Many women tend to think that protein powders are for body builders only, (people who want “gains”) but this isn’t the case. Clean protein supplements make a great healthy snack and have plenty of health benefits.
There are many different kinds of protein powders however, and choosing the right one often depends on your lifestyle choice. For example, if you are vegan you will not want a whey protein or an egg based protein powder. Which leaves everything from hemp and pea to pumpkin/chia and rice.
So, with that said, let’s look at the general rule of thumb for ALL protein powders that everyone should adhere to and then we can address which one would be right for your lifestyle.
First, you want to make sure that your protein of choice isn’t loaded with sugar or cheap fillers and artificial sweeteners for that matter. If you can, go organic. This way you are 100% covered. If you can’t find or afford that as an option, be sure to read the label and check the ingredients for high sugar content, fake fats, flavors, colors, preservatives and so on.
If you are vegan, as stated above, hemp and pea are really great choices. Rice protein is also fine, but I’d like you to avoid soy in general, including soy protein powders. Here are a few reasons:
90+% of soy in America is a GMO crop. This means it’s genetically modified. We don’t yet know the effects of GMO’s in our bodies, but what we do know for sure is that they are specifically genetically modified to tolerate large amounts of chemical pesticides. Pesticides are terrible for our weight and our overall health, in particular the types of cancers you mentioned in your question.
There is also research that suggests the isoflavones in soy (GMO and organic) are extremely bad for thyroid health. The only way to avoid this would be to do organic fermented soy in extreme moderation.
Now, even if there was a case to be made for the possible benefits of omega 6 in organic fermented soy products, too much omega 6 in our diets can cause inflammation and is related to chronic disease. A healthy amount of omega 6 in our diet is considered to be a one to one ration of Omega 6 to Omega 3. Because soy is a cheap government subsidized crop it’s in nearly everything and the average American takes in a ratio of nearly twenty to one omega 6 to omega3. So based on these facts, adding more soy into your diet is at best unnecessary and at worst linked to all kinds of health issues.
Last thought on this, some have said that the estrogenic effects of soy can be good for women, but current research has suggested that excess estrogen in general can lead to cancer and the safest bet with soy is to minimize your intake.
Now, if you are not vegan, let’s have a word about whey. Many consider whey to be the ideal protein powder. Pea, egg, hemp etc. are also good, but whey, when taken from a quality product with branched chain aminos, is considered the most bioavailable and easily digested.
Whey protein can be used to improve your overall physical health while also preventing diseases and infection. According to the Whey Protein Institute, whey protein can help to slow cancer growth in the body, prevent type-2 diabetes by controlling blood glucose levels and promote new skin growth to speed up wound healing.
If you are lactose intolerant not too worry. There is practically no lactose in whey protein so don’t let that stop you.
Check out any of the meal plans within my Jillian app for tons of great smoothie recipes incorporating protein powder for a great snack or meal replacement.