Ask True Nutrition #9: Paleo Protein

It may seem impossible to find a paleo protein powder in a market that has been dominated by milk and dairy products in the past, but several outstanding protein sources do exist that are soy-free, dairy-free, and entirely paleo-friendly! Let’s take a look at the various options as we answer the question:

“Which protein powders are considered to be ‘paleo?'”

The paleo diet is a modern nutritional plan based on an ancient diet of wild plants and animals that man would have presumably consumed during the Paleolithic era. This diet consists of predominantly meat, poultry, fish, shellfish, fats, eggs, nuts, seeds, and select fruits and vegetables. As such, materials that have been derived from milk or dairy are strictly prohibited, and with them go many of the most popular protein powders. While many options have been eliminated, there are still a handful of potent protein alternatives that have been derived from acceptable food sources.

The following materials are considered to be paleo according to common consensus:

Beef Protein Isolate: The Beef Protein Isolate is unlike any other protein powder on the market. Beef flesh is first boiled down in huge vats to produce a nutrient-enriched liquid containing incredibly high amounts of each of the essential and branched chain amino acids. This liquid form is then skimmed to have all fat and carbohydrate content removed, leaving a protein concentration of over 90% aminos left in the remaining material. From here, the liquid beef aminos undergo a spray-drying process that includes the application of canola oil lecithin (rather than soy lecithin) in order to create the finished powder product. Beef is one of the preferred food sources for many paleo athletes, making the Beef Protein Isolate an invaluable asset when it comes to daily nutrition.

Egg White Protein: Eggs are another commonly consumed item in the paleo diet. The proteins found within are considered to be amongst the most bio-available and digestible sources available, providing a complete spectrum of essential and branched chain amino acids. Egg White Protein is derived from liquid eggs that have had the yolks removed. The nutrient-enriched egg whites are then spray-dried into a functional protein powder. While than majority of Egg White Protein powders will be spray-dried with soy lecithin for improved mixability, the paleo diet looks to avoid soy and other legumes. Thankfully, True Nutrition’s Egg White Protein is entirely soy-free and paleo friendly!

Hemp Protein: Hemp seeds offer an incredible source of nutrition that is rich in omega fatty acids, dietary fiber, and highly digestible protein materials. The seeds from the cannabis plant are harvested and hulled, to be sold raw or to be processed further in to a functional protein powder. Hemp seeds that are used in the production of a hemp protein powder will undergo a cold extrusion process that allows the proteins to remain in their raw, organic form. There are varying levels of hemp protein available on the market, which typically range between 30-50% protein by volume. The amount of protein contained within the resulting powder will be based on the amount of hemp fiber that is sifted and removed from the powder as a whole. Hemp Protein has become a staple ingredient for fans of the paleo diet, as well as for vegans and vegetarians, as a result.

Whole Egg Protein: Whole Egg Protein is derived through a simple drying process that converts liquid egg materials into a powder form that offers numerous applications. The dried powder can be used to enhance the nutritional content of baked goods and other recipes, or it can be used as a stand-alone ingredient when mixed in to a liquid shake. This provides all of the same great nutrients that can be found in raw eggs without the need for cooking. As an added benefit, the pasteurization process that is required enhances the digestibility of the egg proteins, raising the digestion rate from 51% in raw eggs to approximately 90-100% in the finished powder and offering a considerable increase overall. Pasteurization also inhibits the biotin-binding protein avidin, which is essential to the body’s uptake of this vital nutrient.

With these paleo proteins in mind, athletes are able to form any number of functional powder blends to meet their individual dietary needs. Beef Protein Isolate and Egg White Protein have a rate of digestion that is similar to that of their wholefood counterparts, which makes them more ideal as a post-workout protein source, particularly when paired with a paleo-friendly carbohydrate source such as sweet potato or squash. Because of their higher fat and fiber content Whole Egg Protein and Hemp Protein are typically preferred in between meals and in the evening as part of an overnight nutrition plan. Some may include them in their post-workout protein, as well.

It is our goal to help you meet your goals! Ask us how each of these paleo protein sources can complement your current diet and exercise plan today!

*DISCLAIMER: The above description is provided for information only and does not constitute medical advice. Please consult your physician or the appropriately licensed professional before engaging in a program of exercise or nutritional supplementation. No information in this site has been reviewed by the FDA. No product is intended to treat, diagnose, or cure any disease.