Protein powders have become increasingly popular in the last decade and you can find many varieties all over the internet and in your local nutrition stores. The three most common protein powders are whey, soy, and casein protein; some brands offer organic varieties, while others do not. Why would you use protein powder? Well, if you want to increase the protein in your diet. There are five main uses for protein powder if you're not seriously bodybuilding.
The first reason, and the one that finds teenagers swigging protein-packed drinks the most, is because a growing body needs protein to function. If you're starting a new workout regimen, protein can help you begin to build muscle and keep you full. If you're recovering from an injury, a diet with increased protein encourages your body to heal faster. Additionally, if you're considering switching to a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, protein supplements are necessary to make up for the loss of meat, dairy, and eggs in the diet. There's a dangerous secret lurking in protein powders, though, and The Clean Label Project dug in with a study that tested 134 protein powders from 52 brands.
In the study, the CLP found that some protein powders contain alarmingly high levels of BPA, an industrial chemical that's used in the production of plastics, heavy metals, and resins. Multiple research studies have linked BPA to cancer and reproductive defects in the past. The study tested all types of protein powders: animal-based, plant-based, and whey protein powders.
After screening the brands for over 130 toxins like BPA, heavy metals, and pesticides, the Clean Label Project came away with the following key findings:
- Organic samples tested had 40 percent less BPA than non-organic.
- Certified "Organic" protein powder products tested had, on average, over two times the heavy metals.
- 75 percent of plant-based samples tested positive for lead.
- Plant-based products as a protein source tested the worst, while those with egg tested cleaner.
The 5 Best Products
- Puori: PW1 Vanilla Pure Whey Protein
- BioChem: Vanilla 100% Whey Protein
- BodyFortress: Super Advanced Vanilla 100% Whey Protein
- Performix: Pro Whey + Sabor Vanilla Protein with Amino Beads
- Pure Protein: Vanilla Cream 100% Whey
The 5 Worst Products
- Vega: Sport Plant-Based Vanilla Performance Protein
- 360Cut: Performance Supplements 360PRO WHEY Chocolate Silk Premium Whey Protein
- Quest Chocolate Milkshake Protein Powder
- Nature's Best ISOPURE Creamy Vanilla Zero Carb
- Garden of Life Organic Shake & Meal Replacement Chocolate Cacao Raw Organic Meal