Although protein shakes can be a great way to combat hunger, fight fat, balance carbohydrates and level out your blood sugar; these products are not regulated by the FDA. Recently, CBS news did an interesting study on protein shakes by taking a hidden camera into local health food stores. While filming, the news anchor asked about each different kind of protein shake. The sales person was well versed on each brand but never once warned the potential buyer of any health hazards.
In another article, Consumer Reports notes that taking large doses of protein over time can have noticeable affects to your health. Excessive amounts of protein can lead to dehydration, digestive problems, increase your risk for osteoporosis, and cause possible kidney problems.
The July issue of “Consumer Reports,” states that digestive problems and kidney issues are the least of your worries. You should be paying more attention to the amount of heavy metals in your protein shake! While the metals do not exceed amounts that would be toxic (by FDA standards); these shakes taken in excess over long periods of time can cause some real damage.
Consumer Reports study looked for 4 types of heavy metals, arsenic, cadmium, mercury, and lead. Next they independently tested 15 different brands of protein shakes. The results showed that ALL 15 shakes had these heavy metals.
Out of the 15 shakes tested. Consumer Reports narrowed it down to 3 shakes that should be avoided
Eas Myoplex (Arsenic, Cadmium)
Muscle Milk-Chocolate (Cadmium, Lead)
Muscle Milk-Vanilla Crème (Lead) (source)
While this article is not to drive you away from particular brands or to dicourage you from using protein supplements. It is in fact to educate the public on what they could be ingesting and the dangers of taking these products in excess. If you are using a shake once a day as a snack you should be fine. The people that are truly at risk for toxic levels of metals are those who use excessive shakes to either gain or lose weight. If that is your goal then try supplementing more with foods and less with processed shakes for the best results.