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      News — cleanest protein

      Stevia or Sucralose to Sweeten Your Whey Protein…

      Stevia or Sucralose to Sweeten Your Whey Protein…

      clean sugars: stevia vs sucralose in whey protein powderThe word "clean" appears a lot in conversations surrounding protein. Clean can mean a lean ingredient list, no chemicals, no fats, no heavy metals, minimal cholesterol, no fillers, or even Made in the USA. Sometimes "clean" refers to no sugars. It is important for you to understand what is sweetening your daily protein supplement when it does not contain sugar.

      The Backstory

      As the health and wellness boom sweeps across the globe, athletes in particular are beginning to pay more attention when exploring new supplements or proteins. If you are focused on making gains and consuming a protein powder without consuming tons of unnecessary calories, your natural tendency may be to stay away from simple sugars (i.e., fructose, sucrose, and lactose).  Let's be clear, our market is the fitness community.  We don't believe sugar in moderation is bad, and as a matter of fact our latest product launches "Core" and "Tactical Recovery" both contain Organic Coconut Sugar (comparable to 2 apple slices) in place of a artificial sweeteners. 

      Despite the FDA regulations on nutrition facts panels (NFPs), many protein brands forgo disclosing that their product contains “simple sugars," especially in the form of lactose*. These same brands display warning statements in bold that read, “If you are Lactose Intolerant do not use this product." By putting two and two together, you can begin to understand these common practices in nondisclosure. The NFP does not list sugar; yet, the manufacturer warns the consumer that the product is loaded with lactose. Another way to determine when sugar is not disclosed on the NFP is to look at the number of carbohydrates in grams and subtract everything else in the sub-heading (for example, fiber). The remainder can indicate the undisclosed sugar. Keep in mind, "Supplement Facts" are designed to look like a traditional regulated NFP, but below is a good example of why we suggest to stay away any protein products that are classified as "Dietary Supplements".

      *Lactose is a milk sugar (made up of glucose and galactose units) that remains along with the whey protein once water is removed in the process of creating whey protein concentrate (WPC) from wet whey.

       

      examples of Nutrition Facts disclosing and non-disclosing sugars

       

      Not disclosing the sugar content is one thing, but listing 0 grams of sugar is where the need for sugar alternatives comes into play, especially when talking about whey protein isolate (WPI) or whey protein hydrolysate (WPH), which each contain minimal natural sugar (lactose) when compared to whey protein concentrate (WPC). The most common sweeteners to compensate for the lack of lactose are sucralose or stevia.

      What is Sucralose?

      Sucralose is the only type of artificial sweetener derived from real sugar molecules. It is created by substituting one part of a sugar molecule with chlorine to create a substance that is about 600 times sweeter than sucrose; this is why so little is needed to sweeten even the most bitter protein powders. This is great because when talking about clean and lean protein powders, a protein utilizing sucralose essentially has 0 grams of the daily serving attributed to the sweetener, which leaves each serving loaded with what the consumer wants and is paying for — protein. Sucralose also differs from other artificial sweeteners in that it passes through the digestive system without being metabolized, which is why it contains no calories. It is made right here in the USA. The taste profile is immediate, and in your face sweet, it's often used to mask undesired flavors by tying the pallet up with intense sweetness. 

      What is Stevia?

      Stevia is obtained from an herb known as yerba dulce, which is grown in Paraguay, Brazil, Southeast Asia and other places (tropical climates, not made in the USA). When stevia was first introduced to the U.S. market, it was only available as a dietary supplement but quickly gained popularity as it can be marketed as "Natural". Stevia contains different chemical compounds that make it sweet, including its principal sweetening agent, rebaudioside A. These compounds make stevia anywhere from 40-300 times sweeter than table sugar. Thus, one teaspoon of stevia extract has about the same sweetening potency as an entire cup of sugar.

      Are they FDA approved Sweeteners?

      Sucralose

      Yes. Sucralose has an excellent safety profile. More than 100 safety studies, representing over 20 years of research, have shown sucralose to be safe. Sucralose was FDA approved as an all-purpose sweetener in 1998 in the USA, and further recognized and approved by numerous global FDA equivalents:

      • European Union Scientific Committee on Food (SCF)
      • Food Standards Australia/New Zealand (FSANZ)
      • Health Protection Branch of Health and Welfare Canada
      • (Food and Agriculture Organization/World Health Organization) Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA)
      • Japan’s Ministry of Health and Welfare

      Stevia

      In the United States, high-purity stevia glycoside extracts are generally recognized as safe (GRAS) and are allowed as non-nutritive ingredients in food products without a formal "approval".  GRAS is different than "approved by the FDA".  The FDA has simply put, not questioned the GRAS notice of stevia glycosides as a high intensity sweetener.  So unlike Sucralose, Stevia does not have "Approved" status as food additive.

      In more detail, these stevia glycocides are what can be found sweetening many protein powders.  This said, its important to know, both stevia leaf and crude extracts do not have GRAS notices or Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for use in food.  To see how these glycosides are extracted here is the best video we found. Link to Real Stevia Extraction process (American Gainz Nutrition Disclaimer - We had zero choice in the music selection on this video, lol). 

      Although stevia is assumed safe by many due to its status as a natural sweetener, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) notes that being natural does not guarantee safety. Both Canadian and U.S. regulatory agencies have rejected stevia in the past. In addition, a European Community scientific panel made the decision that stevia was not an acceptable food additive. 

      The Take-Away

      If you are the type of health-conscious athlete who relies on nutrition in order to achieve peak performance, at American GAINZ Nutrition we strongly recommend always going with a lean & clean protein powder with minimal ingredients regardless of your preference of sweetener, as long as you understand all the ingredients and they are all openly disclosed on the packaging.  We encourage you to avoid the calories from excess simple sugars and any brands that do not disclose their sugars in the nutritional fact or supplement fact panels. Our latest launch of both "Core" & "Tactical Recovery" proteins utilizes the latest and greatest FDA Nutrition Facts Panel which fully discloses "Added Sugars" as a component of the total sugar.  If you prefer a pure, unflavored option, check out The Best Grass-Fed Whey, no sweeteners at all, just the worlds best certified Grass-fed Whey. 

      What's the best unflavored grassfed Whey?

      Stay Strong America!!

      American GAINZ - Peanut Butter Cup Brownies

      American GAINZ - Peanut Butter Cup Brownies

      American GAINZ - Peanut Butter Cup Brownies

      Ingredients

      Brownies:

      Nestle Toll House Chocolate Brownie Mix w/ Semi-Sweet Morsels (and original required ingredients)

      Additional Ingredients:

      4 Scoops Tactical Recovery

      4 Scoops PB Gainz

      2 Egg Whites

      3 Tbsp Water

       

      Peanut Butter Topping:

      2 Scoops PB Gainz

      4 Tbsp Water

       

      Directions

      Follow recipe and instructions on the brownie mix. Add Tactical Recovery, PB Gainz, egg whites, and water to the brownie mix and stir. Bake in oven.

      Prepare the peanut butter topping by mixing PB Gainz and water. After 10 minutes of baking, remove brownie pan and drizzle peanut butter topping. Return to oven.

      Bake as directed on brownie mix. Due to added ingredients, consider adding 3-5 minutes to baking time.

      ENJOY!

      No Double Standards for Your Food & Supplements

      No Double Standards for Your Food & Supplements

      Tactical Recovery crossfit whey protein by American GAINZ Nutrition

      For the health conscious and performance driven, achieving clean GAINZ requires a full understanding of every whole food and supplement ingredient that’s consumed.  Truly supporting your greatest health demands that you not consume any product without full disclosure around the origin of the supplement. Can you imagine if all whole foods and dietary supplements offered this kind of transparency?  If you intend to eat or drink it, is it too much to ask to know what you are buying or where it originates?  Would uncertainty be acceptable with any of the foods you provide your loved ones? Well, uncertainty might be okay when reaching into a jar of lollipops and pulling out the one with the “question marks” on the wrapper, but in virtually no other case should it be okay to ingest a mystery.

      In the case of the lollipop, the unknown is not going to cause long-term health concerns; however, in the case of nutritional supplements, the unknown is a much bigger gamble.  What lies beneath the label may be ingredients that even the company representatives have a hard time tracing to the source (or identifying for that matter!). This is the disturbing truth that should be unacceptable to anyone who takes health, fitness, and clean living seriously. Consuming tubs of cheap ingredients with more than just traces of lead, arsenic, mercury, copper, cadmium, and other heavy metals and fillers is a risk that shouldn’t be tolerated.

      At American GAINZ Nutrition, the standard is transparency and 100% American ingredients.  Quality and environmental controls that can be trusted and should be demanded are the daily norm—as it should be! There are no vague “proprietary blend” declarations or complex ingredient lists to hide the unknowns.  Each gram is accounted for, always. To meet the standards we all have for our families, accredited 3rd party testing is used to ensure clean, lean proteins and ingredients from American sources are of the highest quality.

       

      American GAINZ Nutrition hereby certifies that:

      Tactical Recovery's Certificate of Origin contains the following information:
      • Originates from and is manufactured in the country: United States of America.
      • Is derived from healthy bovines; meets all applicable state, USDA, and FDA regulations for the manufacture of Dairy Products.
      • The product is produced in a cGMP certified facility where no animals, animal by-products, veterinary vaccines, or animal pathogens are maintained.
      • The product is packed in packaging that can be identified as to the nature of the product and the country of origin.

      Taking supplements with ingredients of unknown origins, with little-to-no concern for quality, does not have your greatest health in mind.  We deeply encourage you to commit to the expectation of full disclosure and transparency around your nutritional supplements—your health and Gainz demand it.

      Any questions? Please contact us at questions@americangainz.com

      The Grass Fed Claim — Whey Protein

      The Grass Fed Claim — Whey Protein

      The Grass Fed claim for Whey Protein

      We’ve all heard it before, “Our protein is the best and here’s why….” What typically follows may be a barrage of phrases which include the infamous “Grass Fed” buzzword. This commonly pitched catchword is often abused by brands that buy whey from China or New Zealand along with other poorly regulated sources (see our blog: Unregulated Sources & Blind Spots).

      How often have you seen the phrase “Year Round Grass Fed”? This particular phrase happens to be a reliable indication that the product is, in fact, sourced abroad. This holds true in almost all cases, excluding very few products sourced from select farms located in a small region of northern California.

      Why should you question the “Year Round Grass Fed” claim? The logic is that American farmers like foreign farmers share large incentives for producing milk—the more milk the better. In the winter months, with demand for milk production unwavering, feeding cows nutrient-rich grain is the solution most widely used to meet demand. Therefore, it pays to be skeptical of all “grass fed” claims if the geographical origin of your whey is impacted by the four seasons.  

      Not only does New Zealand have snowy winters, but the majority of milk produced in the country is exposed to high temp short time pasteurization processes rendering all micro nutrients associated with a "grass-fed" claim useless.  Save your money, If you're paying premium prices for "grass-fed" products, make sure they are certified by an accredited association.  If the protein is "grass-fed" certified, believe us when we tell you, the certification will be on the packaging as a proud symbol of quality. 

      A quick, simple tip for weeding out the misleading grass fed claims (aside from relying on blind faith) is to look for any of these 3 certifications on the packaging:

      American Grassfed Association.
      This label is verified and the standards require 100% grass-based diet and continuous access to pasture.

      Grassfed + USDA Process Verified.
      When the “grass fed” claim is accompanied by the “USDA Process Verified” seal, it means that the USDA has verified that its definition of “grass fed” (100% grass-based feed over the lifetime of the animal) has been met. Cattle can be confined during the non-growing season, but must be fed non-grain feed stuffs such as grass, hay, and silage.

      Food Alliance Grassfed.
      This label is verified, and requires that cattle must be on pasture or range for their entire lives. Grain feeding is prohibited.

      Bottom line: If you see this "grass fed" claim with little to support it, especially if the claim includes "New Zealand grass-fed Whey"… walk away, "no certification" means "no good". Don’t settle; you deserve peace of mind. Paying premium prices for uncertainty is a mistake. Any questions please contact us directly.

      Unregulated Sources & Blind Spots

      Unregulated Sources & Blind Spots

      Unregulated Sources & Blind Spots

      So what’s the deal with protein supplements sourced from China or other foreign sources?

      To answer this question let’s ask another. When was the last time you chose a dairy product at the grocery store that was sourced from China? So you don’t buy the yellowish jug of grade-A Chinese milk?

      At American Gainz Nutrition, we rejoice in the fact that the USA just so happens to top the global rankings in both cow milk production and dairy processing. So if this is the case, if the USA truly has the supply, why do so many whey protein brands source elsewhere?

      It’s simple. The answer is regulation. Regulation makes everything more expensive. Though bad for business, it’s critical for the prolonged health & wellness of consumers. In the USA, the EPA and the FDA both play important roles in ensuring your whey supplements are safe and healthy to consume.

      These agencies as they relate to Whey:

      • Environment Protection Agency (EPA) - This is the agency that protects our agriculture and livestock from contaminated water sources, harmful pesticides, smog, pollution, unwanted bacteria, etc. (i.e. Clean Water Act, NPDES)
      • Food and Drug Administration (FDA) - This agency is responsible for the methods, equipment, facilities, and controls required for producing dietary supplements. These are the guys that declare our processing and filling facilities as CGMP (Current Good Manufacturing Processes) certified.

      The sad truth is this - these regulatory bodies don’t exist abroad and if they do, they are merely hollow shells of what we would consider a stringent regulatory body.

      Did you know that it is not uncommon for Chinese state-backed chemical factories to dump wastewater directly into farming irrigation ponds? The Wall Street Journal published an article titled “China’s Bad Earth” where it describes that state-affiliated research estimates 25 to 60 million acres of arable Chinese farmland may now be contaminated with heavy metals.

      The WSJ goes on to state that this “is largely a consequence of two trends … the expansion of polluting industries into remote areas a safe distance from population centers, and heavy use of chemical fertilizers to meet the country's mounting food needs.”

      Have you had your mercury levels checked recently? For athletes that consume multiple servings of whey protein powder per day, this heavy metal alert may be an important wakeup call!

      Beware the blind spot! Brands that source from China or other foreign sources likely lack traceability and regulation at the sole expense of your health. This is an obvious reason why companies don’t advertise “Made in China” or “Chinese Sourced Whey” on their product label. It’s a clear admission of inferior, poorly regulated sourcing.

      Challenge your protein selection by asking yourself:

      • Where is this product made?
      • How is it processed?
      • How is it shipped? How is it stored?
      • How many different handlers are adding fillers and reselling?

      Challenge yourself to be informed about the origins of what you put in your body. Don’t settle. After all, you’d never choose to eat cheese or drink milk with no quality or environmental control – don’t take chances with your whey protein. If you can’t find answers, not only on where product is manufactured, but where all of the ingredients are sourced, find another - you deserve peace of mind. Ask questions and look deeper - your Gainz and well-being depend on it!

       Any questions, please email Questions@AmericanGainz.com