In the past year many of you, including me, have been alarmed at the topic of amino spiking of protein powders. Worse still is that it’s many of the top brands that are participating in this unethical practice. This hurts you because you are spending your bloody hard-earned money purchasing what you thought was a premium product. Instead, it was, in fact, an extremely low-quality product hidden behind a shiny, cool-ass label, and some fancy buzzwords. These brands are unethically telling you that they have the best protein or best branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) when they are really mid-grade products—at the very best. Today, I am going to expose another sneaky protein trick that several top brands use to make a mid-grade product appear as if it was premium.
Proprietary blends are creative ways for supplement companies to add a long list of ingredients on the label in low dosages, aka "label dressing", to make consumers feel like they are getting a lot, when in fact they are getting very little. This is a trick to deceive you, the customer, into thinking that their protein is the best when for most, roughly 85% of their formula is mid-grade whey protein concentrate. It contains just a splash of the other premium protein sources that are listed on their label in descending order for label claim. You wouldn't fill 85% of your car’s gas tank with low-grade fuel, then add a few drops of mid-grade fuel, and then a few drops of premium fuel to top it off, would you? Adding whey protein concentrate to whey protein isolate or a protein blend does not add any benefits in the gym, but it does add profit to the brand. This is because they filled their container with a much cheaper mid-grade protein... but they will tell you it's the best.
How to Spot This Deceptive Trick
When ingredients in a product are listed as a proprietary blend, per regulations, ingredients must be listed in order. The top ingredient should have a higher percentage than the next ingredient down the list. Catch my drift?
If whey protein concentrate is the first ingredient listed and doesn't list what percentage is from whey, ask what percentage of each serving is from whey protein concentrate. Other brands take it one step further to trick you into believing they have a premium protein by having whey protein isolate as their first ingredient, then whey protein concentrate as the second ingredient, then a bunch of fancy proteins such as micellar casein, egg, etc., in descending order under a cool blend name. All this means is that the first ingredient, whey isolate, has a higher percentage than the second ingredient, whey concentrate. This makes no sense from a science standpoint other than increased profits for these brands that really don't want to offer you, the customer, a true premium product that is 100% whey isolate and not watered down with mid-grade whey concentrate.
Now that you are armed with this great information, you can look for brands that are transparent with the ratios of each protein source they use. If the brand you are currently taking does not disclose this information, ask them for it by phone or email. You have the right to know what you are consuming and paying for. Are you buying 100% real gold or are you really buying gold-painted steel? If your brand isn't willing to be transparent with their ingredients, you might want to look for a new option.