You’re in a supplement store, ready to buy your first protein tub. You have your eyes set on a particular one and you think to yourself, “This is it, this is the one”. Just as your hands reach out to grab it, from the corner of your eye you notice another protein tub which offers the same amount of protein grams per serving for a much cheaper price. Your hands pull back and you immediately cross your arms in confusion, questioning “What is it that makes this one cheaper compared to the rest?”. Worry no more, we’ll do the answering.
Protein is the most popular sought-after supplement in the fitness market today. Because of that, it also makes it easy for big companies to manipulate ingredients in protein supplements to cut costs. And in the end, you might not be getting what you think you are when buying these products. Protein powders usually contain high percentages of protein, it is used to aid the body in receiving additional amounts of protein a day to support muscle growth and development. Many protein tubs share the same amount of protein grams per serving, which is between 24 to 30 grams. But how would you know if anywhere between those 24 to 30 grams of protein per serving are actually fillers instead of quality protein minerals? If you’re just a regular customer, reading scientific terms and chemistry-like ingredients is not exactly a walk in the park, you would think it takes years of experiencing with multiple supplement brands that it will only help you understand what’s being printed at the back of that tub. Well, the truth is it’s not that difficult. Ingredients are usually listed from “most-used’ to ‘least-used’. One of the most common fillers used are dextrins like maltodextrins, carrageenan, artificial sweeteners like sucralose, aspartame and saccharin. But it is almost impossible to find protein supplements without cheap fillers like these as for they are the reason for making protein powders taste like your everyday chocolate milkshake. This is also the reason for all the low prices that big companies are able to provide because of using cheap fillers to replace quality ingredients.
Now you’ve got your question for fillers out of the way, exactly what makes a difference in different types of protein powders. First, we have Whey Protein Concentrate. It is the most common whey protein and is usually recommended for beginners. The amount of protein in Whey Protein Concentrate is approximately around 80%, whereas the rest are fillers for flavoring purposes. This form of whey protein is the most commonly used and cheapest but still has many quality ingredients required for an average athlete. Next is Whey Protein Isolate. “Yep”, it’s just how the name says it is. Basically, supplement companies go an extra step into filtering Whey Protein Concentrate and the result of that, you’ll get Whey Protein Isolate. This form of the protein has approximately 90% of protein, making it the purest form of protein in the fitness market. At this stage, the amount of fat and lactose in Whey Protein Isolates are little to none which is suitable for athletes with lactose intolerance. Because of its purity and high protein content, Whey Protein Isolate prices are usually more expensive compared to Whey Protein Concentrate prices. Lastly, we have Hydrolyzed Whey Protein. During this stage, Whey Protein Isolate goes through a stage called hydrolysis which breaks down long chains in whey proteins into shorter chains called peptides. Because of these peptides, the whey protein is more easily absorbed into the body which means a faster rate of recovery. The amount of protein in this form does not reduce the nutritional quality of the Whey Protein Isolate, which still remains approximately around 90% of protein.
So, when it comes to choosing your first protein tub, it is recommended that you do some research on various brands and to which type of protein you’re looking for. Low prices don’t always mean it’s a good thing, especially when its harmful towards your physical health.