This is directly off of the FDA’s website:
Who is responsible for the safety of dietary supplements?
FDA is not authorized to review dietary supplement products for safety and effectiveness before they are marketed.
The manufacturers and distributors of dietary supplements are responsible for making sure their products are safe BEFORE they go to market.
If the dietary supplement contains a NEW ingredient, manufacturers must notify FDA about that ingredient prior to marketing. However, the notification will only be reviewed by FDA (not approved) and only for safety, not effectiveness.
Scary stuff, right?
Does this mean that all supplements trash?
The vast majority of supplements out there are complete bullshit. In an industry that is more or less completely unregulated you can pretty much put whatever you want in a box or bottle and then call it something else. They aren’t approved for effectiveness and honestly you really have no idea what you are consuming.
Sure, you’re thinking all those Spanish Fly testosterone building creams that promise to put 20lbs of ripped muscle on you in 2 weeks are probably bullshit- but not my protein.
My protein powder has to be legit it’s got Arnold on the package.
Well maybe, but probably not. In an unregulated industry you are literally at the mercy of the manufacturer.
Here are a few things you can do to ensure that you are taking the highest quality product available or at the very least not spending your money on cardboard and sawdust. Or salmon skin and bones, which is what they put in dog food as a protein filler and is also what a incredibly popular supplement company uses.
- NSF Stamp. This is a stamp from the National Sanitary Foundation (NSF) that ensures not only was your product produced in sanitary conditions, but more important to you is that whatever they say is in your protein is actually in your protein. There are surprisingly few products that carry this stamp because its expensive and time consuming to do third party testing. So it’s a great indicator that you are starting off in the right place with a quality product. If you just do this one thing, you are on the right track.
- Nitrogen Spiking. If you ever pick up a bottle or bag of protein you should never, ever see amino acids like, creatine, glycine, and taurine in the other ingredients section on the protein bottle. Companies do this so that they can artificially inflate how much protein you are actually getting. This is because the only difference, chemically, between a carb and protein is nitrogen so by adding more nitrogens to the bottle it will appear as though you are getting more protein when really you are getting screwed.
- Inferior Whey Protein Concentrate. Whey protein concentrate by definition can have anywhere between 25% and 89% pure protein. A common practice by some scam artists is to just put as little actual protein in the concentrate as possible. How little, well by definition as little as 25%… In addition there will be other fillers, what fillers you ask? Who really knows because, again, it isn’t regulated. If you are going to consume a protein concentrate ensure that it at least says 80% pure protein. If it doesn’t say it, it definitely won’t have it.
- Proprietary Blends. This is just a combination of substandard proteins, and typically companies like to start with the cheapest ingredient first. So they will start with the most inferior whey protein concentrate, this will be the filler. (Remember our dog food story from earlier) So they can put 24 grams of the absolute worst protein imaginable and then sprinkle a little magic dust of Whey isolate and Whey hydroxide and you’re left thinking your a badass for drinking 25 grams of protein when really you’re drinking 16oz of shit.
Am I saying you shouldn’t take protein?
Absolutely not, I think pretty much everyone no matter how much they exercise should have a bag or bottle of protein on their shelves. There is no better way to get a quick refuel or healthy snack if you are in a pinch or just ensure that you are getting the adequate amount of protein each day.
However you need to be an educated consumer.
If you are going to spend your money make sure you are getting what you are paying for. And while the protein powders we recommend are a little bit more pricey than some, we know that you are getting exactly what you pay for. We all know that price is only an issue in the absence of value and is anything more valuable than your health, longevity, and gainz?
– Coach Moore