Shannon's health and fitness blog

One more reason to avoid fake protein

Supplement companies advertise protein powders and ready to drink liquids as a scientifically proven way to build muscle and lose weight.  They also claim to be a nutritious and easy snack.  Protein supplements are marketed to athletes, bodybuilders, and even pregnant women and growing children. 

I’ve never been a fan of protein powder or drinks.  It just seems so unnatural to ingest protein made in a “laboratory”.  When discussing nutrition with my clients, I always suggest that their protein should come from real food sources.  Well, here’s even more reason to avoid the “fake” protein-heavy metals.  A large number of the protein powder/drinks on the market test positive for arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury.  Cadmium is a highly toxic metal that can accumulate in and damage the kidneys, which is the same organ that is damaged by excessive protein consumption.  It can take 20 years to eliminate half of the cadmium that is ingested today.  These metals are found in many foods mostly because they are grown in fertilizers containing the heavy metals.  Protein supplements just add to the exposure to these heavy metals, some products even testing at higher than the maximum limits.  Keep in mind, these supplements recommend taking the product 3 times a day!  EAS Myoplex and Muscle Milk were products that tested over the maximum limits for the heavy metals listed.  However, all 15 of the brands tested had some levels of one or more of the four heavy metals. Just for perspective, on the FDA’s list of 275 hazardous substances at toxic waste sites- arsenic, lead, and mercury rank as #’s 1, 2, and 3.  Cadmium comes in at #7.   Somehow, I don’t really think the benefits outweigh the risks here!

Foods such as milk, yogurt, eggs, and red meats are generally good sources of protein that contain little or no cadmium, arsenic, lead, or mercury.  For vegetarians, quinoa is a great choice because it is a complete protein.


July 29, 2010 - Posted by | Food, Health | , , , , , , , ,

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