Today we continue our expose of some of the nefarious shenanigans which have taken place in the sports nutrition industry by a a few people whose primary purpose has been to make a quick buck at the expense of the customer.
We talked in parts 1 and 2 how some companies who Predator Nutrition do not stock were caught out under dosing protein and how this had led to legal disputes and outrage among consumers. Since then, with much greater awareness among consumers you would think things have improved but today we cast a light on how protein powders should display their content.
Information that should be displayed on protein powders
When you read the back of a tub of protein you should be able to read the following information:
1. A list of the ingredients within the protein powder supplement
2. Protein content per 100g
3. A breakdown of the amino acids included in the protein powder
Most manufacturers will include all three of these components which can help customers to ascertain the quality of a product.
In an ideal world manufacturers would disclose the inclusion rate of each ingredient within a protein powders showing the percentage of the product that is whey isolate, whey concentrate, milk protein et but, due to manufacturers being worried about their formulations being ripped off, this breakdown is rarely included.
Instead of this, most companies will show the list of ingredients (point 1 above) in order of importance within the formula. This means that if a product is 50% whey protein concentrate, 25% milk protein isolate, and 10% soy protein isolate it would show on the label as:
Whey protein concentrate, milk protein isolate, soy protein isolate
It is mandatory under food standards agency regulations to show ingredients in this way to enable customers to determine the primary source of a product and this applies both to regular foods and sports nutritionals.
Protein content per 100g
The nutritional facts panel should show a breakdown of the amount of protein per 100g and show the amount of protein, carbohydrates, and fats among other nutrients included per 100g of powder. It is important to note that sometimes manufacturers will declare the content of protein and, in brackets, put the words (dry matter). If you think of 100g of powder in a tub containing a few grams of inactive compounds such as water, and ash, companies declaring their protein content using dry matter are saying it contains that amount of protein once these ingredients are removed. So, if in 100g of powder, 95g is left after taking out water and ash, then a protein saying it is 80% protein by dry matter is effectively stating that instead of 80g of protein per 100g, it is 80% of the 95g of protein. In effect then, stating the amount of protein by dry matter overstates the actual amount of protein in a tub because it does not consider all of the composition of the protein.
A protein which states it is 80g of protein per 100g by dry matter is effectively only around 75g of protein per 100g if we are to be accurate. Companies who list their proteins by dry matter do so only to confuse customers into thinking their protein is of higher quality than it actually is. Unfortunately, most customers will just look at the protein per 100g and ignore anything else and, in doing so, they will not appreciate the companies are using the dry matter content to make their figures artificially high for protein content per 100g.
Amino acid breakdown
Protein powders from a particular food source tend to have a similar level of individual amino acids in them. For instance, whey protein is naturally high in the three branched chain amino acids (BCAA’s) making whey protein powders high in this. A well informed customer will be able to look at the amino acid profile of a protein powder and determine the likely makeup of the product. For instance, a product which advertises itself as 80% whey should have a consistent amino acid profile across different brands’ products and the same applies to other proteins comprised of milk, egg, or soy protein.
Even a protein blend comprising of differing percentages of different types of protein can give away the actual composition and inclusion rate of the different proteins making up the blend by glancing at the amino acid profile and comparing it to what we would expect to see for whey, milk, egg and so on.
We can see that consumers should be able to obtain accurate and detailed information on sports nutrition products even in the event a product is a proprietary blend and doesn’t disclose the exact inclusion rate of differing ingredients. By examining the labels consumers should be able to work out what a product contains and in what proportions. Unfortunately, as we will see in our next report, it is not so simple as this as we examine some of the dirty tricks used by unscrupulous manufacturers to hoodwink customers of their products. Rest assured we never have and never will stock products from such companies though.
© 2012, Reggie Johal. All rights reserved.