Spend any significant amount of time in a supplement store and you’ll begin to get jaded. As a matter of fact, spend any time in the supplement industry as a whole and you’ll become really jaded.
Supplement companies sell hope. They market hope. I’m not sure who said it, so forgive me if this was your quote on your blog but “supplements are marketed to people that are afraid to use steroids”.
Now that’s purely in the athletic and physique markets but it applies overall. Everything is the latest and greatest and it’s always better then the current model. Supplements are no different then super heros. The original Iron Man suit couldn’t hang with version 2.0 and 4.5.
So after talking to customer after customer and seeing what they buy and how it relates to their goals, I’ve come to the conclusion that most supplements do nothing.
. My attempt is to educate my readers, YOU, are the only people I care to help.
Remember,it’s just whey protein!
Said protein features the head of the company, a former bodybuilder, on the cover in a Hawaiian shirt that would make Magnum PI jealous.
Its 80 ounces retails between $110 and $137. Yes, $137 for 80 ounces of protein which is roughly 76 servings according to their site.
25 grams of cold-processed, cross flow microfiltered whey isolate. No fat and no carbohydrates.
The label claims “natural flavor” and it’s sweetened with stevia and contains xanthan gum and lecithin.
What does that mean?
Stevia is used because of its popularity as a natural sweetener and an alternative to artificial options such as sucralose. I try to avoid artificial sweeteners but the research is actually split on them.
They don’t automatically cause cancer and the body doesn’t “retain” them and they don’t “build up” in the body as some would have you think. Avoid them when you can but you don’t need to make a point to buy a powder without them. Don’t complicate your protein purchases.
Stevia has been shown in research to lower blood sugar so it may help you lose weight but this product isn’t marketing that.
Xanthan gum is used as thickening agent, that’s how zero fat powders are able to have good taste.It prevents the formation of ice crystals and it is frequently used in ice cream Xanthan gum also imparts a sense of “mouth feel” and is often used as a replacement for fats. The gum is also used to provide body to doughs when producing gluten-free baked goods.
Lecithin is used to instantize powder. 99% of the powders on the market contain soy lecithin. There are lecithin’s that aren’t soy based but they are more expensive. Could he be using a non soy based lecithin? Is that the reason why his powder is so much more expensive?
The VERY NEXT line on his label lists allergen information and mentions soy (lecithin). So I’m inclined to think that he does use the cheaper soy version. Cost isn’t justified here.
Supplement companies are FANTASTIC at teaching the people that work in supplement stores the language about their products. Those working in the store are able to recite the company speak word for word when you ask them about their product.
So we’ve already covered a few of their claims such as the claims of natural sweeteners,no artificial flavoring and how it mixes so easily.
What about the big money topics? They have to be why it’s so expensive.
The whey comes from grass fed cows not treated with any growth hormone.
Is that the reason for its high price? Let’s look at grass fed meat to find out.
4 ounces of beef contains about 28-30 grams of protein per serving. His protein contains 25. I can get two 6 ounce beef patties, 87% lean for about 6 bucks. That’s roughly 3 servings of his protein for 6 bucks.
The math doesn’t equal out. For the $137 that he charges on his site I could save a lot more money just buying grass fed beef.
Also, add in the fact that the typical grass fed, commercially available, whey protein goes for about $40-45 at wholesale supplement stores.
How is one grass fed whey so much higher in price then the others who also are stevia sweetened, contain the same type of whey isolate and are virtually identical to the one that we’re talking about. Compare the labels, their the same!
He uses cold-processed, cross flow microfiltered whey isolate.
That has to be why, right?
He doesn’t market it but the general theory is that processing your whey this way has the highest percentage of undenaturated proteins (nearly 99%).
They use ceramic filters in the process of separating the whey from the milk protein and it’s all done in low temperatures. That’s what keeps it undenaturated.
So everyone else is using inferior protein?
Wrong again. I’m going to steal this from my friend Brad Pilon‘s blog where he was discussing the topic. For those that don’t know, Brad worked in the supplement industry for years and, if I’m not mistaken, worked primarily in the protein field.
“Apparently, some supplement companies are marketing their protein powders as “non-denatured”, and are implying that their competitors are selling denatured (and therefore useless) protein.
The theory is that our bodies cannot absorb denatured proteins. Unfortunately, this is just wrong.
Our bodies can use denatured proteins. When we fry an egg or grill a steak we are denaturing proteins.
Denatured or not, our bodies can still break proteins down into amino acids and peptides and absorb them.
Don’t get fooled when marketing uses fancy words.”
It HAS to be the whey isolate?
This is where mainstream meets bodybuilding. Bodybuilders are obsessed with whey isolate. Whey isolate is truly just protein that has the lactose removed. That’s it! There’s no greater benefit in using whey isolate over concentrate other then the fact that some people feel miserable or get bloating using the latter.
You’ll still gain the same amount of muscle or lose the same amount of fat with whey concentrate.
I know why it’s so expensive.
Because people buy it. Every purchase is a vote towards effectiveness. Backwards isn’t it?
The term in the marketing world is” sell it by zealot”. I’ve been at the cash register where people have talked themselves into spending $120 on protein. I’ve even have people tell me that the 2 shakes of whey per day which is 100 calories in brand A caused weight gain but the 120 calories per scoop in brand B did not.
This “sell it by zealot” power continues towards trainers and nutritionists as well. Just because you’re in a position of influence doesn’t mean you’re knowledgeable about that topic cough *obama* cough. (Note: I’m a liberal republican and like Obama, at times)
So you have people within the industry recommending the product to people not in the industry that continue to buy and recommend to others. People want to be part of tribes.
That’s how you make $137 for whey protein.
So when you’re faced with a decision online or at a supplement store remember that it’s just whey protein.
Tags: Artificial Sweeteners, Blood Sugar, Body Doesn, Bodybuilder, Cross Flow, Hawaiian Shirt, Iron Man, Lecithin, Magnum Pi, Man Suit, Matter Of Fact, Name Names, Natural Flavor, Natural Sweetener, Steroids, Stevia, Sucralose, Supplement Companies, Supplement Industry, Supplement Store, Whey Protein