A class action lawsuit has been brought over protein spiking allegations involving Body Fortress Super Advanced Whey Protein. Protein spiking involves the use of non-protein ingredients in protein supplement products.
A class action lawsuit recently filed by Parker Waichman LLP; Seeger Weiss LLP; and Barbat, Mansour & Suciu PLLC, alleges that Body Fortress Super Advanced Whey Protein does not contain the quantity of whole protein as claimed on the product’s label due to a process known as “protein-spiking.” United States Nutrition; Inc., Healthwatchers, Inc.; and parent company, NBTY, Inc. have been named in the action.
“Protein-spiking” is also known as “amino-spiking” or “nitrogen-spiking” and involves manufacturers adding cheaper, free form amino acids and non-protein ingredients to protein supplement products. These ingredients are added to increase a protein product’s nitrogen content while allowing the manufacturer to save on protein manufacturing costs. A popularly used protein content test uses nitrogen as a measure of protein; therefore, protein spiking serves to fool consumers into believing they are receiving more whey protein than is actually contained in the product.
The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) admonished amino-spiking on April 1, 2014. The AHPA, an organization comprised of dietary supplement manufacturers, defines protein as “a chain of amino acids connected by peptide bonds” and indicates that protein calculations should only be based on this definition. “Non-protein nitrogen-containing substances” should not be included, AHPA added.
The lawsuit indicates that whey protein is a complete protein source that contains all of the essential amino acids required in the building of protein-based compounds, including muscle tissue, skin, fingernails, hair, and enzymes. The lawsuit also indicates that amino acids, although the building blocks of protein, do not offer these same benefits.
The lawsuit’s allegations include that Body Fortress’ label makes misleading claims about its protein content. For example, the labeling claims that the product contains 30 grams of protein per serving; however, this figure allegedly also includes free form amino acids, including Glycine, Threonline, L-Glutamine, Leucine, Valine, and Isoleucine; the non-protein amino acid, Taurine; and the non-amino acid compound, Creatine Monohydrate. According to the lawsuit, testing reveals that the actual content per serving of whey protein is 21.5 grams once protein-spiking agents are eliminated.
Brands suspected of potential protein spiking include:
- 4DN: Manufactured by 4 Dimension Nutrition Inc.; known to use creatine
- ALLMAX NUTRITION: Manufactured by Allmax Nutrition Inc.
- Arnold Series: Manufactured by MusclePharm Corporation
- Beast: Manufactured by Ultra-Lab Nutrition Inc. d/b/a Beast Sports Nutrition
- Body Fortress Super Advanced Whey Protein: Manufactured by NBTY, Inc.; known to contain glycine, creatine, and taurine
- Designer Whey: known to contain taurine
- Gaspari Nutrition: Manufactured by Gaspari Nutrition, Inc.; known to contain glycine
- Giant Sports: Manufactured by Giant Sports Products LLC; known to contain taurine and creatine
- Infinite Labs: Manufactured by Infinite Labs, LLC; known to contain glycine and taurine
- Inner Armour: Manufactured by IA Nutrition, Inc.
- Mutant Nutrition: Manufactured by Fit Foods Distribution Inc.; known to contain taurine and glycine
- New Whey Nutrition: Manufactured by New Whey Nutrition LLC
- ProSupps: Manufactured by ProSupps USA LLC; known to use glycine and taurine
- VPX (Syngex): Manufactured by Vital Pharmaceuticals, Inc. d/b/a VPX Sports
Protein spiking causes consumers to pay for an inferior product that does not contain the full percentage of actual, quality protein that they are promised. If the protein powder product you are using contains arginine, creatine, glycine, and/or taurine, you may have purchased, or consumed, a low-grade amino acid product and not a true protein powder. True protein powders should contain whey concentrate, isolate, or a combination of these two items. Other proteins, such as egg or casein (milk protein) may also be listed. In some cases, manufacturers have created names to hide the fact that a so-called protein powder is an inferior product, for example “NOS Complex,” which is a combination of l-arginine and l-taurine or “Muscle Recovery Matrix,” which is a combination of creatine and l-glycine.
While some amino acids do offer benefits, they should not be considered in the protein grams of a product, notes General Nutrition Center (GNC).