Looking for tasty cholesterol-free protein shake
May 24, 2010 2:13 PM   Subscribe

I've started lifting weights with protein supplements, and noticed most are very high in cholesterol - 10-15% DV per scoop, and you're supposed to have 6-8 a day. Can someone recommend a supplement that is cholesterol-free?

I'm looking for complete protein, and I hear that egg white powder is nasty, and you shouldn't have that much soy protein because of hormones. Bars also have cholesterol and are way more expensive - protein scoops are equivalent to whole bars, and cost 50 cents vs 2 dollars. Does anyone know a reasonably tasty cholesterol-free supplement? I'm currently taking whey (day) and casein (night) from optimum nutrition. I use a blender, so clumping isn't an issue, though I'd prefer something that froths less in a blender. I prefer lighter-tasting stuff, a lot of flavors are really creamy.
posted by lrodman to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (18 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Whey protein isolate from bulkfoods.com.
posted by ludwig_van at 2:18 PM on May 24, 2010

I'm using the Met-Rx protein plus powder that's sold in Trader Joes -- cheap and has like 10mg cholesterol per scoop (about 1% rda). It's a protein blend consisting mostly of caesin and whey.
posted by paultopia at 2:32 PM on May 24, 2010

(edit, actually, that's more like 3% daily value not 1%)
posted by paultopia at 2:33 PM on May 24, 2010

have you tried egg white protein powder? I don't think egg white protein isn't nasty, just get the vanilla flavor. It's pretty good in a berry smoothie (skim milk, frozen assorted berries, a little ice) & cholesterol free.
posted by inertia at 2:45 PM on May 24, 2010

I eat "Naturade Veg Protein Booster," which I bought at the grocery store. It's a vegetarian protein supplement made of soy, pea, and rice protein. Zero cholesterol for a 1/3rd cup scoop of powder. It's "natural flavor," whatever the hell that's supposed to be.

I add it to smoothies, and have never noticed a particular taste or texture.
posted by ErikaB at 3:19 PM on May 24, 2010

I think cholesterol is important to the muscle growth. On the low side, you are talking 60% of your DV. That's not all that much if you are eating a non-sausage-based diet.
posted by gjc at 3:30 PM on May 24, 2010

I find that Genuine Health's protein powder is among the best.

It tastes better than cheaper brands (this one is a little pricey). I prefer the chocolate to the vanilla myself.
posted by fso at 3:46 PM on May 24, 2010

I second giving egg white protein a chance if you haven't had it. I can't detect any kind of taste other than the mild vanilla flavoring, and perhaps the additional texture of a few scoops of powder in my beverage. It's cheap, too.
posted by holterbarbour at 4:03 PM on May 24, 2010

This is sort of an indirect answer, but since you're clearly interested in health and nutrition, you would probably enjoy reading Taubes's Good Calories, Bad Calories to get a better idea of how cholesterol operates in the body and the history, politics, and academic politics that lead to the "daily values" and why they're meaningless. Ingesting cholesterol != cholesterol building up in your arteries. The assumption that our arteries somehow absorb it by osmosis or something (1. eat cholesterol, 2. ???, 3. cholesterol in arteries) turned out to be wrong, but it sounded intuitive enough that even with newer contradictory studies it was hard to shout down the old starting point theory. You can eat more cholesterol, TONS more even, and lower your measured cholesterol levels -- why this is, the difference between VLDL, LDL, and HDL cholesterol, and how diet impacts those is all explained in detail in the book. As is the other thing that is important to note: dietary cholesterol isn't the deciding factor on whether your arteries clog with cholesterol; you can get clogged arteries with very low cholesterol levels, and you can have really high cholesterol levels and squeaky clean arteries.

All that stuff, and the reasons for all the seemingly contradictory information, is worked out in the book.

You're welcome to avoid cholesterol in foods if you like, but it'll have all the impact as deciding you're not going to eat, say, yellow foods anymore.
posted by Nattie at 5:42 PM on May 24, 2010 [2 favorites]

yeah, there's a reason for all the cholesterol...cell walls are almost completely composed of it...if you're weight training with protein, I'm assuming you're trying to build a bunch more muscle cells. If you already have high colesterol, or are just worried about it, have your levels checked, train with that stuff for three months, and then have them checked again...three months isn't going to kill you, and you'll probably develop muscle mass faster than with a cholesterol-free formula.
posted by sexyrobot at 6:08 PM on May 24, 2010

Fascinating.. my sincerest apologies to lrodman, but if I could add a follow on question..

how important is it to take protein supplements? I have a homegym which I use once/twice a day, and find myself enjoying that. Currently on 35/40kg of max 55kg, but I do wonder if I should "take it more seriously' and look at the protein supplements? What will that do for me? Is it worth taking?
posted by lundman at 8:27 PM on May 24, 2010

Currently on 35/40kg of max 55kg

I don't know what this part means, but I'll answer anyway. It's not important to take protein supplements. What's important is to ingest a sufficient amount of protein to support muscle maintenance or growth. If protein supplements make it possible/easier to achieve the desired level of protein intake, as many folks find to be the case, then they're a valuable tool. Recommendations for protein intake vary -- in Practical Programming for Strength Training, Mark Rippetoe recommends 1 g of protein per pound of bodyweight as a baseline intake level for a growing male who trains heavily. They don't provide anything that can't be gotten from regular food if you eat a lot and eat the right things, but they provide convenience. Also some folks who are very exacting about their nutrition like to be very particular about how and when they get their various macronutrients, and it can be easier to do that with supplements than with whole foods.
posted by ludwig_van at 10:10 PM on May 24, 2010

I use Whole Food brands 365 Whey Protein Powder in vanilla. One scoop has 16 grams of protein (32% DV) and 17 mg cholesterol (6%).

How much protein are you trying to get a day? I mix my vanilla with plain yogurt or skim milk to up the protein levels.
posted by bluedaisy at 10:14 PM on May 24, 2010

Greek Yogurt has 44% of your daily Protein - and often has honey in it
posted by epjr at 7:06 AM on May 25, 2010

Response by poster: What do people think of Platinum HydroWhey (new by ON)? Seems expensive. Any truth to their claims that it is way better than gold standard? How does it compare to ON pro complex? I don't really know other brands, but people seem to trust ON. I had one called "designer whey" from the vitamin shoppe before, which I think was a little "lighter" tasting, do people like that one?

I eat yogurt too, but it isn't quite that high, and I'd have to eat a lot. Do others recommend it as well for part of a regimen? I'm trying to be varied. Bluedaisy, I'm trying to get around 1g/lb and I'm 180 currently. I'm having trouble getting that much in my diet, frankly - that's a lot! I've come in more between 100 and 150 lately.

I think lundman means 35/40lbs on a set of dumbells with the highest weight being 55lbs - without protein, you can't build muscle as easily - or at all, once you use up the protein in your blood. Having a ton of free protein through lots of small protein-rich meals (or long-lasting stuff like casein) makes it way easier for your cells to "build more muscle" - its the limiting reagent, aside from fats and triglycerides. I like resistance bands better myself, the movements feel more organic to me (scientifically, no idea if there is truth to that, or if it is better or worse)

Nattie - I haven't read that particular book, but how would one get low serum cholesterol with high intake? I also keep my trigycerides down, try to eat good fats (walnuts, almonds, flax, fatty fish)/keep sat fat low. My body just makes more cholesterol than most - genetic.
posted by lrodman at 10:42 PM on May 25, 2010

Response by poster: Wow, awesome call on the yogurt! I had no idea greek had so much more than regular yogurt - I've been eating stonyfield farms organic. In for two.

I'm also eating can tuna (the premium bumblebee one) and salmon for protein intake. I could add steak, but supposedly unhealthy. Chicken seems to be lower in protein than salmon? How is the protein mix (BCAA's and evenly distributed AA's) in salmon?
posted by lrodman at 11:25 PM on May 25, 2010

Response by poster: Oh - as to flavor (i.e. for egg protein) - creamy tasting things make me kind-of sick, I grew up on skim milk - even 2% makes me a little nauseous. For example, I love cheesecake, but I have trouble with plain, I prefer with thick crust and stuff in it. I'd been mixing strawberry designer whey with skim - not bad, though still a little creamy and frothy - and tried some vanilla ON 100% at a friends - had to choke it down. I want as non-creamy tasting as possible.
posted by lrodman at 11:31 PM on May 25, 2010

Unless you are an elite competitive bodybuilder (and maybe even then), you are way overthinking this. Whey is whey, for the most part. Despite the ads in Men's Health, you're not going to suddenly get big and strong because you found the right protein supplement. You want the cheapest, purest stuff you can find, which I linked to you in the first answer. ON's Gold Standard whey is fine too. Greek yogurt, fish, chicken, steak, eggs, pork, and milk are all good sources of protein.
posted by ludwig_van at 6:34 AM on May 26, 2010

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