Amino Spiking In Whey? What’s It? Is Your Protein Clean?
Posted on August 12 2021
hen it comes to convenience of protein intake, nothing beats a Whey Protein shake. Whey Protein is being liked for its high protein content and for being low in things that aren’t protein. This is probably the main reason why Whey Protein demand has increased beyond the sports segment and bodybuilding segment and the global consumption rate of Whey Protein is at an all-time high. Well, that’s not bad news…cheers to the fitness-conscious group out there. The sad news actually comes now…
Folks, what if I tell you that your Whey Protein supplement may claim to provide 25g protein per serving on the label but in reality provide only 20g of protein? I can already imagine you saying a loud WHAT there? Shocking news, isn’t it?
Pretty much alarming in fact…today’s topic enlightens you on the latest scandal in the supplement industry, on which you may be either partially aware, fully aware, or may have absolutely no idea…
Whatever is the case, there’s one grey area on which spotlight is required to be thrown at the moment…it’s amino/protein spiking that has been creating a stir in the supplement industry.
What Is Amino Spiking?
Amino spiking in business terms is manipulating a protein supplement to meet the profit motto. It’s one cheap tactic what some supplement brands follow to claim a higher protein content than what they truly offer. I’ll explain it clearly, amino spiking is the act of using low grade or sometimes free form amino acids like taurine, glycine, and creatine to bump up the overall protein content of a powder. It is one way that artificially inflates the protein quantity, makes consumers believe that they are getting high-quality protein supplements, but in reality, half of the protein supplement might contain useless additives!
You must have started feeling butterflies in your stomach already…hold on guys, this article will expose you to the bitter fact while at the same time throws knowledge on how to spot it, and provides you tips on how not to fall into this trap…
Why Do They Do Amino Spiking?
Amino spiking is done simply put, to cut costs. Owing to the large competition in the supplement market, and the increasing global demand for protein, there has been an increase in raw material prices accompanied by production cuts due to over-supply. Over the years, Whey Protein is only headed for steeper manufacturing prices. Some unethical companies try to cut corners in an attempt to save production costs because they want to maximize their profit and at the same time bring a competitive product to the market. Some companies resort to filling their protein with cheaper amino acids to increase their protein content but decrease the price to produce. Protein is predominantly stretched with the free form amino acids like glycine, taurine, arginine, and creatine because these amino acids are significantly cheaper than the price of Whey Protein. With amino spiking, some brands are silently making a profit by taking advantage of unsuspecting customers and selling protein powders with under dosed ingredients on the label, and making outrageous claims.
How Do They Do Amino Spiking?
Almost everyone would have this experience…when you buy potato chips pack, you find very little chips inside, the pack is actually filled with air. Yeah, companies use this strategy to gimmick people to make the pack appear big. Now, amino spiking is a similar kind of an experience you may be having with your protein powder.
Imagine your protein label says, they offer 25 grams protein per serving, but you may actually be getting only 10-15 grams of the said protein and the rest may be filled with cheap free form amino acids which are termed as fillers. The real fact is that the value of protein you’re getting per scoop is maybe just 10g.
The one way how companies do this is by dumping non-essential amino acids like glycine or glutamine into the mix. Another way how amino spiking is done is by adding nitrogenous, but non-proteinogenic (amino acids not used to make protein) free-form amino acids such as taurine, citrulline, creatine, and beta-alanine.
Amino spiking increases the overall dietary protein content of the supplement without disclosing this action on the label. Unfortunately, amino spiking can be done safely why because when testing for the content of protein in a supplement, the amount of nitrogen is measured. All amino acids are nitrogen-bearing compounds, and they’ll test positive for a certain amount of nitrogen and most tests don’t determine complete proteins with all essential amino acids and non-essential amino acids.
Is Amino Spiking A Bad Thing?
The addition of non-protein or nitrogen-containing amino acids doesn’t mean to say they don’t have potential value, but you must note here that all amino acids are not of equal value when it comes to muscle building. The amino acids used for spiking the protein content are non-essential amino acids or amino acids not used to make protein which no doubt reduces the protein quality. When you buy an amino spiked supplement, you’ll pay money for what you don’t want, not for what you want.
Beware: By doing amino spiking, the companies are adding amino acids to increase protein content not to add any benefit to the product. Some brands also use fillers like maltodextrin which might add some calories to the supplement but it doesn’t count towards protein.
When Is The Protein Supplement Not Amino Spiked?
If you see the added amino acids specifically on the label or in the supplement facts panel (in addition to the actual protein what they provide), and not on the other ingredients list, then it clearly means that the supplement is not amino spiked but is fortified with amino acids.
How To Detect Amino Spiking? Does The Protein Supplement You Are Buying Clearly Reveal What They Are Putting In Their Product?
Consumers should have enough awareness to know what is listed on the supplement label and to judge if the product is rightly priced and must know how to avoid falling into sneaky traps. Here are few tips for you to detect whether your protein supplement is amino spiked.
Check for amino acid declaration on the backside of the protein pouch. Sum up all the amino acids and check the count, then you need to compare this number with the protein amount listed in the nutrition facts. If the amino acid gram count tallies with protein gram count, this gives you a clear idea that the protein supplement has not been amino spiked. If the values don’t tally, then it is spiked.
Study the ingredient list thoroughly, if it is mentioned that the Whey contains BCAA, along with creatine, glutamine, taurine, etc, there is a possibility that the protein supplement is amino spiked.
Your supplement pack will list the high-quality amino acids like leucine, isoleucine, and valine first with the amount per scoop. Try to spot individual amino acids added to the product, if you find any of the amino higher than they are on the ingredient list, the more prevalent they are spiked.
Another way to check amino spiking is to get a free amino acid analysis report from the vendor.
If your protein powder does not list the amount of creatine but the ingredient is high on the list, the supplement is creatine spiked.
If the protein supplement mentions proprietary protein blend or amino acid blend without disclosing what the amino acid blend consists of, then it is likely to be spiked.
Now, the final most important point which you have to remember is Whey is not cheap!! Like all things protein supplement included, you get what you pay for… if someone is selling their protein at a significantly cheaper price than the similar protein powder in the market, please think thrice before buying it, coz it is a matter to suspect and not to relish!!
Is Your Protein Brand Trustworthy? Be Sure What You Consume Is 100% Protein…
Your brand should be transparent in terms of what they include in their pack.
Your supplement should state all the amino acids on the label.
Your supplement should be 3rd party lab tested.
A trustworthy company will even have their protein supplement labdoor certified, which tests the protein powder for quality, heavy metals, watch list of ingredients as well as amino spiking unbiasedly.
It’s important to stay vigilant when buying a protein powder or it’s important to take a second look at your current protein powder…supply your body with the right muscle- building fuel, choose a brand that beholds the trust of the customer…
Never look upon a protein supplement that is significantly cheaper than everything else, because it could be AMINO SPIKED!!
Also read: Top 10 Myths Vs Facts On Whey Protein One Needs To Know
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Thank you for posting this, much appreciated!
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