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Is protein powder safe when pregnant or breastfeeding?

April 16, 2020 3 min read

Is protein powder safe when pregnant or breastfeeding?

Knowing what you can and can’t eat when pregnant or breastfeeding can be really confusing. One question our team is regularly asked, is if protein powder is safe to take when pregnant or breastfeeding. This blog will clarify some of the issues surrounding supplements for pregnant and breastfeeding ladies.

What are the protein requirements of breastfeeding mothers?

Protein is one of the three macronutrients. It’s role is to provide the building blocks for muscle and tissue repair. It also plays important roles in hormone and enzyme production which are essential for the many functions that occur in our body. Pregnant and breastfeeding women have higher protein requirements compared to other women. For pregnant women the requirements for protein is 60g per day for pregnant women, and for breastfeeding women needs 500 additional kcal/day than the recommended intake for women who are not breastfeeding. The production of breastmilk has a high protein cost, not only because of the protein that is within breastmilk that nourishes our babies, but also the physiological cost of breastmilk production.

What is a supplementary sports food?

All VPA® Products are Supplementary Sports Foods . They fall under the regulation of Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code – Standard 2.9.4 – Formulated supplementary sports foods.

A formulated supplementary sports food is “a product that is specifically formulated to assist sports people in achieving specific nutritional or performance goals.” To comply with Food Standards Code 2.9.4 our products must meet various food labeling requirements. One of these requirements is to include the warning statement “Not suitable for children under 15 years of age or pregnant women”. You will see this warning on all VPA® products regardless of their ingredients. These warnings exist as we are all different and every pregnancy is unique. It’s always a good idea to discuss any supplements you wish to take with your doctor.

Does this mean VPA® products are unsafe for pregnant or breastfeeding women?

No it doesn’t. If there are particular VPA® product you would like to use please discuss it with your health professionals.

The most common product we are asked about are our protein powders. Lets a look at the ingredients of these products – whey, flavour (cocoa in some), and sucralose.

Whey protein is exactly the same protein you’d be consuming if you were drinking a cup of milk, or that is included in baby formula. It’s definitely OK for people of all ages and stages to consume. Other than that, our protein contains a little flavour and sucralose as a sweetener which is found in many food products. Do you eat cake? Flavoured yoghurt? Enjoy a chocolate bar or drink flavoured milk on occasion? Then chances are you’re consuming sweeteners, flavours, and other additives in far greater quantities than what is in our protein shakes.

Another question sometimes asked is whether our protein products are free from contamination. The answer to that is, yes! We regularly test our whey concentrates and isolates for protein quality, and contaminants. You can find those test results on our website under the appropriate product. Our products are pure and contamination free.

What supplements should I avoid if pregnant or breastfeeding?

There are definitely some VPA® products that you should not take if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Any products with caffeine and other stimulants should be avoided, as should excessive intake of caffeine from coffee. VPA® products that contain caffeine and other stimulants include Pre-30, Summer FomoTM, and Venom®.

Make an informed choice

As a mother of three children who were breastfed, I would be happy to consume protein powders while pregnant or breastfeeding. If you’re wanting to add a protein powder to your daily food intake, please take it up with your health professional and get their OK.

Whey Isolate (100% WPI)-Protein Powder-VPA Australia

Premium Plant Vegan Protein-VPA Australia

Harmony Tea-VPA Australia

Sally Mitchell

Sally Mitchell (BSc, MHumNut) is a scientist, university qualified nutritionist and VPA staff member. She brings a nerdy love of numbers, data, and science wit her to VPA. Her favourite VPA product is coffee Breakfast Shake. She enjoys powerlifting and running but, sadly, does both poorly.

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