Many people who routinely work out make it a ritual to have that protein shake after a hard exercise session. But can the effects of the protein powder do more harm long-term than good? I recently conducted a study and found some very interesting results that might make you think before gulping down that next chocolate chip mint whey protein shake.
First The Bad News
Did you know that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate protein supplements? Thats right, the manufacturers are not required to register their goods with the FDA before manufacturing or selling their products. This can lead to false claims and dangerous contaminants and chemicals being in your powder. An analysis of popular protein powders in 2010 found that two of the manufacturers were guilty of having products containing traces of lead, cadmium, arsenic, and mercury.
The Good News
On the contrary, protein powders can be really useful for providing a condensed and convenient source of protein to promote muscle growth and accelerate their results. If you regularly take protein, it is recommended that healthy adults take .75 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. That translates to about 50 kilograms, depending on how much you weigh. If youre an athlete, then its recommended that you take about 1.5 grams per kilogram for optimal results.
What I Recommend
Protein powders can be a great way to get much needed protein into your system, especially if you work out regularly. However, I would highly recommend that you get the bulk of your protein from eating whole foods. Lean meats such as chicken and fish, beans, legumes and milk are great foods that you can eat daily to reach your protein goal. By consuming whole foods as opposed to processed powders with who-knows-what in it, you know what you are putting into your body. Besides, wouldnt you rather get your protein from eating a tender T-bone steak rather than drinking a grainy, artificial tasting beverage?
Im not saying that you should completely shun all protein powders from your diet. But I would look at the ingredients label of the product youre purchasing before committing to a two-month tub of carcinogens. If there are a bunch of ingredients that you cant even pronounce, it would probably be best to steer clear of such products. Look for products that contain pure and/or organic ingredients; research the manufacturers creating process; check out reviews on Amazon; and make sure to stay away from anything with artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners, fillers or additives. As the fine folks at Trusted Health Products say, nature most definitely provides the best answer.
Bill Lee is a fitness enthusiast and the founder of Body Reliance, a website that makes body weight exercises accessible to everyone. You can connect with him on his Facebook fan page.