When it comes to buying supplements, cheaper is not always better.
Misleading supplement labels are common in an industry which is always looking to turn a quick buck.
Have you ever taken a chance on a ridiculously cheap whey protein supplement from a company you’ve never heard of?
And did you live to regret the decision?
The supplement industry is my least favourite part of the fitness business, because it is an extremely shady one.
From overpriced products, to so-called miracle ingredients which are really just the same old things with snazzy new names to make them sound more impressive (i.e. 3-stage creatine delivery matrix), it’s very easy to get lost.
To top if off, there are supplement manufacturers out there who flat out lie to you on their nutritional information.
In fact, I’ll talk more about one of those manufacturers below.
The Case Of CSN 100 Pro Whey Standard
Recently, CSN 100% Pro Whey Standard became the latest whey protein supplement to be caught out.
It’s not the only one, merely the latest in a long line.
These guys were trying to pass off a carb-loaded product as a low carb shake (?!) designed to get people lean.
What the product actually contained couldn’t get further away from the market they were aiming it at, right? And around the world they’d have customers using the product in a bid to get leaner, not realizing that it was pushing their daily carbohydrate target through the fucking roof.
It beggars belief that a company would think they could do this, but it happens and they’re not the first.
In fact, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency recently published a detailed list of over 100 supplement manufacturers found to be misleading on their labels.
As you are about to see, while the title of this post is misleading supplement labels, this particular product took it to the extreme!
As a low carbohydrate shake designed to get you leaner, CSN 100 Pro Whey Standard looks like it fits the bill according the the product label:
- 24 protein, 2g carbohydrates and 1g fat.
However, the results of an independent study on the vanilla ice cream flavor from Pope Testing Laboratories, Inc, discovered that the actual ingredients inside the tub are nothing like what’s written on the outside:
- 2.5g protein, 25g carbohydrates and 1g fat.
Misleading Supplement Labels – How Can They Get Away With That?
Well, they can’t.
These things always get found out in the end.
Unfortunately, by the time regulatory bodies reveal the truth many people have already spent their cash on the product in question.
But the easiest way to protect yourself is to realize that if something is 95% cheaper than every other product in it’s category it is simply not as good in quality.
I can only imagine how people were growing frustrated at why they couldn’t get as lean as they wanted, making changes to their training program or cutting from their diet, but all the while they were shoveling in tons of carbohydrates with every drink.
How To Spot Misleading Supplement Labels?
Many of us have been guilty of drinking stuff which tastes like wallpaper paste just because it’s $10 cheaper than everything else.
Over time, we learn how to drown out the awful taste with the satisfaction of knowing we hunted out a bargain.
I’ve been there myself.
Any reputable supplement should come with a certification by an independent agency, such as the NSF.
That’s the best way to protect yourself against misleading supplement labels.
You see, just a couple of years ago there were very loose rules in the supplement industry.
Companies could literally say whatever they wanted in order to sell their products to the masses.
That’s why you’d always see preworkout drinks claiming to “increase your strength by 200%!!!” or whey protein tubs announcing that drinking their shake would give you “Hulk arms!!”
But that all changed when governing bodies decided to regulate supplements in much the same way they regulate food.
Nowadays, companies are forbidden from making big, brash claims on their packaging unless they are able to back it up with relevant studies or certificates of authenticity.
Think of these certifications in the same way you’d expect an independent body to have reviewed foods in your local supermarket to check the claims on the labels all stack up.
Will this put an end to misleading supplement labels?
The fitness industry is rife with sub-standard products being pushed for sale hoping to get under the radar, hiding behind proprietary blends and hoping to never get caught.
So I encourage you to look for certifications when buying any supplements.
Because to you, your fitness journey is an important one. But to a supplement company, it’s just business.
And, like all industries, there are companies who want to create top of the line products and there companies who are just trying to create products as cheaply as possible then sell them for as much profit as they can.
My Go-To List
I’m often quizzed on which products I use.
In all honesty, if your whey protein supplement is certified by an independent reviewer you have nothing to worry about.
Here is a quick list of the products that most of my male and female clients use:
- Myprotein Impact Whey
- H2N Nutrition Diet Whey
- Optimum Nutrition 100% Gold Standard Whey
- Reflex Instant Whey
- The Protein Works Whey80
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