Based on the questions I get about supplements, it seems it’s not just me who finds the whole protein powder market confusing. I know the ones in the supermarkets are a no-no. I know there are heaps of great options, with more brands launching all the time. I’ve tasted so many, some I LOVE, and some that I have spat out!
So how do you choose the right protein supplement?
I asked Mitch Barraclough, co-founder of local all-natural protein powder, The Red Hippo, to help a girl out… Thanks Mitch x
It can be a minefield, right?
The supplement and protein market is saturated with options promising everything from improved wellness, to loss of body fat, and better performance in your thinking, exercise and activity. And they all sound completely convincing!
It can be difficult to identify what you actually need while looking at pretty packaging and enticing advertisements. So let’s arm you with the right tools to quickly break down your next protein blend purchase to ensure it’s the right one for you.
3 things you need to avoid when buying protein powder
1. Proprietary blends
This is a big problem because it effectively means that you are unsure of the ingredients or chemicals you are putting into your body. Proprietary blends are often passed off as a “special formula” designed for a specific purpose, but in reality it can mean that the ingredients used are lower in quality and unhealthy. You need to be able to identify all of the individual ingredients that you are consuming, so that you can decide whether to trust their proposed effect or not.
2. Inactive ingredients
Big red flag here! These guys are the additives that fall under the title “inactive ingredients” and are the same as “fillers” or “filler ingredients”.
‘Inactive’ supposedly means that they do not form part of the blend that is designed to aid you in your health journey. Yet, in reality, they are still being ingested into your system. They could even be harming your path to wellness.
Often fillers can be toxic, which creates something called toxic load in your supplements. Toxic load is the impact placed on the body’s systems by ingredients with unknown or non-health promoting properties, which can harm your long-term health.
This is why you need to ensure that there are no inactive ingredients, and no fillers – and all you have to do is look at the packet! If you see an inactive ingredient or filler in the list, place it back on the shelf.
3. Lengthy ingredient lists
Especially if the list is longer than your arm.
There is a tendency for supplements to boast some really great ingredients. Take turmeric, for example, as the main draw card for a blend. Often there will be 25 plus ingredients, divided into a roughly 25g scoop. Sometimes (and sometimes at best) there is only one gram of the headline ingredient. We know through studying the effects of wholefoods on the body that there is a minimum amount of a food needed to actually have the desired effect on the body.
Stay away from blends that have 50 ingredients, several of which you can’t pronounce, sound like chemicals or are not a wholefood-based ingredient. It’s also good to make sure that the label states that the ingredients are in ‘efficacious dosages’, or ‘efficient ingredient dosages’.
This means that there is enough of each ingredient to do what is says it will. It will be clearly defined if that care has been taken.
3 things you should look for in a good protein supplement
1. Wholefood based, all natural, non-GMO and refined sugar free ingredients
If your blend has these four components as its only constituents, it’s probably a good product.
If a product has made the effort to source organic ingredients that are locally produced (wherever possible), they receive extra points.
2. Are the ingredients traceable?
If you jump on the website of the providing supplement company, are they willing to reveal the whereabouts of their ingredient sources? With so many cheap, poor quality ingredient sources in the market, you need to make sure that your trusted protein provider is doing the right thing by you.
3. Are the blends backed by enough research, knowledge and testing to really do what they claim to do, without a long-term downside?
A little bit of research will let you know how much care has been taken by a company to produce a product. Ideally the company will openly provide information and research to support their blends and how they are created. There should be no ‘hidden formulas’ or secrets in how they work.
The Red Hippo, co-founded by myself, Ryan Barraclough and Nick Dawe, is one company that is leading the way towards a more honest, transparent and healthy supplement industry. We are all actively involved in the health and wellness space and have designed the blends based on the premise that we would use the products ourselves.
Our Northern Beaches based company has created a product range that caters for weight loss, muscle gain and recovery with an entirely natural, wholefood based range, backed by an enormous amount of research, road testing and care.
A core belief of The Red Hippo is education and access to the appropriate information when choosing your supplements. We believe that The Red Hippo is leading the change to improve the knowledge and health of the consumer simultaneously, by endeavoring to build blends and spread information that empowers the consumer to make healthier choices. Together we hope to motivate intelligent decisions when it comes to nutrition and lifestyle choices.