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Hidden Dangers of Protein Powders

Hidden Dangers of Protein Powders

Consuming protein powders may be putting you at risk for obesity, high cholesterol, and heart and kidney disease.

People seem to love to use powders (and pills)—even when they’re downright dangerous. Think of Lance Armstrong taking erythropoietin to boost his red blood cell production and baseball All-Stars Steve Howe and Dwight Gooden who ruined their careers with cocaine.

Risks of using protein powders
We want to call your attention to the health-threatening powders used by millions of Americans who are concerned about eating enough protein as they age or are pushing hard to bulk up their muscle mass and strength. A lab study in Nature Metabolism found that mice (and the researchers feel it applies equally to humans) who consume protein powders that are rich in branched-chain amino acids or BCAAs—and most are—put themselves at risk for everything from mood swings caused by shifts in serotonin levels to uncontrolled hunger, obesity, and even early death.

That, say researchers at the Cleveland Clinic, is in addition to the risk of getting too much protein in your diet (easy to do with protein powders), which can lead to elevated lousy LDL cholesterol as well as heart and kidney disease. On top of that, last year a study found some protein powders contain high levels of heavy metals like lead and cadmium, BPA (an endocrine disruptor in plastics), and even pesticides. (Check out www.cleanlabelproject.org to find which ones did—and didn’t.)

Opt for plant-based proteins
So, to boost your strength, stick with plant-based proteins from legumes, 100 percent whole grains, nuts, seeds, and veggies like broccoli and kale. And choose safe, lean, animal-based proteins from foods such as salmon and sea trout.

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