The Heavy Metals Hiding In Your Protein Shake

health wellness Jan 25, 2023

Welcome to the WHOLISTIC LIVING PODCAST: Episode 34
Aligning Body, Mind, and Soul with Elena Bensonoff



Hello and welcome to the Wholistic Living Podcast. My name is Elena Bensonoff. I’m excited to have you with me today as we deep dive into important topics that will illuminate and enhance your wellness journey. I will guide you to better understand and support your health on all levels.

Today, we continue the Be the Hero of Your Health series by taking a close look at some of the problems with protein shakes. You may be shocked to find out this wellness-industry favorite contains dangerous heavy metals. We are going to explore the specific dangers of four of the heavy metals found in protein powder as well as some other protein powder pitfalls. Then we’ll cover some high-protein whole foods you can turn to instead as well as the benefits of making the switch!



Protein Shake Pitfalls

Have you ever been looking to improve your health, shed a few pounds, and get in better shape? Maybe you, like so many other people, have walked into a health food store looking for guidance. The shelves are lined with an overwhelming amount of supplements, performance-enhancing formulas, pre-workout mixes, and so many protein powders!

The next thing you know, a pushy salesperson approaches you and convinces you to buy an expensive tub of protein powder. They promise this will help you build muscles and lose fat. It sounds too good to be true, but you go for it because you are hungry for a change. Is the protein powder promise just false hope?

Protein shakes are highly marketed in the wellness, weightloss, and bodybuilding industries. It's an estimated $4.7 billion industry as of 2020 in the US.

Protein powders are processed concentrated proteins made with milk (whey or casein), eggs, or plants (often soy). They are usually mixed with fillers, sweeteners, thickeners, and added vitamins.

A typical protein powder will give you 10 - 30 grams of protein per serving.

Your body needs protein for muscle maintenance, bone health, growing hair and nails, and even hormone regulation.

But here’s the major protein shake pitfall…

Because protein powders are sold as a supplement, the FDA is hands off when it comes to regulating the quality of ingredients and leaves it up to the manufacturer to label. This results in the powders containing shocking residues like traces of heavy metals.

It's so important to be an informed consumer! Let’s learn more about the heavy metals found in protein powders.



Heavy Metals Found In Protein Shakes

Protein powder can bring to mind heavy lifting, but here’s why you should be thinking about the heavy metals they can contain:

  • Toxic amounts of As (arsenic), Cd (cadmium), Hg (mercury), and Pb (lead) have been found in protein powders (1)
  • In 2018, the Clean Label Project tested 133 protein powder supplements, and found that all of the tested products similarly contained “detectable concentrations” of heavy metals
  • High levels of lead in the body can affect neurotransmitter release and heme synthesis resulting in nervous, hematological, reproductive, and renal effects
  • Chronic exposure to cadmium is associated with renal disease, thyroid disruption, and weakened bones
  • Mercury exposure can elicit neurological, motor, renal, cardiovascular, immune, and reproductive dysfunction

Here are a few other problems with protein powder:

  • The body can only process 5-9 grams of protein each hour. Consuming more than that means it is either excreted or stored as fat
  • Protein powder is expensive (a serving of a popular protein powder provides 25 grams of protein and costs $1.55)
  • Too much protein long term has been linked to calcium leaching from bones, increasing the risk of osteoporosis (2)



What To Eat Instead

Real, organic, nutrient dense, whole foods will always nourish your body and promote healing in ways that processed, powdered "food" cannot.

5 high protein whole foods to eat instead of protein powder:

  1. Eggs with the yolk (a source of complete protein and omega-3 fatty acids)
  2. Kefir (a great source of probiotics, protein, calcium, and vitamin K)
  3. Sprouted grain toast with almond butter
  4. Lentils (high in fiber, iron, and can help manage blood sugar levels)
  5. Unsalted mixed nuts and seeds

5 benefits to substituting protein powder for whole foods:

  1. Whole foods help you avoid unnecessary heavy metal exposure and questionable ingredients
  2. Stay satisfied longer by eating balanced snacks with protein, complex carbs, fiber, and healthy fats
  3. Save money by shopping local and buying in season produce
  4. Tailor your snacks to your personal taste by choosing ingredients you love to eat
  5. Know your body is getting a wide range of vital vitamins and minerals



Learn To Muscle-Test Yourself

Be the hero of your own health and stop putting your wellbeing in other’s hands. I hope this information has opened your eyes in a new way today.

I share this research not to frighten you but to inspire you to look deeper into the choices you make. My desire is to empower you with information and new ideas that will fuel your body, mind, and soul and bring them to life!

Join my FREE Masterclass below and learn 3 simple natural healing techniques that will help you live the balanced, healthy life you long for! I will teach you a simple muscle testing method you can use to test ANY food in your diet - even protein powder - to make sure it’s a perfect energetic match for you!

Take FREE Masterclass

Thank you so much for listening.

Many Blessings,



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