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by: Clayton South, Bodybuilding.com
Manufacturer: Optimum Nutrition
Category: Whey Protein
Economically value is a referent term. It applies to objects available for purchase. Naturally then, value is an expression of the benefits of a product (Quality), minus the drawbacks of the product, divided by the cost of the product. Put another way:
Value is the sum statement about a products worth. What a product is able to do for you or not, are things considered. Then, one ponders the cost of the product based on having weighed the “pros and cons.” Value is the expression of the idea “Am I getting my moneys worth?” Ultimately, all things considered, the final factor of cost analysis is determinative. Buying a protein is like buying a car: Different options for different price ranges. Concluding review, I shall make a determination on the value of this product for the bodybuilder.
Quality is relative concept. Speaking specifically of protein, quality is a statement of products desirability relative to other available choices. Lets face it, not all protein powders are created equal. Some protein powders, like HDT 5+1, are good only for dumping down the toilet [I can say this from personal experience with the product]. Other proteins cause gastro-Intestinal bloating, cramps, and flatulence. Yet still, some taste like plaster of Paris, are not very blendable, and are so thick that it makes you regurgitate.The quality of a protein product is determined by the satisfaction of several requirements: Yield, Functionality, Amino Acid Profile (BCAA – EAA ratio), WPI:WPC Ratio, Filler Percentage, Taste, Ease of use, Blendability, Digestibility, Functionality and results.
Yield refers to the percentage of protein per serving that is obtained. Mathematically it appears as follows:
For example, say we had a protein powder that had a serving size of 100 grams total mass. Lets also assume that in that 100gm serving size 50gms was protein. This would be a yield of 50%. Therefore, when purchasing the product, you would be paying for 50% non-protein! Not a good deal.With 100% Whey the results are WHEY better! Observe the calculation:
29.4gm serving size x 100 = 75% / 22 gm protein per serving
Therefore, 75% of total mass is protein. This is an excellent yield, depending on the type of Whey protein fraction the product is predominantly composed of.This of course means that 25% of the total mass is not protein. What could it be? A percentage may be the:
Amino Acid Profile:
The amino acid profile of a protein powder is also important to consider. For example, with 100% Whey, it has been shown that 75% of the total mass is protein. This represents an excellent yield. However, this means also that 25% of the total mass is not Protein. At this point, some may conclude that the product is “25% filler.” This is not true. Filler will be discussed later, but for now we are concerned with the Amino Acid profile, as this too contributes to the “non-protein mass” component of the product.BCAA stands for Branch Chain Amino Acids, and EAA stands for Essential Amino Acids. Both are important to consider when making a purchase.Branch Chain Amino Acids act as nitrogen carriers, which assist muscles in synthesizing other amino acids required for anabolic effect [Transamination]. They also stimulate production of insulin which allows circulating blood sugar to be taken up by the muscle cells and used as an energy source. Further, during a fat-reduction cycle, Amino Acids function in an anti-catabolic manner, this helping the body to spare lean muscle tissue. Essential Amino Acids include Tryptophan, Lysine, Methionine, Phenylalanine, Threonine, Valine, Isoleucine and Leucine.Amino Acids will determine how “complete” or “incomplete” a protein is, because proteins are made of a combination of 20 Amino Acids.Consider the Amino Acids present in 100% Whey from Optimum Nutrition and their uses in the body:
|Alanine (Non-Essential)||Energy source for muscle tissue
Strengthens the immune system by producing antibodies
|Arginine (Non-Essential)||Helps detoxify liver
Causes the pituitary gland to release growth hormone
Needed to combine proteins
Increases muscle mass
Reduces body fat
Increase immune system strength
|Aspartic Acid (Non-Essential)||Shuttles toxic ammonia out of body|
Aids Protein Synthesis
|Glutamic Acid (Non-Essential)||Reduces cravings for sugar
|Glutamine||Increases Growth Hormone secreted by pituitary gland|
|Glycine (Non-Essential)||Hormone Manufacturing|
|Histidine (Non-Essential)||Aids digestion|
|Isoleucine (Essential)||Raises energy levels|
|Leucine (Essential)||Helps heal the muscle tissue|
|Lysine (Essential)||Aids in growth
Needed for tissue repair
Produces antibodies, hormones and enzymes
Helps metabolize fats into energy
Maintains nitrogen balance
|Methionine (Essential)||Helps remove fatty substances from body
|Phenylalanine (Essential)||Suppresses appetite
Produces the chemicals which control impulse transmission between nerve cells
|Proline (Non-Essential)||Needed for proper functioning of joints and tendons
Helps strengthen heart muscle
|Serine (Non-Essential)||Strengthens Immune System
|Threonine (Essential)||Helps maintain protein balance in the body|
|Tryptophan (Essential)||Releases growth hormone|
|Tyrosine (Non-Essential)||Healthy functioning of Thyroid and Adrenal Glands|
|Valine (Essential)||Muscle Coordination|
The next thing to consider when buying a Whey protein supplement is”
Despite claims by supplement companies trying to sell overpriced products, proteins are proteins. However, proteins function differently based on the types you use and how those proteins are manufactured. For example, Whey protein can come in several forms. These forms can include:
- Whey Protein Concentrate (WPC)
- Ion Exchange Whey Protein Isolate (WPI)
- Cross Flow Micro-filtered Whey Protein Isolate (CFM)
- Hydrolyzed Whey Peptide (HWP)
These types of protein are distinguished by their differing molecule size, and subsequent digestibility in the gut. The smaller the molecule size, the easier the protein is digested. Also, WPI has a higher BV (Biological Value) rating than WPC.This would lead some persons [and supplement companies] to conclude that WPC is “filler” or “inferior” because its biological value is lower than WPI. If that premise is logical, then anything below WPC must be REALLY inferior…must be, by logical extension really [to be scientific like the supplement companies] “really, really junky.”These “junky” and “inferior” proteins would include egg protein, beef, chicken, peanut butter, pork, and other viable protein sources. Yet, we know that these foods work wonders for adding mass, so how can the idea that WPC is inferior be correct? It is not. As Feliciano (2000) pointed out, a diet high in protein, regardless of the source, will yield similar results. Having said that, when we examine Optimum Nutrition’s 100% Whey protein we find a combination of all the proteins listed above. This means that Optimum has “covered all the bases” when it comes to Whey protein!Because your body desires homeostasis and strives toward those ends, it is good to have variations, even among like proteins.Although WPC is the primary ingredient on 100% Whey from Optimum, WPI is the second ingredient, and given the products high yield, a statistically significant percentage of the product is WPI. The general rule is: The higher the yield, the greater concentration of WPI.
As with any protein powder, some filler must be present. However, some can mean .002% or 99%. Some products lean toward the 99% range, while better ones are filtered and manufactured in a way so as to minimize filler.It is not possible to have 100% WPI; that is a serving of protein with a yield of 100% where the serving size and the protein yielded are identical. Therefore, most filler is comprised of ash, moisture, etc. Filler can best be thought of as: Any substance that is non-protein or non-amino acid. Therefore, ingredients like cocoa, used in the flavoring process, would fall into this category. So would any fats or carbs present in the mixture. By its very presence filler must comprise even a small amount of the total mass of the product.The only products in Optimum Whey that qualify as “filler” are: Cocoa, Artificial Flavor, Lecithin and Acesulfame Potassium. Given the high yield of the product and its excellent BCAA to EAA ratio, it is mathematically evident that filler constitutes a negligible percentage of the products overall mass.
With respect to taste, many protein powders are like clothing sizes. Although a manufacturer may make a “large” garment, another manufacturer will make a garment, call it large, and it will be different in size. So it is with protein powders with respect to taste.Often times, when venturing into stores, one will see a massive bucket of Whey protein that says something to the effect of “mouth watering taste!” However, after buying it and using the product, the only question is: Great taste compared to WHAT? Sometimes the product in question is so inedible that it tastes expired, or worse, contaminated.100% Whey is the best tasting chocolate protein I have ever used. It is not chalky, and it is very appetizing when mixed with a beverage like 1% or 0% milk, or water. A great recipe idea is mixing skim milk, ice cubes and two servings in your blender. If you like, you could also add some fruit like peaches or strawberry’s. Low calories do not necessarily mean low taste!
Ok, so all of this sounds great, you say. But, what’s the catch? This product can’t possibly work as well as you say, cost as little as you say, and be side effect free. Well, folks, it is! Optimum makes an excellent product.
Feliciano, J. (2000). Protein Wars 2000. Flex Magazine, 162