Is Whey Protein Bad for You?

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Is Whey Protein Bad for You

Is Whey Protein Bad for You?

is whey protein bad for youMany people, specifically bodybuilders, use amino acid supplements or protein powders to increase their muscle mass and promote recovery following exercise.

But is it safe to consume whey protein powder? Are there side effects associated with whey protein?

In July 2010, tested 15 different whey protein powders for contamination by heavy metals including lead, mercury, arsenic and cadmium.

Of the products tested, 3 of the 15 measured higher than acceptable limits for heavy metal contamination when assessed at the 3 serving size based U.S Pharmacopeia’s standards.


Which Brands of Whey Protein Had the Highest Contamination?

 EAS Myoplex Original Rich Dark Chocolate Shake had the highest level of contamination with 16.9 mcg of arsenic and 5.1 mcg of cadmium per daily serving.

 Muscle Milk had the second highest level of contamination, with up to 14.3 mcg of arsenic, 5.6 mcg of cadmium, and 13.5 mcg of lead in different products.


whey protein side effects

A list of all 15 brands of whey protein that were tested for contamination

Which Brands of Whey Protein Had the Highest Purity (LEAST Contamination)?

Other well-known whey protein products were tested including Designer Whey, GNC, Six Star and Optimum Nutrition, all of which were found to be within acceptable levels.

The brands considered to have the highest level of purity were products made by Optimum Nutrition, Solgar and Six Star.


Optimum Nutrition Follow-Up

As a follow-up, Optimum Nutrition produced a report showing that the traces of heavy metals found in their whey protein was insignificant when compared to metals found naturally in our food. For example, the levels of lead found in an average serving of green peas is mostly comparable to a single scoop of Optimum Nutrition whey protein.

Results from the Food and Drug Administration’s 2007 report on “Total Diet Study Statistics on Element Results which analyzes 200 foods found in grocery stores revealed the following:

food chart lead


Is Whey Protein Bad for You?

Based on these results, I would still opt to consume a scoop of whey protein following my workouts, particularly from Optimum Nutrition as I feel that the benefits outweigh the risks. To name a few, antioxidant activity, enhanced muscular development and immune function support are the benefits you can expect from whey protein.

As long as you are consuming whey protein from high quality sources without artificial sweeteners (eg. sucralose, acesulfame potassium) and significant heavy metal contamination, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be supplementing to meet your daily protein requirements and improve your performance.


Where Can I Get the Best Whey Protein?

Now that you know Optimum Nutrition cares about its customers and produces high quality whey protein, you’re probably wondering which of their products to choose. I would personally recommend getting the following:

Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey Gold Standard Natural Whey

best whey protein

best protein powder

100% Whey Gold Standard Natural Whey does not contain artificial sweeteners like sucralose or acesulfame potassium which are harmful to your health. Also, Optimum Nutrition products have negligible amounts of heavy metal contamination, as seen from the report I mentioned above.

I’ve personally supplemented with this brand of protein for years and have found it easily dissolves in water, has great taste, and is higher quality than most other brands of whey protein.

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    • Miguel - August 26, 2012 7:13 PM

      Hey, I like your review it has good information man. I bought a 5pound tub of EAS when, its the same price as 2.5 pounds of muscle milk, TBH i think muscle milk uses fancy words in their labeling but i didnt see anything AMAZING from huge price difference, I stuck to my gut and went with EAS this time round. ill tell you how i liked it in the future!

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  10. mary - October 29, 2012 2:10 PM

    i have hep c notbad enough for meds tho,should i do whey and if so how much? i am 59 120 lbs

    • Kenneth

      Kenneth - October 29, 2012 10:05 PM

      Whey protein has actually been shown to be beneficial for people with liver disease like hepatitis. Studies have shown that whey protein can lower the levels of traditional markers of hepatitis damage (lactate dehydrogenase and bilirubin) and boost your glutathione level which is an antioxidant that detoxifies wastes.
      For you, a single scoop (20-24 g) of whey protein per day should be more than enough. Try not to exceed 30 g since this could overload your liver. Otherwise it is quite beneficial when taken in moderation.

  11. Daniel - December 1, 2012 12:42 PM

    Hi Kenneth,
    Great website, theres a lot of great information that you have provided us.
    I have a question concerning the debatable topic of creatine?
    What are your thoughts on Creatine? Pros and Cons?
    Thanks very much for the great articles.

    • Kenneth

      Kenneth - December 2, 2012 3:45 PM

      Thanks Daniel.
      Creatine is quite interesting. For athletes, the only real benefit is that it improves performance in activities that require short bursts of high intensity such as sprinting or martial arts. Keep in mind, these improvements are MINIMAL. It works by increasing the body’s ability to rapidly produce energy. And if you’re trying to put on some extra weight, it may be helpful – but this is mostly water weight since creatine pulls water into your cells. Although there have been reports of muscle cramping and dehydration, it is generally well tolerated. You can achieve results without it, but it’ll definitely give you that extra boost of energy for your workouts.
      You can read more about it here:
      Hope that helps.

  12. Alyssa - April 16, 2013 12:29 PM

    Have you ever considered about adding a little bit more than just your articles? I mean, what you say is important and all. However imagine if you added some great images or videos to give your posts more, “pop”!
    Your content is excellent but with pics and videos, this site could undeniably be one of the most beneficial in its niche.

    Fantastic blog!

    • Kenneth

      Kenneth - April 16, 2013 9:55 PM

      Thanks for the suggestion Alyssa. I’ll be looking into adding some videos when I have a little more time. Expect to see me on YouTube in the near future!


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