Avoid These 5 Protein Shake MistakesJUNE 22, 2016 BY Marlene MerrittToday we are addressing a BIG nutrition and weight-loss FAQ:Are protein shakes really healthy?The short answer: it depends. On what?The quality of the ingredients in the shake. And not all shakes are created equal, not by a long shot!With so many different types of shakes out theresome containing upwards of 40+ ingredientsdiscerning quality can be a tough task.Today, were going to help simplify things by breaking down the 5 common mistakes people make when choosing a protein shake.Well look at the main ingredients you should avoid and why, plus share what ingredients you should look for in a health-supportive protein shake.Protein Shake Mistake #1: Choosing Unhealthy Protein PowdersKnowing the source and quality of the main ingredient in your shake: the protein, is essential.Pick the wrong protein powder and your digestive and hormonal health could suffer.My top 5 healthy protein powder choices as of this writing are:Whey protein isolate (if you can get grass-fed and organic all the better)Gelatin and Collagen powdersPea protein isolateHemp proteinEgg white proteinThese proteins contain a broad-spectrum of naturally-occurring nutrients, are easier to digest than protein concentrates (so be sure to choose isolates over concentrates), are low in carbohydrates, rich in amino acids, and they come from REAL foods.The #1 protein powder to ALWAYS AVOID: soy protein.Soy wreaks havoc on your hormones, its difficult to digest, and is loaded with anti-nutrients that bind up crucial vitamins and minerals.Avoid all of it including soy protein isolate, soy protein concentrate, soy protein chips, soy flourskip the soy and you will be better off.Protein Shake Mistake #2: Hidden SweetenersNearly every protein shake contains some type of sweetener to make it palatable. But not all shakes, even all natural ones, contain healthy sweeteners.Your absolute best choice is to look for unsweetened shakes, OR, shakes sweetened with:Stevia/stevia extractXylitolSweeteners you absolutely want to avoid are:Artificial sweeteners (saccharin, aspartame, Splenda/sucralose)High fructose corn syrupCorn syrupSugarSucroseCane sugarCane syrupGlucoseMaltodextrinFructoseAlso to keep your carbs in check, skip adding sweetened nut milks or other fruit juices to your shakes.Protein Shake Mistake #3: Going Overboard on FruitDont get me wrong, we love to see patients eating more whole nutritious fresh fruits and vegetableshowever fruitsandvegetables is not one word!When it comes to shakes, smoothies, and even green drinks its easy to go overboard on fruit.As Ive written about before, eating too much fruit overloads your body with fructose which does a number on your liver, and can actually impede weight-loss.Instead, keep your shakes and smoothies simple by:Limiting fruit to 1/4 cup of berriesAdd avocados or a few cubes of cooked sweet potatoes in place of bananas for a smooth texturewithout the fructoseTry some liquid stevia or xylitol to sweetenAdd in some cacao or unsweetened cocoa powder for a chocolatey twist, or pure vanilla extract for a dessert flavorTry using green tea or green tea ice cubes for texture and flavorAdding a pinch of salt and some fresh lemon or lime juice will help boost sweetness and overall flavorProtein Shake Mistake #4: Performance-enhancing herbs and other ingredientsThis is specific to shakes designed to help you gain muscle, increase endurance, or to put on weight.Though some of these shakes are probably nutritious and fairly clean, buyer-beware, some performance-enhancing ingredients such as creatine or guarana can interact with medications and have been known to cause side effects.In my experience, most athletes would benefit more from working with a practitioner to improve their individual nutrition over using performance-enhancing supplements. Just sayin.Protein Shake Mistake #5: Less-than-optimal superfood shakesSome shakes contain protein, a bunch of added vitamins and minerals, and a proprietary superfood blend of greens, herbs, berries, algae, seeds, etc.My main concern here is the algae: spirulina, chlorella, blue-green algae, etc.Is algae a superfood? You bet. Algae is loaded with vitamins, minerals, chlorophyll, protein, and other crucial nutrients.But once again, quality is everything.Integrative practitioners are highly selective about the algae products they carry because of contamination risk.Therefore, professional supplement companies go to great lengths to have their algae products third-party tested for common contaminants like heavy metals, PCBs, and other unsavory aquatic pollutants.On the flip-side, suppliers of cheap spirulina powder, for example, have been known to grow it in contaminated pondsand you dont want those pollutants in your body.The easy solution: avoid superfood blends with algae unless the company is transparent about their testing and sourcing.Bottom line on protein shakesProtein shakes can be a great way to help you lose weight, avoid junk food, and get more nutrition into your dietbut they are not all created equal.By investing a little time in researching a quality product you will save yourself a lot health hassles and disappointment down the road.And remember the key ingredient in all this: keep your nutrition REAL.Happy blending!-Dr. MarlenePS: One of the best is “Whey Pro” by Standard Process available at many alternative Nutritionists and Chiropractors offices.