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What to look for in a whey protein

July 9th, 2008 · 12 Comments

At GNC today, I went on a hunt for a whey protein that does contain crap ingredients such as high fructose corn syrup, sugar, sucralose, fructose, or artificial ingredients.  The clerk, said, “No, I don’t know anything about the particular product ingredients.”  She couldn’t offer any product that didn’t have some form of simple sugars in them.  I checked the protein bar section as well.  Nothing.  All had simple sugars, artificial flavors or ingredients I couldn’t pronounce.

Athletes require more high quality protein than sedentary people. (Should have gotten a degree in Exercise Physiology) A whey protein isolate can help rebuild muscles and aid in recovery.  For the past year, I’ve used the Arbonne Weight Loss Chocolate Protein Shake (ingredients are Pea Protein, Cocoa, Fructose, Natural Flavors, Canola Oil, Cellulose Gum, Xantham Gum, and Carrageenan Gum.)  Protein is 18 grams, Carbohydrates 8 grams, and 4 grams of Sugar.  I wrongly thought this is a good one for athletes.  It may be OK for weight loss (not sure though).   It really isn’t helping my performance.  It is a low calorie, high protein drink without offering a complete protein such as whey.  In terms of recovery from endurance sports, whey protein is superior to other forms of protein such as soy or pea protein.  See article here.

Things to ask GNC or your favorite protein blend:

1.  Is it an Isolate or a Concentrate?  Isolate (100%) is better because it offers more protein per gram than the concetrate (70-80%).

2. Glutamine.  Helps in the absorption of the protein into the body.  It is an amino acid. (still learning about this ingredient)

3.  Sugar.  A simple sugar ingredient is not conducive to endurance sports.

4.  Ingredient List:  Should be SHORT and as close to natural form as possible.

Didn’t realize this would be so complicated!  Can you recommend a whey protein that doesn’t have sugar in it?

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Tags: Nutrition · Questions for Readers

12 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Strong One // Jul 9, 2008 at 9:53 am

    Err.. WITHOUT sugar… I’ll have to dig around for that one.
    I haven’t been a fan of replacement drinks/bars for years now.
    Thanks for the info.

  • 2 LobotoME // Jul 9, 2008 at 1:00 pm

    We use Health-FX Whey Protein – no sugar, great whey!

    http://www.health-fx.net

    Jenny :)

  • 3 Fitarella // Jul 9, 2008 at 1:21 pm

    what did you end up getting? I use 100% Natural Whey Gold Standard by Optimum Nutrition: Protein blend (whey protein isolate, whey protein concentrate, whey peptides), cocao (processed with alkali), fructose, lecithin, natural flavor. It has No Artificial flavors, sweeteners, or colors.

  • 4 Rachel // Jul 9, 2008 at 5:40 pm

    I didn’t buy anything at GNC. I don’t think they had the Optimum Nutrition there.

  • 5 workout mommy // Jul 9, 2008 at 6:27 pm

    hmmm…I need to go now and check the ingredients on mine, but I am guessing it probably has all the same crap in it. thanks for the heads up

  • 6 Mark Salinas // Jul 9, 2008 at 8:16 pm

    I occasionally will have a whey shake at Lifetime (double Blueberry).

  • 7 protein powder supplements // Jul 10, 2008 at 11:31 pm

    I usually go for those types that have the least ingredients as well. I just want a good protein, not all the other junk they can put in there!

  • 8 Fit Mommy // Aug 31, 2008 at 4:02 pm

    I prefer to drink the Hammer Nutrition Whey Protein!

  • 9 Athletes, how much protein are you getting? // Aug 31, 2008 at 4:09 pm

    [...] to supplement with a protein powder which kinds are better than others? It is my impression that whey protein isolate and soy protein are two of the best sources. Is there any merit to a protein powder specifically [...]

  • 10 No, it’s not dog food, and other ramblings…. // Feb 3, 2009 at 5:48 am

    [...] because it’s the best on the market.  Protein powder needs to have very FEW ingredients – see old post), 4 Tablespoons of Natural PB, 1/4 cup of water, 2/3 Flax Meal, and a sweetener.  Recipe was found [...]

  • 11 Hal // Feb 4, 2010 at 7:27 pm

    GNC don’t properly label their products anyway. Better to go to a REAL Health Food Store.

    Stay away from GNC, hell they don’t even breakdown the quantity of amino acids in their protein products.

  • 12 Art @ Low Carb Protein // Feb 12, 2010 at 5:38 am

    I agree that you have to be really careful what you buy. If a product is not label right then stay away from it. I usually by my protein from a store called Vitamin World. They tend to have good blends of protein. Sugars are a killer to your system. I tend to try and stay away from them. Thanks for the great post. I enjoyed reading through your site.
    .-= Art @ Low Carb Protein´s last blog ..Whey Protein Powder – What To Look For? =-.

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