According to new research, that protein supplement you’re using to lose weight or build muscles may also contain harmful heavy metals and chemicals. Instead of making you fitter, these manufacturers may be mislabeling and misrepresenting their products, and the dangerous substances in their products could be putting your health at risk.
Clean Label Project Study
The research was conducted by Clean Label Project, a nonprofit organization dedicated to health and transparency in consumer product labeling. Because protein supplement makers often use terms like “natural,” “holistic,” “plant-based,” and “proprietary-blend” to market their products, CLP used chemical analysis on more than 130 best-selling and popular protein powders to look beyond manufacturers’ labels.
Results of Protein Powder & Drink Analysis
CLP tested the products for heavy metals such as arsenic, mercury, lead, and cadmium; more than 100 pesticides; plasticizer toxins like bisphenol A (BPA); solvents; and mycotoxins. Science has shown that some of these substances may cause brain damage, cancer, and damage to reproductive organs.
The results, published by Consumers Reports and elsewhere, revealed that nearly all of the protein supplements tested positive for detectable levels of at least one heavy metal, and more than half contained BPA. As one Consumers Reports division leader noted, “These toxins accumulate in your body and can stay there for years. Frequent consumption of foods that contain them can have adverse health effects over the long run.”
None of these harmful ingredients, however, are found on the product labels, nor do the manufacturers warn of the potential harm from ingesting them – red flags for possible false advertising and deceptive sales practices claims.
The Worst Offending Protein Supplements
For rating purposes, CLP focused on heavy metals, pesticides, BPA and other contaminants, and nutritional ingredients to calculate overall scores. Heavy metal concentrations accounted for 60 percent of the total score due to the harm they pose to consumers’ health.
The five products ranking worst among the results were:
- Garden of Life Organic Shake & Meal Replacement Chocolate Cacao Raw Organic Meal
- Nature’s Best ISOPURE Creamy Vanilla Zero Carb
- Quest Chocolate Milkshake Protein Powder
- 360Cut Performance Supplements 360PRO WHEY Chocolate Silk Premium Whey Protein
- Vega Sport Plant-Based Vanilla Performance Protein
CLP’s study wasn’t the first to analyze protein powder mislabeling and health concerns. Among various tests, Consumer Reports conducted research in 2010 that also detected arsenic, mercury, lead, and cadmium levels in fifteen products. Since then, the industry and product offerings have increased.
Nor are lawsuits alleging mislabeling of protein product companies new. Class actions against Cytosport Inc. (maker of Muscle Milk) and Generation UCAN have sought to compensate consumers duped by deceptive product claims.
People’s Health Is at Stake – Take Action!
Examples of food mislabeling cases are ever increasing, including protein drinks, powders, and supplements. Manufacturers must be held accountable, especially if they endanger consumers’ health. If you use any of the offending products above and believe the company behind it has misrepresented its product or mislead you into purchasing it, please contact the attorneys in Sommers Schwartz’s Complex Litigation Group today to discuss your situation.
You can also learn more about deceptive sales practices, how companies misrepresent their product, and consumers’ rights by watching the “Understanding Food Labeling” videos in the Sommers Schwartz Video Library.