The last few days there has been several articles, news segments, and videos about findings posted about our favourite protein powder and harmful things it may contain. I have asked our very own Holistic Nutritionist, Diane Murphy to weigh in. Here’s what she had to say:
At a glance of the research conducted by the Clean Label Project, it is easy to get caught up in the findings! How many of you just saw it and thought “f***! I use Vega every day!”? If that was you, you can take the container back out of the garbage can. We have some questions that need answering first before we give up consuming 6g of fibre and a whole bunch of other ingredients…
Personally speaking, I really don’t have a favourite protein powder, nor do I know much about the Clean Label Project, so I can look at the results objectively. I have several questions surrounding the validity of the findings as well, which is not to suggest in any way that they are not credible, but are worth asking. I’ll save these for another time; there is something I find more important.
In my opinion, there are 2 key factors which need to be brought to light immediately.
- Just because a powder scored well on the Clean Label Project’s, doesn’t mean it’s superior in quality. Their main criteria for a high rating is largely environmental over nutritional superiority. We must always read the ingredients as well before we decide. For example, when I look at some of the five-star ratings like Animal Muscle Food Frosted Cinnamon Bun WHEY I might be led to believe that this is a great choice. However, when I research the ingredients (as I would for anything that contains the words ‘cinnamon bun’), I find artificial flavour, carrageenan (a controversial thickening agent that may cause inflammation and ulcers), and sucralose (an artificial sweetener like Splenda). I don’t want myself or my clients to drink that every day, or at all, actually. My advice here would be to scroll through the protein powders that appeal to you. Then go to Amazon or wherever to get a list of ingredients (because for whatever reason I could not find them on the Clean Label Project’s site) and decide if it’s good.
- There is an issue surrounding the plant-based protein shakes being the highest in heavy metals. Let’s put things into perspective, arsenic and other toxic elements organically occur in the earth’s crust and therefore our soil. If we eat anything from the ground, we are likely to get trace amounts of it and our bodies are used to that. But are there more than trace amounts in the plant-based protein powders? How much are they really finding? Is it any more than what we would get if we were to buy and eat the plant from the grocery store? For our garden? I don’t know. I do know that increased fibre as found in plant-based proteins can help to remove some of the toxins from our bodies. It still begs the question “are these contaminants the dire issue that Clean Label Project suggests?”. Hopefully, time will tell.
My personal opinion, keeping in mind that I don’t consume plant-based protein shakes, but if I did, I wouldn’t get rid of it until I knew more. If you’re at all concerned eat whole foods instead. Three tablespoons of hemp hearts equal 10g of protein, just sayin’.
Also check out another article by Diane Murphy on spring cleaning your diet, the natural way, with real food