Does Your Protein Powder Measure Up?

Protein powders are great … for smoothies, a post-work-out recovery drink or a meal replacement … IF they’re formulated correctly. They are a staple in my pantry.

The problem is there’s so many to choose from that it’s mind boggling! It seems I’ve seen just about every protein powder out there from my own experience and in my work with clients. But very few get a “thumbs up” from me. Most are just not formulated very well … some are even downright toxic!

Where do you even begin to choose a good one?

First, understand that “good” has several dimensions: 1) quality ingredients, 2) the right portions, 3) the best “extras” beyond the protein for what you’re using it for, i.e. work-out recovery, 4) taste, 5) ease of mixing (in case I’m not using my Vita-Mix!), and – this eliminates many on the market: 6) no sugar.

So when you’re looking at the label, how can you determine “good” from “bad”? Here are the primary criteria that I use to judge protein powders:

  • Protein source – I prefer pea protein, as it’s generally well tolerated by most people. Whey, egg and soy-based protein powders can be pro-inflammatory to many.
  • Protein form should be whole, not isolates – whole foods have a complete nutrient profile, which isolates lack.
  • Organic, or Non-GMO Verified – gives me confidence about the quality of the ingredients
  • No seed oils – these can oxidize and spoil becoming pro-inflammatory, as can the wrong balance of omega-3 vs. omega 6 oils
  • No corn or derivatives in disguise, like maltodextrin – many people do not tolerate corn well
  • No Sugar in any form – the powder should be formulated with simply Stevia or Monk Fruit (also known as Luo Han Guo, or just Lo Han) as both have a Glycemic Index of 0.

Taking all this into account, my preferred protein powders are:

  • Vega – Vega Sport Performance Protein for a post-work-out recovery shake or Vega One or Vega Essentials for a snack or meal replacement. Vega Sport has some extra ingredients to help your muscles recover quicker and reduce the inflammatory response brought on by vigorous exercise.
  • Body Ecology – the Fermented Protein Shake is a balanced powder packed with a range of nutrients. The fermented ingredients and the probiotic increase the bioavailability of the protein.

For more detailed product info (or to buy), go to

If your protein powder meets my criteria, leave me a comment below and let me know. I’m always looking to find new ones that will be helpful to people!