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Protein Co.

Know Your Label


This is something most of us do but do you really understand what the label is telling you? Regarding protein supplements, we want you to know what the label ingredients are telling you and what is important for you to understand.

  • Nutrition or Supplement Facts
    This is the “meat” of a nutritional product label. It tells you the nutritional breakdown of the product per serving along with the total number of servings per container. For protein powders, you will be keen to know how many grams of protein the label is claiming. In order to ascertain the ratio of protein versus other ingredients, it’s handy to know that protein contains 4 calories per gram which is the same for carbohydrates. Fat contains 9 calories per gram. Let’s say your protein powder contains 25 grams of protein per serving and each serving is 150 calories. This means your product contains 25 x 4 = 100 calories from protein and 50 calories from other sources. If you do the math and your number comes out higher than the total calories per serving, this could mean the “insoluble” carbohydrates which you don’t absorb as calories were left out which is ok. Your math should never come up with a number lower than that listed on the label. If it does, re-check your math and then call the manufacturer to ask if they made an error.

    Specific to protein, you want to check that the protein percentage is 90% or more for Whey Isolate and 70-85% for Whey Concentrate. To check this, divide the total grams of protein listed by the grams per serving and multiply by 100. For example, if the label claims 25 grams of protein per serving and the serving size is 27 grams, your protein percentage is 25/27 x 100 = 92.6% which indicates it’s an isolate or other high percentage protein powder.

    When comparing prices, pay attention to the number of servings per container. If you are lured toward a lower priced product, it’s possible they are using a quality protein but the number of servings per container is less than a competing brand.

  • Ingredient List
    Manufacturers are required by law to list their ingredients with the most abundant first down to the least as the last one listed. If you purchase a protein powder claiming it’s high in protein, then it certainly better have protein listed before carbohydrates sources such as maltodextrin. Similarly, a product claiming to be low in sugar shouldn’t have ingredients like dextrose, sucrose or fructose near the start of the ingredient list. Always read the ingredients carefully and call or e-mail the seller if you have any questions about what you are purchasing.

  • Made by Who?
    Historically, the most economical product was most often sold by the same company that manufactured the supplements you purchased. That’s because it was much more expensive to have middlemen involved with the sale of a particular supplement. A company that sells the product they manufacture may be able to sell you a higher quality product at a lower price if they built their manufacturing facility many years ago. At the bottom of the nutrition label, you may see Made For or Manufactured For. The word “for” indicates the product is being manufactured by a company not directly part of the company selling the supplements. Recently, it has become much more economical to contract a manufacturer for some or all of a company’s supplements. These manufacturers specialize in one or more areas and become a much more economical way to formulate and package supplements.

  • Label Claims
    Most labels will have some sort of basic text next to the nutrition facts claiming some benefits of the product. Be alert for outlandish claims and laundry lists of benefits that don’t seem to match what you are buying. Research any claim on the label that you aren’t familiar with. Many companies will use marketing hype with buzz words that are all the rage at the moment. Again, look into any ingredient, claim or certification listed that you have any question about. ProteinCo backs up all our science and claims of effectiveness and ingredient quality with independent sources listed in our REFERENCES section.

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