Paleo Protein Powders? No Whey!

While the concept of a protein powder is not strictly Paleo, they can still make a significant difference in how you perform — and feel.

Elke S. Nelson, Ph.D, CFL-1 October 01, 2015

Those whose goal is to get swoll have known for years that they need a good protein powder. And people for whom performance is a priority are catching on. Protein powder digests faster than food and therefore can send amino acids to needy muscles quicker, spurring performance and recovery. 

Historically, whey has been the standard among protein powder supplements, but the new market created by the upsurge in popularity of the Paleo and Primal diets has led to some new product lines, including grass-fed whey protein powders, egg-based protein, beef protein isolate and at least one protein source that’s even more unusual. Bottom line: It’s OK to be curious about protein supplements. You just need to find one that suits you and your goals — like, for example, one of these.

SFH Fuel

SFH offers a variety of high-quality grass-fed whey protein supplements. Among these, its Fuel powder is unique in that it also contains medium-chain triglycerides (a type of healthy fat) and apple pectin (a fiber-rich carbohydrate). This formulation is intended to slow the insulin response triggered by whey, making it better-suited for people prioritizing health over performance gains. More competitive athletes can use Fuel beyond the preworkout and postworkout windows to meet their higher-protein demands. sfh.com

PaleoPro Paleo Protein Powder

PaleoPro’s protein powders meet even the most stringent dietary requirements. They’re free of soy, gluten, dairy, added sugars, artificial sweeteners and preservatives. The products offer 25 grams of protein per serving, sourced from eggs from humanely raised chickens and U.S. Department of Agriculture lean beef. While most egg-based protein powders tend to exclude yolks because they contain all the egg’s fat, and fat slows digestion, PaleoPro chooses to include whole egg because the yolk contains a higher proportion of the egg’s vitamins and minerals than the white. paleopro.com

MHP Paleo Protein

Among its vast line of supplements, MHP offers egg-white and beef protein powders — vanilla almond and triple chocolate — that are sugar-free, lactose-free and gluten-free. Per serving, Paleo Protein packs 20 grams of protein and 8 to 9 grams of carbohydrates, primarily in the form of high-glycemic maltodextrin (which is typically derived from corn). Paleo adherents will notice that it also contains thickening agents, making it most suitable for someone following a less stringent Paleo lifestyle who’s looking to achieve that higher postworkout insulin response with a non-whey supplement. mhpstrong.com

Bulletproof Upgraded Collagen

Bulletproof offers Upgraded Collagen, a protein powder designed to promote healing and tissue repair rather than muscle building. Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body and is the main building block of connective tissue. Unless you’re regularly pounding mugs of bone broth, you could probably benefit from more collagen. Upgraded Collagen is derived from pasture-raised cows but does not contain any dairy. bulletproofexec.com

Cricket Flours

Cricket Flours, founded in 2014, has taken a step away from traditional sources of protein and offers a more sustainable, equally Paleo option: crickets. Many cultures regularly eat insects because they’re nutritious, relatively inexpensive and easy to raise. Cricket protein is a complete protein source, containing all the essential amino acids; its amino-acid profile is comparable to other proteins’. Use Cricket Flours’ Peruvian chocolate protein powder in your favorite smoothie or consult the cookbook that comes free with each purchase and offers ways to use bug protein in sauces, appetizers, entrees and desserts. cricketflours.com


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About the Author

Elke S. Nelson, Ph.D, CFL-1

Elke S. Nelson, Ph.D, CFL-1

Elke Nelson has a B.S. in Biotechnology and a Ph.D. in Molecular & Cellular Biology. She currently works fulltime as an assistant manager of a clinical writing group, producing and reviewing reports that discuss medical technologies (e.g., drugs, devices, procedures) under investigation in late-stage clinical trials. Elke is a Level 1 certified coach at CrossFit Conshohocken. Elke specializes in Paleo nutrition, particularly why and how to implement the diet into everyday living; meal design; and CrossFit training.