Our culture is obsessed with getting enough protein.
And for good reason! Proteins are the building blocks of the human body. Every cell in our body contains protein. It’s a necessity in helping your body repair cells and make new ones.
When our founder, Alden, was researching protein sources, he tested every available option.
As you learned in the last blog, we chose a blend of vegan proteins very carefully.During the process of experimentation Alden also learned the benefits and drawbacks of each of the most popular protein alternatives.
Here’s our insight into why we chose NOT to use these well-known options:
Protein has become synonymous with meat. Steak, burgers, pork, chicken fingers. This traditional way of getting protein is the cornerstone of our modern American diet.
There are some benefits to eating meat for protein. It is a complete protein and contains all 9 of the essential amino acids. Meat also doesn’t contain common allergens.
While many people choose not to eat meat based on philosophical objection to the meat industry or the treatment of animals, others may want to consider an alternative as well.
Meat is not very nutrient dense. Only 20% of meat is usable protein by weight, meaning you have to eat a lot of it in order to give your body what it needs. Meat eaters consume a significant number of calories along with the protein.
Although there are many studies showing different reasons, meat has been shown to promote colon cancer and other types of cancers. The movement towards organic and grass fed beef doesn’t guarantee protection from high levels of antibiotics, pesticides, hormones, and the risk of E. coli contamination. Not to mention high levels of saturated fat.
While this is a good source of protein for some, it doesn’t work for everyone.
As protein powders and supplemented foods have become popular, whey protein has become equally prominent. That is because unlike meat it is easy for our bodies to absorb and put to use.
Unfortunately, it’s also highly allergenic. The main protein fractions in whey (beta-lactoglobulin, alpha-lactalbumin, and bovine serum albumin) are all highly allergenic. Also whey can have much more cholesterol than is recommended.
Even if you don’t have an allergy to whey itself. It can cause discomfort and inflammation in many people. If you’ve ever suffered from feeling bloated, having excess phlegm, feeling gassy or itchy after eating dairy you may want to avoid whey protein.
Soy protein has also been a popular but controversial alternative. While soy was often touted as one of the original “health foods”, it is also extremely high in allergens. For those who don’t have a current soy allergy, it’s worth mentioning that the more soy protein you eat, the more likely you are to develop allergies to it — and the more severe those allergies are likely to become.
Soy has also been proven to block the absorption of important minerals such as calcium contains high levels of phytoestrogens, which can be counter-productive in large amounts, particularly for children.
In addition, although its easy for your body to absorb, its net protein isn’t very high. So the bang for your buck factor is fairly low. Especially given the health risks associated with soy. Since most soy protein is not fermented, it can create significant amounts of gas.
When looking for the best protein source for your smoothies, shakes, and bars – consider the healthiest option for your unique body.