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How To Read A Whey Ingredient Label

November 17th, 2011 No 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.

Ingredients

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.

Macronutrients

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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Optimum 100% Whey Protein

February 13th, 2009 1 comment

Optimum 100% Whey Protein (Vanilla Ice Cream Flavor)Buy Now

Optimum 100% Whey Protein


Protein Highlights

  • 24g protein per scoop, 30 scoops per jar (2lb product)
  • 4 whey protein formulas
  • low fat
  • added digestive enzymes

The Most Popular Protein

Despite me using the ON whey for a few years now, this is actually a strange review to write. It’s become such a staple for me I don’t even think about it! My brother recommended it to me after seeing me go through several protein brands when I started lifting.

The Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey Protein is one of the most popular supplements out there. It won the Supplement Of The Year and Protein Powder Of The Year awards for all of 2005 to 2008. Every gym I’ve been to has it in stock, and it’s never let me down. Why is this?

Good Protein

To start, ON sells this as a blend of various whey proteins – 2 kinds of Whey Protein Isolates, Whey Protein Concentrate, and Whey Peptides.

The Whey isolates come in 2 forms: Ion-Exchanged and Microfiltered. The ion-exchanged whey, while providing a high bulk of protein, does leave behind some fat. Unfortunately the process also denatures some of the amino acids resulting in a less than perfect blend. Luckily, the microfiltered portion provides a good boost of essential whey fractions (the good, health promoting molecules that make whey so beneficial) without any lactose or fat left behind. ON has blended the two types of whey isolates together into a very effective mixture.

The other two portions of the blend – the concentrate and the peptides – are spot on. Even with including a whey concentrate the fat content per serving does not top 1.5 grams. While whey concentrates can vary widely in quality and protein percentage, ON’s concentrate is about as high as you go for protein makeup – there’s just such little fat and cholesterol!

The whey peptide portion is a super fast acting protein source. It’s been hydrolyzed to split it apart into easy to digest molecules. When you go to drink this postworkout, the peptides are going to hit your muscles first.

Digestibility

While most protein isolates contain very little lactose, this can be a big deal for some people. ON gets around this problem very nicely. They’ve blended in lactase and Aminogen digestive enzymes into the mix to basically cancel out any digestion problems the lactose might cause.

Does it help? Yes! Some wheys leave me feeling bloated for an hour or two after drinking. I’m quite happy to say the Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey has never given me digestion problems.

Other Goodies

ON also includes 4 grams of glutamine and glutamine precursors in each serving. This won’t replace a glutamine supplement, but it’s a welcome addition if you care about repairing muscle tissue post-workout. As for amino acids, this whey has 5 grams of the branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) valine, leucine, and isoleucine in each scoop. BCAAs are essential amino acids your body needs to build muscle tissue.

The Bottom Line

Does Optimum Nutrition’s 100% Whey deserve to be the most popular whey protein powder? Yes! ★★★★★

Allmax Isoflex Review

April 15th, 2009 No comments
Allmax IsoflexBuy Now

Allmax Isoflex

Highlights

  • Lots of whey protein fractions
  • non-gmo
  • 4 way recovery blend

High Quality Protein

Since the protein makes up the bulk of isoflex, let’s start there. Allmax’s protein comes from a cold processed, cross flow micro filtered whey protein isolate. This means the muscle building portions have been extracted away from the lactose, fat, and milk.

They list the whey fraction breakdown as:

* beta lactalbumin 49%
* alpha lactalbumin 21%
* glycomacropeptides 16%
* immunoglobulin 9%
* bsa 1%
* egf 2%
* IGF 1 1%
* lactoferrin 1%

I’m impressed by this. It’s hard to find companies releasing the actual fraction breakdown of their product.

Regarding the IFG-1 in this protein – some people avoid IGF-1 like the plague. Others would gladly say “more, please!” Because of it’s anabolic activities. At 1% of the total the effects are going to be small (in my opinion), but at least be aware it’s there as a listed ingredient.

NOS + glutamine + IS = supplement buffet

Alright here’s where isoflex makes a play and start to differentiate itself. The most interesting part of this powder lies in the three other complexes Allmax included.

First off, you’ve got a little over 4 g of glutamine peptides. Your body drains its glutamine stores by as much as 50% during a good workout. Boosting these low glutamine levels is definitely a good idea to keep your muscles growing, because without it some studies say your immune system has to work harder and you run the risk of muscle breakdown. Not cool. A glutamine supplement can help prevent this.

Next up, you’ve got the is complex of alpha lipoic acid (ala), d-pinitol and 4-hydroxylsoleucine. These chemicals have been shown to increase insulin receptor sensitivity. What does this mean to you? It mean to the carbohydrate stores in your muscles can be replenished faster (getting you to the gym again sooner!)

Lastly, Allmax has thier special NOS complex. While not a full blown nitric oxide supplement in itself, these additives are designed to increase your blood flow. This can help her body digest the whey.

The bottom line

An intriguing protein mix. Get this if you’re looking for a whey protein isolate that will also help your glutamine, insulin, and NOS levels.★★★★½

Dymatize Elite Whey Protein

April 8th, 2009 No comments
Dymatize Elite Whey ProteinBuy Now

Dymatize Elite Whey Protein

Right Price

The first big WOW is the price. You can find 5 pound jars of this protein for under $36 online. That’s really good, and much less than what you’ll be paying in a store for lower quality protein. Even compared to better known brands the price is great.

Of course, price doesn’t matter if the ingredients are no good. So let’s check out the two main areas of interest:

Ingredients

24g of protein

Ok, 24 grams is pretty standard here. It’s broken down into Ion exchanged whey isolate and CF Ultra protein concentrate. This means it’s a blend of high-quality whey isolate cut with concentrate. The CF Ultra process does denature some of the whey protein, but it’s still good to go.

117 calories
2g of fat
zero carbs

Some people are advertising this as great for dieters. 117 calories is indeed on the low end of the caloric sale. This is mostly because there are no carbs in Dymatize Elite Whey.

Also, Elite Whey Protein includes a proprietary enzyme blend to help digest the protein. That’s a nice bonus since many other of it’s class do not include digestive enzymes.

Taste

You normally see protein powders with low carbs (like this one) load up on stevia or aspartame to add flavor. Instead, Dymatize uses Acesulfame K for sweetness though. If AceK is a big deal for you, I’d have to say pass on this then. If you don’t mind artificial sweeteners though, it’s okay.

They make 11 flavors so you can definitely find one you like.

Bottom Line

Excellent value. Cuts out lots of the fat and carbs from protein powder, along with a ton of cash off the price.★★★★☆

Syntrax Nectar

February 13th, 2009 2 comments
Syntrax Nectar Lemon Tea FlavorBuy Now

Syntrax Nectar

The Claim

“…so delicious that you can eat it right out of the container. Imagine putting a protein powder in your mouth and it tasting like candy.” –Syntrax

Highlights

  • 23g protein per scoop, 36 scoops per jar
  • 0 carbs, 0 fat
  • whey protein isolate

That’s Quite A Claim!

I can handle marketing speak about “the fastest this” or “a breakthrough that”, but to say you’ve got a protein you can eat right from the jar…well, that’s an intense claim. Having actually tried to eat some ON and GNC whey straight up on some cereal one day I can see the need for a whey that is engineered to taste better.

Happily, Syntrax has a winner here. Syntrax Nectar is delicious. They’ve made 8 different flavors of the regular Nectar protein and all do taste good. Really. I prefer the Crystal Sky flavor, but any will work.

I know it sounds crazy to say your whey isolate smoothie is enjoyable, but it can be. Even without mixing in ice cream, milk, or peanut butter. Even in just water.

Ok, So it Tastes Good. Does it Work?

By work you mean will it help you get ripped without adding fatty pounds, right?

Oh yeah. Syntrax is using a special blend of whey isolate called Promina Whey. Whey isolate is the fastest digesting and easiest type of protein for your body to rebuild muscle tissue with.

Promina whey on it’s own is tasteless, comes undenatured for higher quality and is produced cold. This means it has more bio-available amino acids than cheaper whey isolates. Promina also has many whey fractions like Beta Lactoglobulins, Alpha Lactoalbumin, Glycomacropeptides, Immunoglobulin, B.S. Albumin, Protease Peptone, Lactoferrin, and Lactoperoxidase.

Promina is such a biologically good whey isolate, Syntrax actually makes an unflavored Nectar version that the medical industry (hospitals, nutrionists, etc) uses.

End result? The base protein in Nectar is high quality and has more active molecules than other comparable isolates.

Downsides

Like most whey isolate powders, Syntax Nectar can get foamy when shaken or stirred around. It seems like it does it more than some of the other isolates. Not that big of a deal really, but if you’re into shaking your drink in a bottle it can be a problem.

The Bottom Line

Holy crap – my protein drink actually tastes good. Perfect for drinking during a workout or if you care how your post-workout smoothie tastes, and it’s fast to digest. ★★★★½