A recent study that was launched by the non-profit Clean Label Project, analyzed over 134 samples of what were considered to be the best selling protein powders in the US today; based on data from Amazon, fitness blogs, and Nielsen.
They looked at over 52 different brands of protein powders and they screened for over 100+ different harmful contaminants.
Over 70 percent of the samples were positive for lead
Even worse, for the supposed organic protein powder samples they were found to contain roughly 4.8x more heavy metals than the non-organic protein samples.
The director of operations for the lab that conducted the testing, Sean Callan, concluded from the investigation that the plant-based proteins were found to have much higher levels of heavy metals than the non-plant based protein samples.
And he suggests that the reason for this might be because of the location of where the protein powder might be coming from, and the possible soil contamination that might be related to those plant ingredients.
At least 40 percent of the samples tested positive for BPA
These carcinogens can negatively impact the brain, kidneys, liver, and more. Some of the protein samples that they tested included names like Vega Sport Plant-Based Vanilla Performance Protein, 360-Pro Whey Chocolate Silk Premium, Puori PW1 Vanilla Pure Whey Protein, Biochem Vanilla 100 percent Whey Protein, and others.
Due to worries over such contamination, there are some protein powder options already on the market that claim to test for such toxins and they advertise this on their packaging (see image below).
The protein supplement market is a multi-billion dollar market that is expected to surpass $21 billion globally by 2025. And for many individuals who are concerned about leading an active lifestyle, they're looking to protein supplements to try and achieve their various health and lifestyle needs. There are also many people who find that they need to turn to protein supplements for health reasons because of their own gastric and health issues etc.
It's a shame to think that for many people who are engaged in this market, who think that they are making a positive health choice with their protein powder consumption, might instead be unaware that they're consuming things like BPA, lead, and or cadmium.
Overall, the report concluded that egg-based protein powders were less likely to carry the harmful toxins, compared to the plant-based proteins which most likely come from soy, rice, or hemp. The protein samples that scored the best results were the whey-based protein powders.
Top 5 Products based on the study results
Worst 5 Products based on the study results