Is Your Protein Getting In The Whey?

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The Scam Starts with a Protein Called WPC-34
A tub of Whey Protein Concentrate 34 (WPC-34) costs a manufacturer about 1/5 of what a similar size tub of whey protein isolate (WPI) costs. So you’re probably wondering what is WPC-34? It’s one of the lowest grades of whey protein produced by dairy factories. It contains only 34% protein with the other 66% comprised mostly of fat, lactose, sugar, and cholesterol. In simpler terms, WPC-34 is crap.

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Once you understand what WPC-34 really is, you would never knowingly buy a protein product containing it. Unfortunately, you’ll never know WPC-34 is in a product because it’s listed simply as “whey protein concentrate” on the supplement facts panel. The industry-acceptable practice is to blend 2–3 types of whey concentrates together to get the cost down. WPC-80 (80% protein) and WPC-34 (34% protein) are the most common, but 45%, 60% and 75%, and everything in between, are used as well. The lower the percentage of protein, the higher the percentages of fat, lactose, and cholesterol.

WPC-80 is 80% protein compared to 34% for WPC-34. In comparison, Whey Protein Isolate (WPI-90) has the highest protein yield at 90%. WPI 90 contains almost three times more protein per serving than WPC-34. Knowing this, you can start to understand why not all protein powders are created equal.

WPC-34 is blended into many protein products because it is dirt cheap, and the FDA only requires the label claim “whey protein concentrate” without distinguishing between the better WPC-80 and the crap WPC-34. How do you protect yourself: don’t buy protein powders that lists the term “whey protein concentrate” on the label unless it declares it to be Whey Protein Concentrate 80%.  For the highest quality whey protein, stick with Whey Protein Concentrate 80% only or for even a purer whey protein, go with Whey Protein Isolate, this is the most expensive but it will also get you the best results.

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Spiking Protein Powders with Amino Acids: The Scam Gets Worse
Don’t be fooled by protein that has free-form amino acids blended in; they look good on the label, but they aren’t always there to make the product better. Amino acids are often added to protein powder with low protein levels to spike nitrogen value on protein tests. What does that mean? Well, to test protein value in a supplement for label claim, you do a nitrogen value test. Guess what? Amino acids test high in nitrogen as well. Spike a protein powder with amino acids, and it gives false reading for protein.

Why do this? Because these amino acids are much cheaper than WPI, and switching them out decreases the manufacturer’s cost while falsely increasing the protein value. It’s win-win for the manufacturer, but a total loss for you.

Here’s How the Scam Works
A manufacturer blends in cheap proteins like WPC-34 or even WPC-80 along with some WPI-90 (to make the label look good). It’s all nicely hidden in a proprietary blend so you have no idea what the formula is. Some companies stop here, figuring you’ll never calculate the protein value. Others take it a step further by adding in amino acids to bolster up the protein value. They throw in some cheap amino acids to increase the protein claim on the label; of course, this is based on nitrogen value only because the amino has no protein value. Here’s an example: creatine monohydrate tests very high for nitrogen; throwing in 5 grams of cheap creatine into a protein powder will raise the nitrogen value, falsely making your protein powder test out like it has an extra 7–8 grams of protein. So although creatine has no protein value, it will show up high in a nitrogen test, which will be used to deceptively make a higher protein label claim. Now you’re starting to understand the protein scam a little bit better.

Hiding It All Behind a Proprietary Blend
I’m sure there are some concerned brands out there that add amino acids to their protein powders for legitimate reasons. I just hope these brands would back out the nitrogen value of those amino acids and not include it in the overall protein value so that their label claim for protein is accurate. If the label is transparent and does not use proprietary blends to hide the dosages of individual ingredients, then you, the consumer, would be able to figure out exactly what was in the product. I’m not putting down amino acids; after all, amino acids do increase muscle and strength. I’m just exposing the deceptive use of amino acids in protein powders.

If you’re not familiar with proprietary blends, read my blog here.

put so much effort into making great products, and I’m not the only one. There are a lot of great products on the market. The consumer just has to be educated to sort through the hype and find them. All brands claim the same hype: pharmaceutical grade, pure, raw, GMP . . . our challenge is in educating you, the customer, so you can read between the lines and understand the difference between hype and reality. That’s why it’s so important not to buy supplements with proprietary blends on the label; it serves no purpose but to hide the truth about what’s in the product.

If a brand is proud of their formula and has nothing to hide, they should declare it on the label for all to see. And don’t fall for that BS story that proprietary blends are used to protect secret formulas. I can take any product on the market, send it into my lab, and know the exact formula within 24 hours. You can’t hide the formula from industry competitors; you can only hide it from the customers. I don’t use whey concentrate of 80% or 34% in my products. I don’t use proprietary blends. I don’t spike nitrogen value with amino acids. I build the best product I can for you and then disclose everything on the label so everyone, including my competitors, can see. Thanks for listening to my rant. I hope it will be helpful in some way.

Mark Glazier
Founder
NutraBio Labs, Inc.

44 thoughts on “Is Your Protein Getting In The Whey?

  1. Thank you Mark for the insightful article. We consumers have become paranoid when it comes to food items and especially when taking supplements. My wife and I are very happy with what your company is making available to us and it means an awful lot to know we are not poisoning ourselves. We workout hard and need an excellent whey isolate protein supplement. Thank you so much for your ethics and great products.I take also your BCAA’s and feel they really have helped add valuable muscle to my 67 year old body.
    Don

  2. Manipulating the numbers is what companies do, and our government is no different. Having tried most whey competitors, I have found this to be an outstanding product. I highly recommend it for US West Coast States, as the only safe alternative to potentially Fukushima radiation contaminated dairy products. Check out the radiation problem on our http://www.radiationhealthnews and our Facebook Radiation Health News for the newest radiation contamination coming from “4” sources.

  3. Great read. Ever since learning about nutrabio in late 2013 I’ve spent over $1,000 on nutrabio.com in the last 6 months and u can probably check of that’s accurate based on the e-mail address I’m going to provide later. I think nutrabio makes the best supplements and protein available. On the 15 pound tub I have it doesn’t say what level protein is being used. In this article it doesn’t say what WPC or WPI level is being used, only states that WPC is not being used, but that isn’t the same as saying nutrabio protein uses WPI-90. So my question is “does nutrabio whey isolate use only WPI -90?

    • Thanks for your continued support, I love to hear back from customers that understand and demand quality supplements. Let me clarify. NutraBio does not use inferior Whey Protein Concentrate 34% (WPC-34) or sweet whey (11% protein content) in any product we sell. The only product in our line that contains whey protein concentrate 80% (WPC-80) is our product named “Whey Protein Concentrate”, which we sell as a more economical alternative to whey protein isolate. Our Whey Protein Isolate product contains only Whey Protein Isolate 90% (WPI-90) as a source of whey and has absolutely no other proteins, additives or fillers blended in. (except for the flavor system if you want it that way)

  4. Great article but you didn’t mention how many manufacturers also use sucralose and or corn syrup. As you are probably aware both of these have toxic properties and not fit for human consumption.

  5. Thanks Mark. I’ve been semi living on your hydrolyzed whey protein powder for quite awhile now. At least 2 meals a day. I have celiac disease as well as a serious allergy to casein, and when my immune system kept reacting to a myriad of other foods, your protein powder kept me going without reaction – ever. When I first started searching for a protein replacement years ago, I read everything your site had about the hydrolyzed whey and determined for myself that it far outweighed all the others. When recommending it, upon the challenge of why yours is better, I’ve never been able to refer them to a factual synopsis of the points. Now I can. This is helpful. Thanks for maintaining your integrity and the integrity of your product, that’s not easy to find these days. Don’t ever think it goes unnoticed or unappreciated.

    • Thank you Barbara, I’m happy to hear that our protein has helped you. I will be posting more information in the days to come.

  6. hi!! so I been using your sups and let me tell you they are amazing I am a vegetarian and its so hard to find stuff like yours…..veggie caps…..vegetarian BCAA, creatine!!! its amazing!!! makes me so happy……I live in Mexico and its a pain to get your supps here….I have to order them to California and then wait for someone to come and bring them….so I been buying ON whey…..is it very bad quality? If I could get yours I would….but protein doesn’t last long on the bottle haha and I cant have it shipped here my stupid government and their laws…..I hope you get some of your brand here soon…..or I will have to stick with ON….Thank you for making such fine products!!!!

  7. Wow. Finally, someone laid out the real deal behind these industry protein powders. I kept hearing differing opinions on the use of protein powders over the years. But I never really knew who to believe nor why some people were so against using protein powders. It was never explained to me in such great detail as you did here. Thank you so much for this thought provoking information. I will definitely continue to use your products because I believe that you whole heartedly stand by your products. I do not think you would be wasting your time on a meaningless rant if you did not practice what you preach. God bless you.

  8. Great article. Your team is doing a great job in the health nutrition market. I tell everyone I know about Nutrabio. Why take a chance, always buy Nutrabio products to be sure you know what you are getting.

    • Hi Ann. I am not against WPC-80 or I wouldn’t sell it at all. It has its place in the market as a less expensive protein with a higher fat and lactose level. As a weight gainer it works. What I am against are protein brands that fool consumers into believing that they are offering the highest grade protein then fill their product with cheaper WPC-80, WPC-34 and sometimes even Sweet Whey (only 11% protein). NutraBio Whey Protein Concentrate consists of only one protein source and that is WPC-80. There is absolutely no WPC-34 or sweet whey in it. It is sold as a cheaper alternative to our whey isolate.

  9. Dear Mr. Mark Glazier,

    I appreciate your post on what’s really in protein powders and the potential scams that are out there. Since taking NUTRABIO protein powders and other awesome NUTRABIO supplements I have noticed significant gains the last 6 months from switching over to your products. Thanks for supplying great tasting pure clean supplements. My goal is to be a professional bodybuilder and start competing in the next couple years and I look forward to using your products to reach my goal. Keep up the good work and thanks for taking pride in providing great products and service. Have a good day.

    Respectfully,

    Jim Traub

  10. Great information! I had no idea things could get that bad when it comes to honesty. It appears increased sales (because of low prices) and therefore increased profits (due to cheaper ingredients) are more important to some then simply making a great product and charging a fair price. Just another reason why I’m a life long customer and advocate of Nutra-bio.

  11. Thank you for offering a quality product. That’s why I’m always willing to pay a little more for NutraBio. Best protein on the market.

    • The whey protein Isolate is MSG, Yeast and Corn free. A small amount of soy lecithin is used in the manufacturing process so there end up being a soy allergen warning on it. We are in the process of taking the lecithin out of the product which will make it soy free and NON GMO. We’re planning on this switch with 3 months.

  12. 5-14-14
    Thanks for your honest article … Explains much about all the hype boasted by supplement providers … It’s about time someone started to spill the beans on all these “scam” products … Keep up the good work! CWH

  13. Thank you for clarifying something that has been bothering me about these product mixes and mid axing labs for quite some time. Very well written .

    CG

  14. I have read from other sources that the manufacturer’s ‘proprietary blend’ is simply a means to hide all the fillers & worthless stuff put in their products. It is for this reason I have been a NutraBio customer for the last 3+ years.

  15. Excellent rant, thank you. This is precisely why I reffer all my friend and fitness clients to your company and website. I love your products and will continue be your loyal customer so long you continue your unparalleled business integrity and continue exceptionally high quality products. Thank you again, Basil Bova
    South Texas

  16. I’ve tried a ton of WP brands but your WPI is by far one of the best for quality & best price for 100% WPI. I love your products! Keep up the great work!!

  17. Is there a typo in the last paragraph? It says: “I don’t use whey concentrate of 80% or 34% in my products.”

    Shouldn’t that be: “I don’t use whey concentrate of 34% in my products.”?

    or is there another source of “whey protein concentrate” other than the WPC-34 and WPC-80 varieties mentioned?

    • Sorry if it wasn’t clear. None of our whey products contain any type of whey concentrate whether it is the WPC 34 or WPC 80. The only product I sell that has whey concentrate in it is called “Whey Protein Concentrate” and it is sold as a cheaper alternative to Whey Isolate for those who aren’t worried about the fat and carbs, usually people using it for weight gain. The product uses the highest quality WPC-80 and ever any WPC-34.

    • NutraBio Whey Protein Concentrate consists of only one protein source and that is WPC-80. There is absolutely no WPC-34 or sweet whey in it. Sweet whey wasn’t discussed but it has even lower protein content than WPC34 at only 34%. I am not against WPC-80 or I wouldn’t sell it at all. It has its place in the market as a less expensive protein with a higher fat and lactose level. As a weight gainer it works. What I am against are protein brands that fool consumers into believing that they are offering the highest grade protein then fill their product WPC80, WPC34 and sometimes even Sweet Whey. WPC-34 also has it place, in baking goods like Entenmann’s doughnuts, to increase the protein content when they don’t care about the fat. But like Sweet Whey and WPC-34 has no place in the protein supplement market. You would be surprised at how many supplement brand owners I talk with that never heard of WPC34, and later find out its being used in their product by their contract manufacturers.

  18. Thanks Jim. I’m glad to hear you’re making significant gains with NutraBio supps. We work every day to improve our products so our customers can make improvements when using them. Keep it up and best of luck in your bodybuilding future.

  19. Very informative article regarding the different types of protein. So much so that it made me review the label again on the whey protein isolate that I bought from your company and found the artificial sweetener SUCRALOSE 35mg is included. Why is such a harmful and dangerous substance included in your whey protein isolate? I do not see any healthy benefit for including sucralose in your whey. There a numerous research articles on the web indicating the dangers to ingesting this substance. The dangers of sucralose have been known for many years. Knowing the dangers sucralose and keeping my health to its optimum, I’m no longer going to buy your whey protein isolate, unless a more healthy natural sweetener, such as stevia, is utilized. Your company has many other great products that I use, but I have looked elsewhere for a protein isolate without sucralose.

    • We are releasing stevia versions of the NutraBio Whey Protein Isolate within the next few weeks. Chocolate WPI is finished, and will be released first. Vanilla and strawberry will follow. We will announce the release dates of each flavor as they are available on our Facebook page, so watch for it there.

      We are also making some additional improvements to NutraBio whey protein isolate and other products. First, we are removing all artificial flavors from the WPI and all of our products. Most of our products have already changed, the ones that haven’t will be changed on our next production run. We have never used artificial colors in any of our products, but we have now even removed the natural colors since they serve no purpose other than aesthetics.

      The soy lecithin that is used during the manufacture of the WPI is being removed so that all NutraBio Whey Protein Isolate products will be NON GMO and will no longer have the soy allergen. This change is in production already, all WPI products being manufactured by us from, 8/15/14 on will be NON GMO/No soy products. However, it will take a few weeks or so to replace our existing stock, so you have to watch the webpage for each flavor for the next month or so until they are all replaced. We will also make the announcements as each products change as they are released.

      Follow us on Facebook to update don these releases at https://www.facebook.com/NutraBio

    • One point that people miss is that one teaspoon of pure pharmaceutical grade sucralose will sweeten your coffee for the next YEAR. A half a match head of this stuff is all you need. Also:

      Sucralose is a popular artificial sweetener. It’s not poisonous, it doesn’t cause cancer and it isn’t a pesticide. Sucralose does not break down in the body and it doesn’t release chlorine into your body.

      It’s manufactured from sugar, but in its finished form it’s approximately 600 times sweeter, so very little is needed. Most sucralose passes through your digestive system without being absorbed. The small amount that’s absorbed leaves the body through the urine. http://nutrition.about.com/od/calories/p/splenda.htm

  20. I understand you may soon launch a naturally flavored/sweetened version of your protein supplements. Is that still the case? What is the tentative timing? Thanks!

    • Flavoring is complete. We hope to have the first couple of flavors available to purchase early August.

      • I don’t use sucralose so i can only get the unflavored items from you guys. I’d love to consolidate my purchases and get all my supplements from Nutrabio. Please consider a stevia line.

        • We are releasing stevia versions of the NutraBio Whey Protein Isolate within the next few weeks. Chocolate WPI is finished, and will be released first. Vanilla and strawberry will follow. We will announce the release dates of each flavor as they are available on our Facebook page, so watch for it there.

          We are also making some additional improvements to NutraBio whey protein isolate and other products. First, we are removing all artificial flavors from the WPI and all of our products. Most of our products have already changed, the ones that haven’t will changed on our next production run. We have never used artificial colors in any of our products, but we have now even removed the natural colors since they serve no purpose other than aesthetics.

          The soy lecithin that is used during the manufacture of the WPI is being removed so that all NutraBio Whey Protein Isolate products will be NON GMO and will no longer have the soy allergen. This change is in production already, all WPI products being manufactured by us from, 8/15/14 on will be NON GMO/No soy products. However, it will take a few weeks or so to replace our existing stock, so you have to watch the webpage for each flavor for the next month or so until they are all replaced. We will also make the announcements as each products change as they are released.

          Follow us on Facebook to update don these releases at https://www.facebook.com/NutraBio

  21. Hi Mark:
    I have used Nutrabio and I believe it is the real deal. Loved the products and packaging. My only problem was shipping and we had a divorce over it. My understanding is that this problem is now resolved.

    This was a very good, well written and honest article. I would add one more thing…another way they lie is to call their protein a name like superduper 84, powerhouse 93 or claiming MONSTER 50gr. per serving. To figure this out go to the label and see how much a serving is. You will find they use a huge scoop like 34gr. and it takes 2! This product is .735% protein and is actually pretty good because most proteins are less then .60%!

    To calculate the protein percentage divide the serving size by the amount of protein in the serving. Nutrabio WPI is 29gr. per serving @ 25gr. protein = .862%. This is very good. If they dropped the sweeter it would be .892% and I would suggest a blanco bland choice for the ultra demanding like me. I’m looking to build muscle not make a kiddy drink! LOL. I use a product that is a full .90% and I enjoy the natural fresh sweet taste of pure 90% WPI.

    A word of waring about American. There are a number of articles on the web about them. It looks like they flat out lie! Mark…you have a lab, I would love to see you do a test on their crap. I say crap because I accidentally ordered a 10lb. bag from them and OMG…it was worse than pure Nestle mike chocolate. It was so sweet I used one scoop with 8 of my WPI and it was still to sweet. Had to have been pure sweet why because nothing else is that sweet! Check this link:

    Anyway…I was looking over your buy one get one half off e mail and I need some stuff so maybe I’ll try again. Thanks Mark. I think your one of the few good guys in a business full of descriptions and stratagems. 50 years in the gym has taught me a lot like: not to hold a grudge! sk1951

    • A little late on my reply, sorry. Just found it reviewing old responses. I hope we’re doing better in shipping these days for you. If not reach out to me and I will make sure we take care of you. I agree with everything you’re saying about protein supplements. Brands need to stop the bullshit and start using labels that are truthful and fully transparent. No proprietary blends, no amino acid spiking, just make a good product and tell the truth.

  22. Great read! I have been buying your products now for about 6 months and can say they have made a world of difference in all phases of my workouts!

  23. Mark,

    Appreciate the honesty about your product. Many are unaware of the information you conveyed. The younger generation buy purely on price and taste (sugar).

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