There is a deep, dark, secret in the protein powder industry. It’s called Amino Spiking. Have you ever heard of it? Amino spiking is when shady companies will artificially inflate the amount of protein grams in their product. They will tell you that your protein powder contains 30g of protein per serving—when in reality the protein only has 15g of protein per serving! You need to know about amino spiking so you don’t waste your hard-earned money on BS products! How does Amino Spiking work? What you need to know is that real, complete proteins are made of 22 amino acids, 9 of which are called essential amino acids that your body can’t produce naturally and can only obtain from food. These 9 essential amino acids are crucial in helping your body recover and build muscle after working out. In order to test how much complete proteins are in a product, independent labs will measure the amount of nitrogen content that the product produces. It gets a little complicated, but what you need to know is that usually the higher amounts of nitrogen content in your protein power = higher amounts of protein. However, what shady companies will do is add additional cheap amino acids that don’t help you recover and build muscle to their protein powder. These cheap amino acids like glycine, taurine, or others will artificially raise the nitrogen content in your protein… So then when that shady company claims that they have 30g of protein in their protein powder, they point to the high nitrogen content that their product produces and use that as evidence of their claims. They are able to get away with this because there is a legal loophole that the FDA has created regarding protein powders. Specifically, pure amino acid products cannot be declared as sources of protein, BUT there is nothing that prevents protein powders from including EXTRA amino acids. Companies will do this in a sad attempt to reduce cost prices and provide a cheaper protein powder to the consumer, falsely leading people to believe that they are getting a great deal—when in reality they are getting scammed. Now there is a difference between protein powders that are amino spiking their products and protein powders that are fortifying their products with amino acids. The main difference is that protein powders that are fortified with amino acids will TELL you that they have added specific amino acids. Either on the bag or on the label or in the ingredients section, protein powder that is fortified with amino acids will tell you exactly what is in it. They won’t try to hide it. What can you do about amino spiking? You knowing that amino spiking exists is a huge step in the right direction for protecting yourself against fake protein. Here are a few extra things that you should be aware of to protect yourself from amino spiking. Protein powder that is significantly cheaper per unit size than other similar protein powders on the market is likely amino spiked. A protein powder that lists glycine and taurine together on the nutrients panel right after the main ingredients is likely amino spiked. If a protein powder does not list how much creatine is included in the protein powder, but creatine is high on the list of ingredients, then that indicates that there is a lot of creatine in the product but they don’t want you to know how much—these are signs of amino spiking. A protein powder that lists a “proprietary amino acid blend” without telling you what is in that blend is likely amino spiked. How can you be sure a protein powder is definitely not amino spiked? When it comes to purchasing quality products, it’s all about the company that you are buying from. Look at the ingredients label of your protein powder, can you understand what’s on it or do you need a degree in chemistry to make sense of it? The more complicated things are, without any explanations, can indicate shady business practices.