Has Baloney Become Good Protein?

If you think the world of training has some fatty frankfurters, consider what has been written lately about protein. It seems baloney has become our engineered egg white!
Based on the letters I have received since launching Planet Muscle, I can guarantee you this . . . bodybuilders don't want any more baloney served up on their training tables.

Nothing But The Truth?

Sadly, a discussion of the truth in bodybuilding, relative to the preponderance of steroid use and the true need and worth for certain food supplements, seems to be a rare commodity. I can understand why, though, since sales of food supplements are the lifeblood of our whole industry.

Remember this, as a free distribution publication, Planet Muscle is your magazine, not a typical mouthpiece for pushing/selling the latest rages in the supplement industry. We will not play that game and sometimes I may not tread lightly.

Planet Muscle will make some toes sore, but those supplement companies advertising honestly and producing necessary products will have nothing to fear from our message and, in fact, will benefit from our message and want to advertise within these pages.

There's a reason we are signing up 750 new subscribers per week and you better believe it's not by serving up baloney!

Protein Baloney And Fatty Frankfurters

Now, if you think the world of training has some fatty frankfurters, consider what has been written lately about protein. It seems baloney has become our engineered egg white.

As with any capitalistic form of business, there's little doubt that our world of commercialized protein marketing has always been laced with some nonsense from way back, but it seems to be getting a lot goofier lately.

Let's get one thing straight right from the start, you could be Mr. or Ms. Olympia and never (repeat never) use a commercialized protein supplement. The reason I know this is that I saw it up close already, in the name of Cory Everson, six times Ms. Olympia. Now for sure, Cory ate a fair amount of protein, but it all came from egg whites, chicken and other regular foods and not from any commercial protein supplement, because she never used any.

First Off

I'll mention a few protein companies in this diatribe, but PLEASE understand this is my opinion and absolutely none of my musings are meant as disparaging product comments. Instead, I'll be opining about what I see as mistakes in marketing advertising that even great protein companies make.

If it seems that I mention Next and MuscleTech a lot, I do because these two companies spend an enormous amount of money on out-marketing each other's whey protein.

Both companies are constantly adding innovation to our field to produce better products, but sometimes, in my opinion, the message gets skewed the wrong way.

And remember what makes Planet Muscle different. I'm not afraid to offer unpopular opinion, I don't have my own product to promote, and I'm not in anybody's back pocket. This magazine is geared to truth, to inform you and to make you THINK. When readers think, supplements sell better, so if some advertisers are afraid of the truth and never show up in Planet Muscle as advertisers - readers, make their own conclusions as to why they might be afraid of a discussion towards the truth!

Next In Line

Next Nutrition makes Designer Protein Powder, an extremely fine whey-based protein product and it has been the leader in whey protein since day one and Next was an early supporter of my TV show and did very well. (Still, to this day, their praline vanilla is my favorite tasting commercial protein powder.)

I was looking at one new ad the other day, and this ad headline says, "What America's #1-Selling Protein Does On The Inside, You'll Soon See On The Outside."

Of course, this is well meaning, but actually the headline and the whole ad page is somewhat misleading on two counts. Bodybuilding is an insular world and we forget the way the outside world really eats. For example, the number one consumed food in the entire world is rice.

Got Milk?

In America, the number one selling protein is NOT Designer Protein, but milk protein, as in the white stuff you grow up on, and pour on your Captain Crunch. Second is beef protein. Third is chicken, and fish, pork and vegetable protein forms such as beans, soy and corn. Their ad should have read (and this is what they meant), "The #1-Selling Commercial Protein Powder Supplement ? ."

Secondly, all proteins, including Designer Protein (and all other commercial proteins) do little to influence what you look like on the outside, unless you also train hard and regularly with weights. This fact is not mentioned on this particular ad page. Or, on any of the Next ad pages and frankly in very few, if not all, supplement company ad pages.

Gee, why is that I wonder? Well, before discussing some other elements of protein marketing, consider the dumb assertion that athletes, lifters and bodybuilders hold, maintaining that their success is 90% nutrition and 10% training. This is unmitigated nonsense.

For Instance

Consider two identical twins, A and B. Twin A trains with weights very hard and regularly, but eats his required calorie-energy load from fast foods, hot dogs, bacon, baloney and chips. Twin B does no exercise at all, never lifts weights, but eats his required caloric load more efficiently with 40% protein from turkey and egg white, 45% from complex carbohydrates and 15% from fat, for his total energy contribution.

After five years twin A, despite his less than ideal diet, will still have a good muscular build and be able to bench press a lot of weight. Meanwhile twin B shouldn't have any excess body fat, but he'll have absolutely no visible muscle to speak of either, and couldn't bench his twin brother's left monozygotic gonad.

So get it right please - both nutrition and training are critical, but if you do not train hard, good nutrition means ZERO for getting any bigger muscles than you already have genetically or that you have developed from your occupation.

The War Between MuscleTech And Next

Reading through the lines in the protein ads from Next and MuscleTech, it seems that both companies have been having a vigorous discussion over the amino acid arginine and their whey, and so-called "regular whey," which neither company ever really defines.

MuscleTech touts its additional arginine in NITRO-Tech; it's new whey protein, as one of the numerous reasons why it is a superior whey product over all others (and it could very well be). Of course, one of the supposed disadvantages of whey protein, is that it's not all that high in either glutamine or arginine, and both are thought of as conditionally essential amino acids during periods of high tissue stress, such as produced by heavy workouts.

The prime reason glutamine ever got on the bodybuilding map was because of Dr. Connelly's theories and accurate teachings when he launched MET-Rx years ago. Glutamine should be added to several proteins. Whey is just one of the proteins in Connelly's popular MET-Rx.

Of course, soy isolate protein has almost twice as much glutamine and arginine as whey (on a gram for gram basis) and almost as much branched chain amino acids as whey. And, soy isolate is now rated equal to both casein and whey, according to a new protein digestibility protein score for humans. And of course, most up-and-coming bodybuilders usually eat so much red meat they get more than enough arginine.

Nonetheless, arginine is a powerful amino acid with many great theoretical qualities so MuscleTech is not dumb by adding it to their product.

MuscleTech Inhales Nitric Oxide?

MuscleTech theorized that the extra arginine might increase levels of nitric oxide in the muscles. The theory here is that this might bring more blood to the muscles and to stimulate growth. (Readers - think Viagra - because Viagra does not allow nitric oxide to dissipate and thus, blood is better trapped inside the penile cavity facilitating erections, with suitable stimulation.) With muscular development, in my opinion, it's a stretch as a theory since there is scant proof for the supposition.

At about the same time, Next revealed to the bodybuilding world that they had a "Shocking hormone blood test study," saying that "regular whey" reduced anabolic insulin 14.7%, to be precise, and raised cortisol release, by a shocking 17.2%. Man, everybody is getting shocked all of a sudden by regular whey.

My question is, in what independent Medical Journal was this study printed and did anybody actually get electrocuted while reviewing it? I hope they were suitably grounded with all that shocking going on.

Next also warned of the theoretical dangers of too much nitric oxide and N-acetyl cysteine in the body. The very clear implication being that such additional nitric acid and NAC may arise from some whey protein's additional arginine and this chain of events could literally poison the body, or cause muscle synthesis to shut down. (Thank God, at least we weren't all walking around again like 16-year olds, with constant erections.)

One thing you must say about Next, they defend their territory with shocking vigor!

Boys - this is fine rhetoric I suppose for our magazines, not being subjected to regulating agencies. But listen guys, we have kids out there starting bodybuilding everyday who are 13, 14 and 15, and struggling, because of the issues of steroids and androstenedione, to get their parents to support their use of protein supplements and bodybuilding. And even to bring the magazines home, especially with all the "shocking lingerie" going on.

I mean do we really need these kinds of ads, mixing up every one about unrelated insulin and cortisol production and talking about poisoning each other, especially when both of your companies are supremely successful already?

Remember, the first ingredient in Designer Protein for years was whey protein concentrates.

Listen, I'm not the only one getting irritated with this confusing marketing.

Doctor's Advice

James Wright, Ph.D. agrees with me and took the arginine/nitric oxide issue head on in Flex magazine. In the July issue of Flex, Wright says in an article on Nitric oxide, "Arginine is good stuff. I consider its addition to a protein powder to be a positive innovation, much like adding glutamine, albeit less effective."

He adds later, "The bottom line is that there's no evidence that adding arginine - in any amount - to a protein and ingesting them simultaneously will adversely alter serum nitric oxide levels in humans." Whew. Good news, we won't die from eating protein supplements high in arginine.

On a different road, new ads by Optimum Nutrition make excellent points relative to claims about the percentages of whey isolates that some companies supposedly contain in their products. Optimum exposes the nonsensical claims of some companies, about isolate percentages and total protein, with math. I have substantiated their math through visits to a couple of the top suppliers/manufacturers of commercial whey to over 80% of all the supplement companies in the USA who sell whey.

The Statistics

Indeed, the best whey isolate composition can only be guaranteed to be just over 90% and never anymore than ranging between 90-96% whey isolate, so these companies and I second Optimum's opinions.

To their credit, Worldwide Sport Nutrition developed a radical new whey isolate called Extreme Pure Protein almost 3 years ago and the label claim is up to a 96% whey isolate. This was accurate, according to a major supplier of whey in the United States, DAVISCO.

If some of you long-time readers wonder why I decided to promote Worldwide Sport Nutrition products, I refer to a paper from DAVISCO. As far back as 1997, Worldwide Sport Nutrition could have claimed they had a 98.3% whey isolate.

Since some potency is lost in all manufacturing processes, according to DAVISCO, the best standard for whey isolate though, is somewhere between 90-96%. This standard is contained in the Worldwide Sport Nutrition low carbohydrate, high protein Extreme Pure Protein whey powder.

DAVISCO was also a quality outfit that first notified the protein world that the much touted PER (Protein Efficiency Ratio) was based on rats and was no longer being used for human amino acid needs!

I was impressed with all that honesty, all the way around. Still, as I looked closer, I became aware of an article in Bill Phillips' Muscle Media lambasting the concept and lab results of the high protein glycerine Worldwide Sport Nutrition Pure Protein Bar, as bogus. This was a big concern to me since Bill Phillips and I had been business partners in launching MET-Rx with Dr. Connelly -- and Phillips is no dummy.

The Results

I then became familiar with claims from EAS who had the Pure Protein Bar tested, but I could never get a copy of the lab data.

In response to my inquiries, Worldwide Sport Nutrition produced a verifiable thesis of independent lab tests verifying the accuracy of their bar nutrient content and even some 30 independent tests the FDA had done.

In his attorney discovery work, Dave McCabe, CEO of Worldwide Sport Nutrition, determined that the lab that did the test had simply lumped glycerine with either carbohydrate or fat. While it is fair to lump glycerine with carbohydrates since they are metabolized in similar ways, it has nothing to do with fat.

The lab or magazine might also might have made some kind of notation or chemical clarification on what glycerine is, and what metabolic differences it has with conventional carbohydrates, but none of that was done.

In the end, there was nothing deceptive about this snafu except that the reporting of the true circumstances and results was not done properly, in my opinion.

Proof of that would be that now, some three years later, EAS has released their protein-glycerine food bar called Simply Protein.

At any rate, I also enclose an independent lab results on the most popular and best selling high protein bars in the world right now: The Worldwide Sports Nutrition Pure Protein, 78 gram bar. With peanut butter, there were actually .3 fewer grams of fat than on the label, 1-gram more of carbohydrate than the label claimed and 1 gram less protein. Basically, right smack on the money.

A second bar (enclosed) their Strawberry Shortcake bar, fat exceeded the label claim by .2 grams, carbohydrates exceeded the label claim by 1 gram and protein was under the label claim by 1 gram. Calories were right on the money.

In my experience, having seen dozens and dozens of lab tests from numerous companies, there is no one with better quality and accuracy than Worldwide Sport Nutrition and this is why Rexall-Sundown shelled out 70 million dollars to buy them after looking at them for only 2 months.

Getting To The Point

The fair point to be made? Every company and its brother, from EAS to MET-Rx to Weider, now has a glycerine food bar on the market, a market that Worldwide Sport Nutrition created, regardless of what the FDA ends up calling glycerine - which is probably going to be carbohydrate.

So, every bar will eventually have to list more carbohydrates as required by the FDA - maybe. Still, one should know that the properties of glycerine make it somewhat different from carbohydrate as to how it elevates blood glucose, which is to say, not nearly as much!

At any rate, with Worldwide Sport Nutrition having Extreme Pure Protein on the market at 96% whey isolate, wouldn't you know, soon enough MuscleTech would come out with NITRO-Tech and it's conveniently 97% whey isolate. Then, Next Nutrition re-designed Designer and it is conveniently a 98% whey isolate.

Gee, how could that be? If having a 98% isolate is possible, why didn't Worldwide Sport Nutrition go with that instead of 90-96%? As Next states, this is achievable through "the marvel of whey processing technology." Of course, such whey processing marvel technology should be available to all protein distributors because they all use the same manufacturers.