Protein Powder: What Are The Safest, Healthiest Protein Supplements For Your Diet

by Dominick Walsh on June 27, 2010

tmrzoo-mens-healthMost protein users are aware of the recent consumer reports article regarding heavy metals present in some protein powders. The brands with the largest amounts of metals where EAS Myoplex and Cytosport Muscle Milk.

On a positive note the brands we have chosen to support at Performance Nutrition are free of these toxic metals. You can continue to use Optimum Health Pro Complete 40 and Intek Evolution with confidence.

Consumer Reports purchased 15 protein powders and drinks and tested multiple samples of each for arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury. Levels in several of the products could, with just three servings a day, result in daily exposure to arsenic, cadmium, or lead exceeding USP limits.

Of the 15 protein drinks tested, three of them contained very worrisome levels of arsenic, cadmium and lead.

Which Protein Drinks Fared the Worst?

Three daily servings of the ready-to-drink liquid EAS Myoplex Original Rich Dark Chocolate Shake contained an average of:

· 16.9 µg (micrograms) of arsenic

· 5.1 µg of cadmium

The proposed United States Pharmacopoeia’s (USP) limits for these two toxins are 15 and 5 µg respectively.

The worst of the products tested was Muscle Milk Chocolate powder, which contained all four toxic metals; three of them at the highest levels of all products tested.

Muscle Milk’s Vanilla Crème contained slightly less lead, but still exceeded the USP lead limit of 10 µg.

A fourth product, Muscle Milk’s liquid Nutritional Shake Chocolate, also tested high in arsenic, providing you with an average of 14.3 µg of arsenic per day, which is very close to the USP limit.

Arsenic and cadmium appear to be the most problematic here, as the levels of these two compounds in some cases exceeded maximum “safe” limits. However it’s worth noting that, ideally, you don’t want to ingest these toxins at ANY level, as even low-dose exposure can contribute to lingering health problems.

Prevention is clearly your best defense when it comes to protecting yourself against heavy metals and other toxins.

Fortunately, preventing exposure to toxins like arsenic, cadmium and lead is possible by making sure you’re eating as much organic foods as possible, and using protein drinks that are free of heavy metals. We recommend Intek Protein Evolution and Optimum Health Pro Complete 40 as two of the safest, high quality, great tasting protein products available.

While we cannot recommend any of the low quality, commercial protein shakes on the market, we strongly believe that whey protein powder is a very healthful supplement to your diet and an excellent source of protein.

Whey protein has been linked to a variety of health benefits, including:

· Helping your pancreas-produced insulin work more effectively, which supports balanced blood sugar levels

· Promoting healthy insulin secretion

· Helping to promote your optimal intake of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals needed for your overall wellness

· Supporting your immune system, as it contains immunoglobulin

· Helping you preserve lean body tissue (particularly during exercise) as it delivers bioavailable amino acids and cysteine

· Maintaining blood pressure levels that are already within the normal range

So keep in mind, protein drinks can be quite beneficial, whether you’re working out and want to increase muscle or using them to supplement an otherwise healthy diet, but quality is everything, and drinking something that’s contaminated with heavy metals won’t do you any good.

Making sure that the product you buy fulfills the healthy criteria mentioned in this article (Such as Pro Complete 40, or Intek Evolution) will ensure that you’re getting the safest, healthiest protein supplement possible.

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