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Protein Supplements: Are You Getting Ripped Off?

Being a modern human is glamorous, isn’t it? Day to day, we juggle full-time work, family responsibilities, and (hopefully) social lives, all while desperately trying to grasp that elusive thing called “good health.”

Suffice it to say, we’re spread a little thin.

As a result, most of us don’t have the time or energy for wellness-related research and strategy. We end up listening to health influencers and self-proclaimed TikTok doctors because that information is accessible and entertaining as heck.

And then, once you’re ensnared by the sales loops of the wellness industry, it’s hard to get out.

Thankfully, we have Dr. Neal — holistic health hero and notorious loudmouth — to turn to when times get tough. With 20+ years of clinical practice under his belt, he’s always ready to drop some truth bombs on us and today is no different.

The wallet-friendly, industry-insider secret we’ll be revealing in the coming paragraphs might just make you think twice about buying a cheap protein supplement — and not just because of how they’re (over)processed. There is a little math involved, but don’t worry, it’s nothing you can’t do on your phone during your lunch break.

In This Article:

What is Protein Yield and Why Should You Care?

Let’s get one thing straight before we dive into the protein yield formula: You probably need a protein supplement.

Why? First, our bodies only produce a handful of the amino acids we desperately need to thrive, so we have to outsource the rest from protein-rich food and supplements.

Secondly, protein and the amino acid compounds it contains play a vital role in multiple body systems — including skin and muscle repair, brain functioning, and mental health. (Many of the brain’s neurotransmitters are actually made from amino acids which is pretty neat, right?)

And thirdly, most Americans are just barely hitting the threshold of recommended daily intake for protein.

Learn More: 5 Crucial Nutrients (Almost) All of Us Are Lacking

So, you need a protein supplement, but you don’t want to waste money or time on overprocessed and over-hyped crap. (Or at least we’re assuming you don’t… If you do, feel free to just close this blog.)

Hence, Dr. Neal’s boat-rocking, money-saving protein yield formula.

Why Should You Care About Protein Yield?

Whether you’re considering a plant-based protein supplement or animal-based choices like whey or collagen (our top rec btw), protein yield should be on your radar.

If it’s not, your protein supplementation process will be more like the infamous cinnamon challenge than anything else. (Remember that viral trend where people tried to swallow spoonfuls of dry cinnamon and ended up regretting it? Gross.)

You shouldn’t have to take scoop after scoop to hit your recommended daily intake, but because many protein supplements are overprocessed and spiked with isolated, undigestible amino acids, a lot of people do.

Which leads to regret, albeit not cinnamon-flavored.

So, protein yield refers to the amount of protein you’re actually getting, and knowing this formula will keep you from wasting time and money on a low-quality supplement.

Learn More: Choosing the Right Protein Supplement: 5 Questions to Ask

How Much Protein Do You Actually Need?

Before you dive into the magical equations that will reveal the truth about your protein supplement, you should know how much protein you actually need.

Thankfully, unless you’re training for the Olympics,  your daily protein recommendations are pretty straightforward. 

First, open your calculator app. Take your weight in pounds (yes, those occasionally irksome numbers you see when you step on the scale) and divide it by 2.2. 

  • Protein Intake Formula: Your weight in pounds / 2.2 = Your weight in kilograms

Voila! Your weight in kilograms is what you should be aiming for in grams of protein per day. Simple, right?

Determining Protein Yield

Once you know how much protein you need per day, your next step on this mathematical journey is choosing the right protein supplement for you. (Again, we recommend collagen peptides to get the most bang for your buck and your body, but that’s just our highly informed opinion.)

Above all, remember that it’s not about the size of the bottle, it’s about the yield.

  • Protein Yield = Amount of Protein in a Serving / Size of a Serving

For the first part of this money-saving adventure, take the amount of protein in one serving of your supplement, and divide it by the size of the serving.

The lower the number, the more fluff per scoop.

Dr. Neal Smoller

Our collagen peptides supplement contains 18g of protein per 20g serving. Not to brag, but that evens out to 9/10, or roughly 90% protein yield. (And for our vegan friends, the Complete Plant Protein blend has an almost record-breaking yield for plant-based options: 76%!)

Any-whey, onto the next step: Determining the cost per gram. 

  • Cost Per Gram = Cost of the Protein Supplement / Grams of Protein in the Supplement

Ideally, you be hitting 10 cents or less per gram. Otherwise, you’re paying too much — plain and simple. Here’s how our two favorite protein supplement options stack up (because we always try to walk the walk, too):

What Else Should You Consider When Buying a Protein Supplement?

Unfortunately, protein yield isn’t the only thing you need to worry about with supplements and powders. The wellness industry is like the Wild West in that way, with few regulations and even fewer standards.

Keep these 7 tips in mind before you go handing over your hard-earned cash for a subpar supplement:

  1. Sustainability: Why? The industrialized refinement process, and all the ick that comes with it, can wreak havoc on the plants and animals of our planet.
  2. Processing: Buy minimally processed protein supplements to get the best absorption and avoid nutritionally bankrupt bunk.
  3. Fillers: Watch out for artificial coloring and sweeteners that can turn your smoothie into a neon rainbow of endocrine disruption.
  4. Contaminants: Heavy metals? Synthetic hormones? No thanks. Buy from companies that prioritize rigorous testing and source from well-loved animals. (Or plants!)
  5. Sodium: Especially if you’re watching your sodium intake, keep an eye on the salt levels in your protein supplement.
  6. Caffeine: This ingredient might be popular, but it isn’t for everyone. Try getting energized without the caffeine crash.
  7. Steroids and Testosterone: Yeah, seriously. Choose products from reputable brands that adhere to strict manufacturing standards to avoid unethical add-ins like these.

Put the Pro in Protein

If you’ve been hanging around this corner of the wellness world for a while, you probably already know that collagen peptides are our go-to for protein supplements. But hey, we get it — maybe you want to explore other options and shake things up a bit. 

At least now you’re armed with the life-changing knowledge of protein yield, so you won’t get ripped off if you decide to venture into uncharted supplement territory!

Whether you go the collagen route or decide to branch out, we’re here to help. Hop on a free Counterside Consult any time you have supplement-related questions that need personalized answers from experts. 


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