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    Archive for the ‘whey protein’ Category

    You Ask, I Answer: Protein Powder Terminology

    ion_exchange_protein_wpi_3kg_powder_shop_new_zealand_co_nz_smI was looking at different protein powders the other day, and saw a lot of terms that went over my head.  Can you help me out and at least tell me if I should even bother paying attention to some of these?

    Here are ones I wrote down:  “ion-exchanged”, “microfiltered”, “hydrolized”.

    Thank you.  Not only for answering this question, but for your blog.  I have learned a lot just by visiting your site!

    — Richard (last name withheld)
    San Jose, CA

    As if the cereal and bread aisles weren’t bad enough, protein powder shopping also involves sorting through a variety of fancy-sounding claims.  Let’s break them down:

    Continue Reading »


    Quick & Healthy Recipes: Allergy-Friendly Breakfast Pie (Wheat, Soy, Dairy, and Nut-Free!)

    goodmorningiu9You can have this pie whenever you please — day or night.  However, its fruity flavors are breakfast-ish to me.  And, while it is a pie, it is made of such healthful ingredients that you can start your day off quite nutritiously with a slice.

    Chock-full of fiber, phytonutrients, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, it makes minimally-nutritious morning pastries quiver in fear!

    YIELDS: One 8-slice pie


    For crust:

    3/4 cup raw almonds (see NOTES at bottom of post)
    3/4 cup raw walnuts (see NOTES at bottom of post)
    (NOTE: For nut-free version, you will need 1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds, 1/2 cup hemp seeds, and 1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds; see NOTES at bottom of post)
    2 Tablespoons unsweetened shredded dried coconut (optional)
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 cup pitted dates (any variety; I like Medjool)

    For filling:

    1.5 cups blueberries
    1.5 cups strawberries, sliced
    1 medium banana, sliced
    2 Tablespoons cup raisins
    1 scoop unsweetened whey or hemp protein powder (optional; see NOTES at bottom of post)
    1 Tablespoon water (if needed, to thin out)


    To make the crust, process the nuts/seeds, coconut (if using), vanilla, cinnamon, and salt in food processor into a finely ground powder.

    Add the pitted dates, 1/3 of a cup at a time, and process for 30 to 45 seconds at a time.

    Once all the dates have been added, you should have a solid “dough-like” product.  If it does not stick together, add a few more pitted dates and process again.

    Remove the “dough” from the food processor and press it into a 9 or 10-inch pie pan (preferably glass), forming a crust that goes up onto the sides of the pan.  Once done, place pie pan in freezer for 30 minutes.

    While crust freezes, make the filling, as detailed below.

    Rinse out the food processor and fill it with berries, the sliced banana, and the raisins.  Process for 45 to 60 seconds, or until completely smooth.  If needed, add up to 1 Tablespoon of water to make processing easier (careful, though, you don’t your filling to be watery!).

    Once filling is smooth (and has a creamy texture), remove crust from freezer and pour filling into pie pan.

    Refrigerate pie pan for at least 90 minutes.

    Once pie has been fully refrigerated, cut into eight uniform slices and enjoy!

    NUTRITION FACTS (for 1 slice, crust made with almonds and walnuts, filling without protein powder):

    245 calories
    1.5 grams saturated fat
    150 milligrams sodium
    5 grams fiber
    4 grams protein

    Excellent Source of: B vitamins (except B12), folate, magnesium, manganese, potassium, vitamin C, zinc

    Good Source of: Iron, monounsaturated fats, omega-3 ALA fatty acids, vitamin E, zinc


    1. For a simpler and less costly crust, you can definitely use one type of nut or seed.  I like using a combination in order to achieve more flavors, but that is completely up to you.  If using multiple nuts/seeds, feel free to experiment with different ratios, too.  You can also try ingredients not listed in this recipe (i.e.: Brazil nuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, etc.)

    2. The extra scoop of whey or hemp protein in the filling provides an additional 2.5 grams of protein per slice, and thickens up the texture slightly.  I find that an unsweetened, vanilla-flavored type works best with the filling.

    3. Serving this for guests?  Top it off with whole fresh berries or sliced fruits of your choice!

    4. If you want to give the crust a hint of chocolate flavor, add one tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder to the crust.  For a deep chocolate flavor, add two tablespoons.


    Who Said It?

    QuestionMark“Powdered whey protein creates the most powerful fat-burning meal possible.”

    Leave your guess in the “comments” section, and come back on Thursday to find out who said this statement, and why I take issue with it.


    The Soy Scare Is Back

    fotosearch_bxp159791The latest issue of Men’s Health features a section titled “Eat Like A Man,” which includes the staunchly anti-soy, overly alarmist article “Is This The Most Dangerous Food for Men?”

    The article teaser promises to uncover the “hidden dark side of soy, one that has the power to undermine everything it means to be male.”

    Is it just the undergraduate gender and sexuality studies major in me or is that last sentence ripe for a twenty-page deconstruction of American gender roles?

    Anyhow, my red flag immediately went up.  Any time one single food is exposed as being almost lethal, you know something is up (in the same way that, when one single food is touted as the cure for all ailments, you know someone, somewhere is profiting).

    Let me ask you something, intelligent and insightful Small Bites reader.

    Don’t you find it… interesting… that a large majority of the advertisements in Men’s Health are for whey protein powders?  The same ones that compete with soy protein powders on shelves?

    Let’s take it one step further.

    Perhaps, just perhaps, this is a subtle and subconscious form of advertising.  After all, the subscriber reading this article who currently has soy protein powder in his kitchen cabinet may consider shelling out extra dollars for a whey protein variety next time he’s at GNC.

    While you ponder that, let’s continue analyzing this article.

    Oh, look, there’s the predictable “funny” image of a man wearing a superimposed soybean bra.

    And here’s the subject of our feature — James Price, a retired US Army intelligence officer (of course) with a Texas drawl (just in case you didn’t realize he’s a “man’s man.”)

    We learn that Mr. Price experienced lost hair on his fore arms, chest and legs along with penis shrinkage (huh?) when, as a result of being diagnosed with lactose intolerance, he started consuming three quarts of soy milk a day.

    His estrogen levels, blood tests revealed, were eight times higher than normal estrogen levels for men his age.  The culprit?  Phytoestrogens in soy.

    The changes weren’t just physical, as this pathetically sexist excerpts reveals:

    “I was becoming much more sentimental,” he recalls, describing his emotions as almost feminine.  “I’d break out and cry at a sad movie, that kind of thing.”

    Is this article seriously making the case that crying and displaying emotions is a female characteristic?  Did I just time warp to the days when June Cleaver and Zorro dominated television sets?

    The article wraps up with more warnings — Indonesians with the highest consumption of soy had twice the risk of developing dementia than their peers who ate lower amounts of the legume.  Although that study does indeed exist, it’s rather irresponsible to not clarify that the majority of studies on soy and cognitive function have not shown detrimental effects from soy consumption.

    Remember, it is always important to consider the entire body of literature on nutrition issues, and see what the general consensus is, rather than isolated studies that are really outliars.

    With all this craze over phytoestrogens, the writer forgot to mention that flaxseed,  garlic, and dried apricots are also significant source of phytoestrogens.  In fact, ounce by ounce, flaxseeds contain more phytoestrogens than soy.

    The article also conveniently forgets to mention that in some East Asian countries, soy consumption among men can average up to 60 pounds a year, and male breast growth is not an issue.

    After two pages of hyped up alarmism, we are told that, most likely, Mr. Price is simply overly sensitive to phytoestrogens.  In other words, “this case is really unique and not at all representative of the average man’s experience.”

    Adding to the “is this journalism or advertising?” question, the page immediately following the article is an advertisement for traditional Malaysian herbal therapies to help maintain masculine sexual vitality.  My, what a coincidence!

    A true shame.  A much better article would have helped readers differentiate between healthy versions of soy (tempeh, edamame, miso) from those that are simply processed foods attempting to lure consumers with a health halo (ie: soy puffs, sugary soy shakes, etc.), especially considering that the United States has the third highest per capita consumption of red meat in the world.

    By the way, this same issue features “the 125 best foods for men”, which is also just a big advertisement masquerading as nutrition advice.  How else do you explain a “best cream cheese category” (since when is cream cheese a  “must have” nutritious item?) but an excuse to advertise Philadelphia Cream Cheese?

    Similarly, categories like “best salami”, “best hot dog”, and “best milk” appear out of place (salami and hot dogs on a “must have nutritious foods” list ?  And how, exactly, is one brand of reduced-fat milk more nutritious than another?)

    Better luck next month, Men’s Health.


    You Ask, I Answer: Exercise, Whey Protein

    I am a “semi” vegan (I eat eggs and fish, I know there is an official term for that, but I can’t remember it!)

    I avoid processed food [and] exercise in the morning approximately 6 days a week, walking briskly for an hour. I [recently] added cycling 3 times a week (approximately 20 miles.)

    With the additional exercise I was feeling a little sluggish and headachy in the afternoon.

    I felt like I needed more protein in my diet, so I bought, and have been using, whey protein in a soy milkshake for breakfast.

    Am I falling back into the trap of “Franken foods” by using whey protein?

    — Barbara (last name withheld)
    Carmel, IN

    As far as technicalities go, your diet (lacto-ovo vegetarian who also eats fish) qualifies as pescatarian.

    You will find, though, that it’s often easier to describe yourself as “vegetarian”, since “pescatarian” is often met with puzzled looks.

    The symptoms you are experiencing are completely unrelated to low protein intake.

    I don’t know your specific medical history, but assuming you are a “normal”, healthy adult, I am leaning towards one of the following: low caloric intake, low carbohydrate intake (headaches are often a symptom of not consuming enough carbohydrates), or dehydration.

    Remember that protein needs are not as high as advertisers want us to believe.

    To determine how much YOU need, take your weight in pounds and divide it by 2.2.

    Then, multiply THAT number by 0.8.

    Whatever number you get as a result of that calculation is the minimum amount of protein you should be getting on a daily basis. You can get up to 200 or 250% of that number with no problems.

    Protein deficiency in the United States — and other developed nations — is extremely, extremely rare.

    I am suspecting you need to increase your carbohydrate intake, particularly after exercising.

    Your glycogen stores need to be replaced, and a snack combining complex carbohydrates and some protein is the best way to achieve that.

    Something as simple as a toasted slice of whole grain bread with peanut butter or a piece of fruit accompanied by a glass of dairy or soy milk should do the trick.

    I don’t consider whey protein in itself to be a “Franken” food, but many of the ready-to-consume shakes and bars can be heavily processed.

    I just don’t think extra amounts of protein will provide much relief.

    NOTE: If your symptoms persist, please consult your physician. This answer should not be seen as a diagnosis.


    You Ask, I Answer: Whey Protein/Protein Needs

    I was wondering about whey protein powder and your thoughts on protein needs.

    Is whey protein really more “bio-available” or better than other protein sources?

    How much protein does a person need?

    Is more protein necessary for muscle recovery or building after working out?

    Does whey protein improve our immune system?

    — Michael (last name withheld)
    (City unknown), Illinois

    The average healthy adult requires no more than 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight (if you only know your weight in pounds, divide it by 2.2 to determine the kilogram equivalent).

    The 0.8 grams figure solely represents the daily requirement — you can consume up to 200% of that total and still be within a perfectly safe range.

    It’s always amusing to me to see protein heavily advertised on certain products, almost as if it were a nutrient we were all severely lacking.

    Far from it! The average adult in the United States consumes anywhere from 175 – 200 percent of their daily protein needs.

    Let’s break down this ever-persistent myth that athletes (or any regular person who lifts weights and wants to bulk up, for that matter) need to consume tons of protein.

    Remember, the average adult requires 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.

    When it comes to athletes and others engaging in strenuous physical activity, protein needs ARE higher, but we are talking, at most, 1.5 or 1.6 grams per kilogram.

    In other words, their needs fall within the “permissible” 200 percent range (which, again, corresponds to average protein intakes in the United States anyway).

    A few things worth mentioning here.

    Firstly, building muscle has more to do with consuming excess calories and performing weight-bearing exercises that challenge and shock the muscles appropriately.

    Overloading on protein but consuming too few total calories and/or not performing the appropriate exercises at the appropriate intensity levels is completely futile.

    What athletes and people performing strenuous exercise should focus on is protein quality, not quantity.

    This is where biological value comes in.

    Biological value is a term referring to how closely a protein matches the amino acid composition required by the body.

    Complete proteins – all animal-derived ones as well as soy – contain all 8 essential amino acids.

    Incomplete proteins – from vegetable sources – usually lack one or two.

    This is not to say that vegetarians are not getting adequate protein.

    See, Mother Nature is one smart cookie.

    Proof? The amino acid lacking in grains is present in legumes (and vice versa). So, as long as a vegetarian has a diet containing various food groups, their amino acid needs are met.

    In fact, many athletes as well as Olympic, Ironman, and Mr. Universe bodybuilding competitors and winners have been vegetarian.

    Some names? Billie Jean King, Bruce Lee, Carl Lewis, Joe Namath, and Martina Navratilova.

    Back to biological value. If we are speaking about foods, eggs are the absolute best (yes, even better than meat, chicken, and fish).

    Whey protein, however, has an even higher score. So, technically, it is the most bio-available protein.

    Since biological value also tells us the percentage of the protein used for muscle growth and repair, it is no surprise whey protein is the chosen favorite of weight-lifters.

    Again, though, many people fail to realize that protein quality is more important than protein quantity.

    Remember, except for extreme circumstances, protein is not used for energy; carbohydrates and fat are. Too much protein simply ends up being stored as fat.

    So how about nutrition needs after a workout?

    Again, many people immediately think, “protein.” While that is certainly one part, they often forget two other just as crucial nutrients: carbohydrates and water.

    Countless studies have determined that consuming protein AND carbohydrates no more than 30 to 45 minutes after a strenuous (approximately 1 hour) workout are more efficient at muscle recovery than protein alone.

    Think roughly 30 – 50 grams of carbohydrates.

    Another tip: carbohydrates ranking higher in the glycemic index (such as watermelons, dates, potatoes, and cereals) are often preferred during this window of time, since they replenish fuel stores more quickly and aid in muscle repair.

    In regards to whey protein’s effects on the immune system, there is a good body of research showing a link between whey protein consumption and an increase in glutathione levels (a protein that plays a crucial role in human immune systems).

    It is important to note, though, that other foods (spinach, walnuts, cauliflower, avocado, and broccoli, all in their raw forms) also have the same effect.


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