The notion that eating meat for the benefit of muscle building is an old one. In the classical ages of the Rome and Greece, athletes ate the meat of beasts such as lions, in the hope of becoming strong. As it was understood, what the nutrient of protein actually was, early bodybuilders began to advocate the eating of uncooked beef, for the recuperative benefits. Protein powders were developed in this same time frame, but not for the purpose of bodybuilding. In the late 1930’s, Eugene Schiff, a pharmacist, developed a whey protein powder from milk for human use. Ironically, it took nearly 50 years for this type of protein to become the popular choice.
Around 1950, witnessed the introduction of protein powders for use by bodybuilders, and weight lifters. A company called Kevo, began marketing a product using soy powder. It was Hoffman, however that popularized the use of protein powders, in the iron sports. His product was called Hi-Proteen. This new supplement included soya flour, and milk products, for ingredients. Because of the popularity of his magazine (Strength and Health), and his coaching of the Olympic lifting teams, his product would become the standard. Immediately after introduction, Hoffman didn’t make very much money off his protein concoction. The bodybuilding industry was in a slump because of the Korean war. A few years later the protein powder business was booming, even though Hi-Proteen was notorious for causing hives, and foul gas. Supplements required miniscule cost to produce, compared to dumbbells, and plates. The selling of Hi-Proteen became the primary source of income for Hoffman, in the late 1950’s. With the success of Hi-Proteen, Hoffman introduced variations of his supplement.
Among these were Protein of the Sea, Special Hi-Proteen “Gain Weight”, Hi-Proteen Fudge, Hi-Proteen Instant Broth, and Even Hi-Proteen Geriatric Formula. The supplement came in both tablet and powder form. It is easy to understand why protein supplements are no longer offered in tablet form. Using tablets required that the end user consume up to 60 tablets, total, through out the day. Hoffman also suggested the consumer should allow the tablets to dissolve in the mouth before swallowing (yuck). The powders were typically offered in the traditional flavors of chocolate, and vanilla, but in 1953 some rather odd flavors, offered, including Black Walnut and Coconut.
As would be expected, Weider would not be out done, He introduced his own parallel products, with a just barely changed name, “Hi-Protein.” Hi-Protein, from Weider was made from soy, and it came in both tablet and powder form. Weider also sold a concoction called “Health Drink”, which was 50% protein with the added benefit of “Cold Preventing Vitamins.” If you think these supplements’ promotion is wildly exaggerated. Please check out www.bodybuilding.com’s supplement advertisements. In all honesty today’s supplement advertisements are not all that much different. Wild claims and big margins are typical from the sale of total bunk. Protein is fairly honest compared to the modern placebo and pseudo-drug bodybuilding supplement market.