A lot of those who are serious about building muscle and burning fat rely on protein powders to make the long road ahead much easier to traverse. Unfortunately, the supplement world is often full of hype and misinformation. Once you’ve figured out when to start taking supplements, how can you choose the best product for you?

If you drink your protein shake at the best time but still experience any or all of the following red flags, find a new protein powder.

1. You always feel bloated or gassy.
Whey and casein protein are the go-to supplement for people who are new to working out. These usually have a great amino acid profile, making them instrumental to muscle growth and recovery. Unfortunately, since they are derived from milk, they are also known to cause bloating, gassiness and digestive distress. Despite having low lactose content, they can still set off a series of health problems for the lactose intolerant. If you’ve been using dairy-based supplements for a long time and still have to deal with digestion difficulties, consider trying a plant-based protein powder.

2. You are experiencing negative side-effects.
Many of the well-known dairy-based protein powders contain more than the recommended safety limits for heavy metals like mercury, lead, cadmium and arsenic. These are all linked to various health issues ranging from a weakened immune system to different types of cancer. Toxicity is an issue in these supplements because the animals from which they are originally derived are forced to eat an abnormal diet they can’t digest properly.

3. You are not getting the nutrients you need.
Your protein shake should be rich not just in protein, but also in co-factors that make this macronutrient usable. You see, protein doesn’t function independently; it relies on various micronutrients, most of which are unfortunately lost in the processing practices of dairy-based supplement companies. The result is an incomplete protein powder that cannot be properly metabolised by your system. For soy-based protein powders, the risk lies in the excess manganese content, which can cause neurological problems if consumed in excess. Many products have been found to be teeming with estrogen compounds and trypsin inhibitors, which prevent the absorption of proteins.

Some supplements are indeed better than others. You can’t make the best protein shake in the world if you have a supplement that doesn’t offer what you need.

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