New Guideline Will Help Consumers Compare Protein in Supplements and Foods

Health-conscious consumers will be able to easily and accurately compare protein levels in foods and dietary supplements under new industry guidance issued by two leading supplement associations.

The protein calculation guidance issued by the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) and the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) provide manufacturers and marketers with a standard method to calculate the amount of protein to be declared in nutrition labeling. Current Food and Drug Administration (FDA) labeling regulations specify that the amount of protein on product labels be calculated as a factor of nitrogen content, but FDA does not stipulate which sources of nitrogen should be included in the calculation. As a result, some companies included sources of nitrogen that other companies exclude. This can make it more complicated for consumers to compare protein levels in different products on an apples to apples basis.

To ensure consumers have consistent information to make informed purchasing decisions, AHPA and CRN issued industry guidance establishing that protein calculations should include proteins that are chains of amino acids connected by peptide bonds and exclude non-protein, nitrogen-containing substances.

“Consumers are becoming more aware about adding protein to their diets, and CRN’s members want to be sure their customers have accurate information about actual protein content so they can make smarter decisions and compare products,” said CRN President and CEO Steve Mister. “These new guidelines assure that other nitrogen-containing ingredients don’t get included in the protein count.”

The guidelines are a collaborative and proactive effort by the sports supplement industry to better serve the needs of consumers. The two trade associations worked cooperatively to develop this standard in order to provide consistency between the guidelines and make it easier for more companies in the industry to voluntarily adhere to the recommendations. Many AHPA and CRN members already use this standard and the associations are encouraging every company in the sports supplement industry to adopt this voluntary standard.

“This guidance highlights the industry’s ability to identify an issue and collaborate to develop an effective solution,” said AHPA President Michael McGuffin. “Members of AHPA’s Sports Nutrition Committee have committed to adopting this guidance to help ensure food and supplement labels provide consumers with comparable information needed to make informed purchasing decisions.” WF

Haley Chitty, is the director of communications at the American Herbal Products Association,

Posted April 30, 2014