Proteins – Good or Bad?

Lisa Austin Blogs, Most Recent, Nutrition Related


How often have you seen headlines and articles that start something like this – WARNING: Do Not Use These … And you wonder:

– Who else has read it?
– Is there some truth to it?
– Could it be just another sales pitch for their product?

Good marketing will have you second-guessing what you know. Good marketing will have you buying the product. Good marketing wants you to believe that their product is the best and they will do or say what it takes to sway you to believe the same. Have you been caught in that trap? I think we all have!

Have you seen articles like this one?

WARNING: Do Not Use These 6 Protein Powders

Whey Protein
Soy Protein
Pea Protein
Hemp Protein
Rice Protein
Vegan Protein Blends

There are many problems with these proteins sources as they either…
Contain high amounts of thyroid-suppressive amino acids…
Are estrogenic and suppress thyroid function…
Or, are made from protein sources that your body can’t even use.
Instead, you want to use this thyroid-boosting protein powder…
Thyroid-Boosting Collagen Protein Powder »
It’s called Collagen Protein Powder and according to research, it’s the only protein powder capable of boosting your thyroid function.

Don’t stop here, KEEP READING!

So, what’s your first response? Oh no, I need to throw out everything in my cupboard and by this product. I’ve been doing it all wrong! It makes perfect sense!

Well, it doesn’t make sense and you’re not doing it all wrong! Through my learning and research, I know the facts on this one. The thyroid is important but amino acids are more important!

Amino acids are the building blocks to our hormones and hormones are what tell our bodies to do each and every process.

  • There are 20 amino acids in your body’s proteins.
  • Essential amino acids are ingested from our diets and our bodies can’t make them. They are histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine.
  • Complete means you can get all the 9 essential amino acids from one source.

You can learn more about amino acids here: The Role of Amino Acids and here Why are Amino Acids Called the Building Blocks of Life?


Protein Powder types

So let’s go back to protein powders and learn how they fit into a healthy lifestyle:

Whey and Casein

Whey and casein are complete proteins meaning they have all essential amino acids in sufficient amounts. A few plant proteins, like hemp, are also complete but have a lower total amount of protein per serving.

Vegan Blends

Some people can have intolerances or allergies to lactose or just choose to eat vegan. That’s where the vegan blend powders come in. One of the issues with the vegan choices is that they typically don’t have all the essential amino acids. With that being said, protein powders are a supplement; they supplement the diet, it is not a stand alone food. So amino acids can be gained from other foods.


Now onto the big controversial one – Soy

“In terms of protein content, the soybean is roughly 41% protein. And the PDCAA score (a measure of protein quality) for soybeans is just below 1.0, with soy protein isolate at 1.0. As 1.0 is the highest score a protein can get, soy ranks right up there with milk, beef, and egg proteins.”

And my opinion on soy is that it’s not bad for you although it gets a bad wrap. Well, it’s not really soy, it’s the Phytoestrogens. Phytoestrogens are a group of natural estrogen receptor modulators found in various foods, with soy being the predominant source. Phytoestrogens serve as a defense mechanism in plants and as a natural fungicide. Phytoestrogens are what cause people to be up in arms about eating soy products and claim that they are negative to our health and negatively affect our testosterone and estrogen levels.

If you’re interested in learning more about soy protein, here’s a good article: The entire article is great but when you get to about the halfway mark you will learn how much you would have to eat for there to be negative affects to testosterone or estrogen levels.

Let me share some key points from the article. The average soy intake in East Asian populations is between 40-90 grams per day (1.5 to 3 ounces). That’s TOTAL soy intake (not soy protein grams). Indeed, this amount of soy equates to roughly 10-20 grams of soy protein per day. And this is actually less than what is “recommended” by the FDA.

Research done on rats showed consumption of 20 mg/kg Phytoestrogens (PE) lowered testosterone levels. If we were to put that in perspective, an adult male who weighs 190 lbs or 86 kg and eats 20 mg/kg of Phytoestrogens, would be eating 1720 mg/day.


Look at the following chart for total Phytoestrogens in soy foods:

Now, let’s look at a soy-based menu:

• 1 cup of cooked soybeans = 94 mg
• 6 ounces of tempeh = 74 mg
• 2 cups of soy milk = 60 mg
• 6 ounces of tofu = 40 mg
• 2 soy hot dogs = 22 mg
• 4 ounces of soy cheese = 8 mg
• Total = 298 mg

That’s a lot of soy, for sure, right? Yet it totals 298mg of PEs…one-fifth of what might be required to lower testosterone levels.


More things I’ve learned…

  • There is NEVER just one thing that causes your body to not function optimally.
  • It takes a COMBINATION of things to promote a healthy lifestyle.
  • Do what FEELS right to your body.
  • Don’t take my word for it… do some research. If you use Google, look for 5 reasons for something and 5 against… then decide what you believe after looking at both sides.
  • Remain open to new information and be prepared to be wrong. Information changes as research is don
  • Try to balance things out and try not to focus on one thing…
  • Health is a balance of so many things – hormones, stress, emotional well-being, exercise, nutrition and sleep.

Think of it this way … are you mowing the lawn with the house on fire?

Photo Credit: Precision Nutrition


Are you exercising and eating a balance of nutrient dense fruits, vegetables, smart carbs and proteins consistently? If not, you’re focusing on the small things that aren’t as important to your wellness journey and can wait until other things are addressed first… like putting out the fire.

Be proactive and educated and make choices that fit into your healthy lifestyle.

~ Lisa Austin


Need help? Have questions? I’m here to make it easier. If you have questions, then let’s connect. I will help figure out what you need in order to become stronger and healthier version of yourself.