Over the last decade, protein powders have evolved from traditional supplement labeling to now providing open and transparent labels.
What is the reason for this, and how does it benefit the consumer?
If you are not familiar, a lot of companies have been found guilty of “Protein Spiking” where the amount of protein per scoop is not actually meeting the amount in which their label claims.
The reasoning for the open label on supplements is for there to be a 100% understanding on what you are putting into your body as the consumer. This is especially important since dietary supplements are not tested or regulated by the FDA.
From a consumer standpoint, it is frustrating to realize that all this time you may not have been getting exactly what you thought in your Protein products. Many companies have been found to shortchange their product with low grade fillers or amino acids to make up for the lack of actual protein content (to cut costs and increase their margins).
When purchasing a supplement it is vital for the consumer to know the ingredient profile that makes up the product.
For example, a company could claim 25g of protein per scoop. When you look at the protein label you will see one or multiple forms of protein being used, typically when protein sources are placed in a proprietary blend that does not detail the information that actually matters (see below where ingredients are listed at the bottom of the label). Yikes. If your protein label looks like this, we would highly suggest reconsidering.
In a Prop Blend there is no break down of each protein source and in what amount. Unless you want to do some serious detective work, you may be scratching your head to determine if low grade amino’s (Taurine, glycine, glutamine, creatine, arginine) are being added and if you're truly getting what you're paying for.
A valuable note to protein consumers is that taurine and glycine can legally increase protein content. Therefore, companies may use larger amounts of these other than what is listed on their product. Taurine and glycine are among the added free form amino acids that can be used to “spike” protein powders.
Step one to knowing what's in your protein is checking the amino acid profile provided on the label (refer again to the image above). The amino acid profile will signify the breakdown of each amino acid. If there is not an amino acid breakdown, requesting a 3rd party COA (Certificate of Authenticity) will be required to know how much protein you are truly getting per scoop.
Full Disclosure Nutrition is one company we fully stand behind and support in regards to the open label of their protein. They are also happy to provide any customer who purchases their protein with a COA upon request. Note how they clearly label the protein source (WPI) grams, and yield. They take it a step further by even including the flavor ingredients and their breakdown in grams.
When a protein comes in a blend that is not open label, you may see the following on your protein product:
25g Protein Matrix (Whey Protein Concentrate, Whey Protein Isolate, Milk Protein Isolate).
When you look at this you are playing the guessing game as to how much protein you are getting from WPC (concentrate), WPI (isolate), and MPI (milk isolate).
The current trend in the supplement industry and among protein powders is heading towards totally open labels. This will help disclose just how much of each type of protein goes into a protein powder.
Let us take our previous example above and place it into an open label format:
25g Protein Matrix:
Whey Protein Concentrate 80%: 14.53g Delivering 12.5g Protein
Whey Protein Isolate 90%: 13.15g Delivering 10g Protein
Milk Protein Isolate: 2.98g Delivering 2.5g Protein
When a new supplement company joins the market it may be hard to back their products. If the company chooses to take an open-label approach it will most certainly increase the confidence level of their buyers.
With the recent trend of companies moving to the transparent labels, hopefully some of the bigger names will take note. A majority of the big names that have been around for a decade are still hiding behind proprietary blends in their protein powders. But those days now seem to be numbered.
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