In the fitness community, 99% of people are overwhelmed by the amount of different products, don’t know the difference between the ingredients, and do not have the time to take hours and hours of researching to pick apart the minute details of the ingredient labels to see which one is more effective. Everyone is looking for a great deal, an awesome sale, or the lowest price for the largest amount of protein powder. And that is the exact approach supplement companies are hoping you will take when it comes to choosing products.
Don’t fall victim to the manipulative supplement companies with millions of dollars spent for advertising, or the big chain stores that hire a young high school kid (who is just told to push a specific product for that week to make commission) and expect him to give expert advice on what product specifically fits your goals, and then be surprised that the product he sold you on is completely ineffective.
I challenge anyone taking supplements, protein powder, preworkout, etc. to go through the nutrition/ supplement facts panel, look up each ingredient and what it is used for, and then make sure they put the right dosing of the ingredients for it to actually have a physiological benefit at the amount dosed. (What good is having an ingredient in a product, when there is not enough of it to do anything?) In this article, let’s focus on protein- More specifically, the most common type of protein used; Whey Protein.
Whey Protein is a unique product with one of the largest ranges of quality, which could be from the most effective product in your supplement stack in terms of results, adding lean muscle, curbing appetite for dieting, stabilizing glucose levels, all the way down to becoming inflammatory, full of lactose causing bloating, stomach pain, cramping, and water retention. Here is an eye-opening excerpt directly from the FDA Regulations:
|“Sec. 184.1979c Whey protein concentrate.|
|(a) Whey protein concentrate is the substance obtained by the removal of sufficient nonprotein constituents from whey so that the finished dry product contains not less than 25 percent protein.” –www.acccessdata.fda.gov-CITE:21CFR184.1979c|
In simpler terms, this means if your protein supplement contains whey protein concentrate, and doesn’t give the amount of concentrate used, it COULD be 99.9% Whey Protein Concentrate. So it is completely legal (and is way too common) to have a fitness enthusiast buy a whey protein concentrate based product (think the big brand names that do a lot of advertising, or protein that is cheaper than most others, or running a lot of sales of buy one, get one free… you get the idea) where the label says 20-25g of protein, and in reality, only be getting 25% of the nutrition label based off the Food and Drug Administrations’ Regulations. Wouldn’t you think twice if you were paying $30 for a product that was only giving you 5-6 GRAMS OF PROTEIN PER SERVING, when you thought you were getting 20-25 GRAMS? I sure would! Here is another piece from the same FDA Regulation as cited earlier:
“(iv) Lactose content, maximum 60 percent–as determined by the methods prescribed in section 16.057” –www.acccessdata.fda.gov-CITE:21CFR184.1979c
So not only is 25% of the protein content listed on the Nutrition Facts allowed, but they are also allowing over DOUBLE the quantity of actual protein in the Whey Protein Concentrate to be LACTOSE!! Many uninformed consumers first purchase a whey protein powder not knowing the differences, and when they take the protein, they feel the symptoms of the high amounts of lactose. These symptoms include bloating, upset stomach, diarrhea, abdominal cramping and in severe cases can even cause vomiting! However if consumers are uninformed about the other ingredients in whey protein concentrate, then they believe they simply cannot take any form of whey protein at all. At this point, the person typically feels frustrated with the need to make the decision of consuming protein and dealing with the uncomfortable side effects, or to stop taking protein all together. However, there is an alternative that is mostly overlooked, which would not come with any negative side effects at all!
The Answer: Whey Protein Isolate!
Whey Protein Isolate is the best option in the majority of cases. The lactose content is typically extremely low or nonexistent, so there are none of the negative side effects associated with it! With a quality Whey Protein Isolate, you are consuming a much higher percentage of actual protein that can be used to build muscle, repair the body through increased amino acids, and have the body function at a more efficient level, since you are getting a pure form of protein, and not getting all the inflammatory extras that are in a low grade concentrate.
Let’s use the example from earlier, where we looked at a label with 25g protein, and only got a minimum of 6 grams of actual protein with a whey concentrate. With that same label, but using whey protein ISOLATE, we would be receiving a MINIMUM of 22.5g! This is because the minimum protein percentage allowable to put whey protein isolate on the ingredients label is 90%! That is a remarkable difference, and also could be the deciding factor of getting results or not. So now we know that it takes approximately 3.5x the amount of a concentrate to equal an isolate. So if you were paying that $25-$30 for the low grade concentrate, you would expect an isolate to be 3.5x the price for the same standard 2lb container? That would be $75 on the LOW END! Thankfully, this is not the case!
The average price for a 2lb container of a 100% Whey Protein Isolate should be around 45-55$. When the math is all said and done, the real price breaks down to the amount of pure protein you are receiving. We can use the standard 30 servings per container and compare!
30 servings of whey protein concentrate, at 25g per serving= 750g- Whey Protein Concentrate
Then multiply the 750g by the amount of actual protein which is 25% or .25… 750g x .25= 187.5g total protein.
187.5g protein divided by $25 is 7.5g protein per $1.00 in Whey Protein Concentrate
30 servings of whey protein isolate, at 25g per serving= 750g – Whey Protein Isolate
Then multiply the 750g by the amount of actual protein which is 90% or .90… 750g x .90= 675g total protein.
675g protein divided by $45 is 15g protein per $1.00 in Whey Protein Isolate
The numbers used are just averages seen in protein products, and individual products numbers may vary slightly. Regardless, with the same numbers used in comparison, you are getting exactly twice the amount of protein per one dollar. So instead of using 3 scoops of that protein blend you have been using, try using 1 or 2 scoops of a quality protein. Your wallet will thank you, and so will your stomach. Treat your body right, and make sure to use a quality protein powder. You work hard in the gym, you push yourself past your limits, you consistently put in effort to improve your body, don’t skip out on the last piece of the puzzle. Give your muscle what it needs to heal, give your body the quality of protein you need to get the best muscle and recovery possible!
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