In today’s world, a healthy lifestyle for many is not just a cliche phrase. More and more people spend their free time in gyms, rather than at home on sofas. As you dive into the topic, beginners have a lot of questions about sports nutrition. We will answer those related to maintaining the quality of sports products for a certain time: the shelf life of the protein, how long protein supplements are stored, the possibility of eating sports nutrition after the expiration date specified by the manufacturers.
Proteins and their sources
Proteins – these are organic substances consisting of amino acids with a complex molecular structure that perform many functions in the body, the main of which is building. There are natural sources of proteins – food, and artificially obtained, but still natural – protein concentrates without ballast carbohydrates and fats. From the concentrates you can get a diluted protein or in other words, a protein shake.
What is sports nutrition used for?
Enhancing endurance and muscle growth cannot be achieved without maintaining the necessary level of free amino acids in the blood. For this, the athlete needs an increased amount of protein, but this can not be achieved by receiving proteins only with meals.
In this case, you will have to eat a lot and often, which is a direct path to digestive upset. That’s when sports nutrition comes to the rescue.
The protein in the supplements is partially broken down, which makes it easier to digest, and amino acids enter the blood faster. Drinking a protein shake made from diluted powder is both cheaper and easier than eating a large piece of meat.
So the usefulness and need for a protein shake for sports lovers are obvious. Supplements allow the athlete to follow a diet without jeopardizing the digestive system, and they are safe for health.
However, it is necessary to remember about the quality and not to forget that the protein has an expiration date and, like any other product, can deteriorate. Therefore, it is imperative to pay attention to what expiration date the manufacturer indicates on the packaging.
Types of supplements
Manufacturers offer the following types of protein sports supplements:
Milk proteins. In fact, this is milk powder, purified from all fats, and with the addition of vitamins. The most popular dairy is whey protein. It is well absorbed and contains a minimal amount of lactose.
Egg proteins. This type is inferior to dairy in demand, although it wins in the rate of assimilation. However, it has a specific taste. The bitterness that is present in egg protein is not to everyone’s taste.
Soy protein-based protein. It is chosen by vegetarians. Also, due to the zero fat content, it is recommended during the so-called cutting period.
Supplements differ both in assimilation time and in application time.
The rules for taking these supplements are simple. A dry portion should be diluted with any liquid – water, milk or juice – and then you drink it. Make sure that the liquid is not hot, as the protein may fold. The daily portion is determined individually. Recommendations and instructions for the use of proteins are indicated by the manufacturer on the package. There it is also indicated how long the product can be stored.
Sealed protein shelf life
How much you can store a sealed protein depends also on the country of origin. Without violating the integrity of the package, protein can be stored in the form of dry mixtures from six months to several years. The standard of the upper limit for the protein of European production is two years, for the American one it is three years. For liquid protein, this norm is one month.
Protein storage after opening
According to researchers from Refrigeratorfaq.com, the shelf life of the protein after opening the package and the contact of the powder with air is significantly reduced and is two to three weeks for a protein made in Europe, and a month for an American one. Long-term storage of an open pack reduces the effectiveness of the product, leading to a loss of useful qualities. It is pointless to take such a supplement.
Opened protein packaging is stored in a dry and dark place at room temperature. Dry mixtures can be stored in the temperature range from + 5 to + 25 degrees Celsius.
Avoid direct sunlight on the packaging and do not store it in the immediate vicinity of heat sources such as heaters or stoves. When moisture gets into the mixture, harmful bacteria begin to multiply, and the protein quickly deteriorates. Eating such a product can lead to poisoning.
Do not leave unsealed packages for a long time – food bugs and their larvae can easily be found in powders then. If you are confused by the unpleasant smell of the mixture or if it has changed color, or the cocktail has a bitter aftertaste – in no case do not use such a product.
Diluted protein shelf life
At room temperature – 3-4 hours, in the refrigerator – 5 hours. To avoid poisoning, prepare it right before using it. The taste of an expired cocktail is unpleasant, and subsequently there may be an unpleasant odor from the mouth.
What to look for when purchasing
In the manufacture of protein supplements, sterility, composition and the content of preservatives in mixtures are of great importance. Therefore, we recommend that you purchase sports nutrition only from well-known manufacturers and only in specialized stores.
When buying, check the tightness of the packaging – the label and film should not be damaged. And pay attention to the indicated expiration date. If the deadline is nearing, it is better not to purchase such a product.
Keep in mind that storing conditions may not meet standard requirements. The popularity and relevance of sports nutrition has led to the appearance of fakes. Externally, a dry protein mixture is difficult to distinguish from ordinary flour, which is what scammers use. At home, the authenticity and naturalness of the protein can be tested with hot water. From the effects of hot water, the real protein coagulates. And do not forget about the property of protein to swell up in water.
Liquid protein storage after opening
Protein whey is supplied in ampoules and bottles. Ampoules are much more practical for use – they are dosed for a one time use, and there is no questions on their storage.
You can store liquid protein in bottles after opening for no more than two weeks in a cool place, avoiding direct sunlight.
Can I use expired protein?
Most connoisseurs are sure that a protein supplement with an expired shelf life of up to 12 months will not do any harm. Only you are also unlikely to get any benefit from it. But the fact remains that the expired protein, or the one on the verge of expiration, is much cheaper, and the demand for it is huge.
It is possible to consume overdue (up to 12 months) protein, but whether it is necessary and good for you is up to you. The dates indicated on the packaging indicate that in the specified period of time the goods will meet the requirements of consumers and in no case will bring harm.
After the expiration date though, the manufacturer is not responsible for the consequences of taking a useless product.
When deciding whether or not to use expired sports nutrition, think that it is just a stale protein product similar to rotten meat or sour milk. What usually happens when eating such foods? The answer is obvious – eating disorders of varying severity.
The use of an overdue product of more than one year is strictly prohibited. Signs of expired protein poisoning include bad taste in the mouth, diarrhea, and flatulence.
Summarizing the above, we can conclude that when deciding on the use of a sports supplement with an expired shelf life, it is necessary to be guided by common sense, putting health first and foremost, which is also why you do sports.