The Problem with Protein Powders and Why You Should Avoid Them

Protein Powders – Marketing without Medical Researchprotein shake

Protein powders have been marketed as a  dietary supplement for many years, and promoted to bodybuilders and athletes as a way to increase muscle mass and get a competitive advantage.  They are also marketed to those who wish to manage their weight as a meal replacement alternative.

Protein powders are thought of as a health food.

But there are compelling reasons why you should be avoiding these products and getting the protein you need from food sources… yes, even if you’re an athlete.

Many vegetables and legumes,  leafy green veggies, beans and seeds, are protein-rich and provide enough protein for muscle growth.  Fish is  a good source with good fats that can be added a few times a week.

IGF-1 and Your Body

Insulin-like growth factor (IGF) is responsible for the activity of growth hormones, and is similar in chemical structure to insulin.  IGF I and II play a role in uterine and placental growth and early fetal growth during pregnancy.  When we eat animal protein, our body increases its production of IGF-1.

In childhood we need IGF-1  to hep us grow, but in adults IGF-1 actually speeds up the aging process.  It has also been shown to promote other growth, like the  proliferation and spread of cancer cells.  High levels of IGF-1 are actually linked to a higher risk of several cancers, like breast, lung, prostate and colon cancer.

          – – You can read a summary of a study funded by the NIH here: The insulin-like growth factor system and cancer.

An article written by Dr. Joel Fuhrman states:

“Unnaturally concentrated, “isolated” soy protein, such as that found in protein powders and meat substitutes, are particularly problematic. The essential amino acid profile of soy is the most “complete,” plant protein, meaning the closest to animal protein, as it is the amino acid profile of animal protein that sparks IGF-1 production.6 It is when soy is processed and concentrated as “isolated” soy protein, that it can have similar negative hormonal effects to animal proteins, which does not occur with more natural forms of soy such as tofu, tempeh and soybeans. Obviously, whey and casein based protein powders are strongly IGF-1 promoting…
For those that insist on using isolated protein powders, hemp, rice and pea proteins are better choices than soy protein, since their amino acid proficheeseles are not as close to that of animal protein.” 1

This is the reason that Dairy Foods should be avoided by anyone who has had cancer, or is at risk for developing cancer.  It was a little struggle to give up dairy foods, but I was not going to let my taste-buds dictate my health, something we do daily.  I have grown to like rice and almond cheeses and milk, and now find dairy unattractive in all its forms.

~ To Your Health!
Joel Fuhrman M.D. is a board-certified family physician, NY Times best-selling author and nutritional researcher who specializes in preventing and reversing disease through nutritional and natural methods

4 thoughts on “The Problem with Protein Powders and Why You Should Avoid Them

    1. I can now count the number of cans we open a week on one hand, and I don’t visit the Deli counter EVER, and the only ready made meals I buy are the healthiest, simplest ingredient ones I can find so occasionally my son has an afternoon quick snack he can make when I’m not home.

      1. That’s wonderful. It’s important for them to learn eating healthy when they are young. BTW, I don’t visit Deli at all.

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