Plant-Based Protein Powders: What You Need To Know

Plant-Based Protein Powders: What You Need To Know

In This Article

Plant-Based Isn’t Always Better

In the name of health, many have mistakenly switched from whey protein powders to plant-based protein powders thinking they are more natural, less processed and better for you in general.

We can blame this notion on millions of marketing dollars that have been slowly convincing us that a protein powder made from peas, hemp, soy, rice or pumpkin is a more natural product.

The reality is that most plant-based protein powders are actually highly processed, relying on neurotoxic hexanes derived from petroleum. To extract the proteins from plant seeds, they are also subjected to high temperatures that destroy healthy proteins and other nutrients in the plant. It is much safer to just eat the seeds!

Additionally, additives and sweeteners are found in almost every protein powder. Most commonly, you’ll see “natural flavors.” The FDA allows “natural flavors” to contain added chemicals, and sugar alcohols like xylitol and erythritol, which are highly processed and often made from GMO corn.

Even stevia, which is good if you can find it pure, is often highly processed and typically mixed with sugar alcohol. I highly recommend closely reading the labels on all of the stevia sweetener packets. If you want your protein shake sweet, add berries!

I am regularly asked the question, “What is the best protein powder?”

My answer is always to get the one that is the least processed, has no additives, is not heated (as heat denatures or damages the proteins), and is from the purest source.

While there are enzyme-based methods to release the proteins from seeds, rarely, if ever, will the extraction technique be printed on the protein powder label.

Why Whey?

Whey protein is one of two proteins found in cow’s milk. Whey is an extremely easy protein for humans to digest because it is also the main protein found in mother’s milk.

Some westerners lose the ability to break down the milk sugar or lactose after they have been weaned, but we never lose the ability to break down whey.

Whey is loaded with immunoglobulins that support a healthy and robust immune system. (1,2)

There are plenty of whey protein powders on the market, but most are highly processed. Most are heated at high temperatures that can break down and destroy the immunoglobulins.

What most people don’t know is that it is very possible to make a clean protein powder without major processing.

The whey can be simply drained off the curd, filtered for impurities, and dried.

With these points in mind, I sourced our unadulterated Whey Pure Protein Powder from grass-fed New Zealand cows, where herds are free from environmental contaminants and are not subjected to hormones and antibiotics.

Whey Pure contains significantly greater concentrations of proteins and immunoglobulins in comparison to fluid cow’s milk and ordinary whey protein concentrate.

The amino acids cysteine and glutamate are found in higher concentrations in Whey Pure than in other high-biological value proteins. These amino acids serve as precursors to glutathione (1), a critically important antioxidant produced in the liver that is especially needed during stress, detox, exercise, and poor nutrition.

Each antibody in Whey Pure (IgG1, IgG2, IgM, and IgA) has a specific role in immune function:

  • IgM responds quickly to an antigen, specifically to bacteria and viruses.
  • Later in the response, IgG1 and IgG2 attack viruses and toxins.
  • IgA is critical in the body’s immune system.
  • The immunoglobulins also contribute to the humoral immunity of the gut-associated lymphoid tissue (GALT).

Lactoferrin, alpha-lactalbumin, beta-lactoglobulin, and bovine serum albumin are other proteins in Whey Pure that contribute to glutathione synthesis and support immune function. (1,2)

>>> Learn more about LifeSpa’s New Zealand Whey Pure here

Ideas to Enjoy Whey Protein – Get creative!

  • Add 2 scoops to your milk of choice and mix.
  • Add any or all of the following:
    • Almonds
    • Baked sweet potato
    • Beets
    • Berries
    • Cacao
    • Cardamom
    • Cinnamon
    • Cloves
    • Dash of vanilla
    • Dates
    • Ginger
    • Nut butter
    • Raisins
    • Spoonful of coconut oil
    • Turmeric


  1. Bell SJ. Whey protein concentrate enriched with immunoglobulins. Unpublished review article. [Accessible upon request]
  2. Bell SJ, Forse RA. Positive Nutrition for HIV-Infected & AIDS: A Medically Sound Take-Charge Plan to Maintain Weight and Improve Your Quality of Life. Minneapolis, MN: Chronimed; 1996.

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Dr. John

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