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As consumers, we’re constantly on the look-out for the best deals. Quality, price and convenience are just three criteria that we use to compare products before we make a purchase. And there are no exceptions when we buy supplements. Unfortunately, the sports nutrition industry can be a very confusing place. And big brands make big money by keeping us confused. The result of all this confusion? Many customers compare apples with oranges and end up buying lemons.
At OneProtein, we’ve put together a simple set of five tests to allow you to compare whey protein products and ensure that you’re getting the best value for money – and you’re not buying lemons. All the tests are designed to be simple, with the easiest described first.
The first test is simply ‘how much protein am I getting per 100 grams of product?’ If you’re buying a protein supplement then you want as much protein as possible. The nutritional information label on most supplements shows the protein content per 100 grams, which translates to the percentage of protein (e.g. 60 grams of protein per 100 grams is 60% protein). However, some brands only show the quantity of protein per serving; divide the protein quantity by the serving size and you get the protein concentration (e.g. 24 grams of protein per 40-gram serving is 60% protein).
In general, the higher the percentage of protein the better, with 75% being the minimum concentration that you should buy. However, the protein source and the cost per protein-gram are just as important – these are the next two tests that we’ll describe.
Not all proteins are made equal. Put simply, whey protein is the best around. Not only is whey a ‘complete’ protein (i.e. it contains all the essential and non-essential amino acids), it is also rapidly digested and absorbed by our body.
Many supplements brands use protein blends or protein matrixes that comprise several protein sources. Unfortunately, in most cases the quantity breakdown of each protein source is not disclosed. If the blend includes milk, or another low-cost protein source, then there is a good chance that you’re paying a premium price for a cheap ingredient.
There are three types of whey protein: whey concentrate, whey isolate and whey hydrolysate. The protein source in a ‘whey’ product should be a 100% whey protein. Don’t be fooled.
This is only relevant if the product passed Test #2 and is a 100% whey protein source (if not, stop here – the ‘whey’ product has already failed). This test involves a simple three-step calculation to evaluate how much one gram of whey protein costs.
Step 1: Protein concentration (%), determined from Test #1
Step 2: Total protein content (grams) = Protein concentration (%) x Product size (grams)
Step 3: Cost per protein-gram (Ksh) = Product cost (Ksh) / Total protein content (grams)
For example, let’s take a product with 70 grams of protein per 100 grams, which costs Ksh 5,500 for 2 lb (equivalent to 908 grams).
Step 1: The protein concentration is 70% (70 grams of protein / 100 grams)
Step 2: The total protein content is 636 grams (70% protein concentration x 908 grams product size)
Step 3: The cost per protein-gram is Ksh 8.7 (Ksh 5,500 product cost / 636 grams total protein content)
In general, the lower the cost per protein-gram the better the value.
Whey protein is derived from cow’s milk. It goes without saying that the quality of the dairy has a major influence on the quality of the whey protein. There are two main categories of whey protein based on the source of the dairy: regular whey and grass-fed whey.
Regular whey comes from cows that are grain-fed in order to grow and fatten-up quickly. Grass-fed whey comes from pasture-raised cows. Aside from the far superior conditions that grass-fed cows are raised in, the main nutritional benefits of grass-fed whey are higher levels of healthy fatty acids, such as omega-3 and CLA (conjugated linoleic acid), and higher concentrations of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
If the protein comes from grass-fed whey, the manufacturer will say so – it’s something to be proud of. And for extra quality marks, the dairy should be hormone-free and non-GMO (genetically modified organism).
Most people prefer natural ingredients, such as natural flavours, natural colours and natural sweeteners. If this is important to you, look at the list of ingredients on your supplements. There are lots of products on the market that contain far too many additives – in general, the fewer the ingredients, the better.
Similar to Test #4, manufacturers that use natural ingredients will proudly state it – if they don’t, they’re probably using artificial ingredients.
Test #1. The higher the protein concentration the better. Choose a protein product with a minimum concentration of 75%.
Test #2. The protein source should be 100% whey protein. No milk. No soy. No nonsense.
Test #3. The lower the cost per protein-gram the better. Whey protein is a premium ingredient – don’t pay for cheap ‘filler’ ingredients.
Test #4. Grass-fed whey is superior to regular grain-fed whey.
Test #5. Natural ingredients are preferable to artificial ingredients.
We are a dedicated online store selling premium quality supplements and sports nutrition at affordable prices. We offer a free same-day delivery service in Nairobi, 7 days a week so you never have to wait for results!
Our whey protein is a premium quality, UK-manufactured protein powder sourced exclusively from the world-renowned Müller dairy in Germany: the world’s leading producer of whey protein. All milk used in the production of our whey protein products are sourced from free-range, grass-fed cows and is GM-free and hormone-free. Each 25g serving provides 20g of 100% whey protein, including 4.4g of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) and 3.3g of glutamine. All our whey protein products use 100% natural flavouring and are suitable for vegetarian, halal and kosher diets.