Imagine you purchased a new car and one of the main reasons you have made this purchase is for the fuel economy. The manufacturer and the salesman both tell you that you’re going to get 25 miles per gallon. Being excited about this you make the purchase and begin using your new vehicle. It would later turn out that you’re not getting 25 miles per gallon and are only getting 15 miles per gallon! How would this make you feel? What do you do? Unfortunately, this happens in the supplement industry all the time with protein powders. You buy a protein powder that promises you 30 GRAMS of protein! That’s awesome right? Well, if it were true, it would be.
Some companies will add cheap amino acids to their protein blends to trick testing equipment into giving a higher protein reading and trick consumers into purchasing these blends. In extreme cases this can add up to 10g of protein to a product, on paper at least. So, your protein that is promising 30g of protein is only giving you 20g. The most common amino acids that are added are glycine, glutamic acid, taurine, and creatine.
How do you tell if a protein powder has been spiked? Luckily it isn’t too hard to tell. Here are some common tactics and lookouts.
In the other ingredients
If you see the ingredients above in the “other ingredients” section of the label, then the protein is most likely to be spiked.
In the Supplement Facts
Some companies are a little sketchier than others and will list the ingredients in the facts panel directly, sometimes as some “performance blend” or “recovery matrix” Protein powder is the recovery matrix.
This has been a trend lately, not just with protein powders either. Pre-workout formulas are notorious for this, they’ll write “200mg caffeine!…… with two scoops”.
There are a few problems with this, look at the image below. If you take two scoops of this product, which costs $40, then you’re only netting about 9 servings. If you workout 5 days a week that’s less than two weeks of protein powder for $40. You are getting scammed by taking this stuff.
Be cautious if you see a two-scoop suggestion on the supplement facts!
This is more of a watchout than anything else. There’s nothing nefarious about protein blends and in some cases, it’s a better option for some people due to the price point. But when companies use blends without telling you how much of each they’ve used, there’s usually a reason for it. Whey concentrate is substantially cheaper than Whey isolate, so if they’re only using 10% why isolate and charging a premium, that’s a problem. Additionally, if the blend has collagen protein, the whole thing is probably a waste of money.
Whey Protein Isolate
When choosing a protein powder, here’s a tip: Choose Whey Protein Isolate, unless you cannot take whey for some medical reason, then Pea Protein is another solid choice, and ALWAYS check your labels. You work hard for your money, the last thing that you need is to be ripped off or scammed out of it.
Do not start any diet or exercise plan without first consulting with your physician! Let your doctor know about any drugs or supplements you are using and what the plan consists of.
This content is meant to be informative and should not be considered medical advice.
Written for Stoked American Fitness