Learning how to read a nutrition label is a must if your goal is health and longevity.
You will have to supplement your food with certain minerals, vitamins, herbs and likely protein.
One of the tricks of the trade is putting ingredients into a proprietary blend. This could be viewed as a way for a company to protect its formula from being copied and to fuel its competition.
Often times this is done to protect company trademarks. In most cases, its used to enable the company to use less than the clinically established dosages in their formula and still list the specific ingredient on the label.
This allows them to avoid investing in costly raw ingredients but also provides an actual dose that could possibly have a sought after effect. Are you getting the picture?
Let’s look at protein first. In whey protein there are different grades of whey.
|Whey Protein Concentrate 1||25-89%||4-52%||1-9%||Protein beverages and bars, confectionery and bakery products, infant formula and other nutritional food products|
|Whey Protein Isolate||90-95%||0.5-1%||0.5-1%||Protein supplementation products, protein beverages, protein bars and other nutritional food products|
|Hydrolyzed Whey Protein||80-90%||0.5-10%||0.5-8%||Infant formula and sports and medical nutrition products|
1 Source: 21 CFR, § 184.1979
As you can see from the chart above if you are buying Whey Protein Concentrate, you could have a product with 25% protein in it or 89%. It won’t specify on the label. You can try and find out by looking at the serving size in grams versus how many grams of protein you get in that serving, if the label is honest.
WPC (whey protein concentrate) is a decent choice if cost is a major issue. However, in today’s world you can get a quality isolate from a company like True Nutrition and still save money compared to buying a WPC in a store.
So if you are looking at the nutrition label and you see ingredients listed they are supposed to be listed in order of amounts in product. Meaning first ingredient listed should contain more of it then all the following ingredients and so on. See below.
Pretty straight forward, we know that it’s mostly WPC followed by WPI and then soy and flavor and etc.
- Ingredients: Whey protein concentrate, whey protein isolate, soy protein, flavoring, sugar, magnesium.
With a proprietary blend you can throw parenthesis around the ingredients of the blend and they don’t have to follow those rules. See below:
- Ingredients: Super-Duper Whey Blend*(Whey protein isolate, Hydrolyzed whey, powdered milk), sugar, fat, flavors.
Guess what guys?
You can rest assure that 98% of the “Super-duper whey blend” is powdered milk. You would think by looking at the rules of labeling that it would be WPI, HW then powdered milk right? Wrong.
Welcome to the dirty little secret word of supplements.
They can even go on and state how great WPI(whey protein isolate) is and how you should be using it. And maybe even they’ll say oh it tastes bad so we threw in a pinch of Powdered milk so it tastes great too.
Complete and utter bullshit.
Now let’s look at the same thing with nutrients.
Most of the nootropic community will agree that Phosphatidylserine is a useful nutrient in brain health. Just type it into PubMed. Clinical dosages range from 300mg per day and up.
This has also been the subject of many articles and advertisements. Fairly well known stuff. Let’s add one more thing like huperzine. Again, studies galore and it is recognizable as being touted for brain health.
Both of these are not cheap ingredients to throw dosages into a formula much less clinical dosages.
How do they get around this and still have the ability to have them on the label and advertise as such? (Even though you know full well you could take the whole damn bottle in a day and not get one clinical dosage of either one).
- Ingredients: Brainiac Extreme Power (Phosphatidylserine, huperzine, green tea leaf, banana leaf), natural flavors, magnesium, ginkgo biloba, Bacopa monnieri, cat’s claw, vincopene, other good stuff.
Examining this mixture closely, I can tell you are getting a pill with a bunch of green tea and banana leaf in it.
They will also throw in some other well recognized brain nutrients by name into the formulation. What kind of dosage of these other brain nutrients do you think are in there? Minuscule at best.
The marketing could look like this:
Brainiac Extreme Power has a clinically proven nutrient in it shown to improve memory.
We didn’t stop there!
We also included Ginkgo Biloba, Bacopa, Cats’ Claw and Vincopene to create what we think is the world’s strongest formula ever shown to mankind.
They left out the part about all those ingredients being in micro amounts. Amounts that literally won’t do a damn thing except to prove you really do need a brain formula because you are literally burning your money. In other words, throwing it away.
If you pay attention to the details on the label you can avoid wasting your hard earned money. But most importantly you’ll understand the type of product that may provide a legitimate benefit when using.
Don’t fall for flashy advertisements. Be critical in reviewing what’s in a product and why. Learn how to determine exactly how much of claimed product is actually in the formulation.
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