Gluten-free, Soy-free, Corn-free Natural Protein Powder
Q & A with Promix Founder & CEO, Albert Matheny
“Why is it important that Promix contains no soy, corn, or gluten? Are those things actually bad for you?”
This is a FANTASTIC question I’ll answer in a few different parts. Ready?
The theme of non-GMO is overarching when it comes to the first two on our list of hard “no”s: soy and corn. I am a huge proponent of organic agriculture, and GMO crops go against this. For those that cite GMOs as a necessary evil to produce enough food for people, regardless of safety, I would say production is not the issue there, it is, quite simply, food waste. Our problem isn’t growing enough food, it’s mishandling. 1.3 billion tons of food gets wasted globally every year, and just a quarter of that could feed the world’s population that suffers from hunger (1). As far as lowering cost of food, when I spend the least amount of money on food, I am buying the highest quality, in-season food at my local farmer’s market. Many foods cost more to grow out of season, ship, pack, and market outside of the actual food costs.
Let’s talk GLUTEN
Another theme that binds this list is that they are allergens. Gluten and soy are two of the most common allergens in everyday foods. As a Registered Dietitian, I have seen myriad digestive issues and other health problems caused by even mild gluten and soy allergies. For those with severe allergies, these irritants can be removed from the diet, and those health issues essentially disappear. I wanted to produce a natural, gluten free protein powder and other products that are safe for those with sensitivities & intolerances to these allergens so that there was no question as to whether or not it was safe for everyone.
On a related note, let’s talk about milk allergies. Whey is made from milk, but it is the lactose in milk that typically causes digestive issues. Our Grass-fed Whey Protein Powder has very low lactose levels, and our Promix Whey Isolate Protein Powder has even less. Many tell me they have issues with whey protein, but when you look at the ingredients of the whey protein they are using, it’s riddled with soy & gluten, and often contains many other artificial sweeteners, fillers, and flavors. The same is true for vegan proteins, which often hold extra fiber-based fillers that cause bloating and stomach issues, which is not the fault of the plant protein itself. That is another reason we keep our ingredient lists short and clean with all of our proteins – we want to give you what you paid for and nothing you didn’t.
Let’s talk SOY
This goes back to our roots as the first company in the US to offer a grass-fed whey protein with non-GMO sunflower lecithin instead of GMO soy lecithin, which is still by and large the standard, unfortunately. The industry standard had always been to use soy lecithin to aid in mixing, but when Promix started manufacturing, I wanted to be all natural and GMO free, because there was a lot of information coming out over the negative affects surrounding the consumption of soy. My stance today is still that unfermented soy (soy milk, edamame, and soy bean oil) should not be consumed. In fermented soy products, “anti-nutrients,” like phytates, are broken down to a large degree and beneficial probiotics are present, so the soy protein is much more digestible, less irritating to your gut, and more nutritionally bioavailable. So for vegans, fermented soy products like tempeh and tofu can be consumed by some people in moderation assuming you have no other allergy to soy (2).
One option I considered was to just have a product that was whey protein and nothing else, but lecithin has two important functions within our whey protein powder, which is why I ultimately turned to natural sunflower lecithin. The first relates back to how Promix views nutrition in general. Our products must provide the highest quality nutrition and be easy-to-use, effective, and safe. Nutritionally, sunflower lecithin provides a valuable source of phosphatidylcholine, which is linked to improved digestion and cognitive health. Functionally, the lecithin allows the whey protein to mix quickly and easily when added to a shaker bottle. Many athletes are deterred by protein shakes due to the “clumpy” nature of the protein. This means we are offering a protein that is great on-the-go and doesn’t require a blender. There is a significant difference in recovery between having a shake within 15 minutes after your workout and having a shake after you get home and make one in the blender. Many athletes are often heading to work or class straight from a workout, so convenience is critical for us (which is why we offer single serving stick packs of most of our natural proteins, collagens, and supplements). I source our sunflower lecithin from Europe, where there are much tighter standards on GMOs (this is an important detail – 93% of all soy produced in the US are genetically modified organisms, so when I’m steering clear of soy, I’m also veering away from GMOs) (3).
Let’s talk CORN (briefly)
Corn is the second most widely grown GMO product (4).
My other issue with corn is that it is a gut irritant for many, so for those two reasons I decided no Promix product would contain corn.
Let’s talk OTHER STUFF
There are a few other ingredients I guarantee you Promix products will never contain: canola oil (also known as rapeseed oil) or cottonseed oil. These are other top GMO crops that are very high in omega-6 to omega-3 ratio and very inflammatory. The omega-6 and omega-3 ratio is often an underlying health issue, much like blood glucose control or minor allergens, that lead to many present and future health issues.
So, to summarize, corn, gluten, and soy can be detrimental to many athletes. I don’t leave things to chance, and I’d never create a product I wouldn’t happily trust and use myself, so I left all of that out. Period.
Have a question about Promix proteins or any other nutrition questions for me? Shoot me an email – I answer every question right here on this page.
You’re in good hands.
(1) 10 Facts You Might Not Know About Food Waste. foodtank Website. https://foodtank.com/news/2015/06/world-environment-day-10-facts-about-food-waste-from-bcfn/. Published June 2015. Accessed Mar 2019.
(2) Fermented vs. Unfermented Soy: Which Is Better? Dr. Mercola, Website. https://probiotics.mercola.com/fermented-vs-unfermented-soy.html. Accessed Mar 2019.
(3) Recent Trends in GE Adoption. United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Service Research. https://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/adoption-of-genetically-engineered-crops-in-the-us/recent-trends-in-ge-adoption.aspx. Updated Jul 2019. Accessed Mar 2019.
(4) US Crops – Where Are They Grown? Alberta Agriculture and Forestry. http://www1.agric.gov.ab.ca/%24department/deptdocs.nsf/all/sis5219. Accessed Mar 2019.