When talking supplements with people throughout the health and fitness industry, it always surprises me how many are unaware of what a proprietary blend is and what it actually means.
It is nearly impossible these days to pick up any weight loss or pre-workout supplement without seeing the words in nice bold letters, “proprietary blend." Sometimes companies will try and fancy it up by adding catchy words in the middle to form something like proprietary muscle blend, muscle performance blend or even thermosculpting blend. You get the point. If you do use a protein supplement, head to the pantry and see if your product contains one of these mysterious blends.
This is where the “magic” takes place; really lack thereof. Let’s talk about what exactly a PROP BLEND (proprietary blend) is that’s in your supplement. The FDA requires manufacturers to list all of the ingredients in a product on its label, along with the amount of each (in terms of weight), unless the ingredients are part of a proprietary blend—then the specific amount of each individual ingredient in the blend does not have to be listed, only the total. YES, you read that correctly… the manufacturer does not have to disclose to you the consumer just how much of each actual ingredient is in the product you are about to consume.
As consumers, people are led to believe prop blends are the company’s way of protecting their “recipe” but the reality is, any lab or even high school science class could probably figure how much of each ingredient is in the product. So what’s the big deal? Prop blends are notorious in the fitness/supplement industry. Although companies will list their active ingredients in the blend, you really have no idea how much of each there actually is in the product. What good is an ingredient to the consumer if its extremely under dosed? Here is an example:
PROPRIETARY BLEND SUPER MONEY MATRIX:
Let’s say I were to sell you a bag full of 1000 coins for $100.00. Before making the deal, you would want to know the make up or composition of the bag--how many quarters, dimes, nickels and pennies? The bag composition would DRASTICALLY change the worth of the bag (anywhere from $10.37 if it were 997 pennies and one of each of the remaining coins to $249.41 if it was 997 quarters and one of each of the other coins. The only “rule” here is that they are listed in quantity order. What can happen with protein powder is the cheaper, "filler" ingredients at the front of the list and then the rest becomes anyone's guess. YES, that means a cheap ingredient at the front could be 99% of the prop blend and the rest of the ingredients literally sprinkle dusted in the product.
The sole purpose of using a prop blend is for “fairy dusting.” The active ingredient is sprinkled on the top, when the majority of the blends is all fillers to...fill the space. It’s usually more lucrative for companies to use blends instead of pure, stand alone, ingredients. Unless the company provides full label disclosure, you’re left in the dark, relying on their confusing nutrient facts label and stellar marketing.
At the end of the day, you have to ask yourself, why is there such thing as prop blends? To hide a company's secret recipe from other brands? No, any other company can easily test a competitor's product and find out exactly how much of every ingredient is really in the product. To reduce the manufacture cost and pull one over on the consumer? YES!
Luckily, there are companies that have taken a stand against using prop blends in the their products and opt for FULL DISCLOSURE of all ingredients. After all, you should KNOW what you are consuming. This is why we fully stand by NUTRABIO as our source for supplements. As consumers we should know we are getting what we pay for in a supplement and one that is going to work.