Despite the fact that many americans rely on protein powder drinks and supplements, many of these products contain dangerously high levels of metals and toxins.
A non-profit organization named the Clean Label Project recently tested 134 protein powder products (from 52 brands) for heavy metals, toxins, and pesticides. Their primary focus is to reduce contamination among all products nationwide.
Roughly 70% of tested protein powder products tested had detectable amounts of lead according to the non-profit organization consumer reports. Cadmium was found in 74% of the tested products, and 55% of the products had BPA (found in plastics). BPA stands for bisphenol and is a toxin chemical found in plastic resin.
These toxins have been linked to cancer as well as brain damage.
Why are these Toxins not listed on the Label?
Many times manufacturers will include a list of most ingredients found in the product, but not all. The contaminants that may be found are often not listed and disregarded for marketing purposes. Some additives included in the product may have come into contact with toxins through their natural process of coming into contact with the ground.
The soil can be littered with traces of lead, arsenic, and cadmium. Agricultural methods such as pesticides, manufacturing processes, and mining activities leading to surface runoff can cause toxins to be absorbed into food additives and naturally grown foods.
Arsenic is a chemical that is released through the mining of land and can be found in grains, fruits, and veggies due to its presence in water.
Mercury is most commonly introduced to people through fish but occasionally can come in other varieties. It is primarily transferred through water.
An organic label does not reduce the chances of contamination. Organic proteins, on average, had higher levels of metal than non-organic protein according to the study.
While the FDA has made strides in regulating food diseases such as E. coli and salmonella, it has severely lagged behind other countries in the area of regulating health supplements.
Which Protein Powders were deemed unsafe?
Once the data from the study was collected, the products were then evaluated based on a five-star rating system and level of contaminants. Five stars was the highest levels and one star was the lowest.
The link to the entire review of each protein powder can be found here. Among all of the best supplements (which can be filtered), Vega supplements are among the lowest performing supplements with one star out of five.
Quest and Garden of Life had some one-star products on the list as well.
Garden of Life was bought by Nestle (a processed-food giant), so this may account for their Raw Protein and Raw Meal products to test so poorly.
The five poorest performing products were:
1. Garden of Life Organic Shake & Meal Replacement Chocolate Cacao Raw Organic Meal
2. Nature’s Best Isopure Creamy Vanilla Zero Carb
3. Quest Chocolate Milkshake Protein Powder
4. 360Cut Performance Supplements 360PRO Whey Chocolate Silk Premium Whey Protein
5. Vega Sport Plant-Based Vanilla Performance Protein
For instance, cacao plants used to make chocolate supplements are more susceptible to heavy metal contamination.
For more information on the raw data used to determine these ratings, you can find the link to that information here.
Which Protein Powders were the Best?
The higher scoring safety products were using whey protein. When you click on the product review, it will have tabs to click on for reviews on each toxin.
The top five performing products were:
1. Puori PW1 Vanilla pure Whey Protein
2. BioChem Vanilla 100% Whey Protein
3. Body Fortress Super Advanced Vanilla 100% Whey Protein
4. Performix Pro Whey + (Sabor Vanilla) Sabor Vanilla Protein with Amino Beads
5. Pure Protein Vanilla Cream 100% Whey
Overall Study Results for Clean Label Project
The infographic found on the Clean Label Project website gives a great visual summary of the overall results of the project that spans other products as well.
Know what your body needs
The products evaluated in this study account for more than 90% of the product market, which is a massive effort to force transparency among suppliers. This is a huge step forward in keeping the supplement industry accountable for the products that they place in front of us.
It’s important to not only study and read the label, but also do your research and make sure that the supplier is reputable. We should already be getting the majority of our vitamins and supplements through our diet.
Through research and qualitative data, we can now conduct our own quality control on the health supplement industry. As long as it is a business, there will always be suppliers and manufacturers looking to cut corners and use unsafe additives.
Does anyone else know of any dangerous supplements or foods that also demand a warning or review? Please let us know by responding or commenting on this topic below. Your thoughts and insights would be greatly appreciated.
We will continue to keep up with the latest going on the energy supplement + health and wellness industry. Until next time, Stay focused and happily energetic!