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How To Read A Whey Ingredient Label

November 17th, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

When you want to gain muscle and lose weight effectively, you should not have to become a nutritional expert just to eat right. But unfortunately, with today’s society full of cheap boxed carbohydrates hitting you everywhere you go it can become extremely difficult to eat right.

So in this article we’re going to show you how to effectively read the ingredient label on a whey protein supplement. You know what it is, that big ugly black and white table on the back of everything you eat.

If you are a have a pretty good grasp about macronutrients and understanding of various types and forms of protein, feel free to skip this article. But if you would like to learn more keep reading.

Let’s take for example the Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey label.


First things first. Look at the bottom where it says ingredients. The first ingredient listed is protein blend. After that in parenthesis, you will see whey protein isolate, whey protein concentrate, and whey peptides. What this means is that the largest ingredient by volume is the proprietary protein blend. This protein blend is comprised of three of the various forms of whey protein. The isolate, concentrate, and peptide form. All three have different digestion rates and are processed differently.

Second on the ingredient list are the natural and artificial flavors. This is pretty obvious what it is, and the actual flavoring will depend on what flavor of protein you purchased.

Next up is lecithin. Lecithin is an industrial emulsifier. What that means is that it is used to keep manufactured foods free-flowing and not clumpy. It might seem a little weird to be in your protein, but the majority of processed food has it in it.

The next ingredient salt, which you are very well familiar with, makes up the majority of the 90 mg of sodium in one serving of this particular protein. It is used to help balance the sweetness of the next ingredients.

Acesulfame Potassium is an artificial sweetener that has a low glycemic index and does not contribute much to the total carbohydrates and proteins it is in. For example this particular proteins contains 4 g total carbohydrates, but only 1 g of that being actual sugar. Acesulfame Potassium has a distinct flavor and is used very heavily in the supplement industry. It is not necessarily a bad ingredient, but do know that it is an artificial sweetener.

Next up we have a proprietary ingredient called Aminogen. Aminogen is used protein supplement products. It increases your amino acid levels in your blood plasma by over hundred percent and can help boost the nitrogen retention in the actual proteins by almost 30%. It is a digestive enzyme that helps you absorb your whey better. Nutritionally wise though this ingredient does nothing.

Lastly on the list of ingredients on the sample protein is sucralose and lactase. Sucralose is a sweetener, and lactase is an enzyme that helps you digest milk proteins (whey). Neither one of these ingredients significantly contributes to the nutritional profile.

Vitamins and minerals

Another thing to look for on your nutritional labels is if there are are any added vitamins or minerals. Whey protein, because it comes from milk, contains calcium. On this sample ingredient the FDA says it gives you 10% of your daily calcium. There are no added vitamins. But, with some more expensive and broader supplements that also contain protein, they might also dump in multivitamins.


Fats, carbohydrates, and protein. Let’s look at these three. This sample weight only contains 1 g of fat which comes from the proteins blend. It also contains 24 g protein. When you look at the sample serving size is one scoop weighing 31 g total, you can see that the majority of this supplement is actual protein.

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