Multi species protein (mixing different types of protein together), can be beneficial to muscle building. I am in total agreement with this opinion, which is why some of NutraBio’s products combine fast release whey isolates with slow release micellar casein protein. However, there is a lot of B.S. that sports supplement brands are feeding consumers under the guise of the benefits of mixed proteins and I want you to be aware of them. I agree that there is benefit to mixing some types of proteins together, but that is not why the industry so widely blends whey concentrate with whey isolate.
The real reason is purely economical: Consumers don’t realize that one of the most common whey proteins blended into supplements is a protein called WPC34 (Whey Protein Concentrate 34%). This protein is 34% protein value and only 1/3 the cost of the standard WPC80 (whey concentrate 80%) and only 1/5 the cost of WPI (whey protein isolate 90%). As a raw ingredient, WPC34 is sold out in the industry. Every pound manufactured is contracted out months in advance by sports supplement manufacturers. Why ?? Because WPC34 is dirt cheap, but uses the same label claim as the higher grade WPC80. The label claim “Whey Protein Concentrate” is used identically for WPC34 or WPC 80 on protein labels so the consumer never realizes it’s used in the product they are purchasing.
In my honest opinion, this is one the biggest scams out there. It used to be true that a consumer could calculate the protein value of a particular product by dividing the (grams of protein per serving) into the (total serving size) so if too much WPC34 was used in a product, the protein value would drop so low that a consumer would realize it. But the industry always stays one step ahead of the consumer and resolved this problem with the use of amino acid spiking. For those of you who are not familiar with amino acid spiking here’s the scam:
Amino acids are 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 higher in nitrogen then whey protein does. Spike a protein powder with free form amino acids, and it gives false reading for protein value by combining the nitrogen value of the complete protein with the nitrogen value of the free from amino acid.
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 the consumer who gets less protein per serving than the actual label is claiming. Worse yet – the consumer thinks the protein is actually better because it has amino acids added to it. Sure aminos benefit muscle building, but now when they are fraudulently put in place of the complete protein.
Adding an amino acid to a protein powder can have benefit. However, the manufacturer must subtract out the nitrogen value of the free form amino acid and only claim the value of the complete protein on the label. In other words: 25 grams of complete protein along with 5 grams of taurine and 5 grams of glycine has benefit, but if the 25 grams of protein is really only 12 grams of complete protein, you have just been scammed.
DISCLOSURE: I am not accusing any brand of amino acid spiking even those mentioned in this thread. Not all brands add amino acids to their protein products because they want to spike nitrogen for the purpose of exaggerating protein value. Some legitimate brands might actually subtract out that nitrogen value of the aminos and make a proper, legal protein claim. If they do, I would recommend a statement on their label to that effect so the consumer knows their product is legitimate. Here is the kicker; a lot of brands don’t even know they are doing this because the contract manufacturer they hire to make their protein is scamming them.
Also, many brands that do amino acid spiking (or what I prefer to call nitrogen spiking) claim they are not deceiving the consumer, because in their opinion free form aminos are a protein. NO, single amino acids are not a protein, chains of amino acids linked together form proteins.
The FDA’s definition of a protein for labeling purposes is a complete protein containing at minimum all the 9 essential aminos acids that the body can’t produce on its own. As a matter of fact, FDA regulation 21 CFR 101.36(b)(2)(i) specifically prohibits single amino acids from being listed as proteins.
Just think about this: on a supplement facts panel of a label, protein has a daily value (although listing it is optional) of 50 grams based on a 2000 calorie intake. Do you really think that 50 grams of taurine, leucine or any amino acid will fulfill you daily requirement for protein?
FDA auditors will catch on to this scam, it’s only a matter of time!
-Mark G. – NutraBio CEO