I am sorry to tell you that, no, there is not any safe meal replacement shake, powder, or bar out there that I have ever found. These "meal replacements" are highly processed and fractionated “foods” - if you can really call them that. Also, in my experience, they're usually laced with heavy metals, food allergens, and artificial sweeteners.
In 2010 Consumer Reports noted significant levels of arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury in these powders. In some of the powders, it was tested to be above the “safe” limits established by the pharmacopeia.
Granted these are naturally occurring, but literally, those things will kill you, make you sick, and/or crazy! Even if you can find an absolutely pure protein that is tested to be free of heavy metals, these powders are still highly processed, fractionated proteins and during the processing, an isolated formation of MSG is produced.
This formation of MSG causes a cascade of inflammation that most people don’t need in their lives! Interestingly, because the MSG is made during the creation of these powders, it isn't added, these powders aren't required to label MSG in the product. What a trick!
So, if that wasn’t enough, most of the high protein powders are made from things that I consider to be food allergens. The major foods that are being processed into the protein powders are whey (dairy), soy, egg, and rice.
If your protein powder of choice is whey (dairy), my personal logic tells me that even if you can tolerate the dairy (which most people can't) the producers are likely using the cheapest whey byproduct they can find to mass produce these powders. Cheap dairy just sounds like a very bad idea to me!
If you choose soy, well that has to be one of my least favorite foods. Soy is basically indigestible without fermentation. Soy is one of the richest sources of phytoestrogen, containing the highest levels of isoflavones in food so it has estrogen-like effects on the body. The effects of soy isoflavones on human estrogen levels are complex and aren't very well understood at this time. So it is probably best to leave all forms of soy out of our diets.
Moving on, mass-produced, cheap eggs are horribly toxic and borderline cruel to the animals producing the eggs in those quantities. And, if rice is your protein powder of choice there needs to be an understanding that there's a significance of highly sensitive autoimmune patients that can't tolerate any grain, even rice.
My whole food philosophy centers around "if it used to grow out of the ground and isn't processed, or it used to walk, swim or fly then it's safe to eat". If what I've said so far doesn't change your mind about the meal replacement powders, logic might. I've never seen a protein powder tree, I've never seen a protein powder walk, swim or fly. I have seen it created and processed and then processed some more.
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