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Protein Supplements – Don’t get Fooled

Protein Supplements – Don’t get Fooled

Feb 1, 2013

Protein supplements are more popular than ever. However, one of the most important considerations when purchasing a protein supplements is whether you are getting what you think you getting based on the information on the label. For instance, if a product lists 25 grams of protein in the Nutrition Facts but the Ingredient list includes amino acids like taurine and glycine or amino acid-derived nutrients like creatine and betaine, you might want to go deep on understanding why and whether this is impacting the protein claim. That’s because these lower cost ingredients might be intentionally added to raise the product’s nitrogen content, which in turn is used to determine the protein content of the product by way of a conversion factor. Based on this system it is easy to see that an opportunity exists for some products to list more protein on the label than what is actually in the formula by adding less expensive, non-protein ingredients. This practice, which has been referred to as “amino spiking” or “nitrogen spiking”, keeps grams of protein per serving higher and the product pricetag lower. Consumers have to read protein supplement labels closely to ensure they are getting the amount of  real protein that is listed in the Nutrition Facts panel. If you are unsure, just use the contact information on the label and reach out to the brand to get your questions answered.

41 comments

  1. Ronnie Wilson /

    Great story. I will call the company that makes my protein today. What else don’t I know about supplements.

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    • TheNutritionDr /

      Thanks Fitzpatrick. Here is what to look for for more legit protein-based supplements:

      1. No Creatine or at least some language that creatine isn’t counted as protein (which it clearly isn’t)

      2. No Taurine unless it is clearly stated that it is in addition to protein. Remember, the human body doesn’t use taurine for protein building.

      3. No additional glycine (e.g. amino blend with glycine,taurine, etc). Glycine is a simple, nonessential amino acid and supplementing is not going to aid in muscle building

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