Amino Acid Spiking Scam: Is Your Protein Really PROTEIN?

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Amino Acid Spiking Scam: Is Your Protein Really PROTEIN?
0

#1

If you’ve been dieting or using supplements over the past few years, then there’s no way you’ve missed this aggravating situation: Protein prices are constantly rising. Things got especially bad when Gatorade started adding whey protein to their recovery sports drinks — a decision that threw massive ripples into the …
(Read More on the PricePlow Blog)


#2

Does anyone know if ABB Pure Pro 4.5lbs is legit? I didnt see any of those spikers in it, and it advertises 20g premium protein which i assume is code word for not that spiked crap.


#3

Hey John, thanks for the comment. ABB is owned by the same company as Optimum Nutrition, and these guys don't spike like that. The 20g seems legit.

You just get "less per scoop" because there's a pretty high carb content there. So if you find a great deal in terms of grams of protein per dollar (we sometimes do on this one), and are cool with the carbs, it seems safe.

Note that we haven't ever done full panel testing on it though. We just trust bigger shops like ON. Full testing is like $1000.


#4

Thanks for the quick response, gonna try it out. Definently gonna favorite this site and check back often.


#5

Anytime. If there's one page on this site to bookmark, it'd be https://www.priceplow.com/deals - Anytime some insanely low deal comes, it's where we post them.

Thanks!


#6

What about optimum nutrition pro complex?


#7

There is a possibility that the 30g of protein on the label in each scoop is not all from the Protein Blend. Nobody knows though... they've definitely added at least some glutamine, but it's still going to be a quality protein.

Optimum Nutrition is owned by Glanbia, a massive dairy conglomerate, and they're able to get high quality whey a lot easier than anyone else. To a degree, they're immune from a lot of the pricing nonsense and don't need to play these games as much.


#8

Dear Price Plow, In response to this article and to the industry insider I'd like to clarify some things. The industry expert has said

it is possible a brand may not even be aware of this even if it is happening with their labeled product.

Now this can be true and false. It would be TRUE if the protein powdered is labeled with a nutrition facts panel. A nutrition facts panel would mean the protein powder is a FOOD. If it is a food then it does not have to follow the CFR 111's. and instead the 110's. MUCH less testing is required if the protein powder is a food and of course it MUCH less expensive to make a protein powder. Now this statement would be FALSE if the protein powder is labeled with a supplement facts panel thus making it a dietary supplement. Regardless if a company manufacturers their protein or buys it from a contract packager...THEY ARE RESPONSIBLE to follow the 111's. So many supplement companies think they can call up a contract manufacturer, make some supplements, and think they are immune to the 111's because their MANUFACTURER is FDA compliant. That is not the case. I copied the part in the 111's below.

If that protein powder is labeled a dietary supplement then the company knows DAMN well what is going into their protein powder. You have master manufacturing records, you have batch records, you have component testing. ALL REQUIRED.

If a company selling protein powder is FDA compliant and they label their protein powder as a supplement then you can be guaranteed that the product is legit. However there is one exception and that is ignorance..(see below) It is when the protein powdered is labeled as a FOOD product , THAT is when the funny stuff happens.

The industry expert also said dietary supplements are foods. dietary supplements are not foods, they are dietary supplements. If they were foods they would be labeled with a nutrition facts panel.

in response to his #3 statement. True IF it is labeled a FOOD!. If it is labeled a dietary supplement then the whey protein for example is TESTED when it is received for STRENGTH, COMPOSITION, and IDENTITY. This makes sure we got the protein % we wanted, and it is actually WHEY PROTEIN and nothing else.

BOTTOM LINE. ONLY BUY PROTEIN POWDER that has a supplement facts panel and ask to see a 3rd party lab analysis.

Ask to see the 3rd party lab analysis because, unfortunately, Most of the supplement companies that label their protein powders with a supplement facts panel do so just out of ignorance and have no clue what the 111's are. One easy way to tell if youre a layman, that a supplement company is NOT following the 111's or is ran by a bunch of morons is to see if their are any ZEROS listed in the supplement facts panel. The FDA regulations specifically states that ZERO is not permitted in the supplement facts panel. If you see something like 0 grams of fat on the back of a whey isolate supplement facts panel then do not BUT that protein powder, they company is not FDA compliant.

Sincerely,
Alex Rogers

Sec. 111.1 Who is subject to this part?(a) Except as provided by paragraph (b) of this section, you are subject to this part if you manufacture, package, label, or hold a dietary supplement, including:

(1) A dietary supplement you manufacture but that is packaged or labeled by another person; and

(2) A dietary supplement imported or offered for import in any State or territory of the United States, the District of Columbia, or the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

(b) The requirements pertaining to holding dietary supplements do not apply to you if you are holding those dietary supplements at a retail establishment for the sole purpose of direct retail sale to individual consumers. A retail establishment does not include a warehouse or other storage facility for a retailer or a warehouse or other storage facility that sells directly to individual consumers.


#9

Dear
Price Plow, In response to this article and to the industry insider I'd like to
clarify some things. The industry expert has said

it is possible a brand may not even be aware of this even if it is happening
with their labeled product.

Now this can be true and false. It would be TRUE if the protein powdered is
labeled with a nutrition facts panel. A nutrition facts panel would mean the
protein powder is a FOOD. If it is a food then it does not have to follow the
CFR 111's. and instead the 110's. MUCH less testing is required if the protein
powder is a food and of course it MUCH less expensive to make a protein powder.
Now this statement would be FALSE if the protein powder is labeled with a
supplement facts panel thus making it a dietary supplement. Regardless if a
company manufacturers their protein or buys it from a contract packager...THEY
ARE RESPONSIBLE to follow the 111's. So many supplement companies think they
can call up a contract manufacturer, make some supplements, and think they are
immune to the 111's because their MANUFACTURER is FDA compliant. That is not
the case. I copied the part in the 111's below.

If that protein powder is labeled a dietary supplement then the company knows
DAMN well what is going into their protein powder. You have master
manufacturing records, you have batch records, you have component testing. ALL REQUIRED.

If a company selling protein powder is FDA compliant and they label their
protein powder as a supplement then you can be guaranteed that the product is
legit. However there is one exception and that is ignorance..(see below)
It is when the protein powdered is labeled as a FOOD product , THAT is
when the funny stuff happens.

The industry expert also said dietary supplements are foods. dietary
supplements are not foods, they are dietary supplements. If they were foods
they would be labeled with a nutrition facts panel.

in response to his #3 statement. True IF it is labeled a FOOD!. If it is
labeled a dietary supplement then the whey protein for example is TESTED when
it is received for STRENGTH, COMPOSITION, and IDENTITY. This makes sure we got
the protein % we wanted, and it is actually WHEY PROTEIN and nothing else.

BOTTOM LINE. ONLY BUY PROTEIN POWDER that has a supplement facts panel and ask
to see a 3rd party lab analysis.

Ask to see the 3rd party lab analysis because, unfortunately,
Most of the supplement companies that label their protein powders with a
supplement facts panel do so just out of ignorance and have no clue what the
111's are. One easy way to tell if youre a layman, that a supplement
company is NOT following the 111's or is ran by a bunch of morons is to see if
there are any ZEROS listed in the supplement facts panel. The FDA
regulations specifically states that ZERO is not permitted in the supplement
facts panel. If you see something like 0 grams of fat on the back of a
whey isolate supplement facts panel then do not BUT that protein powder, they
company is not FDA compliant.

Sincerely,

Alex Rogers

President

Proteinfactory.com

Sec. 111.1 Who is subject to this part?(a) Except as provided by paragraph (b)
of this section, you are subject to this part if you manufacture, package,
label, or hold a dietary supplement, including:

(1) A dietary supplement you manufacture but that is packaged or labeled by
another person; and

(2) A dietary supplement imported or offered for import in any State or
territory of the United States, the District of Columbia, or the Commonwealth
of Puerto Rico.

(b) The requirements pertaining to holding dietary supplements do not apply to
you if you are holding those dietary supplements at a retail establishment for
the sole purpose of direct retail sale to individual consumers. A retail
establishment does not include a warehouse or other storage facility for a
retailer or a warehouse or other storage facility that sells directly to
individual consumers.


#10

Your chart on WPC80 is inaccurate. The chart you are using is actually
the commodity price of WPC34 (traded much more than WPC80). Not the WPC
used in protein shakes.

Sources
http://www.scoularvirginia....
http://www.clal.it/en/?sect...

WPC80
is around $4/lb which is agglomerated and used in a wide range of SOLID
food products. Instantized WPC80 (the raw ingredient in protein shakes)
which undergoes additional processes to allow it to "instantly"
dissolve in liquid, is actually even higher in price. The price for raw
WPC80 is high $4 - low $5 in much of the world. In the USA its high $3 -
low $4 typically

Sources
http://www.dairyglobalnutri...
http://www.nutraingredients...
http://www.nutraceuticalswo...

The
reason I guess, I'm correcting is because once you realize the rising
costs for companies it would make sense they this is starting to happen.
If just the cost of manufacture for just the WPC a 5lb unit of protein
costs $20-$25 per unit, not factoring in, bottle, jar, lid, scoop,
overhead, labor, and profit. The cost of one $30 directly from the
manufacturer can be over of $30. So with that now the manufacturing
company, distributors and retailers all have to make money in a range of
$20 to reach a retail price of $50. It starts to make sense why amino
spiking is happening. I wouldn't call it ideal but I also wouldn't call
it a scam. Youre just misinformed dispite your lengthy yet inaccurate
explanation on how the market works


#11

Alex made some great points in his comments as have many of those contributing here. The more you learn about these protein scams like amino spiking and the WPC34 bait and switch scam, the deeper you will find out they go. This thread is an excellent reference for consumers to learn some of the deceit that is being used on them. I would recommend it be forwarded on to as many people as possible.

In reference to Alex’s comment regarding protein brands being fooled by their contract manufactured and the statement "it is possible a brand may not even be aware of this even if it is happening with their labeled product." I agree with you in theory, but the reality is different. CFR Part 111 only establishes the regulation for final product testing; the problem is that the FDA does not have the means or funds needed to effectively enforce the regulation, and consequently less than 20% of the
dietary supplement manufacturers in the U.S. have been audited under 21 CFR
Part 111 regulations.

In theory, a protein brand compliant with CFR 111 must test their product for label claim once delivered from their contract manufacturer and prior to release to the consumer, but in reality most protein brands are not compliant and deliver products to their customers without ever testing for label claim. Many smaller brands on the market do not have a clue what CFR 111 even is, and unfortunately many contract manufacturers don't follow CFR 111 either.

So, although I agree with you, the unfortunate reality is that there are many protein brands on the market that don't have a clue what is in their own product, some care but many do not. Contract manufacturers bear as much of blame in this scam as the brand owners do.

I had a brand owner call me a few weeks back and they wanted me to manufacture their protein. The label claimed 30 grams of protein but the serving size was only 15 grams. He claimed to me that he was the only company in the country with technology to get 30 grams of protein from 15 grams of powder. He actually stated that with a straight face. I looked at his formula which contained 15 gram of mixed whey proteins along with amino acids. The 15 grams of whey yielded only about 7 grams of protein; the missing 23 grams of protein came from nitrogen spiking with aminos that tested higher like arginine which tests out 260% higher in protein than its own weight. I laughed at him and sent him on his way. Unfortunately, he will have no problem finding someone else to make this for him.

Mark Glazier
CEO
NutraBio Labs


#12

You are correct that whey protein concentrate prices are much higher than quoted here, the $4 to $5 per pound is were the market currently is, not under $2 as someone else quoted. However, I'm not quite sure I understood your response regarding amino spiking?? Are you saying that the high cost of manufacturing protein product justifies cheating a customer out of product. Amino spiking is quite simply deceit. It is using the nitrogen content of NPN's (non-protein-nitrogen) blended into a protein product and adding it to label claim as if it were a protein. Free-form amino acids are not protein and should not be considered protein on a label. If you take 5 grams of free-form taurine, do you really believe you're getting 5 grams of protein?? Amino spiking is a scam, plain and simple.

Mark Glazier
NutraBio Labs
CEO Founder


#13

Hi:

This is an amazing article, explains everything about Protein/Amino spiking! Only one question- how come some of the other bigger companies (noticeably MuscleTech) have not been served a class action law suit? Their Phase 8 and Six Star proteins have a ton of Taurine/Glycine in them!!! I'm shocked that smaller companies have served but they are still out there with the same products on the market!!


#14

Honesty not sure and cannot speculate too much, but good question. They might be waiting to see where the current class action lawsuits get settled before attacking any other major brands.

Once you have a successful settlement, future cases could become easier... but I'm not a lawyer.


#15

Hi,

Great Article!

I have been using Balance 100% Whey Protein WPC/WPI as it is one of the cheaper brands, has a full amino acid profile and seems very transparent although L-Gluatmine does show up so now I feel more confused than ever! Can you tell me whether Balance are guilty of spiking their product please? Any info is greatly appreciated

ENERGY468kJ (112Cal)
PROTEIN 22.2g
FAT, TOTAL1.5g
SATURATED1.1g
CARBOHYDRATE1.9g
SUGARS1.3g
SODIUM37mg

BRANCHED CHAIN AMINO ACIDS
LEUCINE2.2g
ISOLEUCINE1.4g
VALINE1.3g

OTHER ESSENTIAL AMINO ACIDS
LYSINE1.9g
METHIONINE0.9g
PHENYLALANINE0.7g
THREONINE1.5g
TRYPTOPHAN0.4g

OTHER AMINO ACIDS
ALANINE1.1g
GLYCINE0.4g
HISTIDINE0.4g
PROLINE1.3g
CYSTINE0.6g
TYROSINE0.7g
SERINE1.1g
ASPARTIC ACID 2.2g
GLUTAMIC ACID 4.1g
ARGININE0.9g
GLUTAMINE (ADDED)0.5g

INGREDIENTS: *Balance Protein Blend (93%) [Whey Protein Concentrate, Whey Protein Isolate, Emulsifier (Soy Lecithin)], Flavours, L-Arginine (1.4%), L-Glutamine (1.7%), Vegetable Gum (Guar), Bromelains, Anti-Caking Agent (Silicon Dioxide), Papain, Sweeteners (Sucralose, Acesulfame K).

Jordan


#16

This is what's cool about the Euro labels - they have to be more open about things like this.

How much does each scoop weigh? I see 28g on their site.

The way I'm reading this label is that 1.4% of the entire product's weight is L-Arginine, and 1.7% is Glutamine. But that seems odd too, because they're out of order.

Anyway, if true, this means that 3.1% of the product is added free-form amino acids, which amounts to 0.868g of the product. That sounds about right, since they state that added glutamine is 0.5g anyway.

So at the end of the day, you're probably getting 21g of protein, not 22g. Not the end of the world by any means, but if you're into tracking your macros, I'd bump the number down just a smidge. Life could be worse, this is nowhere near as bad as some of the lawsuits going down in the US.


#17

http://www.chimicles.com/bs...


#18

What about BSN Syntha-6? I came across this link. It does say in the ingredients that Glutamine peptides is part of the "Protein Matrix".
Thanks.
http://www.chimicles.com/bs...


#19

What about Combat (musclepharm)


#20

Take a look at the label. Free form aminos are added... so you really don't know how much actual whey protein you're getting with that stuff.

Note that this is Combat Powder we're talking about. Combat Isolate and Combat Casein seem fine.