How To Choose The Right Protein Powder For PCOS

How can you choose the right protein powder for PCOS?

That’s a great question, and I’m often asked, “What’s the best protein powder for PCOS”.

We know healthy protein helps us subconsciously eat fewer calories, improves our blood sugar balance, helps us to maintain our muscle mass which is important for our fat burning ability and metabolism. Without protein, we cannot be well or conquer our PCOS signs and symptoms.

In your everyday food plan, sources of protein include meat, chicken, fish, tofu, beans, eggs, nuts, and seeds. Healthy protein powders are an alternative way of gaining protein also.

eggs and the pcos diet

Why is protein important for your body?

A protein is a chain of amino acids, and every cell in your body contains them. Therefore, protein is needed to repair cells and to produce new ones.

Protein powders are supplemental protein sources that are very popular with people who frequent the gym, bodybuilders, football players, basketball players, gymnasts, and other athletes. They are also popular with those trying to lose weight and busy people looking for a quick and filling meal. These powders are often mixed with water to form a shake, or sprinkled on food sources.

The three most recognised forms of protein powders are whey, casein, and soy.

protein in pcos

Casein There are two proteins in milk; casein and whey.

There is growing concern regarding A1 beta-casein in cow’s milk. Before cows were domesticated, cows were genetically of the A2 type, producing A2 beta-casein. However, somewhere along the line, maybe through a natural mutation, an important component of the beta-casein changed.

Of the 209 amino acid chain of the beta-casein protein, the 67th amino acid was changed from proline to histidine. This formed the A1 beta-casein, and a peptide called beta-casomorphin-7 or BCM7 formed. Heart disease, diabetes, autism and other illnesses have been linked to BCM7.

I cannot recommend you choose casein containing protein powders, as we are unable to tell which beta-casein is within it. A1 casein is not something you want to include in your food plan. Period. To find out more, there is a wonderful book called Devil In The Milk: Illness, Health and the Politics of A1 and A2 Milk by Keith Woodford. It is a heavy, but worthwhile, read.


Whey protein has all 9 essential amino acids, contains antioxidants and enhances immune function.

For individuals looking to shed pounds, whey protein can aid in the reduction of body fat. Consuming whey before and after workouts can increase fat-free mass and muscle strength. Whey has also been shown to reduce hunger, which contributes to weight loss and toning.

According to a study published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, “whey protein supplementation during resistance training offers some benefit compared to resistance training alone.”

Indeed, studies have shown that whey protein is more significant for strength building than casein. In the study published by the above, “in two groups of matched, resistance-trained males, whey isolate provided significantly greater gains in strength, lean body mass, and a decrease in fat mass compared to supplementation with casein during an intense 10-week resistance-training program.”

In addition to the benefits of whey protein with PCOS weight loss and the gym, there are significant health benefits associated with the protein. Whey fights cancers, particularly prostate and colon cancers. Consuming the protein in a shake form has shown to reduce episodes of depression. Whey can benefit your immune system and fight off colds and illnesses. A decrease in total cholesterol, as well as LDL cholesterol, has been reported. It also has significant advantages in lowering blood pressure.

Finally, whey protein is naturally gluten-free.

Whey is the most commonly used and advantageous of the three.

Soy is a vegetable protein that you can mix into a drink or sprinkle over your foods. It is often found to be less palatable than casein or whey, nor does it dissolve as well. However, if you are a vegan, you may prefer it.

Note: I have researched soy and am not against it. The apparent evidence for its harm in iodine-replete women is lacking. Some people find it upsets their tummy, so be aware of how you feel and moderate as required. Because it’s so hard to find non-emotive rhethoric around this issues, I’ve written A Soy Story: The Controversial Arguments About PCOS and Soy to help you make an informed decision.

What other choices are there?

Hemp and pea protein are great options!

Make sure they are organic, casein and gluten free, with lower carbs.

There’s the straight-shooting Norcal Organic’s Pea Protein… It is, well, nothing but pea protein!

Or you can buy a protein powder with additions, like pre and probiotics, nutrients and natural flavour.

Protein powders can make a world of difference

… for those looking to shed unwanted kilos, to boost their intake of this important macronutrient, to improve hormonal balance and to be well.

From PCOS to perfect health, with love,

Dr. Rebecca Harwin
The PCOS Expert
Chiropractor & Amazon Bestselling Author
P.S. You can add berries, bananas or other fruit, plus powder or liquid supplements, plus psyllium to maximise the goodness and nutritional kick you get from each protein shake.

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15 Responses to How To Choose The Right Protein Powder For PCOS

  1. Victoriya June 23, 2015 at 1:38 am #

    The issue for me is that I am lactose intolerant but I cannot stand the taste of pea or hemp protein and they aren’t as filling. When I have regular whey protein I feel full (as mentioned) longer and don’t crave any sweets or carbs! However I ended up bloated and not able to lose any weight from the stomach. It also caused me to have severe acne breakouts on my chest and body. What do you suggest I try? I heard whey isolate may be a better option since it contains less lactose.

    • Dr Rebecca Harwin June 24, 2015 at 5:52 am #

      Hi Victoriya,

      Many women with PCOS have issues with dairy. Often it’s the casein (the protein) rather than the lactose (the sugar) that causes the intolerance.

      Are you using these are a vegetarian source of protein? Have you considered getting your protein from food, not shakes? Then you could look to eggs (if you eat these), nuts, seeds, even leafy greens have some protein.

      This sounds like it may be a better approach for you.

      Warm regards,

      Dr. Rebecca Harwin.

    • Courtney January 19, 2018 at 4:01 am #

      Try harminized fermented vegan protrein powder its pretty good for a vegan powder its nlt griddy at all it has a creamy texture and the National vanilla is awsome its also very good for diegestion it cost about 54$ but its one of the best ive had and i tryed a few and some are pretty bad lol it can buy it at a health food store i bought mine at a kardish also there is an unflavored one as well

      • Dr Rebecca Harwin January 19, 2018 at 4:09 am #

        Thanks for the tip Courtney.

      • Lynn Garay Monge June 20, 2018 at 10:16 pm #

        Can you send a picture plz?

        • Dr Rebecca Harwin June 27, 2018 at 10:00 am #

          Hi Lynn,

          Sorry, what would you like a picture of? Are the pictures on the page not showing for you?


  2. EB August 12, 2015 at 4:08 am #

    I have been using EAS complete protein. I tried whey when reading that it could be more beneficial. However, I found that it either rises or lowers (unsure) my blood sugar so quickly after drinking that I feel ill. Do you know why this is?

    • Dr Rebecca Harwin August 14, 2015 at 2:23 am #


      Insulin resistance and blood sugar control can vary depending on different health challenges a person has. If you find that a product or particular food doesn’t agree with you, it’s good to avoid it. It could be because of the fillers and other ingredients, not just the whey. i.e. it may also contain A1 casein, and this can make people feel unwell.

      Hope that helps.

      Dr. Rebecca Harwin.

  3. Mori August 28, 2015 at 1:22 am #

    I was recently diagnosed with PCOS. I have been doing some research and have a question regarding whether soy or whey is better for meal replacement. Prior to being diagnosed I was on the herbalife diet which contains soy isolate protein I have not been able to lose weight and I wonder if it’s because of the pcos and the soy and estrogen it contains or the effect it has on estrogen. I guess my question is does soy really affect people with pcos and is whey a better alternative?

    • Dr Rebecca Harwin September 30, 2015 at 11:06 pm #

      Hi Mori,

      There are choices based on proteins like pea and hemp. You might find these more helpful?

      There are many reasons that may contribute to PCOS weight gain though, so addressing sleep issues, stress, gut problems, an underachieve thyroid, inflammation and insulin resistance, really helps and is very important.

      The supplements I personally take an recommend to address these underlying drivers are at

      I hope that helps, and good luck x

  4. Erica March 7, 2016 at 11:09 pm #

    Which brands protein powders are best for women with pcos? There are so many whey brands out there and I don’t know which one to choose.

  5. Natasha April 23, 2017 at 5:04 am #

    is it mean that soy is ok for pcosers dr? all this time i am avoiding on taking any soy products because most people said that pcosers cannit take any soy base food..

  6. Megan April 26, 2017 at 10:40 am #

    I read something about dairy might be related to raised testosterone levels in women with PCOS, so I have been avoiding whey protein powder. I am a coach with beach body and use the vegan shake which is fine, but my sister (a cross fit junky) swears my whey and claims it’s better for your body.
    I guess what I’m asking is whey better for me as a woman with high testosterone / pcos? Or should I stick with my vegan shake?


  7. Courtney January 19, 2018 at 4:18 am #

    Hi there ive been struggling with pcos for awhile now as well I personally havent had whey protein but anything that is high is sugar/ cards arent good for us sorry if u know that all ready ive been using a vegan protein as well and so far so good ive learn the more carbs/ sugar we eat the higher our testosterone gets which os not good for us with pcos and also the most affective diet that i find that help is a high protein low carb diet i also tryed a high fat diet but healthy fats and low carbs and i lost 7lb in one week but i have to say these diets arent easy at all im still stuggleing

    • Dr Rebecca Harwin May 30, 2018 at 1:14 pm #

      Hi Courtney,

      Yes, you are right on the money. High sugar and high glycaemic load foods are not good for PCOS. They can increase inflammation and insulin resistance and a raft of other issues.

      It can be hard to find the right PCOS food plan, I completely agree. Just be careful you don’t opt for very low carb for an extended period of time as this can lead to nutritional deficiencies, change your gut flora, and stress your thyroid.

      And I’m glad you are including healthy fats 🙂 These are really important.

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