Tips for Athletes: No Whey!

iStock_000058285366_XXXLargeA question we often get is “I’m working out hard, eating lots of protein and drinking whey protein shakes and my acne seems to be getting worse. Does whey protein cause acne?”

First of all, working out consistently can cause breakouts due to the hormonal fluctuations that occur, but we will address that another time.

Today, let’s take a closer look at what whey protein is and where it comes from.

Whey is a protein derived from cow’s milk, a known inflammatory food and a common allergen for many people. Since acne is classified as an “inflammatory condition of the skin,” the best way to avoid flare ups is obvious – don’t eat or drink things that are known to cause inflammation. Whey protein can cause similar side effects in someone who has an allergy or intolerance to milk or diary, which includes a bloated stomach or intestinal cramps, sometimes after consuming whey.

However, the question remains – Does whey specifically cause acne?

Unless you are allergic to it, whey protein is most likely not the cause of acne, but it can cause minor skin issues, especially in conjunction with exercise, poor nutrition, and failure to replenish vital minerals and nutrients that your body needs post-workout.
There is a wide variety in the quality levels of whey protein. To put it simply, the higher priced whey proteins are generally better for you because some of the processes used do not damage the nature of the whey, unlike the inexpensive versions. This is referred to as a “non-denatured” whey protein. It’s also important to know that the vast majority of whey products contain unhealthy ingredients.
The phrase “you get what you pay for” is a good guideline here. The vast majority of the cheaper tubs at your conventional grocery or big box store contain ingredients that are just plain bad for you, and also damaging for your skin. Some of the negative (and even toxic) ingredients include sugars, artificial sweeteners, colors, flavors, and preservatives, all of which your body has a difficult time digesting. Remember, one of the key ways the body rids itself of toxins is through the skin.

Consuming adequate high-quality protein is important for your skin and virtually every other system of your body. After a workout, whey protein is better than no protein, but your best choices are vegetarian protein such as brown rice, yellow pea or hemp. Other excellent choices are egg white protein and goat milk protein. Shop online, natural food stores or specialty vitamin retailers for the top quality proteins. Your skin is worth it!

Here’s to your clear skin! #theclearskinproject!