Is Protein Powder Healthy?

Is protein powder healthy

In college, I loved taking protein powder as a way to add in nutrients and calories without having to take the time to eat a full meal in the morning (spoken like a true type-A). I also loved making an iced latte with protein powder for breakfast.

Obviously, protein powder is a super healthy choice, because I was always in excellent health in college… oh, wait…

Are Protein Powders Healthy?

As I learned more and started eating a whole food diet, I started to question my decision to use protein powder on such a regular basis, and I began to research the ingredients they were made from. I found a few things that surprised me:

  • Pretty much every “health guru” and network marketing/MLM company out there has their own brand of protein powder, which they all claim to be the greatest thing since sliced bread.
  • There is a lot of mis-information when it comes to protein powder marketing and that many aren’t as healthy as they claim to be.
  • With a few notable exceptions, most protein powders aren’t worth their cost.

The Role of Protein

To clarify, protein is a very important part of a healthy diet, but the processed powdered forms are not necessarily the best option.

As Authority Nutrition explains:

“Proteins are the building blocks of life and every living cell uses them for both structural and functional purposes.

They are long chains of amino acids linked together like beads on a string, then folded into complex shapes.

There are 9 essential amino acids that we must get from the diet and 12 that are non-essential, which the body can produce out of other organic molecules.

The quality of a protein source depends on its amino acid profile. The best sources of protein in the diet contain all the essential amino acids in ratios that are appropriate for humans.

In this regard, animal proteins are better than plant proteins, which makes perfect sense given that the muscle tissues of animals are very similar to our own tissues.

The health authorities recommend an intake of 56 grams per day for men and 46 grams per day for women, varying between individuals based on age, body weight, activity levels and some other factors.

While this meager intake may be enough to prevent downright deficiency, it is not in any way sufficient to optimize health and body composition. People who are physically active or lift weights are going to need a lot more than that.”

He goes on to explain how protein can even help with weight loss, even if all other factors remain the same:

“But probably the most important contribution of protein to weight loss, is its ability to reduce appetite and cause a spontaneous reduction in calorie intake. Protein is much more satiating than both fat and carbs.

In a study in obese men, protein at 25% of calories increased feelings of fullness, reduced the desire for late-night snacking by half and reduced obsessive thoughts about food by 60%.

In another study, women who increased protein intake to 30% of calories ended up eating 441 fewer calories per day. They also lost 11 pounds in 12 weeks, just by adding more protein to their diet.

But protein doesn’t just help you lose… it can also help prevent you from gaining weight in the first place.

In one study, just a modest increase in protein from 15% of calories to 18% of calories reduced the amount of fat people regained after weight loss by 50%.”

Protein Source Matters

With any food, especially proteins, source matters a lot. For instance:

“According to some sources, grass fed meat can have 2-4 times the Omega-3 fatty acids as grain fed beef. (source) Another study found that the increased Omega-3s in grass fed meat made a noticeable difference in the Omega-3 levels of those who had consumed the beef. (source) This study also found that the animal’s diet in the last few weeks was extremely important, and that for full benefit, beef must be grass finished as well as grass fed.

Grass fed beef also has a different saturated fat profile than conventional beef. This article explains:

“While I’m not particularly concerned about saturated fat of any kind, it’s worth noting the differences in SFA composition of grain-fed vs. grass-fed meat. There are three main types of saturated fat found in red meat: stearic acid, palmitic acid, and myristic acid. (4) Grass-fed beef consistently contains a higher proportion of stearic acid, which even the mainstream scientific community acknowledges does not raise blood cholesterol levels. (5) This higher proportion of stearic acid means that grass-fed beef also contains lower proportions of palmitic and myristic acid, which are more likely to raise cholesterol.”

Protein Powder Problems

Source matters and any protein powder should definitely be from an organic (and grass-fed if dairy based) source, but there are additional concerns as well.

A Consumer Reports investigation found low to moderate levels of lead, arsenic, and mercury in many well-known protein powders.

Many other protein powders contain processed soy, artificial sweeteners, sugars, artificial flavors and colors, and synthetic nutrients that are not easily absorbed by the body.

In a sense, protein powders can be thought of like a supplement. High quality ones can be beneficial in some cases, but they are never a replacement for a well-balanced, whole food diet.

Finding Good Protein Sources

I find that whole food sources of protein like meats and vegetables are always best if possible. The lure of protein powders is that they offer a quick, convenient protein source that doesn’t require defrosting, cooking, etc, and I definitely understand the appeal.

Those who tolerate dairy can use a whey based protein powder, though it can be difficult to find a grass-fed, organic and non-GMO one (here is one good brand I’ve found).

Plant based protein powders like hemp, pea, rice, etc. are not typically complete sources of protein. Again, there are exceptions, but most, especially single source plant proteins, do not contain the entire range of essential amino acids. Some individuals will have reactions to these types of protein and they can increase gut permeability (this can also be an issue with whey protein in sensitive individuals).

What I Use:

Our family focuses on whole protein sources like grass fed and pastured meats and fish whenever possible. I also make bone broth to get amino acids like proline and glycine that are not found in high concentrations in muscle meats.

When I’m making sure to consume enough protein from these sources but still need to add more protein, I use an unusual “protein powder” called collagen hydrolysate (which I also put in my tea or coffee).

Collagen Hydrolysate is a mostly tasteless non-gelling form of gelatin that can be easily blended into hot or cold beverages. It is typically more easily digestible which is important for people (like me) who have autoimmune disease or gut issues.

As I explained before:

Hydrolyzed Collagen is unique in its amino acid structure because of its high amounts of glycine, lysine and proline, which are found in lower amounts in other protein food supplements. These particular amino acids are found to generate cell growth much quicker because the natural ability to produce supporting amounts of connective tissue diminishes after the age of 25. Hydrolyzed Collagen is more easily digested because of its low molecular weight and is absorbed within 30 minutes. All of the amino acids collectively are beneficial to cell reproduction, but it is the distinctive spectrum of this product that impacts the metabolic pathways to healthy tissue.

Hydrolyzed Collagen is beneficial in replacing the synovial fluids between the joints and secondly, to repair and build cartilage weakened by overuse through impact and stress. Our bodies are made up of 30% collagen of which 70% of these proteins are connective tissue made of collagen.

Hydrolyzed Collagen is the missing link in supplying amino acids like glycine, proline and lysine that are required by the body to build connective tissue to regulate cell growth. It will benefit hair, skin tissue, muscle, cartilage, ligaments and blood cell growth. Some doctors are referring to this product as the new anti-aging product of the century.

Collagen Powder won’t gel like regular gelatin, but it dissolves easily in cold drinks (like smoothies) and hot drinks (like my favorite coffee recipe).

I’ve found that it is absolutely perfect for blending healthy fats into a hot drink since it gives a delicious froth and creaminess. Various forms of butter coffee (especially Bulletproof Coffee) have become increasingly popular lately, and I prefer to add gelatin in collagen hydrolysate form for extra protein to these recipes. I’ve also tried similar recipes by adding grass fed butter, coconut oil, and grass fed collagen hydrolysate to herbal teas like dandelion root tea with similar results.

Gelatin and collagen hydrolysate are also sources of protein, with 6-7 grams per tablespoon.

I’ve found that everyone in our family seems to digest the collagen hydrolysate form more easily, so we use that most of the time. I also still use regular grass fed gelatin in anything we need to “gel” and both of these options are good for an easy source of extra protein.

What I Do

I aim to consume a few tablespoons a day of collagen powder (this is the one I use) or gelatin powder, and also to drink bone broth regularly.

I worked up slowly to consuming that much gelatin, but have found that my skin is smoother and heals much more quickly since I started this routine. Also, along with my autoimmune diet, I’ve noticed great results in managing my autoimmune disease.

TO use collagen hydrolysate, I mix in cool or hot drinks. Most often, I blend into organic coffee or herbal tea in the morning along with some grass fed butter and coconut oil.

Do you use protein powder? What kind do you use? Tell me below!

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Reader Comments

  1. I use protein if I know I won’t be eating for a while after working out. I use Mirrabooka protein which is a grassfed whey with 3 ingredients, whey protein, stevia and cacao! Love it 🙂

  2. Yes, I use protien powder! It has made an unbelievable improvement in my health. I use Isagenix…undenatured whey protien from happy cows in New Zealand. No crap, far above organic standards, not a lick of GMO ingredients….pure quality.

    • I would recommend Arbonne protein powders-everything I’ve read seems very good and they taste good. Tell me what you think. Thank-you

      • Agreed its the best

    • I use Vi-Shape protein powder by ViSalus every morning with chia seed, kefir, berries, spinach, almond milk and coconut oil. Thoughts?

      • I used to use Visalus too. The ingredient list is kind of terrifying. Your smoothie sounds great, but I think you’d be better off without the Visalus in it. Maybe add some collagen instead!

        • I also used to use ViSalus until I learned it had processed soy ingredients, and a lot of them. And personally I don’t like the taste at all.

  3. Until we recently I was quite anti protein powders, preferring to get all my protein through vegan whole food sources. However I am very much into my fitness and found that my strength training had reached a bit of a plateau, so I have now started supplementing one serving of protein powder in a snack every day to help bump up my overall numbers. I have found this has really helped. My preferred protein source is white hemp protein, it is a bit more refined than the regular green hemp (the fibre is removed) but has a much higher protein ratio (72%) and offers a complete protein in a much tastier form than green hemp too! I get so much fibre from all the veggies I don’t feel it to be a compromise.

  4. I’ve used protein powders as supplement at various times over the years. I think at best they may have helped me build some muscle when I was doing intense weight training. But at worse – I think I can safely say that every time I used protein powder on a regular basis, I always gained fat. So no more, I get my protein in real, whole foods.

  5. Katie, I’ve always wondered why butter in coffee instead of heavy cream … isn’t it the same thing? Thanks!

    • Butter gives a creamier texture and grass fed butter has a high concentration of Vitamin K2, which is beneficial in many ways. It also has a much lower amount of milk protein, which some people are sensitive to.

  6. Hello,

    I love your posts. Lots of great information.
    I love the connivance of protein powder. I have been using Progressive Organics – 100% Organic Whey Protein (unflavored). It is a great product as far as I can tell. Are you familiar?
    Would this be okay to give to my toddler (not regularly). Your feed back would be appreciated.

  7. Is it safe to take if nursing?I’m still nursing my 8 month old. Also, is it safe for my 3 year old?

    Hannah

    • It is a food, so I take it while pregnant or nursing but check with a doc if you are unsure.

      • Thanks! Also do you have any idea why it would cause a person to have nightmares? It happened to a friend.

        • I have never heard of that happening (until now).

  8. Can you sprinkle the collagen hydrolysate over foods (like a baked sweet potato) instead of mixing it in with a hot or cold drink?

      • Hi there,
        My husband has Hypoglycemia, and he NEEDS protein regularly to function. We are on a very strict budget….so He has a protein shake every morning, I make protein bars for him out of Whey protein powder and honey and peanut butter (allong with nuts and seeds etc…) I was wondering if you knew wether or not i could combine the great lakes collagen into my recipie, instead of using the whey powder?? or do you have any ideas on what i could use instead of cheap store bough protein powder?

  9. After reading your recipe for your vanilla latte I have begun adding collagen hydrolysate to coffee, chai, and hot cacao. I love the way it foams up nicely and emulsifies the fats so I don’t have a butter layer any more. Thanks for such a great and healthy tip.

  10. After much searching I came across Paleo Pro brand protein powder. I happen to really like it, though it’s pricey, one can’t put a price on better health.

  11. Is the Great Lakes Gelatin, Collagen Hydrolysate safe to take while nursing?
    Thank you

  12. Great post, Katie! I just wrote an email with a link to this post to a mom whose daughter is having significant health challenges.

    Just to elaborate on the co-factors found in all collagen to improve and maintain joints: it comes with chondrotin sulfate, glucosomine, and glycosaminoglycans.

  13. yes! I found one the helps me with recovery after my long runs. warrior blend – raw vegan protein… made by sunwarrior. it is a gluten free, soy free, dairy free product that has a complete amino aid profile. I add it to my smoothies, after my long runs my stomach cannot tolerate much, but I found I could tolerate this.

  14. Not clear on the logic of paying the extra for the whey protein from grass-fed cows. I always try to buy grass-fed dairy and beef for the higher Omega-3 content. But since there is no saturated fat in protein powder (at least none to speak of in Whey Protein Isolate) I’m confused why (other than for the humane treatment of the cows in question) it would be important to seek out your protein powder from grass-fed sources.

    • I’m wondering the same thing! Hoping Katie will answer. I’m all for grassfed meats and dairy but would love to know if it’s necessary to get grassfed protein powder if the fat isn’t present. I use whey protein concentrate though, not isolate. TIA!

      • There is some evidence that people are less likely to react to protein powder from a grass fed source since even the protein is structured slightly different, but I would agree that it is not as important as making sure fattier sources are grass fed.

  15. Just curious, how long does the container of power you buy last you?

    • The collagen hydrolysate powder lasts me a few weeks or a month (longer if I’m just using it myself or shorter if all 7 of us are using it)

      • what about Herbalife I take that?

  16. I use Juice Plus Complete. The PDCAAS of protein powder is the internationally accepted standard for protein quality. A perfect score is 1.0. Whey protein has a score of 1.0. Juice Plus Complete also has a score of 1.0 and is the only plant protein to ever achieve this rating. The benefit of this over whey is that whey can cause an inflammatory response.

  17. I use Arbonne’s protein shake mix, it delivers a complete amino acid score with pea, rice, and cranberry. I love it and my husband does too, makes yummy smoothies, recovery drink post workout, and a great meal replacement when needed in a busy day. I can’t have dairy so I like that it’s vegan. Also soy free, non-GMO and gluten free. I am a consultant for the company. I would love any feedback positive or negative on this type of protein source thanks!

  18. There’s some concern about Great Lakes products not being grass fed. I stopped using there products and now buy Bulletproof collagen instead. I’m not sure I trust Great Lakes anymore? Maybe you can do your own research and let us all know what you think?

    • I’ve been in contact with them, and supposedly they are working on changing their labeling and getting certified to reflect that their collagen comes from a grass fed source.

  19. I use PlantFusion protein powder, because milk products like whey aggravate my allergies. It’s vegan, dairy-free, dairy-free, and soy free. I love having a protein shake with the chocolate PlantFusion powder, a frozen banana, and coconut milk after a hard workout in the morning!

    I do agree that you have to pay close attention to what’s in your brand of protein powder, because some are not as healthy as they would seem!

  20. I use Juice Plus Complete and love it. It is plant based, minimally processed and all non-gmo. I feel a difference in my energy level when I slack off on making smoothies in the morning. It’s SO important that we be aware of the ingredients. Thank you for your post.

  21. I just ordered it. I can’t wait! I started the bulletproof coffee about 4 weeks ago and got off the non-dairy creamer. I knew they were not good for me but I love my coffee in the mornings. I already lost inches in my mid-section! My digestion has improved and mental clarity is sharper. Love the bulletproof coffee and Grass fed butter! This addition will make it even more nutritious. Thanks for the superb info!

  22. I use Plant Fusion Vanilla. Great taste, Vegan, plant based, dairy free and works great since discovering I have food allergies to milk, eggs etc…. Mixes great with Almond Milk and various vegetables and fruits for a quick meal replacement or post workout.

  23. A couple of weeks ago I bought the the Upgraded Collagen protein powder to hopefully help my families heath. Did I buy the wrong thing…….should I have bought the collagen hydrolysate?? Thanks

  24. I have only been using protein powder for about 2 months. I use the Jay Robb brand which is sweetened with Stevia. I have read great reviews on it. Is there a reason that this is not a good brand?

  25. Hi Katie!

    I love your site and all of the wonderful info, thank you!!! I have a question about hydrolyzed collagen encouraging cell reproduction. Is this beneficial or potentially harmful in the case of cancer? What I’m asking is, does this also encourage cancer cells to reproduce more rapidly? Thanks!

  26. I,ve been using True Whey brand protein powder in my morning breakfast shake most days. I mix it with organic canned coconut milk (diluted one to one), greens powder, ground flax, whole soaked flax seed, and 1/2 cup frozen berries. Should I re-think this?

    • It really just depends on how your body does with whey. Some people do ok with it, but some don’t.

  27. Being a vegetarian, I struggle in finding the right combo of proteins to meet my daily energy level. Recently, had blood work done, and not surprising, my protein was low. What can you suggest in a powder or food to help sustain protein in my eating habits ?

    • I haven’t found any other protein source that works as well as animal protein…so I’m not the best resource for this question.

    • I’m not a vegetarian and so choose meats for my main protein – my body does better with that. But for you I would suggest eggs, sprouted nuts and seeds (pumpkin seeds are very high in protein), kidney beans and whey protein concentrate. I also like Orgain drinks – they’re organic nutrition drinks with lots of protein (from whey) and other nutrients. My fave is chocolate. I don’t use them every day though because they do have some sugar, not a lot but I have to watch my intake. If you were vegan this would be much harder question to answer, but I think these foods may help you. Maybe not as completely as animal protein but should still help. 🙂

    • I use the Complete Protein Powder from Juice Plus. It tastes good, is whole foods and has made a difference for me! It’s also dairy-free, gluten-free and vegan.

  28. Hi Katie,

    I love your blog, thank you for all the wonderful information! I’m wondering if this would also cause cancer cells to reproduce more rapidly? Basically, is this helpful or harmful in the case of cancer? Thanks!

    • I’ve not been able to find a definitive answer to that. I would definitely check with an oncologist to be sure but it is the same gelatin that is found in bone broth and bone broth is often recommended to those who are ill.

  29. I use Arbonne Protein Powder! It’s amazing!! 20 grams of vegan protein per serving. Complete amino acids. Is non-GMO, vegan certified, no artificial colors or sweetners, non dairy, no soy and the taste is awesome even just mixed with water! AND Only $2 a serving! Meat has its place Katie but this protein powder cant be beat!! :-))

  30. Katie, I know you refer to Mark Sisson’s work quite often. What do you think about his protein powder, Primal Fuel?

  31. What is a brand of protein powder I can buy locally,and a collagen powder somewhere like Walmart or a whole foods store. On a fixed income most I have seen to order are expensive. Please help. Thanks

    • We don’t have a whole foods where we are but they might carry one, I’d ask someone. I don’t think Walmart would carry one but I don’t shop there so I don’t know for sure.

  32. We use Whey Natural USA, which we order online from the company. It is from pastured cows, is organic, and has 3 ingredients – whey, stevia and vanilla. We really like it a lot.

  33. HI Katie,

    What do you think of pasturized egg whites used to make “protein” shakes as a substitution for protein powders? – If you happen to be familiar with the topic.

    Thanks!

    Iris Milano

    • I’ve seen a lot of anecdotal information about the possibility of that creating more allergies to eggs, especially if gut health isnt ideal.

  34. I use pea protein, but not for extra. I have issues with proper digestion due to gallbladder problems (not stones), and cannot digest meats, fats, etc., well so must get my nutrients and protein elsewhere, but I am intrigued by your collagen. You say it digests well. I may give it a try. I take enzymes to help me digest and a liquid B vitamin as well as other supplements. With a plant-based diet energy level is always a concern, so I look for good protein sources that are easily digestible. The pea protein has helped a lot.

  35. I use pea protein. Whey and soy I’d never touch Pea protein is much easier on the digestive system.

  36. Hi! I seriously love your website and it is so helpful to me, but I do have a question about a protein powder. My sister recently bought Green Protein Alchemy by HealthForce Superfoods. The packaging claims it is raw, vegan and gluten free, but I am hesitant to put anything with an “enzyme concentrate,” into my body when I don’t fully understand how all the components work. What is your view on this particular protein powder?

  37. Protein powder has become part of my life the past week as I work toward losing belly fat strength training requires boosting the amount of protein in my diet so far I’ve lost 2 lb and already see tone in my arms!

    But the quality is major we always need to read labels and know what we are putting into our bodies.

  38. My Chiropractic which is a “Whole Body Health” office recommends “Dream Protein”
    Any comments good or bad about that brand?

  39. I have been using Orgain protein powder for my morning shake with fruit, spinach, flax oil and chia seeds.

  40. Is it safe to take it while pregnant?

    • It is a pretty good brand if dairy is tolerated, but many people still don’t do well with it

  41. I apologize if you have addressed this already but what is your stance on Hemp Protein powder. Tropical traditions has an organic one …But Hemp in general..any feelings about it?

  42. Katie, What is your recommendation for the amount of powder to give children. From 18 months to 16? Thanks.

  43. Katie..
    Thanks so much for all your awesome ideas and information!
    Have you looked in to shakeology at all? If so, what’s your opinion?
    Thanks!!

    • Following too

      • I am also wondering what your thought on Shakeology is?
        A friend of mine sells it but I question if it’s something worth investing in for use on top of an already healthy diet?

        • I’d love to hear your thoughts on shakology also…

  44. Katie, have you looked at the pure paleo protein powder? It is made with hydro beef and looks good initially, but it contains caramel color (from what?). What are your thought on it? I eat aip and dr. C recommended this one but it has stevia which is a no no on aip.

    • I’ve seen it but I don’t think it would be AIP friendly. I will try to find out where the caramel color is from but it might not be the best option for AIP. You could maybe make your own with collagen powder and AIP safe add ins?

      • Thanks Katie. I know the stevia isn’t aip and caramel color is always something I stay away from, but thought I would get your thoughts on it. I tried to find out how to buy the hydro beef itself, but it’s hard to get your hands in! If you ever hear of how the average consumer can get it please let me know! My daughter has special needs and only eats purees, soI think it would be another great way to get her protein in! She and I get gelatin daily but you have to use a lot to get a good amount of protein. Thanks!

  45. Try Vital Proteins collagen, I like it much better than Great Lakes. Also, I’m giving Naked Whey a whirl. It’s supposedly low-heat, non-acid, and non-bleached processed whey from grass-fed California cows. Might be a good option for some people.

  46. I started using Hemp protein poder earlier this year. My husband did the P90X Workout and he was asking for a protein powder and i did the research and Hemp is one incredible plant. We’ve been using it daily since and both love the benefits of it, and it doesn’t bulk you up (it was my husbands main concern). Especially after working out in a green Smoothie, yummy!!! I love it because Nature provides all the benefits in one plant – protein, fiber. amino acids, omega 3…. Nutiva has a great deal on Amazon 😉

    Katie, thanks for your page, i have changed so many things in our life’s and all for the better!

  47. What’s your thoughts on shakeology? Tons of super foods and vitamins in it..is it worth it?

    • It has added fructose, which is a big red flag for me, and also has some ingredients that make it questionable for pregnancy and nursing. I’ve never tried it personally, but looking at the price, it seems that there are other brands that would be a better value

  48. Love your site! I would like to try the bulletproof coffee but I’m considering adding some protein via protein powder to it. Any suggestions on the protein powder and also has this been done and was it any good?

  49. Hi Katie,

    What is your opinion on Orgain protein powder to drink after exercising. I tried it today and really liked it. I eat whole food meals already and make smoothies with greens and fruits, almond butter, etc and thought I would add this in as well. Do you think it’s a good one and safe/healthy?

    Thank so much 🙂

  50. I’ve been using Great Lakes Collagen Hydrolysate for over a year now. However, I just came across some scientific research which classifies glutamate as an excitotoxin–which means it kills brain cells. Both sugar and glutamate are also what fuel cancer cells. All collagen hydrolysates are high in glutamic acid. Just wondering your thoughts on this and if you’re concerned? I’m stopping using it today.

  51. I don’t use it specifically for a “protein” powder but more as an overall nutritional supplement, Vegan or Whey Shakeology is my go to and I love it!

  52. When I started training I decided to eliminate all processed food from my diet, Keeping my protein source strictly from eggs and chicken. I also decided to not only focus on nutrients but vitamins and minerals from food sources. I feel I get insane results through my research and not relying on supplements. My skin and hair look extremely healthy and I feel amazing. I don’t think the protein powders in my budget are at all healthy as the artificial sweeners are terrible. And after following a supplement company owner who states that food is everything and supplements are just supplements. My landlord spends insane money on this stuff and I personally haven’t seen mind blowing resulting and I personally think it’s because he is supplimenting more then eating real food, because these companies will have you believe it’s better. I was forced to eat plain rice, chicken and eggs for a while due to financial problems and that is when I started really looking decent, I would build muscle while loosing fat. I’m not saying they don’t work but if you are not a professional 130 kg bodybuilder. I don’t think the shakes are necessary, but if you want to flavour plain yogurt for dessert, I could think nothing better. Thanks nice read.

  53. Hi Wellness Mama,

    Curious your thoughts on beef protein powders (like Musclemeds Carnivor or Betancourt Nutrition’s The Beef Standard). I want to get the nutrients of beef but obviously can’t be eating steak for breakfast lunch and dinner! Thanks!

  54. Hi Katie, I have just purchased some protein powders and also purchased collagen hydrolysate and now I am concerned about how to use them. I would like to use the collagen daily, but is there any health concerns if I used the protein powder too? What would be the best way to incorporate both in a daily diet?

  55. I use Raw Protein by Garden of life, and I really like it! I recently have become vegetarian and was wondering what suggestions you have for protein sources for people who do not prefer meat? Also, I’m looking for a good almond or coconut milk without additives or sketchy ingredients to use in my protein shakes but it’s so hard to find one that I feel good about! Any suggestions?

  56. I use Professional Whey from Australia. They have a number of different products and I actually prefer the NZ Whey. Tastes great, blends well in water and has never cause tummy troubles like some you can buy.

  57. I currently use “CytoSport Natural Muscle Milk Vanilla Creme” which is a blend of proteins, and I like it. I will likely switch to either Naked Way or Source Organics for my next purchase. I prefer no sweeteners at all, so I use the search filter “No artificial Sweeteners” at Amazon, because hey I have “Amazon Prime” and I use the hell out of it. Though I appreciate the Cyto Sport approach offering added elements such as creatine, glutamine, etc, I prefer to add my own and I currently add Ornithine powder to my shakes for enhanced muscle building, mostly because I am an old duffer.

    Since I can add literally any number of things to style my shakes, I wish to go to the grass fed, nothing added products and “Naked Way” and “Source Organics” look very good to me at this time. I use Raw milk, easily available in Pennsylvania as my base, because it still contains the original enzymes and the proteins have not been boiled away. Also there is no pus and I deal with the farmer who answers to me not some corporation. I credit “Raw Milk” for keeping me influenza and Vaccine free. Aside from my diabetes, I have no other health issues and I never get colds or flu.

    If anyone has tried these protein powders please comment.

  58. Do you feel that protein powder is safe for children 5 and older?

  59. I use the Vital Proteins that I thought Wellness Mama used and recommended from happy grassf S cows in New Zealand. Now I’m confused as to why this other brand is recommended in this article. Hmmm….

  60. I’ve found that I tolerate collagen better so I use it in my coffee every morning and have really noticed a difference in my health (it’s great for your joints, hair, skin and nails too!)

  61. what protein shake do you recommend for a vegetarian? thanks-

  62. This is such a great post….. I searched your site for protein powder because I have been concerned with them as well, and since I am eating super clean and on a GI detox right now, mostly sipping bone broth and fulvic & humic super concentrate/with water mix with some herbs…. and clean food, I just had a smoothie made with Isagenix protein powder, almond milk, frozen blueberries and vital protein collagen powder (I see you use the same one I do) and my stomach cramped up bad, I have not had that in a long time… I read ingredients on the protein powder from Isagenix and I gasped.! I am going to try the protein powder you found Tera’s Whey Grass Fed Organic Whey Protein, Coffee, 12 Ounce, when I clicked on your link, it was out of stock on amazon, so I requested an email notification when it comes back in inventory…. Thanks for all your research! You are on a great road, one I am on as well… great to have you to compare notes with and learn from…. HUGS! Sheri

  63. I heard Dr. Christiansen mention that collagen powders contain lead (and maybe other metals?). I think he said he doesn’t recommend them because of that… Could you elaborate on this? I have been taking Vital Protein for over a year so this is concerning to me…

  64. I’ve been drinking Garden of Life Raw Meal (Vanilla Chai- yumm). I’ve tried several other high end and whole food organic supps and kept getting digestive problems, or didn’t have any noticeable changes, or gave me horrible migraines! This Raw Meal stuff has been great! I have much more sustained energy and mental alertness. I honestly think it gave me something I was lacking in even though I follow a semi-raw, organic, GFDF, MSGF and balanced way of eating.

  65. Hello,

    Katie, your research baggage is impressive and I will try to start adding gelatin as soon as I find some locally (shipping costs to The Netherlands or France are pretty high of the links you have provided).
    Could you have a look at the composition of this particular protein powder and give me your honest advice on whether it would be a good one to add to a smoothie if I have not been able to add protein to a breakfast one day.

    A protein powder that is: Organic, Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Soy Free, Hypo-Allergenic, and Non-GMO, containing :
    – fermented sprouted brown rice,
    – organic vanilla flavor,
    – organic guar gum,
    – sea salt,
    – organic stevia extract,
    – organic whole ground coconut,
    – Xanthan (a natural stabilizer and thickener),
    – Oligodextrin (a complex carbohydrate that also acts as a stabilizer and thickener),
    – Xanthan and oligodextrin (derived as a result of the fermentation of brown rice),
    – Pectin (a soluble dietary fiber found in apples and other fruits).

    Kindly

    Patricia

    • I’m not a huge fan of rice protein personally, but the ingredients are pretty clean. Has a lot of stabilizers though (guar gum, xantham, etc)

  66. Thanks for the helpful information and tips. I have been doing some research on protein powders because I have read different things. Do you have any thoughts about Isagenix?

  67. I went on the Vital Proteins site and see there’s gelatins or peptides but not Hydrolyzed Collagen. Can you pin point which one it is you use?

    • To mix into drinks, I use the collagen peptides. For things that need to gel, I use the gelatin.

  68. This is a great list! I’m a registered nurse and a full time personal trainer & personal training studio owner. I’m pretty shredded at 5’8″ and about 170 pounds with a body fat under 10%. However, I find it hard to gain weight, mainly because I’m super active and really don’t eat as much food as I need to (fast metabolism). I’ve tried to bulk up to 180 pounds but it was SO HARD! I sort of got there but it was hard to maintain eating that much and I was doing roughly 3 shakes a day (each roughly 1,200 calories), while eating regular meals. The weight gainers I was taking tasted good, but I know it has a lot of empty calories, fillers and junk as well.

    So my plan is to switch to one of the above protein powders ( but may go with ProMix Grass-Fed Whey Protein). I plan on adding my own things like nuts and oats to get cleaner and more calories (since my goal is weight/muscle gain).

    I think it’s great that you mentioned make sure to watch out for those sweeteners because it’s one thing these companies are famous for doing while distracting you by saying “low carbs.” Thanks for sharing this!

  69. Have you looked into Naked Whey?
    I use them.!

  70. Hi Katie,
    Thank you for sharing your ways on your blog.
    I recently visited a dietitian and she recommended Designs For Health Pure Palio Protein. I selected the unflavored and unsweetened one since I don’t like the taste of artificial sweeteners.
    I tried it in a treat I make with frozen banana, cocoa, coconut milk, sun butter and ice in my Vitamix. However, it didn’t mix well and kind of glummed up. The container says for best results liquid should be at room temperature.
    But I don’t know to do with it! I suppose I could just try it in water but that doesn’t sound very appetizing.
    Do you or your readers have any suggestions?
    Thanks so much,
    Melissa