4 Dangerous Ingredients To Watch Out For in Protein Powders

I generally recommend eating a whole food based diet vs supplementing with isolated nutrients. However, there are times when we need to supplement.

Protein powder is a supplement that has been used by bodybuilders and people simply looking to stay in shape; it is used to maximize the effects of their workouts and to build the muscle that they need to burn excess calories and to maintain a steady weight.

My husband has a hard work out routine. His body appreciates the whey protein with amino acids to help his body recover faster from a workout. When my boys play soccer or my daughter practices her dancing, they need to replenish their nutrients fast in a way that doesn’t strain their stomach.  Whether they get their protein from whey or plant protein source, what they consume helps them build healthy muscles and replenish their energy after exercise.

If you’re an athlete at any level, or someone serious about enhancing your nutrition and overall performance, you owe it to your health to look for a clean source of protein powder.

Protein powders are easy and quick to prepare.  I like to mix one spoon full of protein powder with coconut water and blend it in a blender or mixer.

It can be very confusing to know which protein powder to choose when there are so many choices of protein powder in the market.

Many protein powder products are on the market, but they often contain substances that make them inconsistent with gluten-free and vegan diets. So many of the protein powders on the market are full of questionable ingredients. Unfortunately, 95% of commercial protein powders have toxic ingredients that could be slowly inflaming your body and depleting your cellular nutritional stores.

While there are many different protein sources only a few are of high quality. Most commercial protein powders use inferior protein sources and fill their products with artificial sweeteners and preservatives that are highly toxic.

I want to share with you the 4 dangerous food ingredients that should be avoided in protein powders.

#1: GMOs

Genetically Modified (GM) or genetically engineered (GE) foods is the result of a laboratory process of taking genes from one species and inserting them into another in an attempt to obtain a desired trait or characteristic in order to create a specific effect (such as pesticide resistant corn etc).

The two main traits that have been added to date are herbicide tolerance and the ability of the plant to produce its own pesticide. These are GE crops commercially sold in the United States: soybeans, corn, canola, cotton, sugar beets, papaya, alfalfa, summer squash. Recently apples that resist browning and potatoes were both given the green light from the FDA to the GMO list.

Because so many processed foods contain some version of corn or soy (i.e soy protein isolate), it’s estimated that 80% of processed foods in America contain genetically engineered material according to Non Gmo Project.

The use of Roundup and Roundup Ready GMO crops has given rise to pesticide-resistant superweeds, which could subsequently require even more pesticides.

The current protocol for testing the harmful effects of these GMO crops is less than ideal. Companies that create GE foods do the tests that the FDA suggests and then analyze the results. In order to avoid conflict of interest, there should be third party independent risk assessment of that data.

Animal studies have shown GMO foods cause infertility, accelerated aging, dysfunctional insulin regulation, changes in major organs and the gastrointestinal system, and immune problems such as asthma, allergies, and inflammation. Farmers have found GMOs cause the death of livestock.

#2: Brown Rice

Rice protein products sold as health food are contaminated with toxic heavy metals. Brown rice in particular is contaminated with toxic lead, cadmium and tungsten.

In many places of the world, soil has been contaminated with arsenic as a result of arsenic-containing pesticides and fertilizers. And because rice grows in water-saturated soil, it absorbs about 10 times more arsenic than other grains.

Brown rice contains 80% more arsenic on average than white rice because arsenic accumulates in the grains outer layer which is removed to make the white rice. Brown rice in particular is contaminated with toxic lead, cadmium and tungsten.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has yet to put limits on arsenic levels in rice. But the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set a limit of 10 parts per billion (ppb) as the threshold for arsenic in drinking water. It is the equivalent of 10 drops of water in a swimming pool.

According to Sonya Lunder, senior analyst at the Environmental Working Group (EWG), Just because arsenic concentrations in food are in parts-per-billion range doesn’t mean they are safe”. She goes on saying “frequent consumption of rice based processed foods can increase your risk of cancer and other disease.”

Mike Adams from Natural News has been conducting extensive research using atomic spectroscopy instrumentation at Natural News Forensic Food Labs to expose toxic heavy metals in this popular product.

#3: Whey Isolate

Animal protein that comes from animals raised in conventional factory farms are extraordinarily toxic. These animals are pumped full of dangerous hormones and antibiotics while eating genetically modified, pesticide laden grains. This combination causes massive amounts of toxic bioaccumulation within the animal tissue and animal byproducts.

Whey isolate is derived from pasteurized dairy and heat processed therefore causing it to be acidic.

The fat is removed which in turn removes important components of whey’s healthful properties such as phospholipids, phosphatidylserine and cortisol.

Lacks glutamine and cysteine (IgG Immunoglubullins) because there is no fat to be bound to.

Isolate form is hard for the body to assimilate. They contain long-chain fatty acids which are hard to digest.

Animals raised naturally on organic, free-range pastures that feed on grass and seeds are very healthy. Therefore these grass-fed animal sources are very healthy forms of protein. However, manufacturers most often process these protein sources at high temperatures. This processing highly denatures the amino acids. Denatured amino acids are acidic, inflammatory, and micro-nutrient deficient. This is a hazardous product to consume.

Non-denatured, grass-fed whey protein concentrate (not isolate) from organic pastures is the highest quality protein source for most individuals. This form of whey protein contains beta-glucans, lactoferrins, & immunoglobulins that enhance immune function. Additionally, non-denatured whey contains all the branch chain amino acids and optimal ratios of essential amino acids. Finally, non-denatured whey protein is one of the best food sources for boosting cellular anti-oxidants such as glutathione.

The right kind of whey should be in concentrate (not isolate) form which source is grass fed/grass finished on pastures, GMO free and cold pressed.

#4: Inflammatory Ingredients

The following ingredients are highly inflammatory:

  • Corn
  • Soy
  • Wheat
  • Agave
  • Refined Sugar
  • Peanut
  • GMO 
  • Gluten

BareFood Angel’s Closing Words

It took me months to research the brands to find the ones that meet BareFood Angel’s guidelines. As you can imagine, it took reading tons of the labels carefully, making sure that it doesn’t include questionable or inflammatory ingredients, making sure that it included nutrient dense ingredients sourced and processed properly and sustainably and finally making sure it passes the taste test.

Here are the cleanest products I have found that is sustainably sourced and free of heavy metals, corn, soy, wheat, refined sugar, peanut, GMOs, and gluten.

You may purchase them from a health food store near you or order online *.

If ordering online, follow these steps:

  1. Add all the products to cart (don’t worry, you can delete what you don’t want)
  2. Choose which products you want and delete the ones you don’t
  3. Enter (or replace) the following QKB011 rewards code, hit the apply button. then continue.

Taste Test:

Taste is a matter of preference. As a family, we like Dr. Mercola’s brand. For a vegan option, Vega One tastes great.


I wish you to be empowered to choose foods that are not only nourishing for your body but don’t have inflammatory ingredients.

As always, let me know how this article helped you and I’d love your feedback on which protein powder you liked.

*To help my customers shop my recommended brands, I have set up an account with the following company.

Your cost will be the same.

I earn a small commission if you use the links in this article to purchase the products I mentioned. I only recommend products I would use myself or that pass my test. Your purchase helps support this site and my ongoing research.

New customers will save $10 on purchase of $40 or more or $5 if the order is less than $40.00. Free shipping for order over $20.

To Your Health,

About Caroline

My vision is to empower you to achieve your optimal health and lead a healthy life through awareness and education. It is to bring you simple, delicious, nutritionally dense foods and easy recipes that support the wellness of your mind, body and soul. My goal is to teach the effective principles and practices of our ancestors in a modern context forliving a vibrant life.



2 responses to “4 Dangerous Ingredients To Watch Out For In Protein Powders”

  1. Ginette Spearman says:

    My husband and I are in our 70s
    8 weeks ago we were introduced to a protein powder IronVegan made in BC Canada. It is a powder made up of sprouted brown rice, sprouted amaranth, sprouted quinoa, sprouted millet and sprouted pumpkin seeds.
    After diligently taking it for a month I felt much more energy but as well woke up every morning congested with mucus in my oral cavity, my nasal cavity, my throat. I found myself waking up in the very early morning sneezing, nose running and itchy. It was most uncomfortable.
    Since I had never had the problem, I quickly gave it up to stop the problem.
    Then reintroduced to my body 7 days later to reinstate it to its full capacity.
    So I therefore gave it up and took a hemp powder instead
    Even that product caused me the same symptoms
    My husband is hacking abnormally and I have stopped making this drink for him
    I will look into the list you have at the end of this article I just read published by yourself
    I would certainly appreciate your opinion
    I am gluten sensitive, I have hemochromotosis.
    My last blood work in August 2016 was disappointing with
    High triglycerides and cholesterol ( just slightly above ). No meds
    High ferritin 400
    High mercury 22

  2. Caroline says:

    Hello Ginette, Sounds like you are a conscious consumer. I am not sure what is causing the mucous congestion. It could be a number of of things. Except for the brown rice (arsenic issue see my post of rice) and a couple of other questionable ingredients (depending on which product and flavor you were consuming), it is hard to pinpoint if any of those could be causing your symptoms. It is hard to diagnose a situation like this. I don’t know your lifestyle. I don’t know where you live and how you live etc. Wish I was open to taking on clients. However, I am not offering that service for now due to my focus on my online program.
    Try products from the list that I recommend. Buy in small quantities and see how each one makes you feel after you give each one a try, then taking a break before trying the next one.
    Keep on being aware of how food and other things are making you feel. Your body will give you clues. Keep me posted.
    Best wishes,
    Caroline your BareFood Angel

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