Nutritional Supplements Are Not All That

The July, 2010 issue of  Consumer Reports has a new finding on protein shake supplements that are popular with athletes, and it’s not good news: they actually contain dangerous chemicals that may destroy one’s body rather than build it.

For years, the nutritional supplements industry has promoted many versions of protein shakes to those seeking to lose weight, add muscle, boost metabolism, etc. In the recent investigation by Consumer Reports, all 15 protein drinks which were tested had at least one sample containing heavy metals such as arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury. For those who don’t know, heavy metals have no nutritional value and remain in body tissue where they accumulate over time with negative health effects.

One popular brand which is widely promoted on sports TV and radio is EAS Myoplex. As it happens, the liquid EAS Myoplex Original Rich Dark Chocolate Shake contained high levels of arsenic and cadmium above the USP daily limit.  Likewise, samples of Muscle Milk Chocolate powder contained all four heavy metals with high levels in three; cadmium, lead and arsenic. 

These products frequently claim to be fashioned after mother’s milk, “nature’s perfect food.” Unless your mother lived at Love Canal, these claims might be stretching the truth as well as not being evaluated by the FDA.

It is particularly concerning that youth athletes are drawn to the marketing of these products, given that young bodies are more vulnerable to both injury and chemical exposure. Clearly a balanced, less-processed diet is a better and cheaper way to meet daily protein and other nutritional requirements: Milk, eggs, and grilled chicken do just fine, thanks.

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