New DelhiIs building rock-solid abs and biceps, and that enviable set of pecs a herculean task? The protein-fuelled, chiselled hunks at the gym might agree. You know what else is equally tough? Finding suitable and authentic supplements to meet their protein requirements? Fake body-building supplements are on the rise in the country like never before, courtesy India’s widespread grey market. This not only means that the thousands of rupees you body-building enthusiasts are shelling out on protein powders might be going waste, there are health hazards too. So, how to tell the real from fakes? Just follow our quick guide, so you sweat it out in your workouts and not in finding the right protein supplement, if at all you need it.When do you need to buy protein powder?Istock1)When you want to boost your muscle mass and require aid in quick muscle recovery.2)For weight loss. Contrary to popular belief, consuming protein increases the feeling of satiety, it prevents one from overeating.3)For boosting overall health. It lowers cholesterol, blood pressure and increases immunity.How much should one consume in a day?The recommended consumption of protein is 0.8 gm for every 1kg. This means that if a person weighs 90kg, then the requirement of protein would be around 75-80 gm per day. But this only applies if you’re not working out. It is obvious that if you’re working out, your protein intake doubles as it is required to help in muscle recovery. However, the question you need to ask yourself is: Are you able to the get required protein as per your weight through your diet? If not, then you should go for the protein supplement. Limit your protein intake to 0.8 to 1.25 gm per 0.4 kg of body weight per day if you are trying to gain muscle mass and decrease body fat percentage. To ensure smooth functioning of the kidneys, drink 6 to 8 glasses of water per day.How can you check if your supplement is fake or not?Istock1)The logo test: One can’t import or distribute supplements unless they have a license to do so. And this license number should always be there on the supplement. Very few distributors have the license to sell supplements in India. The license is a sticker on the supplement containing vital information such as the date of manufacture, import date, rate etc. You can also check the authenticity of the distributor by checking the list of Authorized Supplement Dealers in India at https://www.strengthupgrade.com/authorised-supplement-dealers-in-india/.“Always buy directly from the company or authorised dealers. Avoid using the services of a middleman for such products. All products have a unique identification number along with the expiry date, which can be scanned,” suggests fitness expert Jinnie Gogia Chugh.2)The seal test: If there is no seal on your supplement container then it’s a fake. Also check the seal on the inner side of the lid — the fake ones are loosely sealed and are of poor quality. If the product is authentic, the seal on the bottle should have proper edges and should be uniformly attached. Seals usually have the brand name endorsed on them, if it is plain there’s a chance you’re holding a fake product.3)The mixing test: Add a scoop of your protein powder to some water at normal temperature. Now, shake in a shaker for 30 seconds. If you notice any lumps, clumps or residue, your supplement is fake.“No good protein will cost less than Rs 2,500 for a 1kg pack. Earlier all proteins used to form lumps. But now all companies are very particular about taste and the mixing ability of the protein. Also, the nutritional content of the fake supplement will not be same as the original one as you can compare on the product’s website,” says fitness expert Ashish Gupta.4)The taste test: Always read reviews of the supplement on various bodybuilding forums online, before finalising on the one. Read up about what it would taste like. If the taste doesn’t match, you know you’ve bought a fake. Also, if you have used the same brand before, but get a different taste this time around, again your supplement is not authentic. Unless, the change came from the manufacturer, and that’s something you must enquire.5)The barcode/QR code test: The bar code and the QR code should provide the correct URL link to the product information. You can also use the QR scanner in your phone to get the correct product details.“It’s important to do your research about the product before purchasing it. Avoid buying from anyone in the gym. The barcode/QR code test is a safe way to determine its authenticity,” says fitness expert Amaresh Ojha.6)The MRP sticker test: Lastly, do remember that even fake products have a fake sticker for the MRP on the container. If you notice anything off about the sticker, you can assume it’s fake.Go ahead and make a wise choice, you guys!