There are tons of supplements that people use to help them achieve the physical appearance they want from working out. One of the most popular is protein powder.

Protein powder is a quick and easy way to add this macronutrient into your diet to help build lean muscle and repair the tissue after a good training session. Protein can be mixed in a green smoothie with fruits and veggies or simply mixed with water.

One type of protein is whey protein. To explain, milk is made of two proteins casein and whey. Whey protein can be isolated by separating it from casein when milk is made or being a byproduct of making cheese. When making low or nonfat dairy, the fat is skimmed off to make cream and the curds (coagulated/clumped milk) to make cheese. The remaining liquid is whey, which can then be dried out to make protein powder.

Last year, I increased my intake of whey protein powder in order to aid my ability to build more lean muscle tissue. But then something happened……..I started to breakout! It was alarming because I have a consistent skin care routine so I figured it must be something dietary.

At first, I didn’t really put the two together but after I did some research on causes of acne I ran across a few articles and message boards about women sharing their experiences with whey protein and acne. Suddenly it hit me, I had not only been adding protein to my daily green smoothie, I had also started taking a scoop mixed with water after each training session.

The Chiropractor in me took over and I decided to do an elimination diet to see if in fact the protein I was taking was correlated to my recent acne breakouts. I stopped using the protein altogether, I still drank my green smoothies just without the protein powder.

I chose to continue drinking my green smoothies because I also put Greek yogurt in them along with spinach, strawberries, bananas and water or sometimes almond milk. If I cut out both the yogurt and whey protein, I wouldn’t be able to tell if the whey protein was the culprit or the yogurt. This was important to me because some studies show that in general dairy products can possibly cause acne as well.

I strongly believed it was the protein powder, reason being I had been drinking green smoothies daily for months with only the occasional breakout here and there which usually correlated with my menstrual cycle, so I figured it to be hormonal acne. But as I increased my daily consumption of protein powder my acne started to get worse and not just around my cycle.

After a few weeks, my acne did start to clear up but I would still get a pimple or two around my cycle. So, I decided to kick it up a notch and reduce my consumption of dairy altogether. I started using little to no yogurt in my smoothies and I also used less cheese for my meals (this was hard because I LOVE cheese). As a family we use almond milk so there was no need for a change there.

The result… more breakouts!

Disclaimer…..This is my personal experience with whey protein and not everyone will have the same experience. However, if you have started taking whey protein and you have noticed an increased occurrence in breakouts, it wouldn’t hurt to do a little experiment on yourself to see what happens.

So you may be wondering… can I get my protein in?

The simple answer is…..through your diet. You see protein powder is a supplement and is designed to simply supplement (complete or enhance) your diet. Ideally your daily eating habits should supply you with all your needed nutrients.

Foods that are good Non-Dairy sources of protein include:

  • Plant Based Protein Powders
  • Lean Meat: Chicken, Turkey and Fish
  • Eggs
  • Beans
  • Nuts mixed-1057149_640
  • Lentils (edible legumes which are a member of the pea family) lenses-3817956_640
  • Nutritional Yeast (plant-based ingredient used to give dishes a dairy-free cheese flavor)
  • Oatmeal
  • Chia seeds chiaseed-3986385_640
  • Vegetables with protein include: asparagus, spinach, brussel sprouts, broccoli, artichokes and sweet potatoes
  • Fruits with protein include: bananas, blackberries, guava, nectarines

As I stated before, this is my personal experience and I am not saying everyone will react the same. Do your own research and do what is best for you!

Find Health in Every Day!

Dr. Lindsay