Protein powders and drinks have been marketed as meal replacements and muscle mass builders, but the potential consequences of consuming too much may not be so appealing. With reports of heavy metal contaminants and detrimental side effects of too much protein, we may want to evaluate our intake. 

A study by Consumer Reports examined 15 brands of protein drinks, and found that all samples contained at least one or more of the following heavy metal contaminants: arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury. For three of the products tested, consuming three servings daily would exceed the recommended limits set by U.S. Pharmacopeia of one or two of those contaminants. 

Low dosage exposure to arsenic and cadmium over time can cause lingering health problems. Too much arsenic can cause nausea and vomiting, reduction of red and white blood cell production, damaged blood vessels and more. Cadmium is a carcinogen, and can accumulate in your kidneys and cause damage. Shellfish and organ meets as well as some plants are known to contain cadmium. The cadmium in plants is largely due to cadmium-containing phosphate fertilizers. Ensuring your produce is organic can help limit your exposure to cadmium and its ill effects. 

Consuming too much protein over time can cause diarrhea, calcium loss and kidney damage. Excess protein can cause calcium to excrete from your bones, increasing your risk of osteoporosis. Kidney damage may occur as well, and particularly undiagnosed pre-diabetics may suffer from excess protein in their diets. In addition, excess protein cause cause your body to create fat instead of energy as well.

There are much healthier and less expensive ways to attain recommended natural protein levels in our diet. Get your protein from natural sources like eggs, milk, yogurt, poultry, and red meats. Skip the subscription of protein powders and drinks, and start healing from the inside out with these whole delicious foods. 

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