Why I Stay Away From Isolated Protein


The sad truth is, even health food companies want your money — and they’ll cut corners to make that profit margin even larger for themselves.  A few of these notoriously so-called “health foods” are things like agave nectar* (more on that later for those of you who are still agave believers) and one that I was blindly using for many years, protein isolates.

Isolated protein is found in nearly every protein bar, powder, and nutritionally “enriched” food on the shelves of your health food store.  The truth is, isolated proteins go through a chemical process in order for manufacturer’s to isolate just the protein within the hemp, soy or whey.  So you’re not getting the whole food, just a part of it. And before I get all medical-ese on you, let’s just say that our bodies don’t dig that.

“Do not ever eat protein isolate… protein isolate doesn’t have the alkalizing mineral co-factors that are needed to balance the acidity of the protein. This means that you should stay away from all whey isolate, hemp isolate, or soy isolate. These are extremely acidifying. If you keep using them in large amounts unbalanced by alkalizing foods, you risk metabolic acidosis.” ~ Food Expert, Ori Hofmekler (source)

Metabolic acidosis = total metabolic shutdown that wastes your muscle and bone tissues as well as creates cellular congestion and increased vulnerability to degenerative disease (i.e. cancer).

It’s common knowledge now that cancer cells can not survive in an alkaline environment. They simply die. But they thrive in an acidic environment. So what I’m saying is that these processed protein isolates are creating that dreaded acidic environment in your body.

In addition to our system having a harder time assimilating them, isolated proteins:

    • have been processed with heat and acid
    • are processed to remove fat which then removes healthy properties such as phospholipids, phosphatidylserine, and cortisol
    • are deficient in key amino acids

To make sure you’re getting the best form of protein, look for protein powders, energy bars, and other “protein-rich” health foods that use “protein concentrate”, rather than isolates. Although I stick to a plant-based protein powder, my favorite whey protein is definitely Tera’sWhey, which uses only protein concentrates, is mostly organic, and is the best-tasting protein powder I’ve ever tasted. Sadly, I am lactose-intolerant and even though whey-supporters say whey should not cause digestive issues, I wasn’t able to stomach whey protein.

**UPDATE: 12/24/2012**

Thousands of people are searching for the truth about isolated proteins and I’m surprised at how popular this post has been. To improve on the original article, I am citing my sources as well as adding a few additional resources for those who want more information to aid their research in making an informed decision on isolated proteins.

After posting this article, a few readers suggested that I should highlight the benefits of denatured proteins (i.e. the “cold process”). When using heat-based extraction (as in most isolated protein processes), you damage the natural proteins. So supporters of cold-extracted protein claim that it leaves the protein intact and without the negative acid-forming side effects of heat-extracted proteins. Perhaps if we were only talking whey protein, I could believe that. But sadly, most the isolated protein you will find in so-called “health food” is soy. I am convinced that soy is one of the most well-marketed toxins of our day. Doctors are prescribing it, cancer patients are unknowingly sabotaging their own health efforts with it, and new parents are harming their babies with it. So regardless of the extraction process, soy protein should be avoided at all costs.

Not convinced? Read more on the dangers of soy from these credible sources:

Domestically Yours,
Natasha Kay

*For those not up to speed on agave’s well-marketed deception, the chemical process used to extract and process the nectar creates a freakishly high fructose content and your body reacts the same to agave as it does High Fructose Corn Syrup. You can read more about the well-marketed lies here. And remember, sugar is sugar!  It doesn’t really matter what form you’re eating it in.

Disclaimer: I do not receive, and never have received, any remuneration for my personal endorsement of TerasWhey, Vega, or any other products.

27 thoughts on “Why I Stay Away From Isolated Protein

  1. Heath says:

    What is the difference in the processes used to make these? Do you know? I’m always interested in eating more whole foods but whey is a key part of workout nutrition for me.

    • Natasha says:

      I don’t think you need to get rid of whey (or other) protein powders — in fact, they are a critical part of my workout nutrition, as well! That’s why I stick to the products that use concentrated protein sources.

      Isolated whey is made through a chemical process using heat and acid. Whey concentrate (such as the one in TerasWhey which I mentioned in my post) doesn’t require that processing because they don’t have to strip the fat from the whey in order to “isolate” the protein.

      TerasWhey website says it like this:

      When we designed our plant, we made a conscious decision to minimize the amount of processing we would subject our raw whey to when making our product. More processing of whey has the benefit of increasing the amount of protein from 80% to 90%, and for some applications, that additional 10% protein is critical. However, in order to consistently add the additional 10% protein to meet the isolate standard, it is necessary to subject the protein to additional washing or to a process called ion exchange. Both approaches take out more of the beneficial companion products that are an important part of the health benefits of whey, things like lactoferrins and immunoglobulins. Because we wanted to make our products naturally holistically healthy, we decided to focus our process and our products on whey protein concentrates.

      Thanks for the great question! 🙂

  2. Jill says:

    Even though I’m not a fan of stevia, I took a chance on that protein powder–very good indeed! PB, banana-choco smoothies are my fave. Thanks for the rec!

    • Natasha says:

      Thanks for the great question! The only bars I eat are larabars — because they’re simple and clean (some only have two ingredients!) but they’re not good for post-workout protein because they have a lot of fat (from the nuts). Fat slows down your protein digestion and that keeps your muscles from getting the immediate hit of protein that you need after a workout.

      So far, I haven’t found any non-nut protein bars made with high quality protein (i.e. whey protein concentrate). But if I do need a protein bar to supplement my diet (i.e. when hiking/camping), I make my own. Super easy and way tastier, in my opinion!

      My favorite homemade bar is my Peanut Butter Energy Bar but have also tried a Crispy Rice Protein Bar. I am of the firm belief that you should not need to supplement your protein intake with bars. If you’re eating clean, you can get all the protein you need from your food and of course, a protein shake post-workout.

      Having a protein bar post-workout isn’t nearly as good as a shake because it takes too long for your body to break down solid food and your muscles need that protein hit right away after working out.

      Hope that helps!

    • Natasha (Domestica) says:

      Not sure about that — I’d bring these points up with your health provider and ask them what they think. I don’t know anything about weight loss surgery and don’t recommend it, either.

  3. Suzanne says:

    Great article but one sided. You should have weighed the even pros and cons of isolates made from the cold process.

    • HBOMB says:

      Amen, this article is a crock of sh*t. Speaking from an MD point of view, whey isolate does not contribute to cancer. The other ingredients in your protein supplement may contribute, however, if you choose a CLEAN when isolate such as New Zealand Whey, you’ll begin to understand why all of your points are invalid. Please google this brand. To make remarks that whey isolate contributes to cancer is to say that all meat contributes to cancer. FALSE. Hormone, antibiotic diseased meat contributes to cancer. Do your research before you post an article that so many sheep are following like the bible. She’s not a doctor, she’s simply spitting out word vomit that you’re all eating up. Don’t be ignorant, pay attention to how your body FEELS.

      • 4rekl says:

        Lol… sounds like someone from NZ Whey is a bit hurt, and trying to back up their product. It’s pretty well known now that isolates aren’t good. There’s plenty of info on the web if YOU’D like to google it. 😉

    • Natasha (Domestica) says:

      Hi Debra, great question!

      I know that pea proteins are a pretty basic extraction process — no chemical solvents like they use in most other protein sources. From what I understand, the peas are made into pea flour and then rehydrated which breaks down the starches and creates a congealed protein. This is then purified and dried, which produces the consumer-ready protein powder. I think that’s a lot more natural than the chemical process of many soy and whey proteins.

      I am not entirely sure but I believe rice protein is a similar straightforward process.

      • Natasha (Domestica) says:

        Also, as for the acidic effect — I think the more natural state of the original food (peas, in this example) would lend itself to a more natural alkaline effect. Peas are one of the most alkaline-forming foods!

  4. Heather says:

    Tera’s Whey has soy lecithin in it. I was very excited about this product until I saw that. A good reminder to read your labels!!

  5. Seth says:

    There exist many isolate products not produced from ion-exchange. Do these also lack the co-factors? What co-factors are they?

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