(NaturalNews) Unlike whey protein, hemp protein and pea protein, every rice protein product we've tested so far has been found to contain significant levels of lead and cadmium, along with varying levels of the heavy metal tungsten. This has been found true across the product category, regardless of the product packaging claims, USDA organic status or how sexy the "beach bodies" appear on the product website.
This is precisely why Natural News pioneered voluntary heavy metals limits across the vegan protein industry. To date, all the industry leaders have already signed on: Garden of Life, SunWarrior, Vega, Living Fuel, Boku, Healthforce and others.
We've now tested Perfect Fit, 22 Days and Rockin' Wellness
By popular request, we have now completed laboratory testing on Perfect Fit Organic Plant-Based Protein (vanilla), 22 Days Plant Protein Power (vanilla) and Whole Body Nutritional Shake from Rockin' Wellness (cacao).
Perfect Fit lead content higher than average for this category
The lead content of the Perfect Fit protein we tested was higher than the average for this category, but lower than the highest we've tested. For this batch, the lead content reported via ICP-MS was just over 0.3 ppm, while the highest we've seen in the category of rice protein is over 0.5 ppm.
The serving size of Perfect Fit protein is 20 grams, meaning one serving of this lot we tested would contain over 6 micrograms of lead.
This is 12 times higher than the daily limit described by California's Proposition 65 -- a law which desperately needs to be reformed -- yet I could not find a Prop 65 warning on the product package. This indicates the product appears to be out of compliance with Prop 65, giving it what others in the industry have privately described to me as an "unfair advantage" in labeling.
The product labeling describes the product as, "organically perfect for you," yet the lead, cadmium and tungsten the product contains is probably not something most health-conscious consumers would consider to be "perfect" for their health.
The back label of the product features a photo of the attractive women who tout the brand -- Karena and Katrina -- saying, "We couldn't find a clean, honest protein to recommend to our community, so we formulated Perfect Fit just for you."
This statement implies that Perfect Fit is "clean and honest" -- a claim I personally find difficult to stomach given that it appears to be made of the same exact rice protein used by everybody else in the industry -- a raw material which is typically sourced from China, Vietnam and other Asian nations, by the way, and which consistently tests higher in heavy metals than hemp, whey and pea proteins.
Perfect Fit protein also tested positive for the heavy metal tungsten. We have not yet narrowed the range of tungsten concentrations in this product (testing for tungsten requires a whole different set of acids and a different nebulizer in the ICP-MS), but it clearly falls within the range of the tungsten results shown in this infographic. (For the ICP-MS lab techies out there, you can easily spot the tungsten oxides overlapping two mercury isotopes.)
Based on these results, in my opinion there is a huge disconnect between the clean fitness image portrayed by the Perfect Fit brand and the actual composition of their product... which really isn't anything special at all. Beyond the marketing and branding of this product, the actual product itself is completely unremarkable. You'd get a lot more value for your dollar buying a large container of the 22 Days brand of rice protein, which has a similar ingredient profile and heavy metals profile.
Although what you choose to consume is of course your own decision, I personally would not consume Perfect Fit Protein, and I would not carry it in the Natural News Store unless the product were reformulated to substantially reduce heavy metals.
I don't have anything against the Perfect Fit company, by the way, nor have I ever met Karena and Katrina. My advice to them and the company is that if they wish to be long-term players in the nutritional products space, they need to get serious about heavy metals testing, Prop 65 compliance and sourcing cleaner raw materials. This is 2014, and on the internet in 2014, there are no secrets about what your product actually contains.
That's why I suggest the "Tone It Up" people should focus more on a "Clean It Up" effort, and then re-release a new, reformulated protein with lead below 50 ppb (.05 ppm). That would genuinely be something to get excited about and would no doubt be a far better fit for their clean, healthy image.
Rockin' Wellness is a far better superfood choice in my viewThe Rockin' Wellness lot number we tested had almost 40% less lead than the Perfect Fit Protein lot we tested. If the Rockin' Wellness company reformulated their product to replace rice protein with hemp or pea protein, they could cut this by around 90% and get it way under 50 ppb.
The top three ingredients in Rockin' Wellness are Organic Cacao Bean, Organic Goji Berry and Organic Hemp Seed. What's quite remarkable about this is that cacao bean usually contains substantial levels of cadmium, yet the cacao in this lot we tested is apparently much cleaner in cadmium compared to what we typically see. The total cadmium level of this product was less than 0.3 ppm, which actually qualifies for an "A+" rating on just the cadmium.
Cacao, goji berries and hemp seeds are really amazing superfoods, by the way. In combination, they are very nutritive and really do provide outstanding nutrition. If Rockin' Wellness replaced the rice protein in its product (or sourced the protein from the USA), it would truly be a near-perfect superfood.
For now, it earns a solid "A" on the Low Heavy Metals Verified rating system, which is based entirely on heavy metals concentrations and has nothing to do with personal opinion (in case you were wondering about that).
Summary: Look beyond brand marketing to decide what you're going to swallow
The lesson in this particular round of testing is that all health-conscious people should learn to look beyond seductive marketing and seek to grasp the true composition of the products you are buying and consuming.
Taking a ho-hum raw material and marketing it with beautiful bodies and clean imagery does not magically transform the raw material into something cleaner. Image is not substance, and we all need to make a special effort to examine the actual product rather than buying on image alone.
Here are some of the questions you should be asking every company whose protein products you routinely purchase:
• What is the country of origin of the top ingredients?
• What are the heavy metals lab results of your product?
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.