The Truth About Protein Shakes


Protein Shake

Yep, that’s me looking a little light headed from a tough set of deadlifts in the picture above. I was probably in the best shape of my life when that picture was taken.

Truth About Protein Shakes…

Do you know how many protein shakes I drank to get into that kind of shape?


I’ve always advocated getting your protein from real food and not some magic powder. But occasionally I would bend and give the use of protein shakes a “maybe”, especially for hard gainers trying to pack on muscle.

Well not anymore.

The July 2010 issue of Consumer Reports puts some popular brand protein shakes through some tests and found that they contain toxic heavy metals including arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury.

How much of the metals?

A few of the brands were clearly over the maximum recommended limits and some were admittedly within the range that is considered “safe”. And to be completely fair. . . they also noted that some “real” foods, including my beloved spinach, contained cadmium due to absorbing the metal from the environment due in large part to the use of cadmium-containing phosphate fertilizers.

So what does this mean for YOU?

It means do your homework. Read the Consumer Reports article (be sure to also read the links in the left sidebar). And then do some additional research if something doesn’t sit right with you. And then make your own decision.

For me it’s pretty simple. . . If the ingredient list has words in it that I have to sound out like a third grader, I don’t want to eat it. And yes I can pronounce arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury just fine. Those ingredients are just icing on the heavy metal cake and reinforce why I don’t want to eat it.

So what do you think? Do you use protein shakes? If not, how do you get your protein? Let me know in the comments below.

The Truth About Protein Shakes
Article Name
The Truth About Protein Shakes
Yep, that's me looking a little light headed from a tough set of deadlifts in the picture above. I was probably in the best shape of my life when that picture was taken.
Publisher Name
Gym Junkies
Publisher Logo


  1. Wow I dont even know where to start… you use the shakes and supplements because you hear and read about how good they are for you, and then you find something like this out. Come to think of it my stomach does get weird when Im using a lot of shakes in my diet- I always thought it was just due to being on a high protein diet. Looks like Im cutting shakes back to just post-workout lol. That report was right about young guys being sucked into the ads and magazines. People laugh at it, but guys can feel a lot of pressure to look like fitness models or the actors in the movies (e.g. Wolverine), and those who simply dont have the genes for it can spend a lifetime trying to get “there”. Im going to circulate this to my friends.

    • Nathan, I know it’s tough especially when you’re young but do your best to keep your “health” in mind over your “look”. Eat real food. Train your ass off. Get adequate rest. Where ever your personal genetic make up takes you from there is exactly where you are supposed to be.

  2. I make my own protein drinks in my own blender using yogurt, egg, milk, fruit, and maybe some greens. In real life I eat tofu, eggs, nuts, dairy.

  3. It as taken me a long time to shift habits and my wife’s shopping and especially my planning ahead but I am trying to get ALL protien from real food. I keep going to more and more organic stuff, and its becoming cheaper and more readily available so that helps. following the Primal Diet on has helped immensely. So has slowing down some and cooking more at home. If the kids want burgers and shakes (once a week) then I get a patty wrapped in lettuce. I am so encouraged by the results, energy levels, health numbers. And I can hang with my endurance athlete friends on 20% of the training due to following Vic and some other suggestions. As Jack Lalane said: If man made it, don’t eat it!

  4. Wow Eric! I’ve just recently been going to the Primal page because of the recipes. I just made the Gazpacho and serve it on soft boiled eggs. WONDERFUL website for adding to everything that Vic shows us here on his site.

    I admit, that I’m still using a whey powder, but I didn’t see it on the PDF of the report. I’ve read the ingredients for Muscle Milk, and I actually LIKE the Champion company (my son uses the weight gainer for football with WONDERFUL results). However, Muscle Milk sucks on so many levels. I’ll start with one: High Fructose Corn Syrup. When that hits your liver, bad things happen, and they put a lot in. Two: Cholesterol. Unless I’m actually getting it from an animal source that I MYSELF have heated, then it’s garbage.

    Processing food at high temps is just not good. I’ve found a few sources for cold processed protein, and will look to buy. Make no mistake, I use as a primary source food protein. The whey is just for immediately after a HIIT workout or heavy lifting.


  5. Good to know that Vic; many thanks for sharing.
    Like you, I’m not fond of any shortcuts; I read somewhere (maybe it was here!) that the Dictionary is the only place where success comes before work
    Keep it up!!


  6. I never touch supplements or protein shakes. I get all my proteins, carbs, vitamins … from normal food.

    Post workout I drink a litre of milk. Pre-workout a yogurt. Either way, I get ca. 25-35g proteins per serving. An increase in proteins per serving is useless: Thus supplements are redundant in my case … and I save a lot of money 🙂


  7. Real food are clearly better for you, but I still like a low carb protien powder or RTD for a quick snack or breakfast when I am running late.

  8. If i want quick results from my workout then i will go for supplements who fall in “safe” range as you mentioned. But I think the best and healthy source to get your proteins is from natural like vegetables, fruits and meat.

  9. Vic,
    Great to see someone who shares my thoughts on protein shakes. I used to always drink Myoplex and Muscle Milk. I’ve found much better results switching to simple low fat chocolate milk for my post workout nutrition. I think the amount of protein we need is highly overstated as well. Most people should be able to get adequate protein through their normal meals without supplements.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here