Nutrition

Amino Spiking: What It Is, and The Effect It Has On Your Protein

The protein supplement world has become a hot commodity in recent years. People are realizing more and more just how beneficial protein supplements are: not only for bodybuilders, but for all men and women alike.

Protein is necessary to help build a strong physique, to properly recover after a workout, so that you are able to build lean muscle and reduce fat tissue. So it’s no wonder many are turning to protein supplements to increase their dietary protein intake.

But many companies are looking to cut corners to provide you protein by performing a technique called amino spiking.

In this article we will go over what amino spiking is, why it’s happening, and how to avoid falling into these companies’ sneaky traps.

First, A Little Bit About Protein

What is Amino Spiking?

Amino spiking, protein spiking, nitrogen spiking, whatever you want to call it, has become a big issue in recent years. Many large companies are being called out and even sued because they are spiking their workout supplements with cheap fillers that they are passing as protein.

What happens is that the protein content will actually fall below what the label claims, because these fillers added to the protein don’t actually do anything for you in terms of building muscle and enhancing recovery.

The prices of whey protein are increasing significantly. Whey protein is the most desired protein out there, and because of that can also be pretty expensive. In fact the cost of protein has almost doubled in the last five years.

Because of this surge in price, many companies are looking to find cheaper ways to produce their products so they resort to filling their protein with cheaper amino acids to increase the protein content but decrease the price to produce.

How Do Companies Get Away With it?

In order to test the protein content, a nitrogen test is run. Nitrogen tests determine how much protein is in a product. To measure the amount of protein, they first measure the nitrogen content and that is then converted into the protein amount.

Because protein is made up of chains of amino acids, and amino acids contain nitrogen, they are able to test the level of protein by first testing the nitrogen content. But in doing this, we are assuming that the protein powder contains complete proteins… which we now know is not always the case.

Adding additional amino acids will help to spike this nitrogen count and claim you are getting ‘x’ amount of protein when in reality you may be getting a lot less than that.

Yes, most of the time amino acids are good, but the problem with adding amino acids into a protein supplement is that these companies are adding amino acids to increase protein content… not to add any benefit to the product.

‘Amino Spiking’ VS ‘Fortifying With Amino Acids’

Now, before I scare you too badly with this information, it is also important for you to know that whole food sources of protein are made up of many naturally occurring amino acids. So if a label discloses certain amino acids are listed in their product it can be for one of two reasons:

  1. It is naturally occurring in the protein itself
  2. It is naturally occurring AND it is fortified with amino acids

In a process known as “Fortifying with Amino Acids” some companies may choose to increase certain amino acid concentrations to make them more nutritionally complete.

This is acceptable if the company discloses this information on the label. But you still don’t want these amino acids to be used to increase protein count, just to add more nutritional benefits to a product.

What To Look For?

woman holding tub of IdealLean Protein

It can be hard to sniff out a faker from the real deal. Many companies can be shady and try to make it look like they are selling a quality protein when in fact they are not. This can make it really hard to even know what to look for at times. As these companies will not properly disclose critical information.

Here are some of the ingredients that companies spike their protein with that don’t provide you any benefit:

Taurine-

One of the most common choices to spike protein content with. Taurine is a non-proteogenic amino acid, meaning it is NOT one of the building blocks of protein. So when taurine is added you KNOW you aren’t going to be receiving any muscle-building benefits.

Glycine-

Another common choice, but unlike taurine, glycine is proteogenic, meaning it is a building block of protein. This means that glycine can be naturally occurring in the protein itself, generally in smaller amounts. But adding 5 grams or more of glycine to increase protein count won’t provide any real benefits when it comes to muscle growth.

We want to be totally transparent with you here. IdealLean Protein contains 396mg of Glycine, you can find that information on the label. But we have it because it is naturally occurring in the protein itself. Not because it was added to increase protein count.

This game can look a lot like a Where’s Waldo search. Oftentimes Waldo is hiding in plain sight… and so are these companies; you just need to know what to look for. Here are some tips to help you find which proteins have been spiked.

Note: These signs don’t mean that it has for sure been spiked. Use your best judgment when buying proteins, and stick to companies that you know that you can trust.

  1. It is cheaper per unit size than other proteins on the market
  2. Contains a proprietary amino acid blend, but doesn’t list the specific amino acids used in this blend
  3. It contains larger amounts glycine and taurine

What Should You Do?

Okay, this is a big bummer and can be really frustrating to know that you are getting ripped off. Many companies look for the cheapest option to get their products out there, and have no regard for their customers.

But find some comfort in knowing that IdealFit is actually one of the good guys. We care about you. So we want to provide you with quality ingredients and products to help you get your ideal body.

IdealLean Protein is formulated with 100% Whey Protein Isolate. Whey protein isolate is the purest form of whey available and is a complete protein. It contains essential amino acids that your body needs to repair so that you can build lean, strong muscles.

Feel good about what you are putting into your body and supply your body with the right muscle building ingredients. Build a stronger body, and recover effectively with IdealLean Protein.

Get yours here!



Nicole Wilder

Nicole Wilder

Writer and expert


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