “Protein spiking is adding some non-protein substances to a protein powder to increase the overall nitrogen content of that powder. Proteins are the only nutrients that provide nitrogen; carbohydrates and fats do not… Companies that spike their protein powders are well aware of this limitation in regards to testing methods and use it to their advantage.”
If you are drinking whey shakes because you want to lose weight, realize you are sending mixed messages to your hormonal system. You should also be aware that no matter how you look at it if you are trying to create a lean, healthy, body anything dairy related in your diet is not the way to do it.
If you are looking for healthier solutions to help you fill the whey void, I have two options to suggest. With either, you are bound to see tremendous results and end up enjoying the process. You can choose a plant- or animal-based protein.
For plant-based options, avoid trading whey for soy proteins—there is no joy in soy, as soy signals your metabolism to slow down and the estrogen content is not ideal for your body. Great plant-based options include blends of pea, rice, chlorella, and chia.
As for animal protein, opt for a defatted, grass-fed beef protein that is bio-available and has a collagen profile that benefits your hair, skin, nails and connective tissue. These beef proteins have the blended mouth-feel of a milkshake, but with all the benefits of a healthy amino acid complex.
Remember, you are what you eat, so avoid being fast, cheap, easy or fake!