The Scoop On Protein Shakes: Are They Safe? Cloudy with a chance of wine As a dancer-turned-yogi who has always had a very active lifestyle, protein shakes have made their way into my hands quite a few times. Protein shakes are made with protein powder; supplements that we can put into our blenders and mix with our favourite fruits. They’re said to enhance athletic performance, provide our bodies with more energy and help with weight loss; does it get any better? I’ve never gone on one of those shake diets, nor have I been a die-hard “shaker” who drinks one every time I work out; but I’ve dabbled here and there with wavering opinions. Sometimes I felt like they gave me more energy, sometimes I didn’t. Some of my friends swear by them (mostly guys, I might add), others never drink them at all. So what exactly is the skinny on these “magical” shakes? Are they really as good as they claim to be or is it all a fitness marketing ploy? Protein We all know that protein is essential for our bodies, especially if we’re active. Ideally, adults should be getting around 45-56 grams of protein per day. But are protein shakes the answer? Advertisements would have us think so, boasting supplements consisting of whey, casein, soy, milk, wheat, hemp and more. Each of these has great health benefits. Soy protein is beneficial for cardiovascular health, whey proteins are high in anti-oxidants and boost immune function, and protein in general benefits physical activity. So without further research, I’d think, yeah sure, get me one of those, stat! Protein Powders However, with additional research I’m halted right in my tracks. Did you know that because protein powders are considered a supplement, they’re not regulated by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration)? That’s right. And to fuel your concerns, studies have shown high levels of toxic heavy metals such as arsenic and lead contained in these supplements. And even with low levels of these toxins, drinking protein shakes daily could expose your body to dangerous levels. Yikes. Many of the supplements are also filled with preservatives, GMOs and artificial flavours, which is the opposite of healthy, if you ask me. Further, there is the possibility of having too much protein. Protein, in excess, can lead to nutrient deficiencies, elevated risk of heart disease or kidney problems. If you’re supplementing shakes for your meals, make sure you talk to a nutritionist about the best way to do this. To Shake or Not To Shake With all the (rather frightening) information, hopping on the protein shake bandwagon just doesn’t seem worth it. There are so many other ways to get your proper protein intake that won’t harm your body. Try whole foods that are high in protein such as hemp and chia seeds, that don’t contain preservatives, artificial flavours or toxins. This is the cleanest and healthiest way to get protein, especially when you just don’t know what’s really in the supplements. If you found this post helpful, please share it on Pinterest! And if you’re looking for more health-related tips, please follow our Health & Fitness board where we share all kinds of fabulousness! Kate is a freelance lifestyle writer based in Toronto, Canada. She’s always had a passion for the written word, and after interning at publications such as FASHION Magazine and The Kit, she knew she had to take her passion to the next level. When she’s not sharing her love for styling outfits, home cooked meals, fitness endeavours and home décor, she’s probably taking a hot yoga class or watching the latest series on Netflix. This is an excerpt from the article The Scoop On Protein Shakes: Are They Safe? which originally appeared on http://www.cloudywithachanceofwine.com/.