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What Are Protein Supplements?

What Are Protein Supplements?

(Last Updated On: 01/02/2017)

Everybody should know about Protein, if you already don’t. Protein Supplements have taken the athletic world by storm, and most people who take protein, do it based on little or no understanding. In other words ” you just joined the gym and asked somebody what they take, so you’re taking it too”, we are not saying everybody does it but that’s the usual story. If you want to get results for your hard training you will need to understand what to take and when. In general taking any kind of protein will help do to it being so essential to the body, but if you are like most people you’re most likely taking other supplements as well as protein. This guide contains information on every aspect of protein supplementation, including a look at the benefits of using protein supplements, protein supplement timing, and a look at various forms of protein foods used in supplementation. You should always consult a doctor before using any supplements. In this guide you will learn:

>The benefits of using protein supplements, and importance of protein supplement timing.
>About the various forms of protein foods used in supplementation.
>Why proper protein intake plays an essential role in the muscle building process?
>About the thermogenic qualities of protein, and how it heps with fat loss and metabolism.
>How much protein you needed per day?
>Advantages of protein supplements.
>What protein sources are used in protein supplements?
>When to take the various forms of protein powder?
>How to combine protein and carbs for weight gain?
>How to choose the right protein powder, weight gainer, meal replacement and recovery powder?
>What supplements stack well with protein supplements?

Lets Look at the Basics of Protein First

Protein is one of three macronutrients used by the body for energy. In case you don’t know macronutrients are protein, carbs and fats. Protein is a series of amino acids linked together like a chain. The links that hold these amino acids together are known as peptide links. Amino acids are the primary source for nitrogen in the body. Having a positive nitrogen balance is essential for proper muscle growth and recovery. Other the muscle building protein has a number of roles:
>It keeps a balanced PH level in the blood.
>It preserves muscle tissue during dieting or weight cuts.
>It serves as energy source when there are no carbohydrates available.
>It builds and maintain proper hormone levels.
>It is necessary chemical reactions to take place.
>It keeps the body’s immune system functioning properly.
>It regulates the body’s fluid balance.

Proteins Role in Muscle Growth
When you do intense weight training regimen, more muscle tissue then normal is in need of repair. This is the reason why weightlifters and all athletes need more protein. Muscle growth is more taxing on the body’s nitrogen balance then muscle maintenance. Without enough protein, you confuse your body. There are only has so many raw materials to work with, and can’t repair everything it needs to repair. In this scenario, muscle can be lost. In addition, other vital bodily functions can become harmed.
The body is in a constant state of “protein turnover.” Muscle tissue is continuously being repaired and replaced. Frequent protein feedings insure a steady stream of amino acids, and help maintain a proper nitrogen balance. As well as increase in lean muscle mass.

Proteins Role in Fat Loss
You should know by now that it requires more energy to digest protein. Your body has to work 30% harder to digest protein foods then it does to digest and process carbs and fats. For this reason, a high protein diet boosts your metabolism and aids in fat loss.
Proper protein intake is also required for the body to properly mobilize stored fat for energy. If you do not get enough protein, your body will have a harder time drawing on fat stores, and may cannibalize muscle tissue for energy. So next time you are on any sort of diet and you feel weak and tired, you most likely need to eat more protein.

Proteins Role In Recovery
When you workout, two things happen, your muscles are depleted of glycogen, and your muscles are damaged, and are in need of repair. Introducing a steady stream of protein insures a proper nitrogen balance. And a positive nitrogen balance allows your body to be in (muscle repair mode). The faster your muscles repair, the faster you recover. Extra protein is essential, especially for athletes who have frequent workouts, or for athletes who are cutting fat.

What Foods have Plenty of Protein?
Mainly protein food sources include: eggs, cheese, milk, chicken, seafood, fish, poultry, beef, pork, lamb, veal, soy, nuts and legumes. Small amounts of protein can also be found in fatty and starchy foods. Protein food sources can be categorized as Complete & Incomplete.
Complete Protein- food contains all essential amino acids. Animal proteins (meat) are complete protein sources.
Incomplete Proteins- foods such as vegetables, lack several essential amino acids. These lacking amino acids vary from food source to food source.
Although we know what these foods are, the trick is buying them and cooking them, and in the busy world we live in these days it’s all about convenience. That’s where the Protein Supplements come in! Protein supplements are cost effective, and can provide an average serving cost far below that of beef, seafood and even chicken. We will get more into this subject as you read on.

Proteins Role in Your Health
Taking protein has numerous benefits for good health. Below are the main benefits:

Anabolism- Eating protein keeps your body in an anabolic state. In terms of muscle building, “anabolism” refers to the construction, and not destruction of muscle tissue. The opposite of an anabolic state is a catabolic state. Not eating enough protein can cause muscle tissue to be catabolized.
Growth Hormone Regulation- Proper growth hormones levels are essential for good health. Growth hormone contains 190 amino acids. Eating enough protein insures that your body has the necessary building blocks to construct growth hormone. Growth hormone deficiency slows the metabolism, and can lead to lower bone density, muscle loss.
IGF-1- It allows muscle cells to properly respond to growth hormone. IGF-1 contains over 70 amino acids. Without proper protein intake, IGF-1 levels can be lowered, making it harder for your body to utilize available growth hormone.
Metabolism- As we mentioned above, protein requires more energy to process, so inherently it boosts your metabolism. Eating less then ideal amounts of protein also makes it difficult for the body to draw upon fat reserves.
Insulin-Protein helps lower insulin levels in the blood, which is a factor in proper energy regulation.

How much Protein does you Body need?

Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for adults is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. That’s 0.36 grams of protein per pound for those not into metric system. 200 pound person, requires a minimum of 72 grams of protein per day. 150 pound person, requires a minimum of 54 grams of protein per day. Now that’s just for the average person, for those involved with intense exercise, or individuals looking to add muscle mass, should consume at least twice the RDA’s recommended minimums. It is generally advised that bodybuilders eat 1 to 1.5 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight. Another good guideline is to make sure that 20 to 40% of your daily calories come from protein sources. 20 to 40% of Daily Required Calories from Protein Diagram:
>1500 calories – 75 to 150 grams of protein
>2000 calories – 100 to 200 grams of protein
>2500 calories – 125 to 250 grams of protein
>3000 calories – 150 to 300 grams of protein
>3500 calories – 175 to 350 grams of protein
>4000 calories – 200 to 400 grams of protein

Ok Lets Get to the Protein Supplements

Protein Supplements are protein and nutrition sources, and food products, that are utilized to assist bodybuilders and athletes to achieve their desired daily protein intake requirements. Types of protein supplements include protein powders, protein bars, weight gainers and meal replacements.
Protein supplements generally contain more then 20 to 30 grams of protein per serving, and are fortified with vitamins and minerals. Protein supplements also come in numerous flavors, from fruit flavored protein powders, to cookie and cream flavored weight gainers, to peanut butter flavored protein bars.

First Lets Look at Terminology

Isolate- Isolated protein source is one that has been chemically purified to remove most everything other then the actual protein source. Generally isolates are 90%+ pure protein.
Concentrate-Concentrated protein source is not as pure as an isolate, and generally contains 70 to 85% of the protein source. Concentrates contain more fats, carbohydrates, and in the case of whey protein, more lactose.
Blends-Protein blend is a combination of various protein sources and purity levels. A blend can be more cost effective then a pure isolate, and can also offer the benefit of having both fast digesting and slow digesting protein sources.
Amino Acids-are the building blocks of protein. While there are over 100 total amino acids, only 20 amino acids are considered standard. These standard amino acids are separated into two categories: essential and non-essential amino acids. Essential amino acids cannot be created in the human body, and must be obtained from food. Non-essential amino acids can be synthesized, or created, in the human body.
BCAA- Branched chain amino acids, also called BCAA, is a term that refers to a chain of the three essential amino acids leucine, isoleucine and valine. The combination of these 3 essential amino acids make up over one-third the skeletal muscle in the body, and play a vital role in protein synthesis.
Weight Gainers-are high calorie protein powders meant to assist bodybuilders and athletes who are in need of rapid weight gain. They can be used as meals on the go, or in between meals as a means of adding extra daily calories.
Meal Replacements-products are considered to be entire meals in and of themselves. They contain a formulated nutritional and macronutrient blend that provides not only enough protein, but also an appropriate amount of carbs, healthy fats and vitamins and minerals.
Recovery-recovery blend is a protein supplement that contains any number of additional, non-protein supplement products meant to aid in post-workout recovery. These supplements range from creatine to multivitamin and minerals, and larger doses of glutamine and taurine.

Slow Digesting. A slow digesting protein source provides a long term stream of protein and amino acids, meant to assist in keeping a positive nitrogen balance for longer periods of times. A slow digesting protein is a great choice for in between meals.
Fast Digesting- protein source, such as whey protein, acts quickly to help regulate bodily nitrogen levels, especially after periods of fasting. A fast digesting protein is also beneficial as a post-workout protein source.
Energy Bars-provide a quick, healthy and sustained source of energy when you need a pick-me-up in between meals. While an energy bar does contain some protein, in general, it does not contain as much protein as a protein bar.

Where Do Proteins in Supplements come From?

Whey Protein-accounts for 20% of the protein in milk. Whey protein is a by-product in the production of cheese. Initially thought of as just a waste product, whey protein is now the most popular protein supplementation protein source. It has a very high BV rating, and is rich in the muscle-building amino acids leucine, isoleucine, and valine. Whey protein is a fast digesting protein source, and isn’t filling. Whey protein is also low in glutamine and arginine.
Whey Isolate-is a more expensive version of whey protein. It is a higher quality protein source with a higher biological value (BV), and contains less fat and lactose per serving then whey concentrate. Whey isolate generally contains 90 to 98& protein, while whey concentrate contains 70 to 85% protein.
Whey Concentrate-is a more cost-effective member of the whey family. It requires less processing time, but also contains more fat and lactose. Whey concentrate is 70 to 85% protein.
Whey Protein Blends-are specialized protein formulas that contain both whey Isolates and whey concentrates. Whey protein blends are generally more cost effective then whey isolate, and have a higher protein percentage ratio then whey concentrates.
Casein Proteins-account for 80% of the protein in milk. Casein protein is a slow digesting protein that is isolated from milk. It is 92% protein, and has a very “thick” taste. Because of this, it is a very popular protein in weight gainers. Casein protein, although it has a lower BV value then whey, is more efficiently used to build muscle. Because casein protein is used by the body to build muscle, and less is used as a energy source, casein supplementation encourages the body to use carbs and stored fat for energy. Casein is also very high in the popular bodybuilding supplement glutamine.
Egg Albumin-is the egg white. It is popular in bodybuilding circles because of a higher essential to non-essential amino acid ratio, and because egg whites contain less cholesterol then egg yolks. Eggs are often considered the king of natural food proteins because of their high essential amino acids levels. Egg protein is the best alternative for those that are lactose intolerant.
Soy Proteins are high quality, but not as efficient as milk or casein protein, It is a fast digesting protein source that has an average amino acid profile. Because of this, it is not the most desirable protein source for those looking to build muscle.
Soy Protein Isolate-has a greater BV then regular soy protein, meaning that more of it is utilized by the body. But soy protein isolate is of lower quality then soy protein.
Goat Milk Protein-No other protein source has a higher bioavailability then goat milk protein. In addition, goat milk protein is extremely high in BCAA and is 100% lactose free. Its BV rating of 104 is superior to most foods, including eggs, which have a 100 BV.
Wheat Proteins-are healthy and natural alternative to dairy and egg-based proteins. It is lactose and cholesterol free, and is perfect for vegetarian bodybuilders and athletes. Wheat protein is also very high is glutamic acid.
Complete Milk Proteins-are the dried protein from milk, with the carbs and fat removed. Milk protein is nutritious, and contains calcium and high levels of other vitamins and minerals. Complete milk protein contains both whey and casein proteins.

What are the Benefits of Protein Supplements?

Protein Supplements require no refrigeration, and are very portable. They can go where you go, with very little hassle. Most athletes make sure to eat anywhere between 5 to 8 small protein meals each day. Preparing the necessary food for these meals can be extremely time consuming. The primary benefit of using protein supplements is that they require very little “prep” time.
-Another positive is protein supplements can save you money. Beef, salmon and other popular protein food sources can be costly. Protein powders, on the other hand, generally cost less per 30 gram serving. This extra cash in hand can allow you to eat the more expensive protein foods. And if you’re eating to pack on weight, a weight gainer is very economical. Proper protein timing is essential to maximizing muscle gains. Protein supplements provide you with the ability to have a fast digesting or slow digesting protein meal whenever you need it.
-Those looking to add muscle mass, protein supplementation isn’t an option…it’s a requirement. Whether you’re a whey protein addict, or just like to have a protein bar handy just in case, protein supplements are a bodybuilder’s holy grail. Tho they are not only for bodybuilders, hard training athletes need extra protein for energy, to repair muscle, and to insure proper body functioning. For those on a diet protein foods speed up the metabolism, and allow for the proper burning of stored fat. Protein also leaves your feeling more satisfied after a meal. And for those skinny people trying to gain weight protein foods, especially weight gainers, cam add vital calories during times of the day when eating is difficult, but required.

Ideal Times to take Protein Supplements

First Thing In The Morning-Upon waking up, your body is in a fasting condition. You haven’t eaten protein for quite some time, and your body needs a fast digesting protein source to insure that you remain in a positive nitrogen balance. At this time it’s a good idea to use both a fast and slow digesting protein powder. This could be a whey protein drink with a solid protein source such as eggs and cheese, or a whey/casein protein powder mix.A fast digesting protein will quickly place the body into a positive nitrogen balance, and get the day off to a good, muscle building start.
Pre Workout-This meal should consist of a slow digesting protein powder that will keep the body in a positive nitrogen balance as you workout.
Post Workout-This meal should be approached same as you did first thing in the morning. Consume a mixture of fast and slow digesting protein sources to help you recover from the workout, and propel you in a positive nitrogen balance to your next meal.
Between Meals- Regular protein supplement meals and snacks eaten throughout the day should be from slow digesting proteins, such as casein or egg protein. Slow digesting protein in between major meals assures that you will maintain a positive nitrogen balance throughout the day.
Night Time-Having a slow digesting protein supplement before bed maximizes your nitrogen balance while sleeping. Casein protein is a good choice before hitting the sack.
>Morning – Protein shake, whey/casein protein powder blend.
>Mid-Morning – Protein Bar
>Lunch – Protein shake, slow digesting protein source such as casein or egg protein.
>Mid-Afternoon – Protein Bar
>Pre-Workout – Whey protein shake, fast digesting protein source. Waxy maize.
>Workout – Whey protein and waxy maize.
>Post-workout – Protein shake, whey/casein protein powder blend. Waxy maize.
>Before Bed – Protein shake, slow digesting protein source such as casein or egg protein.

Positives of Meal Replacements

Meal Replacements are one of the most underrated and underused supplements on the market. They are much more then just a protein source,they are complete and nutritious meals. Meal replacement bar or shake can contain fast or slow digesting proteins, or protein blends. Before purchasing meal replacements, make sure you are familiar with its protein source. As with protein powders, meal replacements can be taken at various time of the day. It should be noted that some meal replacements are designed to help you during diets, and some are aimed to help you gain weight.
Meal replacements with whey protein and whey blends are best eaten first thing in the morning, as a replacement for breakfast due to fast digestion. Meal replacement shakes or bars with slow digesting, non-whey protein sources are best eaten as replacements for lunch or dinner.
Example for those looking to gain weight:
>Morning – Calorie dense meal replacement bar, or whey protein based weight gainer shake.
>Mid-Morning – Weight gainer shake, slow digesting protein source such as casein or egg protein.
>Lunch – Calorie dense meal replacement bar.
>Mid-Afternoon – Weight gainer shake, slow digesting protein source such as casein or egg protein.
>Pre-Workout – Whey protein shake, fast digesting protein source. Waxy maize.
>Workout – Whey protein and waxy maize.
>Post-workout – Protein shake, whey/casein protein powder blend. Waxy maize.
>Before Bed – Weight gainer shake, slow digesting protein source such as casein or egg protein.

How To Choose a Protein Powder?
Choosing a protein powder can be confusing. There are literally hundreds upon hundreds of protein powder brands, variations, and flavors. Hopefully the following will help you simplify your search a bit.

Good Price or Good Quality?
Generally, lower cost equals a low quality of raw ingredients, and an inferior quality control process. Take time and do your research,usually the more you spend, the more you get for your money. Lower cost equals a low quality of raw ingredients, and an inferior quality control process. A poor manufacturing process can decrease the quality of the finished product, making less of the protein bioavailable. Simply put…you may be flushing money down the drain because inferior protein that isn’t as easily digested.

Whey Protein- Isolate,Blend or Concentrate?

Whey Isolates-are the purest form of whey protein. A whey isolate is 90 to 98% pure protein, and contains very little fat and lactose. Because of this, whey isolate is a good, low calorie protein source for lifters who are watching their weight or trying to cut. Because of its purity, whey isolate protein is also more expensive.
Whey Concentrate- has more fat and lactose then a whey isolate, and is approximately 70 to 85% pure protein. Whey concentrate is less expensive, and higher in calories. Because of these factors, whey concentrate is a better choice for lifters who are bulking or trying to gain weight.
Whey Protein Blend-is a good middle ground whey protein. If want a quality, cost-effective whey protein, and are not cutting or bulking, a whey blend is the best way to go.

Protein for Recovery
Recovery powders are usually taken post-workout. When comparing recovery powders, look for these igredients:
>Waxy Maize- is a rapidly digesting complex carb that can quickly restore glycogen to your depleted muscles.
>Amino Acids- You want your recovery powder to be rich in essential aminos and BCAAs.
>Creatine-Some recovery powders contain creatine, and provide you with more bang for your buck.
>Protein-Although protein is not the prime focus of a recovery powder, some recovery powders contain quite a bit more protein then others.
>Sugars-Some recovery powders are very high in sugar. Keep a close eye on sugar content when comparing products.

What About Taste, Mixability and Aftertaste?

Even tho protein supplements are made with quality ingredients, and manufactured by a reputable company can still be less then desirable. Usually good ingredients don’t always make for the best tasting meal. A good protein supplement also has to have solid intangibles”great taste, quick mixability, and no aftertaste”. One of the best ways of finding out about these protein supplement intangibles is via product reviews, or through forums, usually people in forums will not lie about the quality.

Can I Stack Protein with Other Supplements?

With Creatine-Creatine can add 10 pounds of muscle mass, and up to a 10% strength gain. Creatine uptake can be maximized by taking it with a 1:1 ratio of protein to carbs. Because of this, a creatine and protein stack is extremely beneficial.
With Pre-Workout Supplements-Research has revealed that protein consumption pre-workout can be more important then post-workout protein. One of the best pre-workout approaches you can take is to stack protein, waxy maize and a NO (or pre-workout) drink. This insures that you have the energy and positive nitrogen balance to power through your workout, and the NO and creatine to maximize your efforts.
With Intra-Workout Supplements-Taking whey protein and waxy maize intra-workout helps you to sustain energy and retain a positive nitrogen balance. But more can be done to maximize your workouts. Intraworkout supplements are becoming very popular. Intra-workout supplements often include vitamins C and E, a quality blend of aminos and BCAAs, beta alanine, B vitamins, creatine, glutamine, and arginine.
As Carbohydrates-Whey protein, waxy maize combination is an essential workout stack. Waxy Maize assist the body in delivering and absorbing protein, heightening the potency of whey protein, but it also is a fast digesting complex carbohydrate source that fuels your muscles with much needed glycogen.
With Fat Burners-Looking to cut fat or lose weight, you can’t go wrong with a protein supplement and fat burner stack. Protein is a natural fat burner, requiring more energy to digest and process then carbs and fats. By adding a fat burner to the mix, you will be amplifying the effects of your fat burning efforts.

Below we have listed the best prices to compare from amazon.com and bodybuilding.com which is usually where you can get the best deals.


protein powderOptimum Nutrition 100% Whey Gold Standard 5lbs
Packed with Whey Protein Isolates
Higher Pure Protein Percentage
Fast-Acting HYDROWHEY Whey Peptides
Provides Whey Protein Microfractions
More than 5 grams of BCAAs per serving
Our rating:

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Product DetailsDymatize Nutrition ISO 100 Whey Protein Powder
One 80-ounce jar of chocolate flavored protein shake
1 scoop provides 23 grams of ultra high-quality whey protein
An effective way to build and maintain lean muscle mass
Mixes instantly; no aspartame; low lactose
High in essential amino acids and rich in glutamine peptides
Our rating:

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Product DetailsDymatize Nutrition Elite 12-Hour Protein Powder
Elite XT Extended Release protein is designed to be the ultimate muscle fuel and workout recovery formula. Dymatize determined that no single existing natural protein source was ideal for achieving extended release anabolic effects.
Our rating:

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Product DetailsMuscle Pharm,Combat Powder
Combat delivers 25 grams of the highest quality protein, in a great tasting, easily mixing shake. Combat was formulated specifically for athletes and active individuals to support their bodies’ increased protein demands.
Our rating:


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Product DetailsBSN Syntha-6 Protein Powder, 5 Pound
6 Unique protein sources – medium and slow digesting proteins
Contains no soy protein
5 Grams of fiber per serving
Produces rich, creamy milkshake taste and texture
Promotes muscle protein synthesis and recovery
Our rating:

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Product DetailsNow Foods WHEY PROTEIN
All Natural – No Artificial Ingredients,Microfiltered
Ion-Exchanged,High in Branched Chain Amino Acids
Added Glutamine
All Natural – No Aspartame, No Sucralose, No Acesulfame-K
Mixes Easily and Tastes Great
Our rating:

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Product DetailsOptimum Nutrition Platinum Hydro Whey
Made with Advanced Hydrolyzed Whey Protein Isolates for Faster Delivery
30 Grams of Ultra-Pure Protein per Serving
Nearly 9 Grams of Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine (BCAAs)
No Lactose, Cholesterol, or Sugar
Contains Digestive Enzymes for Enhanced Utilization
Our rating:

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elite caseinElite Casein 4lbs
Elite Casein provides 24 grams of slow-digesting casein protein per serving. Casein is specifically designed to digest more slowly in your body than other rapid release protein sources such as whey. Provides 50% of the RDA of calcium
Our rating:

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Product DetailsOptimum Nutrition 100% Casein Protein
Best-Selling Micellar Casein
75% Protein by Weight (24G of Protein per 32G Serving Size)
24 Grams of Slow-Digesting Micellar Casein per Serving
Over 5 Grams of BCAAs (Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine) per Serving
Nearly 5 Grams of Glutamine & Glutamic Acid in Every Scoop
Our rating:

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Product DetailsMusclePharm Casein Core Series.
In the protein world, casein is a specialized protein that needs to be utilized correctly in order to be effective
As a slow-digesting nutrient, it can work at night while you are asleep
Take before bed, and it nourishes your muscles after you’ve called it a day.
Our rating:

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Product DetailsOptimum Nutrition 100% Egg Protein
24 Grams of Egg White Protein per Serving
The Nutritional Equivalent of 7 Egg Whites in Each Scoop
Complete Profile of Essential Amino Acids, BCAAs, and Glutamic Acid
Contains Aminogen® for Enhanced Protein Absorption
No Lactose, Sugar, or Saturated Fats
Our rating:

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Product DetailsOptimum 100% Soy Protein, 2 lb
25g of Soy Protein per Serving
Provides all eight essential amino acids (EAAs)
Nearly 2g of Arginine per Serving
Contains Naturally-Occurring Isoflavones
Lactose-free & Cholesterol-free
Our rating:

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