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Protein-What Else are You Getting in Your Powder?

June 15, 2010

I’m a big devotee of Consumer Reports.  Whenever Solomon and I have a big purchase looming in our future, we go right to Consumer Reports.  When researching a car, it was all about reviews we could find, but we put a lot of strength in Consumers (we have a 2007 Rav 4-despite the problems with Toyota in the last year, we couldn’t be happier with it).  Baby stuff?  About 90% of what we registered for was researched at Consumer Reports.  Safety is really important, and we trust them.

Why am I telling you how much I love and trust Consumer Reports?  Well, I recently read an article in the July issue that I thought I should bring to your attention.  I was really surprised by this, but it’s information I really feel like I have to share.

Anyone who reads blogs has no doubt noticed an increase in use of protein powder lately.  I use the stuff.  As a vegetarian, I thought it would be good to add a serving or two to my daily diet in order to get some protein I might be missing.  I didn’t realize how blissfully unaware I was of what was really in those powders until recently.

A recent investigation revealed that many of these protein powders and premixed protein drinks can pose possible health risks, particularly an exposure to heavy metals if they are used too frequently.  Of 15 different protein powders tested, one or more of contaminants were found including arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury.  Though levels were low to moderate, consumers who have 3 or more servings daily were exposed to amounts that exceed the maximum limits.

The FDA does not require protein powder and drinks to be tested before being sold to ensure safety and that they are free of chemicals.  Additionally it was found that many of these companies use misleading marketing and advertising to sell their products.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t love the idea of intentionally putting chemicals into my body, especially when it’s in a food that is not a necessity in my diet.

Interesting, isn’t it?  Now, that’s just a quick little summary, but the article was enough to make me stop using the proteins I had.  I am still concerned about protein in my diet, especially being pregnant, but not enough to add these awful chemicals in.  I’m sure there are many other protein options out there that are much better, likely the organic or vegan ones, but I don’t see any research on that.  Anyone know of any SAFE protein powders out there?

I know there is a lot of debate about just how much protein you actually NEED in your diet.  Some people say the body doesn’t need much protein, and others argue that the body needs a gram per pound of body weight.  There are many other schools of thought in between there, and I really don’t know what the right answer is.  I think it’s best to just trust your body, and listen to what you need.

Everyone knows what great sources of protein are…meat, poultry, eggs, nuts, beans, some grains and tofu just to name a few.

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What are your thoughts on protein?  Do you use protein powders or rely on your diet to get your protein?  Do you follow a high protein diet?  What do you think about this article and it’s findings?

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13 Comments leave one →
  1. June 15, 2010 2:47 pm

    I really hate protein powders/don’t keep any around. When my body wants protein(not usually), i go for a whole source like tofu, greek yogurt, and occasionally beef. Right now I’m eating a Perfect Foods bar, which is the only source of protein powder I let in my diet because they’re soooo good. i’ve heard of people who just put plain, firm tofu in their smoothies instead of soy protein: I love that idea!

  2. June 15, 2010 5:56 pm

    so did they say how we can distingusih bad protein powders? that would be helpful. i wonder if my trusted gensoy chocolate is bad for me….

  3. June 15, 2010 7:17 pm

    i’ve never had any protein powders. i really i am in the huge minority, but it is just unappetizing to me and i don’t worry about being protein deficient.

  4. June 15, 2010 10:08 pm

    Look at you all responsible getting your Consumer Report on!!

    Interesting article but like Genesis said, it would be nice if they had some pointers on how to tell what to look for when buying.

    I use protein powders because I feel better when I have a high protein count for the day. I’ve been on a green monster kick lately but don’t use it as a meal replacement and still get a majority of my protein from meat, greek yogurt, etc.

  5. J & R permalink
    June 16, 2010 12:08 am

    not much of a debate
    http://www.dietaryfiberfood.com/protein-requirement.php

  6. June 16, 2010 4:25 am

    Very interesting! I would also like to know how to distinguish which ones are safe. I’ve never been a huge protein powder kind of girl. I tried it once and then gave up on it because the kind I had tasted gross. I just live in trust that my body will tell me what it needs and if i’m craving something then it could be for a reason.

  7. June 16, 2010 4:59 am

    So scary! I have Muscle Milk Light and love adding it to smoothies to give them a bit more staying power. Most of my protein comes from meals and I dont have protein powder every day. But I do like that its there for times when I need a little extra. Its crazy that these supplements are not regulated.

  8. June 16, 2010 6:49 am

    Do you read the blog “Runs on Green”? She is a vegetarian and awesome! Recently she did a three part post on protein, you should definitely check it out! http://www.runsongreen.com/?p=2821

    Very interesting article, I’ve never had protein powder

  9. Madeline - Greens and Jeans permalink
    June 16, 2010 11:30 am

    I’m not so much of a protein powder fan, mostly because I’ve never liked the way they taste! I just do my best to get protein in other ways.

  10. June 16, 2010 5:13 pm

    I have recently heard about this. It is crazy that these powders are not regulated by the FDA!
    I am not much of a meat eater but I do greek yogurt, beans, nuts, peanut butter, and tofu.
    Once in a great while, I will add protein powder to shakes but not normally. Studies have found chocolate milk to be a great post workout drink.

  11. June 16, 2010 5:22 pm

    You know, I was going to write about this same thing today! My mom sent me this article: http://www.aolhealth.com/2010/06/01/protein-drink-dangers-study-finds-toxins-in-liquids-powders/?sms_ss=email

    I use protein powder a lot, and actually use the very kind they talked about (the EAS) quite frequently. Scary stuff…

  12. June 16, 2010 7:28 pm

    I think most balanced diets have enough protein/carb/fats so the use of powders, pills, etc are unnecessary in my opinion. I take a protein shake on the occasion but thats only if I am hungry after a workout and I can’t get to real food. I would ALWAYS choose real food over protein powder. I think people get too caught up in the idea that you need XX amounts of protein post workout/to build muscle, etc so they take protein powder. Seriously, a piece of chicken breast or some egg whites or even peanut butter has protein in it. I say eat the real stuff.

    We have a Rav-4 too and it’s awesome. We got it in 2001 brand new and now my parents want to swap it for a newer model.

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