Is your blend of whey protein all it’s cracked up to be?

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Is your blend of whey protein all it’s cracked up to be?

By Andrew Carruthers, Editor-In-Chief.

This is a paid for factual advertorial by one of SA’s up and coming brands – Nutricon, who believe in bringing you the truth about the current misleading and unethical practices of the current supplement market in SA.

As bodybuilders and fitness athletes alike, your number one concern is what you put into your body, in the hope that the supplements you are buying are of a top quality nature to fuel the workouts and to repair the hard work you put in when recovering from training.

It was recently brought to my attention that South African consumers are still being slightly fooled when it comes to buying sports nutrition supplements and that not everything you read or see on the shelves is actually as it should be or really is.

The South African sports supplement industry is still a very much unregulated industry and there are countless products out there that have ethically deviating motives in order for consumers to purchase their products. In order to protect the consumers, there are a couple of things the consumers themselves can do to educate themselves on parting with their hard earned cash in exchange for a value for money product versus being mislead.  The attached diagram will give you some pointers, but it’s not the be all and end of all educating yourself out there.

What to look out for when purchasing a blended whey protein.

A popular trend to look out for is brands not disclosing the full analysis of what is actually inside their so called blends. Even if brands are giving full disclosure of what is in their tubs be mindful of what those amounts are that they are claiming. For instance, if a brand is disclosing whey concentrate and 0.05g of whey isolate and 0.05g of whey hydrolysate, this is legal and acceptable from a legal point of view. But is it morally acceptable? The fact that the tub contains the isolate and hydrolysate is OK, but is it morally acceptable to you the consumer? That’s less isolate and hydrolysate than Salt Bae adds to his steaks. Some would even go as far as to say that this is fraud and misleading, especially since the sole purpose of adding those expensive ingredients is for one purpose and one purpose alone – to be able to make label claims on the product. The problem with this is that you can’t see how much isolate or hydrolysate versus concentrate is actually present in the product you are buying. A new and up and coming brand – Nutricon has taken a hard stance on not only being legally compliant but also ethically compliant. Nutricon have taken a hard stance on just that – morally and ethically complaint and proudly display their ingredients and amounts of those ingredients on their packaging.

Non-label disclosure is a huge problem and there aren’t many brands that are doing it. Making sure you know the exact amount of whey concentrate, hydrolysate and isolate inside your tub you are buying is absolute key when purchasing blended whey. The reason for this is simple, just look at the paragraph above and you’ll understand why. If the brand you are buying has taken the time to give you full disclosure and provide full label breakdown of what is inside the product, then they are simply being fully transparent and giving you the honest truth as to what you’re getting from their product. Nutricon have taken this stand and believe they are the first brand in SA to prove they don’t just talk the talk but they also walk the walk when it comes to providing the consumer what is on the label.

Another sneaky little trick happening in the supplement industry is the adding of amino acids to whey protein blends to make up for the label claims they are providing. Adding amino acids to whey protein blends is devious, especially when brands are using cheap amino acids like glycine. Why they do this is simple – when a protein powder is tested, most tests calculate protein content to see if the powder in the tub matches the label. Glycine has a strong nitrogen content when tested and to put it simply, more nitrogen content in the powder means more protein. Most protein content tests test for nitrogen balance and then spit out a total amount of protein and this is where some brands are failing at providing their consumers with what they are paying for. When you buy a tub of protein powder, you are not buying a tub of amino acids – you expect a tub of protein, not something you expect to be purchasing that has been spiked with aminos. So how do you know what you are buying? This is where a stand needs to be taken on full label disclosure so that the consumer knows what they are buying. This is also where price sensitivity comes in and those claiming the best price in their category could be and might just be allowing the price of their tub to be cheaper because it’s being loaded with amino acids. Be careful and mindful to this fact. Cheaper is NOT always better.

Another sneaky little trick that makes you believe you’re getting bang for your buck is the addition of “performance products” like creatine. Now while adding perfomance products is not always a bad thing, what you don’t know is that when creatine is added to protein powder it increases the nitrogen content of the product, therefor allowing the manufacturer easier ways of getting to their protein content label claim. Yet again, if things like this were fully disclosed on the label it wouldn’t be a problem. Creatine is roughly 2.5 times higher in nitrogen content than protein, so 5g of added creatine per serving is actually adding 12.5 grams of protein to your expensive whey blend that you are buying. Creatine isn’t even a protein, but it gives off 2.5 times the nitrogen content reading of good quality protein powder. Slowly but surely here you can see how a 25g protein serving from a tub of “High Quality” whey can actually in reality be a 17.5g protein powder, or less, with a few added extras to make up the difference claimed on the label. Nutricon does not add any creatine, glutamine or aminos to their blends, mass gainers or other powders, but rather, they supply additional servings of glutamine and creatine to add at your leisure. What is in the tub is on the label and vica versa.

Be smart. Educating yourself is the single most important thing you can do when heading to the shops to buy your sports supplements.

For more info on Nutricon and their range of sports supplements, check out their website at


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