Make ice cold smoothies without contaminants

With temperatures soaring outdoors, an ice cold smoothie certainly sounds like a tempting meal choice. But before you throw in a scoop or two of protein powder, you might want to reconsider and go for another source of protein. While I’ve previously tackled the issue of whole foods over powders as my preferred choice, a recent study points to other concerns – namely contaminants.

The Clean Label Project™, a non-profit group in the U.S. which focuses on health and transparency in consumer product labelling, completed a study of 134 protein powder products from 52 brands. They looked at the top selling products – including animal-based, whey and plant-based ones and screened them for over 130 toxins including heavy metals, bisphenol A (BPA), pesticides, and other contaminants with links to cancer and other health conditions.

The news was not good:

• 70% of protein powder products tested had detectable levels of lead

• 74% had detectable levels of cadmium

• 55% had detectable levels of bisphenol A (BPA)

The group also looked at organic compared to non-organic protein powders. Here’s what they found:

• The organic had up to 1.5 times more arsenic, up to 4.8 times more cadmium and up to 1.5 times more lead

• But the organic samples tested had 40% less BPA than non-organic with one protein powder product tested containing over 25 times the allowed regulatory limit of BPA in just one serving.

They also found that products that were plant-based tested worst with 75% of plant-based samples testing positive for lead.

You can read more on the Clean Label Project website.

All of this simply adds to the thinking that going for whole foods, such as cottage cheese, nut butters and ground nuts and seeds, is the smart route to take. For a list of protein- rich options, check out my post on the topic.

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Categories: Nutrition News, Whole Foods

Author:Rosie Schwartz

Rosie Schwartz is a Toronto-based consulting dietitian and writer.

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6 Comments on “Make ice cold smoothies without contaminants”

  1. Paula
    July 5, 2018 at 6:56 am #

    I just add a spoon of all nautical peanut butter or a handful of sunflower seeds for protein.

    • July 5, 2018 at 11:45 am #

      Those are great choices, Paula, but if you want a higher protein smoothie (if it’s for a meal), I would add more protein-alternatives or a larger amount of the one you choose.

  2. Christine
    July 5, 2018 at 12:04 pm #

    Chia seeds also add. I have even included edamame or silken tofu.. More natural than powders…

    • July 5, 2018 at 12:36 pm #

      Christine, these are definitely packed with much more nutrition than protein powders and they all make for delicious smoothies! Thanks for your suggestions!

  3. Chris
    July 6, 2018 at 2:38 am #

    Hi Rosie. What about greek yogurts with milk protein concentrate? Would this be considered a safe option? Choices are limited for lactose-free yogurt! Thank you in advance.

  4. July 17, 2018 at 11:05 am #

    Hi Chris, Sorry for the delay in responding to you but I’ve been researching the answer. There is limited research on the topic but I’ve been told that this is because there are no concerns with contamination of milk protein concentrate. In addition, the amounts used in yogurts are also minimal so go ahead and enjoy!

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