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Created by MyFitnessPal - Nutrition Facts For Foods

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

What's in your protein shake? Maybe cadmium, arsenic, mercury, and lead...

So, I dropped by to read Melting Mama (who is a very cool, funny, ragingly honest blogger that I like to read regularly), and see a very helpful post for June 1 on the Consumer Reports test of protein drinks. I'm glad she posted this, cause I had tried to find an online source for the test results (didn't want to subscribe again to CR, as I had been a subscriber for years and, really, hardly ever went to the site to get my money's worth.) She has the chart up. Go see it.

I admit it. Yes, I confess. I have several big cannisters of protein mix in my kitchen. (Or, more specifically, under the kitchen table, as I have a storage issue here.)

No, I didn't have gastric bypass. No, I'm not a low-carber. No, I'm not an elite muscle-building athlete.

So, why?

Cause I can't eat before my exercise training session. If I have breakfast (ie, solids), I get crazy reflux when I lie down, invert, etc. So, for almost two years, since I began regular  Pilates training, I've had my cocktail I mix up in a shaker prior to exercising. I noticed on days I didn't use it and caved and had an egg with toast or toast and cheese or something else with a solid, I'd get the mini-acid-reflux pukies. When I had nothing but tea, I pooped out, no energy to finish an hour-long exercise session.

Enter BSN Syntha 6 and Dessert Lean. I liked the flavors (I have banana pudding, cinnamon roll, mochaccino, & chocolate). I liked the ease of mixing with water.I use it in combination with Amazing Grass and Acai Splash (and sometimes Green Magma) to get antioxidants, protein, etc before my workout. It gives me the energy to get through it, and at fifty years old and morbidly obese, anything that gets me through an hour of exercise, I'll take it. :) (Well, as long as it's not illegal or loony or makes me look like a strung-out crack or meth 'ho.)

I never have more than one scoop a day (unlike the Consumer Reports study that uses 3 servings a day as their comparison standard amount). I sometimes have half a scoop.

I also recently got some Any Whey (wish that was in their study) to punch up the protein content in my husband's occasional breakfast waffles and pancakes (as he does tend to NOT get enough protein, usually none to almost none with breakfast,  and has had some muscle loss consequently).

So, for myself, what to do?

Well, I'm not gonna toss it in the trash. The quantities in the BSN as listed (yeah, I use THAT chocolate one) divided by 3 or more (as I use 1 to less than one scoop and only on VIGOROUS exercise days, which is usually 2x, and sometimes 3x a week).

I will not repurchase, however, and will figure out a better way to prep for exercise WITHOUT protein shakes. If that means experimenting with smoothies (ie, peanut butter and milk with banana or somesuch), then so be it.

I don't eat protein bars anymore (never really loved any of them other than Supreme Protein, and that had an amazing amount of calories!). The peanut contamination sort of got me to toss what I had.

However, if you take protein shakes daily--and I assume bars with protein isolates mixed in may have this very same issue, and Consumer Reports should look into that-- or, worse, multiple times a day, it's time to sit down and have yourself a good think and self-talk over it. Definitely don't have it more than once a day (if you're supplementing meals). Start cutting back a bit today if you are using it multiple times a day and have stocked up on the brands with worst contamination (Muscle Milk, whoa, glad I never bought that). If you are determined to continue to consume protein-rich mixes/shakes, then at least buy the ones that did well on the Consumer Reports tests: Solgar Whey to Go, Optimum Nutrition Platinum Hydro-Whey (dang, long name), Six Star Muscle Professional Strength Whey (dang, another long one).

I used to drink EAS myoplex in dark chocolate (the low carb one) back when I did a low-carb phase. I won't be buying them again.

I wonder if they've tested the protein additives--or toxins-- in marketed food programs with protein shakes and protein bars and protein-enhanced this and that? If they're using those whey isolates, etc, just like protein powders, this could be an issue.

Are you drinking protein shakes/mixes/bars? Does this Consumer Report study concern you? Are you going to alter your habits re ingestion of these protein products?


Lyn said...

I really appreciate this. I have protein shakes often (with the low carb thing) and I have a vast assortment in the pantry. I guess what I will do (after I read the article to see which shakes are worst) is be careful about portions, and use them sparingly. I like to mix protein powder in my oatmeal in the mornings (when I am eating oatmeal). I wonder if plain whey powder has fewer toxins. I'll check into that.

Anonymous said...

It's getting really hard to avoid all these toxins.
I found this one website that teaches how to test for heavy metals at home. I started testing things around the house and I've already found some items that quickly found their way to the garbage can.
If anyone else is interested, just Google: "home-health-chemistry".

Keep safe,