2. Gums and Fillers
Besides the cheap protein sources you find in blends, dextrin (a carbohydrate from starch) and maltodextrin (produced from corn, rice, potato starch, or wheat) are common fillers added to protein powder to bulk it up.
Also be on the lookout for gums, like xanthan gum, which is derived from corn and soy and often used as a thickener in protein power.
It goes without saying that these gums and fillers are totally unnatural and often cause bloating and gas.
3. Natural Flavors
Natural flavors... oh natural flavors.
Have you ever looked at a tub of vanilla-ice-cream- or chocolate-strawberry-flavored protein powder and thought to yourself, "oh yeah, that sounds natural."
Yeah, neither have I.
“Natural flavors” is an umbrella term used to describe a chemical that was originally found in a naturally occurring source. And even if the chemical is sourced naturally, it is almost certainly still highly processed. Making it barely a step above artificial flavoring.
While food processors must list all of the ingredients on a food label, flavor manufacturers do not have to disclose their ingredients. They can add synthetic solvents, preservatives, emulsifiers, carriers and other additives to a flavor that qualifies as "natural" under current regulations.
In other words, we have no idea what is actually in those "natural flavors." It's usually a laundry list of hidden ingredients.
So why even use it? It's typically added to mask cheap or yucky ingredients.