Protein powders can provide a quick and convenient boost of nutrition before or after exercise, on the go, or between meals when hunger pangs flare. But not all protein powders are created equal. In fact, some of them can contain hidden health risks in the form of artificial flavors, thickeners, added sugars, and other suspect ingredients. What’s worse—A 2018 Clean Label Project investigation found that some of the most popular protein brands contain alarming levels of lead, arsenic, mercury, cadmium and BPAs.
Protein powder is considered a dietary supplement—which means that the manufacturers, rather than the Food and Drug Administration, oversee product labeling and safety.
“Because the supplement industry is largely unregulated, it is important to choose brands that are reputable with third-party testing standards for safety,” he says. Rachel Fine, RD.
With that in mind, here are some protein powders you might want to avoid the next time you’re at the grocery store or order online.
Health-wise, there’s nothing particularly worrisome about Natreve’s “moo-less” protein powder: In fact, this balanced protein is non-GMO, gluten-free, contains no added sugar, and is made without artificial flavors and colors. or localities.
However, if you’re buying this protein specifically like most Natreve consumers because it’s vegetarian, it’s worth noting that a product was recalled because it was found to contain unauthorized milk. Due to a manufacturing error, containers of two batches contain milk-based ingredients that do not appear on the label.
For people who are allergic or hypersensitive to milk, taking this protein powder can cause a life-threatening allergic reaction. And for those who are lactose intolerant, it can still cause some annoying digestive symptoms.
Collagen is a specific type of protein that acts as a building block for all the connective tissues in the body. In recent years, collagen protein powders have become very popular, promising a wide range of impressive potential benefits – from boosting muscle mass to supporting bone health. But Kristen Dreyer, RDI do not recommend it.
“Collagen protein has been promoted to be beneficial for hair, skin, and joint health, but there is no valid evidence to support these claims,” she explains. “Through the process of digestion and absorption, collagen breaks down into amino acids before being absorbed into the bloodstream. The body then uses these amino acids to build the proteins the body needs. There is no guarantee that the amino acids will be restructured into collagen. In fact, it likely won’t be. “.
Not only that, but Dreyer says collagen is a poor muscle-building protein because it doesn’t contain all nine essential amino acids—particularly leucine, which is critical to the muscle-building process.
But the concerns do not stop there. The Clean Label Project study of pioneering collagen supplements found that 64% tested positive for measurable levels of arsenic, 37% tested positive for measurable levels of lead, and 34% tested positive for trace mercury levels.
Specifically, Bulletproof’s Collagen Protein (chocolate flavor) tops the list of the worst offenders, containing 2.1 mcg of arsenic, 9.17 mcg of cadmium, and 1.33 mcg of lead. 2022 revision in King Saud’s university magazine It found that ingesting excessive levels of these heavy metals can cause significant harm to every organ in the body, leading to an increased risk of cancer, neurological defects, respiratory disorders, osteoporosis, and other conditions.
Bill Bradley, RDThe CEO of Mediterranean Living recommends skipping this protein powder because it contains one to two servings of corn syrup and sucralose, an artificial sweetener.
“Sucralose and other artificial sweeteners are bad for your gut, and corn syrup can lead to diabetes and obesity,” Bradley says.
This isn’t the only reason to avoid this product – ingredients also include acesulfame-potassium, another artificial sweetener. While the Food and Drug Administration has deemed this ingredient to be safe in limited amounts, studies have shown that consuming it in large amounts may lead to an increased risk of cancer and metabolic syndrome, and may cause changes in brain function.
The first ingredient in this product is “Arbonne Protein Matrix Blend” which contains 56% pea protein. The Clean Label Project found that plant-based protein powders, including pea protein, tend to have higher levels of heavy metals than their dairy counterparts. Not only that, but almost all cocoa powders – another ingredient found in this powder – have been found to contain cadmium.
It is also worth noting that peas contain phytic acid. This anti-nutrient binds to essential minerals such as iron, calcium and zinc, as it passes through the gut and prevents the body from absorbing them.
Arbonne protein powder also contains thickening agents that are known to cause gas, bloating, constipation and diarrhea.
There are plenty of reasons to stay away from protein powders — including pesky thickeners and artificial flavors.
First, it contains partially hydrogenated coconut oil, which produces a large amount of trans fats during the hydrogenation process. Trans fats can increase the bad LDL cholesterol while decreasing the good HDL cholesterol, thus increasing the risk of heart attacks or strokes.
Adaptogen Science protein powder also contains sucralose, which has been found to wreak havoc on the bacteria in your gut.
Draayer advises forgoing protein powders with artificial sweeteners, and sweetening your shakes with fruit or a bit of honey or maple syrup.