I’m confused about protein powders. Some guys at my gym say that all whey protein is pretty much the same and that doesn’t really matter if I spend $15 for a jug of protein at a discount store, or if I spend $50 for the same sized container at some fancy nutrition store. At first, I believed this, but now after using cheap protein for the past 3 months and not seeing any results, besides daily stomach aches, I’m beginning to question whether or not I get more out of a more expensive brand of protein? What’s your take on this?
Bandon, if there was ever a supplement that truly lives up to the statement,“You Get What You Pay For” — it’s protein!
Here’s a brief crash course for you on the benefits of whey protein. Undenatured whey protein offers many amazing health advantages, including: enhancing the immune system with immunoglobulins and lactoferrin to ward off disease and infection, synthesizing glutathione (a powerful antioxidant that works to detoxify the liver and body), and providing high concentrations of branched chain amino acids to increase protein synthesis to potentiate the muscle-building process.
Whey protein offers these benefits because of the unique structure of the protein fractions it’s composed of. Although these benefits sound remarkable, many cheap whey proteins will not offer you these benefits, at least to any significant degree, because of how they are processed. To keep costs down (and the end price ‘cheap’), some protein manufacturers will use certain types of filtration processes, acid treatments, and other methods that involve heating the protein. These manufacturing processes actually alter the fractions in the whey protein, causing them to change shape… or … to become ‘denatured’.
As I mentioned, whey protein offers many benefits due to the fact these protein fractions retain a particular shape. When whey protein is exposed to heat, acid, and various types of filtration methods, those protein fractions become altered, thus reducing the possible benefits one might gain from consuming whey protein.
With that being said, I suspect the cheap protein you’re currently using isn’t offering you all the benefits a quality protein SHOULD offer. I’m also guessing your cheap whey protein is causing stomach distress due to poor bioavailability that is consistent with significantly denatured, cheap proteins. (I personally use EFX Sports Training Ground proteins. I know this particular brand offers superior quality and has not been degraded by heat, acid, or even radiation the way cheaper brands might have been.)
Oh, by the way. In case you missed it in the media, there has been a rash of lawsuits filed against multiple brands for “spiking” their protein products with amino acids to make them appear to meet label claims. As you might imagine, the aminos used are much cheaper than the cost of quality whey protein, so it’s an easy way to increase margins. Unfortunately, consumers still pay the same price for less overall whey protein… and get an inferior product!
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Jeff Golini, the formulator behind many of the products in the EFX Sports line, was interviewed as an industry expert for this expose featured on Forbes. In fact, the article makes the case for buying only high-quality protein products much better than I ever could.
Prove ‘Em Wrong,