View Poll Results: Do you count BCAA calories?

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  • Yes, I count them.

    26 38.81%
  • No, I don't count them.

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  1. #1
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    Do you count BCAA calories?

    Technically, since BCAA's like Xtend aren't complete proteins, the FDA says that supplement companies don't have to list nutrition facts or calories. However, BCAA's are protein-derived, can be counted toward daily protein macros, and, most importantly, provide energy/calories same as protein (4 calories per gram). This topic has been covered heavily in other forums on this site and other sites with the verdict being "count them if you want to", but I'm curious whether the people here trying to cut are counting them. Personally, I drink 10 scoops of Xtend every day, and at 20 calories per scoop (per science, not the FDA) I have to count them... an additional 200 calories daily would effect my cut almost a half-pound per week.
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    It's actually much less than 20 cals per scoop. There was a whole thread about it where the guy from Scivation gave his input, i'll try to find it.

    Found it.

    It's not just the guy from Scivation, there's a lot of back and forth in this thread about it.

    http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=6147411
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    Originally Posted by frank112 View Post
    It's actually much less than 20 cals per scoop. There was a whole thread about it where the guy from Scivation gave his input, i'll try to find it.
    The guy from Scivation is trying to sell product, so of course he's going to want to make it low/zero calorie. When Xtend was first released years ago, it was listed as 20 calories and 5 grams of protein per scoop... it didn't become zero calorie until Scivation realized the FDA didn't require BCAA's to be counted as protein. Further, some other manufacturers of BCAA supplements still sell it with protein/calorie content listed.
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    Considering that BCAAs are 4kcal/gram, yeah you should count them if you waste your money on them. BCAAs are a crock of sh^t, boggles my mind how the supplement industry manages to still convince people they need them. If you're eating enough dietary protein in the form of whole food (or hell even protein powder supplements), all you're doing with BCAAs is wasting a ton of money on tasteless calories.

    BCAA = branch chain amino acids

    Dietary protein = linked amino acids; that our body quite easily breaks down into the necessary amino acid components.

    Your poll should have included a 3rd option: "No, because I don't waste my money on horsecrap"
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    Originally Posted by msm00b View Post
    Considering that BCAAs are 4kcal/gram, yeah you should count them if you waste your money on them. BCAAs are a crock of sh^t, boggles my mind how the supplement industry manages to still convince people they need them. If you're eating enough dietary protein in the form of whole food (or hell even protein powder supplements), all you're doing with BCAAs is wasting a ton of money on tasteless calories.

    BCAA = branch chain amino acids

    Dietary protein = linked amino acids; that our body quite easily breaks down into the necessary amino acid components.

    Your poll should have included a 3rd option: "No, because I don't waste my money on horsecrap"
    I think Layne goes into BCAA's starting on page 48. He definitely thinks that free form BCAA's are quite important.
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    Originally Posted by msm00b View Post
    Your poll should have included a 3rd option: "No, because I don't waste my money on horsecrap"
    It makes bad tap water taste good for the same price as bottled water, and I can count it toward my daily protein intake. If my tap water tasted better, I wouldn't drink it.
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    Originally Posted by frank112 View Post
    I think Layne goes into BCAA's starting on page 48. He definitely thinks that free form BCAA's are quite important.
    The notion that our bodies require synthetically "predigested" protein components to function and optimally thrive is laughable ... and I don't really care who the source is. If Jesus Christ himself descended from on high and told me that BCAAs would improve my performance in the gym, I'd give him the bird. I'm sorry, but it just doesn't make good evolutionary or biochemical sense. The question shouldn't be whether BCAAs are beneficial, but whether they're preferentially better than their whole food counterparts - and to that I'd say that there probably isn't much a difference. The "in vogue" nutrition information in the sports and bodybuilding community is a fickle beast - advice and whims are constantly changing - and usually that change is spear-headed by an industry looking to make a profit.

    Originally Posted by Drukqs View Post
    It makes bad tap water taste good for the same price as bottled water, and I can count it toward my daily protein intake. If my tap water tasted better, I wouldn't drink it.
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    Originally Posted by msm00b View Post
    The notion that our bodies require synthetically "predigested" protein components to function and optimally thrive is laughable ... and I don't really care who the source is. If Jesus Christ himself descended from on high and told me that BCAAs would improve my performance in the gym, I'd give him the bird.
    I don't believe he is saying either. I believe his point is referring to the absorbtion and utilization rates of free form BCAA's vs. the ones found in whey and they optimize protein synthesis.

    But regardless of that, I think the biggest benefit would be the fact that you can supplement your protein intake with minimal cals - less than even whey can give you.

    When you come down to it nothing is required but a solid diet and routine.
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    Originally Posted by frank112 View Post
    I don't believe he is saying either. I believe his point is referring to the absorbtion and utilization rates of free form BCAA's vs. the ones found in whey and they optimize protein synthesis.
    Which gets down to that whole issue of "how important is timing of macronutrients". I could care less if it takes the protein I eat 2-3 hours longer to reach peak levels in the bloodstream post workout. I doubt anyone will ever do a double-blinded study lookig at the efficacy of immediate PWO BCAA consumption vs equivalent total protein in the form of normal dietary foods - likely because there would be no money in it. My guess is that the results would be a wash, functionally equivalent; and then the supplement industry would have blown millions on a study showing the irrelevance of their product. It's better to rely on half-science conjecture to peddle products to the masses - and find a guy who's reasonably smart and in great shape to be your show horse.

    But regardless of that, I think the biggest benefit would be the fact that you can supplement your protein intake with minimal cals - less than even whey can give you.
    The whey I buy is 30gms and 130 calories per scoop. A whopping 1 gram of fat per scoop. Considering that it's significantly cheaper - I fail to see the problem. Even then, I'd rather eat whole food; but it's much more time consuming in the mornings and I'm usually dashing out the door for work shortly after waking.

    When you come down to it nothing is required but a solid diet and routine.
    Exactly, but this is my beef with BCAAs. They aren't marketted as an adjunct to professional bodybuilders looking to minimize/maximize an already highly trained state. There's no money in that. They're marketed to Joe Blow off the street who doesn't know any better and who hasn't done the most important steps. It's a shame ... I see gym rats all the time sitting there sipping their BCAAs while they work out; gawking at the fact that I not only don't take BCAAs, but that I have the gall to walk around without a 1 gallon milk jug full of water.
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    Originally Posted by msm00b View Post
    Considering that BCAAs are 4kcal/gram, yeah you should count them if you waste your money on them. BCAAs are a crock of sh^t, boggles my mind how the supplement industry manages to still convince people they need them. If you're eating enough dietary protein in the form of whole food (or hell even protein powder supplements), all you're doing with BCAAs is wasting a ton of money on tasteless calories.

    BCAA = branch chain amino acids

    Dietary protein = linked amino acids; that our body quite easily breaks down into the necessary amino acid components.

    Your poll should have included a 3rd option: "No, because I don't waste my money on horsecrap"
    Couldn't agree more with this.

    As for counting them, you gotta count everything you put in your body. I even count the teaspoon of butter I use on the pan when I cook my eggs that I really just use to keep them from sticking. Little things like this can really add up and wreck your diet. If it goes in your mouth (with the exception of water), count it.
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    Originally Posted by XPLifter View Post
    Couldn't agree more with this.

    As for counting them, you gotta count everything you put in your body. I even count the teaspoon of butter I use on the pan when I cook my eggs that I really just use to keep them from sticking. Little things like this can really add up and wreck your diet. If it goes in your mouth (with the exception of water), count it.
    Obviously you should count everything you eat that has nutritional value (I assume you use the FDA's label like everyone else). The point I'm trying to make it that per the FDA, BCAA's don't have any nutritional value, and therefore almost all BCAA products don't list nutritional information and claim that the product has no calories. Anyone that didn't know the science behind BCAA's wouldn't know better than to assume the FDA & supplement maker were right.
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    I dont take BCAA's, but if Jesus descended from Heaven and one of his orders of business was to suggest I take them, I'd buy a bottle. The dude's aminos were in good enough shape for a resurrection 3 days after he died, he must have a pretty good idea of what he's talkin about.
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    Though a tired topic, still a good topic and discussion nonetheless.

    While i respect msm00b and all the knowledge he brings to these boards, I have to disagree that they are totally worthless. But, I do agree with him in the fact that most average "Joe Blows" misuse apply it. If used for the right reasons, it has value. If used for the wrong reasons, then yes, its worthless.

    BCAA's do not work magic. They won't magically make muscles get bigger than if you didnt drink them. They don't burn fat either like the xtend package says.

    With that being said, they are invaluable to me for a few reasons:
    1) They are worth their weight in gold when I work out fasted. I love to work out fasted, but some days it can be a bit of a challenge to muster up the energy. Esp those days when i'm cycling off of PWO's. Three-four scoops of Xtend before and during training after I fasted for the previous 16 hours is priceless. Sure I could take whey, but I drink enough of that as it is, and I like that Xtend doesnt add any fat or carbs to my macros. It also is a lot lighter on my stomach vs. a full whey shake.

    2) While i'm cutting, and I get a sweettooth, i reach for my xtend. Obviously there are tons of other low calorie options that could fix this, but what else could add zero carbs and zero fat while still upping my total protein for the day?

    3) I hate broscience. A lot. I am one of the the most anti-broscience guys you will ever meet. But something about breaking my fast with xtend, or in between meals just makes me feel better about what i'm doing, and helps me stay focused on what i'm doing. Basically, a huge placebo effect. But....it works for me. It helps me adhere to my plan.

    Now, when i start bulking this fall, the xtend will be put aside until my next cut phase.

    With all that being said, in reality, its just a tool I use that helps me adhere to my cutting phase. Its no magic and assuming i did everything else the same, i could drop it from my routine and look just the same at the end.


    And to answer the OP, i count them, sort of. I dont add them to my actual calorie log, but my calorie goal is 50 calories lower than it should be because i know i'm going to drink on average 2-3 scoops a day. Some days i will drink 5 or 6, and some days I will drink none. So, it comes out in a wash for me.
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    Originally Posted by msm00b View Post
    Considering that BCAAs are 4kcal/gram, yeah you should count them if you waste your money on them. BCAAs are a crock of sh^t, boggles my mind how the supplement industry manages to still convince people they need them. If you're eating enough dietary protein in the form of whole food (or hell even protein powder supplements), all you're doing with BCAAs is wasting a ton of money on tasteless calories.

    BCAA = branch chain amino acids

    Dietary protein = linked amino acids; that our body quite easily breaks down into the necessary amino acid components.

    Your poll should have included a 3rd option: "No, because I don't waste my money on horsecrap"
    This.

    SAVE YOUR MONEY! If you have some extra money spend it on some steak (or other good, high protein foods like milk, eggs, liver, yogurt, etc), not on the latest fad - no matter how enticing the advertising is. Some supplements, such as vitamins, minerals, protein powder, desiccated liver and perhaps creatine are worthwhile and convenient, but they don't perform miracles.
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    Originally Posted by fad3d View Post
    I dont take BCAA's, but if Jesus descended from Heaven and one of his orders of business was to suggest I take them, I'd buy a bottle. The dude's aminos were in good enough shape for a resurrection 3 days after he died, he must have a pretty good idea of what he's talkin about.
    Broscience!! Everyone knows zombie resurrection comes from eating carbs after 6pm not protein!!
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    Originally Posted by Innerpeace32 View Post
    This.

    SAVE YOUR MONEY! If you have some extra money spend it on some steak (or other good, high protein foods like milk, eggs, liver, yogurt, etc), not on the latest fad - no matter how enticing the advertising is. Some supplements, such as vitamins, minerals, protein powder, desiccated liver and perhaps creatine are worthwhile and convenient, but they don't perform miracles.
    I dont ever understand this save money thing.

    I buy a tub of xtend for $16 and it will last me almost 20 days.

    That is around $.50 a serving.

    Sure, if you buy it from the three letter devil, you will pay $30 for the same thing, and yes, i agree that is too much.
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    Originally Posted by buckiaj View Post
    I dont ever understand this save money thing.

    I buy a tub of xtend for $16 and it will last me almost 20 days.

    That is around $.50 a serving.

    Sure, if you buy it from the three letter devil, you will pay $30 for the same thing, and yes, i agree that is too much.
    How many grams of protein is in each serving of your BCAAs? 10?

    -For 16 bucks I buy 26 servings of 30 grams of whole whey protein. (Each serving also ironically has 5.5gms of raw BCAAS)
    -For 10 bucks I can buy 8 servings of precooked fajita meat - 20 grams of good dietary protein per serving.
    -If I bothered to go to the meat market I could buy twice as much raw meat (flank steak) as the above and make my own fajita meat for the same 10 bucks.

    Point is that your 50 cents per serving could buy you significantly more dietary protein - whole food - that you can EAT, and I seriously doubt there will be much in the way of solid evidence to prove the superiority of BCAAs over whole food nutrition.
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    Originally Posted by msm00b View Post
    How many grams of protein is in each serving of your BCAAs? 10?

    -For 16 bucks I buy 26 servings of 30 grams of whole whey protein. (Each serving also ironically has 5.5gms of raw BCAAS)
    -For 10 bucks I can buy 8 servings of precooked fajita meat - 20 grams of good dietary protein per serving.
    -If I bothered to go to the meat market I could buy twice as much raw meat (flank steak) as the above and make my own fajita meat for the same 10 bucks.

    Point is that your 50 cents per serving could buy you significantly more dietary protein - whole food - that you can EAT, and I seriously doubt there will be much in the way of solid evidence to prove the superiority of BCAAs over whole food nutrition.
    Agreed if i'm talking about replacing food with BCAA's. But i don't.

    I eat enough damn food as it is and drink enough whey as it is. BCAA's taste good to me, and for $16 they add a little more omph to my daily protein intake without much thought.
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  19. #19
    Registered User Mulligan828's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by buckiaj View Post
    Agreed if i'm talking about replacing food with BCAA's. But i don't.

    I eat enough damn food as it is and drink enough whey as it is. BCAA's taste good to me, and for $16 they add a little more omph to my daily protein intake without much thought.
    I'm reading all this and it's still boggling me and I'm STILL debating with whether or not to start supplementing my protein with BCAAs...And I wonder what the caloric truth really is..BUT I have to say that I've been putting it off because you CAN get way more for your money considering that you'll get to eat more, since food has bulk and shakes or drinks do not. I love to eat and find it really hard to cut cals in general, but it's even harder to get adequate protein for the type of workouts I put my body through at least 5 days a week. So with that said, I feel like it's extremely hard for me not to send my body into cannibalization since there's no way I can eat that much protein without having fat or carbs with it (increasing my caloric intake). I can't eat 1g/body weight, I just can't! I've tried for months and I don't like eating that much meat and I'm really not a fan of the shakes! I can only stand to drink that stuff (whether its plant based protein, whey or whatever, I've tried them all) twice per day. Also, I started working out in the mornings and I find if I have nothing, my workout suffers and if I eat OR drink a shake I feel sick because I don't have the time to wait around and digest before my workout. So, I think I'm gonna do it for that reason.. Make sense? I think it's more for people like me
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    Originally Posted by Mulligan828 View Post
    I'm reading all this and it's still boggling me and I'm STILL debating with whether or not to start supplementing my protein with BCAAs...And I wonder what the caloric truth really is..BUT I have to say that I've been putting it off because you CAN get way more for your money considering that you'll get to eat more, since food has bulk and shakes or drinks do not. I love to eat and find it really hard to cut cals in general, but it's even harder to get adequate protein for the type of workouts I put my body through at least 5 days a week. So with that said, I feel like it's extremely hard for me not to send my body into cannibalization since there's no way I can eat that much protein without having fat or carbs with it (increasing my caloric intake). I can't eat 1g/body weight, I just can't! I've tried for months and I don't like eating that much meat and I'm really not a fan of the shakes! I can only stand to drink that stuff (whether its plant based protein, whey or whatever, I've tried them all) twice per day. Also, I started working out in the mornings and I find if I have nothing, my workout suffers and if I eat OR drink a shake I feel sick because I don't have the time to wait around and digest before my workout. So, I think I'm gonna do it for that reason.. Make sense? I think it's more for people like me
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    I feel freaking fantastic drinking BCAAs. So to say they're a huge waste of money which people try and tell me is pointless. I am worried they might be slowing down weight loss but to me it's like getting a stimulant like ginger, spearmint and tulsi. Not many people are in tuned enough with their bodies to feel the effects of non caffeinated tea and non caffeinated tea costs tons of money but I'd still buy it because it's awesome. Never was a fan of pre-workout and people think it's a miracle drink.

    Just because you can save money by buying caffeine pills doesn't mean making coffee in the morning is pointless.

    People need to stop calling people idiots just because they learned something new today and the guy next to them hasn't yet.
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    Originally Posted by bstatic View Post
    I feel freaking fantastic drinking BCAAs. So to say they're a huge waste of money which people try and tell me is pointless. I am worried they might be slowing down weight loss but to me it's like getting a stimulant like ginger, spearmint and tulsi. Not many people are in tuned enough with their bodies to feel the effects of non caffeinated tea and non caffeinated tea costs tons of money but I'd still buy it because it's awesome. Never was a fan of pre-workout and people think it's a miracle drink.

    Just because you can save money by buying caffeine pills doesn't mean making coffee in the morning is pointless.

    People need to stop calling people idiots just because they learned something new today and the guy next to them hasn't yet.
    1. This thread is 8+ years old.
    2. BCAAs are pointless given adequate protein intake
    3. Caffeine = caffeine
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