(NaturalNews) The health industry is suddenly buzzing with more findings about heavy metals in protein products, and Dr. Oz is beginning to warn viewers about lead in some products. This is on top of Natural News finding substantial concentrations of the heavy metal tungsten in organic vegan rice protein products sold across the USA. (See chart here.)
The Dr. Oz warning came about two weeks ago when his show featured research results from Consumer Lab, a highly-experienced food science research organization which has tested foods and supplements for many years. The Consumer Lab protein study, described here, tested 16 popular brands of protein products for label accuracy and heavy metals.
Ted Cooperman explained to Dr. Oz that the Shakeology Greenberry product contained 12.7 micrograms of lead per serving. I'm not sure what the serving size is for Shakeology Greenberry, but if it's around 20 grams -- a typical serving size for proteins -- this would mean the concentration of lead in the product is around .635 ppm. Given that my own laboratory testing has also found lead levels in rice protein products at over .500 ppm, this number seems well within the realm of reason.
As an important disclaimer, I have not yet tested Shakeology in the Natural News Forensic Food Lab, but I have no doubt that Consumer Lab's numbers are very accurate. It's also worth noting that the maker of Shakeology, a company named Beachbody, did not refute the findings. Instead, they argued that Consumer Lab "may be actually misleading consumers by not distinguishing between harmful heavy metals and those that are naturally occurring in plants, vegetables and minerals." (Click here to read their statement on DoctorOz.com)
Why Beachbody is full of bunk and Dr. Oz is correct
In my view, this statement shows that Beachbody is full of bunk. This false argument that all heavy metals are "naturally occurring" is the same nonsense a few companies tried to pull on me when I released laboratory results showing significant concentrations of lead, cadmium and tungsten in vegan protein products.
My video, available here, clearly answers the denialists who irrationally insist all heavy metals are "naturally occurring."
In truth, elevated heavy metals levels in foods occur due to industrial contamination of farms and waterways. The Beachbody response to this scientific truth is less than inspiring. The company says, "Most of the fruits, vegetables and herbs we consume every day, even when organically grown and picked right out of the ground, also contain various levels of naturally occurring lead."
By this, they are trying to imply that all lead is therefore harmless and that contamination doesn't matter. Poppycock! Lead levels really do matter, and the more you eat, the higher your risk of organ poisoning and brain damage. Beachbody is essentially trying to deny that lead arsenate was used as an agricultural insecticide for over a century, where it heavily contaminated agricultural lands with both lead and arsenic. Spraying lead and arsenic on a farm does not magically make it "naturally occurring."
The Beachbody company goes on to say, "Beachbody never adds any heavy metals to any of its products and that we strictly follow good manufacturing practices..." This statement is rather bizarre and seems wildly out of touch with nutritional science. Of course they don't add heavy metals to their products, unless they want to sell something that says, "Fortified with LEAD!" on the label.
And the claim that they follow "good manufacturing practices" (also known as GMP) is meaningless in the context of heavy metals. GMP doesn't require any removal of heavy metals and it sets no limits for heavy metals. A company can be 100% GMP-compliant, certified USDA organic and even certified 100% non-GMO and still be selling a product loaded with very high levels of toxic heavy metals. In fact, if you want to see a bunch of organic seaweed products that contain substantial levels of all sorts of heavy metals, just check out these results at the Forensic Food Lab.
In my view, Beachbody is wrong on this issue, and Dr. Oz and Consumer Lab are clearly in the right. Although Natural News has had mixed reviews of Dr. Oz on some issues in the past, I have to give him credit for tackling this heavy metals issue head on and featuring the lab results of Consumer Labs. (I only hope they will now look at tungsten in rice protein, because I've found it at over 10,000 ppb. If anybody from Consumer Lab is reading this, that number will shock you but it's true and triple-verified at three different labs.)
Most protein manufacturers have been very responsible and ethical in responding to these concerns
Fortunately, most companies I've dealt with in the protein market have not followed the "denial" strategy found in the Beachbody response letter. Instead, they have responded to Natural News in a positive, professional manner while agreeing to meet our voluntary heavy metals limits. Natural News has now reached agreements with all the top protein manufacturers representing well over 95% of the U.S. rice protein market, and to my knowledge, this is history in the making as such an agreement has never before been achieved in the natural products industry.
The companies which have already told us they will meet or beat our voluntary heavy metals limits include:
- Garden of Life - Vega - SunWarrior - Boku Superfood - Living Fuel - Nutribiotic - Healthforce
Companies which we have not yet heard from about whether they will meet our heavy metals limits include, to the best of our knowledge:
- Jarrow Formulas - Perfect Fit (from the "Tone It Up" girls)
One company, the maker of Nutribody protein, told me they already meet our heavy metals limits, but when I tested their product, the lot number I tested actually exceeded the limit for lead, clocking in at .316 ppm, a number that's about average for the rice-based protein products I've tested so far. I hope to hear they will re-test their production lots and commit to meeting the .25 ppm lead limit very soon. I've also acquired Perfect Fit protein and plan to have it tested soon in order to find out whether the "Tone It Up" girls are selling products which are really as clean as their image seems to imply.
In summary, I applaud Dr. Oz and Consumer Lab for revealing heavy metals in protein products, and I think this is just the tip of the iceberg on this subject. This issue is exploding in the minds of consumers, and everybody wants to know if the products they are buying and consuming are really clean.
My answer to that question? No, they aren't. A long list of USDA certified organic products -- especially those grown in China -- are in fact heavily contaminated with lead, cadmium, mercury and tungsten. Keep checking Natural News for more revelations and detailed lab results.
In addition to his lab work, Adams is also the (non-paid) executive director of the non-profit Consumer Wellness Center (CWC), an organization that redirects 100% of its donations receipts to grant programs that teach children and women how to grow their own food or vastly improve their nutrition. Click here to see some of the CWC success stories.
With a background in science and software technology, Adams is the original founder of the email newsletter technology company known as Arial Software. Using his technical experience combined with his love for natural health, Adams developed and deployed the content management system currently driving NaturalNews.com. He also engineered the high-level statistical algorithms that power SCIENCE.naturalnews.com, a massive research resource now featuring over 10 million scientific studies.