If you’ve ever gone shopping for protein powder, there’s a good chance you felt overwhelmed by all the options.
Whey, soy, pea, collagen, egg, rice….how are you supposed to know which one is the best? To make your choice even more complicated, you’ll also see different forms of protein, like concentrates, isolates, or hydrolysates. What does it all mean? You shouldn’t need a chemistry degree just to pick out a protein powder! However, you should be aware of what all these terms mean.
The quest for the perfect protein powder that would also support gut cleansing was honestly not easy. I tried dozens of powders looking for the right combination of ingredients that would support a happy gut, with the best flavor profile to make it ultra-nutritious and delicious at the same time. And most of them failed miserably.
That’s why today I’m taking you through the ins and outs of protein powder, the hidden side effects of the protein powder on your shelf, and why pea protein is my favorite of them all. Let’s dive in.
Decoding Protein Powders
- Protein concentrates: Concentrates are a form of protein created by using heat and enzymes to extract the protein from the original source. Concentrates are typically about 70% pure protein and also contain fat and carbohydrates, which means they have more taste. When it comes to whey, a concentrate will have dairy residues which could be a problem for anyone who is dairy sensitive. This means bloating and even possibly diarrhea after drinking the protein shake.
- Protein isolates: To make a protein isolate you need to add an additional step that removes most of the carbs and fat leftover from the concentrate. This leaves you with about 90% pure protein or more. In terms of whey protein, this means less chance of a reaction to dairy proteins, but you’re not completely in the clear if you have a sensitivity to dairy.
- Protein hydrolysates: This type of protein not only filters out the fat and carbs, it also further heats the protein to break it down into its essential building blocks, amino acids, allowing the protein to be absorbed directly into your body without you having to break it down. This is the easiest to digest form of whey protein on the market.
Is Your Protein Causing Leaky Gut?
You may have been told in the past that the source of protein doesn’t matter as much as the grams of protein. But that’s simply not true! In fact, I’d argue that the source of the protein is the most important factor to consider when choosing a protein powder. Why?
That means that without knowing it, you could be consuming something daily that contributes to inflammation and leaky gut. If you have any of the common leaky gut symptoms, such as bloating, indigestion, constipation/diarrhea, fatigue, allergies, asthma, weight gain, migraine headaches, or autoimmune disease, you might want to pay attention to your protein source.
Probably the most common type of protein, whey protein is derived from milk by separating the liquid and the curds during the cheesemaking process. If you don’t have trouble digesting lactose, whey is a good protein source for building muscle; that said, a lot of people have at least mild lactose intolerance, which means they can experience bloating, constipation, and diarrhea after using whey protein. If you are going to opt for whey protein, make sure it’s organic and made with “hydrolyzed” whey, which is the easiest to digest because it’s already broken down into smaller, more digestible pieces.
Collagen has gotten a lot of attention in recent years. This protein is made from broken down connective tissue from animals like cows, chickens, and fish. But here’s the thing: collagen protein has benefits — like being high in the amino acid glycine, which helps with gut healing — but building muscle isn’t where it really shines. Why? It just doesn’t have the same concentration of amino acids, especially leucine which is responsible for many of the muscle-building and metabolism-supporting benefits of protein powder, as other proteins sources, like whey.
Soy protein is made from soybean flakes that have been stripped of the dietary fiber and sugars and whittled down to just the protein. These flakes are then dehydrated and turned into an isolate. Soy protein has a good amino acid profile, and contains plenty of leucine, but soy is another common allergen and could trigger bloating or digestive issues.
Rice protein is a popular plant-based protein source, which means it’s environmentally conscious and health conscious. But from what I’ve experienced, it can be extremely grainy, leaving a residue in your throat that makes you feel like you constantly have to clear it.
Egg protein is made from egg whites; this protein has plenty of great amino acids, but like soy and whey, eggs are one of the top ten food sensitivities, which means that something you’re taking to boost health could end up sabotaging it.
Finally, there’s pea protein. I saved the best for last! Popular among vegetarians and vegan, pea protein is derived from the yellow split pea, a legume that is rich in amino acids, fiber, and has almost as much leucine as whey protein. Many people worry about lectins in pea protein powders, but the process of extracting the protein separates it from the lectins.
But where pea protein really shines is for people with food allergies/sensitivities or gut health issues, which is why this is the form of protein I picked for my HAPPY GUT® Cleanse Shake.
Pea protein is a great hypoallergenic protein source that’s easy-to digest for just about everyone, especially if you choose micronized pea protein, which is similar to hydrolyzed in that it means it’s broken down into even smaller pieces so that they it be digested without causing any bloating, gas, or gut health issues. For people with digestive issues like myself, micronized pea protein is the best protein source to reach for in a protein powder. And that’s why I chose it for the foundation of my gut-healing HAPPY GUT® Cleanse Shake.
All that said, the HAPPY GUT® Cleanse Shake is so much more than pea protein. I spent months formulating this shake to meet all your metabolism, detox, and gut health needs. It contains comprehensive nutrients, antioxidants, herbs, fiber, and fruit and vegetable extracts in a delicious berry-vanilla flavor sweetened with the natural herb stevia. And to top it off, it’s allergen free [dairy-free, gluten-free, and lactose-free]!
5 Gut-Healing Nutrients in my
HAPPY GUT® Cleanse Shake
Micronized Pea Protein
I formulated the cleanse shake with 17 grams of easy-to-digest, organic, non-GMO, low-allergen pea protein per serving. It also does not contain any wheat, gluten, yeast, soy, animal or dairy products, fish, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, egg, ingredients derived from genetically modified organisms (GMOs), artificial colors, or artificial sweeteners. That means that it supports lean muscle mass without sabotaging your gut health or triggering food allergies or inflammation.
Glycine is an amino acid with cellular protective properties that help rebuild the tissue in the GI tract, which helps reduce leaky gut and heal the intestinal living. Glycine acts as an anti-inflammatory agent and a cytoprotective agent in the gut, which means it stimulates mucus production and enhances blood flow in the gut lining throughout the digestive tract.The researchers of one study even concluded that “glycine supplementation has very good efficacy in protecting against several intestinal disorders and further studies to investigate the specific roles of glycine receptors on epithelial cell and immune cells would help to understand the cytoprotective and anti-inflammatory effects of glycine.” Each serving of the HAPPY GUT®Cleanse Shake has 750 mg of glycine.
Veggie/Fruit Proprietary Blend
The good gut bacteria in your gut feed off the fibers and compounds found in fruits and vegetables. That’s why I formulated the cleanse shake with a blend of fruits and veggies, including pomegranate powder, spinach powder, beet powder and carrot powder. These ingredients are also chock full of antioxidants that fight off inflammation and any damage to the gut.
You may have heard of quercetin before, probably in the context of seasonal allergies or asthma. That’s because quercetin has strong anti-allergy and anti-inflammatory properties. But a lesser-known benefit of this compound is its ability to heal the gut by stabilizing the production of histamine by immune cells called mast cells, reinforcing tight junctions in the gut, and therefore preventing the release of histamine, which all play a role in intestinal permeability (AKA, leaky gut).
Glutathione is known as the “master antioxidant” because it plays such a critical role in your body’s detoxification system; specifically, glutathione helps with phase II detox where the body binds to toxins that have been released from their hiding places around the body and expels them through the body through the digestive system. Proper detoxification is crucial for a healthy gut; otherwise, these toxins can hang around in the GI tract and can even be reabsorbed.
The good news is I’ve simplified all of this into one program that has helped thousands of people conquer their gut and gut-related health issues for good — my HAPPY GUT® REBOOT: 28-Day Cleanse. This program is based on the Blueprint above. In just 28 days, you can complete the 5 steps to heal your IBS by working on the root causes to free yourself from chronic medications that only treat symptoms.
Put all these — and 20+ MORE — gut-healing ingredients together and you have the ultimate cleanse shake. But don’t take my word for it! I’ve had hundreds of patients tell me that the HAPPY GUT® Cleanse Shake has changed their life.
“After completion of the program I no longer have any symptoms. I lost weight without counting calories, lost 3 inches off my waist, joint pain was gone, and even my skin looked better. I not only followed the program but also purchased the products that Dr. Pedre recommends in the book Happy Gut®. That really made life easier.”
– Merrill, Brooklyn, NY
I hope this blog helped demystify the world of protein powder — I know how overwhelming it can be! I spent years trying different protein sources before I discovered micronized pea protein. But for years now I’ve been enjoying this protein source with zero unwanted side effects. If you’ve been wondering where to begin and you’re ready to try it out today, CLICK HERE.