People use protein shakes for a variety of reasons. Some use them as a meal replacement, some for exercise recovery, and others for more complete nutrition. The fact is, however, that choosing the wrong protein shake can lead to serious health risks.
The Downside of the Protein Shake Fad
Protein shakes are easy which is why we like them, but when products like these get popular, big-name companies rush in for a share of the profits. This often results in cheaply made, low-quality goods that rely on mass marketing for sales.
Marketing experts know that if they advertise well enough, the company will make millions before the fad fizzles out or the public realizes the product is ineffective. They’re actually counting on it.
When it comes down to it, protein shakes are not real food. They’re also completely unnecessary if you’re eating enough raw fruits and vegetables. However, if you’re adamant about using them for whatever reason, it’s important to know what’s in them.
What’s In Your Protein Shake
The following ingredients are commonly found in the most popular protein shakes today.
Maltodextrin is used to produce an artificial dietary fiber. It’s made from corn that has most likely been genetically modified (GMO) and cannot be broken down by digestive enzymes. It’s really just a useless additive that does nothing but make you feel full.
This may not seem as horrible as other artificial ingredients found in food these days, but it’s not something you really want in your body.
You most likely don’t realize that food coloring is made from petroleum. Yes, the same petroleum that powers your car. It’s also used to make asphalt and tar. The FDA recognizes that many food colorings are carcinogens (cause cancer), but does nothing about banning them to protect the public.
What’s worse is that the biggest consumers of food dyes are children.
Mac-n-Cheese, Fruit Roll-Ups, M&Ms, Lunchables, Cheetos, lemonade and punch, and even yogurt, are among the thousands of products that are artificially colored.
Food dyes do nothing in terms of nutrition, either. They’re used only to make foods pretty and appear appetizing. The extent of health issues that result from a lifetime of consuming these chemicals cannot be known, but I am convinced they contribute to more cancers than anyone will ever admit.
In its unprocessed state, soy is a very healthy source of protein, also containing natural forms of near-perfect amino acids and fiber.
Unfortunately, almost all of the soy in the US is genetically modified (GMO) and the amino acids are rendered unusable during processing.
This makes the end-product often a catalyst for digestive issues, soy allergies, thyroid imbalances, and a number of other illnesses.
It’s important to mention that soy can upset hormonal balance in both men and women because of the excessive estrogen it contains. When broken down to just its protein state, it can have horrible effects. Soy also contains phytic acid which has been shown to leach calcium and other minerals from the body.
The only real soy products that are healthy and safe to eat are fermented. Otherwise, it should be avoided at all costs.
Whey Protein Isolate
Whey protein isolates are highly processed. They begin with pasteurized conventional milk which always contains antibiotics and growth hormones, and then are processed with acids that remove naturally occurring vitamins and minerals. This creates a highly acidic effect in the bloodstream.
Continual consumption of whey protein isolates without also eating high amounts of alkalizing foods increases your susceptibility to cancer, arthritis, and a host of other degenerative diseases.
This dangerous form of whey is found in a large number of popular protein and sports drinks not included in the list below.
rBGH (Growth Hormones)
In 1994, the dairy industry began using a genetically engineered growth hormone called rBGH on cows to increase milk production. As a result, the incidents of disease in the treated livestock skyrocketed. To counteract the increase in disease, antibiotics were also introduced.
Canada, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, and dozens of European countries have all refused to use rbGH because of safety concerns, but the US continues to allow its use.
It is becoming clear to many of us involved in researching food industry practices why the US has the highest rates of cancer in the world. One of the top US experts in cancer prevention has cited rBGH milk as a major cause of breast, prostate, and colon cancer.
This means that any product made with pasteurized milk (butter, cheese, yogurt, ice cream) also carries this risk.
Lab animals are given carrageenan to induce an inflammatory response for testing of anti-inflammatory drugs. It’s a seaweed derivative that causes serious intestinal disease and is a known carcinogen. The sad part is that it is allowed in many organic foods.
The Worst Protein Shake Offenders
Slim Fast – GMO, maltodextrin, refined sugar, antibiotics, rBGH, carrageenan
Ensure – GMO, soy protein, maltodextrin, refined sugar, artificial colors, carrageenan
It Works – GMO, soy protein, maltodextrine, whey protein isolates, antibiotics, rBGH
Advocare – GMO, soy protein, maltodextrine, antibiotics, rBGH, refined sugar, carrageenan
Atkins – GMO, refined sugar, antibiotics, rBGH, artificial colors, carrageenan
Herbalife – GMO, soy protein, refined sugar
Shakeology – Refined sugar, whey protein isolate, rBGH
Special K – GMO, soy protein, maltodextrin, refined sugar, antibiotics, rBGH, artificial colors, carrageenan
Isogen – GMO, maltodextrin, refined sugar, whey protein isolate, antibiotics, rBGH, artificial colors
Pure Protein – GMO, refined sugar, whey protein isolate, antibiotics, rBGH, artificial coloring, carrageenan
Muscle Milk – GMO, maltodextrin, refined sugar, whey protein isolate, heavy metals (arsenic and lead), antibiotics, rBGH, artificial coloring, carrageenan