Protein Powder

Fact VS Fiction

Today I’m going to look at two common concerns people have when selecting the best protein powder for themselves. As you’ll see, the solutions are relatively easy.

Plus we’ll examine a common myth about protein powder that has been floating around the Internet for some time now.

What is protein powder?

Protein powder, like the name suggests, is protein in powdered form. There are different types of protein powder such as soy, whey and vegetable to name a few. 

For the purpose of this discussion, I will be looking exclusively at soy protein. Soy protein is available in two forms: concentrate and protein isolates.

Protein concentrate is a “concentration” of protein, but other elements such as carbohydrates and fiber are also present.  

Protein isolate is made in a similar way to protein concentrate except that the non-protein items (such as carbohydrates and fiber) are also removed. 

Because it’s not as pure, concentrate is more economical than protein isolate but isolate is the best choice. Percentages may vary but concentrate is generally about 70 percent protein as opposed to isolate, which is typically 90% protein or more.

How do people take protein powder?

A popular way is to mix protein powder into a shake. You can also use protein powder as an ingredient in pancakes, muffins and cookies etc. I have a ton of protein powder recipes that I’m happy to deliver to you during a HealthPrint Assessment.  

How does protein powder benefit the body?

Many people start out their day with a protein shake. This gives you an immediate source of protein and fires up your endocrine system (the collection of glands that produce hormones that regulate metabolism, growth and development, tissue function, sexual function, reproduction, sleep, and mood, among other things).

Because protein helps balance your blood sugar it can also aid in healthy weight loss and as a tool to maintain your weight. Many people experience reduced cravings throughout the day.

A 2013 study by researchers at the University of Missouri found that eating lots of protein at breakfast can reduce mindless snacking and help control appetite throughout the day. The women who participated in the study found that they were fuller throughout the day and tended to eat smaller meals at night and fewer nighttime snacks.

An Iowa State University study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology found that post-exercise protein supplements were shown to decrease muscle soreness.  Protein strengthens the muscle fibers, which on top of other benefits, lessens the risk of injury.

Now let’s look at the benefits of your protein coming from soy. Soy beans are one of the few plant protein sources that offer all nine essential amino acids. Soy protein may help improve the body’s immune function and promote bone health. The amino acids aid in muscle repair, red cell production, maintenance of your hair, fingernails and skin, and supports the immune system. Some studies have shown that soy may also help prevent cardiovascular disease and reduce the risk of certain cancers.

In four recently published studies, results show that post-diagnoses soy intake improves the prognosis in women who have had breast cancer. The American Cancer Society states that breast cancer patients can safely consume up to 3 servings of traditional soy foods daily.

New research indicates that iron absorption from soy may be much higher than previously thought because the majority of iron in soy is in the form of ferritin, which recent research has shown is highly bioavailable.

Now over the years, what we’ve found is there are still a lot of people who still believe many unsubstantiated old soy myths.  So why does soy still get such a bad rap?  Search the word “soy” on the Internet, and you’ll still find a lot of controversy. Hidden behind the negative headlines, however, are a massive and growing number of scientific studies pointing out that soy is, indeed, safe. Not only is it safe to consume, but it’s good for your health.

Let me separate fact from fallacy with a few disease-specific questions and answers about soy.

Question #1… “Where do all the negative soy myths come from?” 

First, all the negatives surrounding soy come from decades of excessive dosage studies which date back to the 1950’s and the real problem with the studies is that they were preformed on rats, not humans.  In these studies, the amount of the daily intake of soy was 16 to 20 servings based on the rats body weight compared to the normal amount consumed in Asian diets.  So, low and behold, we had some negative side effects.  No different then drinking 2 cups of coffee a days is considered good for you but 40 cups of coffee is considered bad for you and no doubt would cause some pretty severe side effects.

Question #2…  “What is the relationship between soy and breast cancer? Is there cause for concern about soy’s phytoestrogens and their “estrogenic” effects?”

The relationship between soy and breast cancer as well as other estrogen-related cancers has been questioned because soy contains “phyto-estrogens” otherwise known as plant estrogens. Isoflavones, which are soy’s phytoestrogens, do have a chemical structure that looks a bit like the human hormone estrogen.

Since high levels of estrogen may promote the development and growth of breast cancer, many experts have worried that eating a lot of soy foods might increase the risk or metastatic growth of breast cancer. However, phyto-estrogens are not the same as human estrogen. It’s thought that the positive and protective effects of phytoestrogens on health may be because of this “same-but-different” quality: they may mimic the actions of estrogen in that they bind to estrogen receptors and acting as an antagonist of estrogen.

Furthermore, for women with a genetic risk of breast cancer, research shows how the phytoestrogens in soy may be preventing tumors by turning “on” women’s BRCA gene, which is a tumor-suppressing caretaker.

The BRCA genes are responsible for DNA repair and act against the development of certain types of breast cancer. When the BRCA genes are turned “off,” cancer risk increases… and there is higher potential for tumor growth.

Again, phytoestrogens in soy may be preventing tumors by turning “on” women’s BRCA gene to suppress tumor growth. A 2012 study published in the Journal of Integrative Biology, shows that adding soy (the equivalent to 1 cup of soybeans) flipped the switch and turned back “on” the BRCA protection that had been turned off by the cancer, therefore suppressing cancer cell growth. This is the complete opposite of the belief that soy causes cancer growth.

And, this study associated longer lifespans for breast cancer survivors who ate soy foods.

In 2009, the Life After Cancer Epidemiology study followed 1,954 US women to track reoccurrence of breast cancer, and it found a trend for reduced risk of breast cancer recurrence with soy isoflavones vs. no consumption of soy foods.

The study also found a 60% reduction in recurrence when comparing those who consumed the most of the soy isoflavone diad-zein versus those who consumed the least. And… The American Center for Cancer Research states eating moderate amounts of soy foods does NOT increase a breast cancer survivor’s risk of recurrence or death.

In fact, in four recently published studies, results show that post-diagnosis soy intake improves the prognosis in women who have had breast cancer.

A new study published in the 2017 edition of Cancer found soy to be a life-saver when it comes to breast cancer survivors. The scientists followed a multi-ethnic group of over 6,000 women with breast cancer for more than nine years. They found that the group who consumed the most soy isoflavones had 21% fewer deaths from all causes compared with those who consumed the lowest amount of soy isoflavones.

Now pay attention… to date, not a single study of women with a history of breast cancer… pre- and post-menopausal… and with a moderate two to three servings of soy consumption a day has found negative effects. That’s pretty astounding considering all the false rumors.

Question #3… “Does soy affect the risk of prostate cancer? Does it exert estrogen-like or feminizing effects in men?”

I know many guys believe eating soy will turn them into women or some other mutant form! I’m about to put all the fake news to rest with some science dating back quit some time. The science has been there, we just haven’t been listening.

Back in 2003, a study out of University of California at San Francisco found a reduced risk of prostate cancer with increased use of soy foods and isoflavones.

Other studies have shown that moderate soy intake may lower PSA or prostate-specific antigens, reducing the risk of Prostate cancer. Epidemiologic evidence suggests that men who eat soyfoods daily are less likely to develop prostate cancer than those who do not.

The FDA has approved the health claims that soy protein may reduce the risk of heart disease, directly lowers blood cholesterol levels, modestly elevates HDL and decreases triglyceride levels, along with other significant health benefits.  

To date, no studies have shown effects on circulating reproductive hormone levels in men or women… And, here is the biggie that all the guys believe…but…there is no clinical evidence that suggests soy protein lowers serum testosterone levels or exerts ANY estrogen-like or feminizing effects in men.  That one there is one of the biggest fabricated rumors that has all men freaked out.  It is completely false!

Do you have any more questions about protein powder? Do you want to know what to look for in choosing the best protein powder for you and your family?

Question #4

“Is the soy protein I’m buying genetically modified?”

Because soy is often genetically modified, there is some concern that the soy protein powder is genetically modified.

What’s the solution? It’s a pretty simple, common sense solution. Only invest in soy protein made from soy that is not genetically-modified. We only carry and recommend the highest quality protein sources on the market, free of contaminants and 100% guaranteed for purity, potency and performance. (Warning – over the counter protein products can be extremely dangerous due to the contamination of high level of lead, arsenic, mercury and cadmium.)

Question #5

“How do I find a protein powder without unwelcomed ingredients?”

It’s true that some protein powders are loaded with unhealthy ingredients such as artificial coloring, saccharin and aspartame. Some protein powders have even been discovered to contain metal fillings and chemicals. Manufacturers do this to lower the cost of their product.

What is the solution? Only buy protein from a nutrition company with a solid reputation for being committed to optimal health for their customers. Also look for companies that do rigorous testing to ensure the products they offer to the public have a purity level second to none. We’ve done our homework for you and we have only found one that fits this criteria.

Protein Powder Myth

The myth is that protein powder is not good for your kidneys. You may have read about this on the Internet. There are no studies that link the use of soy protein to kidney disease. Not one. Mark Tarnopolsky, M.D., Ph.D., who studies exercise and nutrition at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada says this about protein, “Taking in more than the recommended dose won’t confer more benefit. It won’t hurt you, but you’ll just burn it off as extra energy.”  

That said, the key to most everything in life is moderation.

All this leads to the question…

How much protein do you need per day?

There is a great debate, especially in the athletic world, about how much protein you require per day. There are two schools of thought when it comes to determining how much protein one should consume each day:

It’s generally accepted that 30% of your total calories should come from protein. If you consume 2,400 calories each day, 30% of 2,400 equals 720 calories. One gram of protein equals four calories. So to figure out how much protein you need, you would divide 720 calories by four which means, if you eat 2,400 calories you would require 180 grams of protein a day.

Are you interested in learning more about what protein powder can do for you and your family and what’s the right amount of protein for you? Then click here to schedule your free consultation.