So Fresh and So Clean, Clean…and So Quality

Cleanliness feels right. It’s the feeling of stepping out of the shower after a run that leaves you feeling invincible and loving life. It’s that Saturday morning feeling at the farmer’s market when you score all the best produce. It’s the feeling of sleeping on crisp sheets dried in the sun that still faintly smell of laundry detergent. Cleanliness feels good.

And if we take time and energy to make everything clean on the exterior, we should be equally conscious of cleanliness on the inside. Gnarly has always been clean sports nutrition for every athlete — from Olympic-level rock climbers to weekend warrior hikers and all of us in between. Cleanliness has always been our thing. And now it’s officially our thing. We’re proud to now carry the NSF label on the majority of our products — the truest indicator that our products contain safe and high-quality ingredients.

Decoding the acronym

Soon you’ll start seeing Gnarly products come with the NSF logo or the NSF for Sport logo, but these logos don’t carry weight without understanding what the certification means. In bite-size pieces, here we go: NSF an accredited organization governed by The Public Health and Safety Organization. The goal is simple — transparency between the producer of a consumable product (that’s us) and the consumer (that’s you).

NSF tests a huge range of products, but for us, they’re testing that the ingredients listed on Gnarly products match exactly to the products we’re producing. Our products undergo a toxicology review to certify product formulation. NFS also ensures Gnarly products are free of contaminants like heavy metals, pesticides, herbicides, and mycotoxins. 

But what does NSF stand for? Surprisingly, the answer is nothing. NSF started in 1944 as the National Sanitation Foundation but diversified in 1990 to testing a wide range of consumer products and never changed the name, so the letters no longer really mean anything. The health assurances it provides you, however, holds a lot of weight.

Two certifications — one goal

We have two certifications from NSF — NSF and NSF Certified for Sport. While both have the same seal of assurance that the product has been third-party tested, they come with slightly different testing regulations. The testing for both starts out the same, but NSF Certified for Sport keeps going in the testing process. Those products are tested for over 270 substances that are banned by most major sporting organizations. Banned substances include stuff like stimulants, steroids, narcotics, and diuretics. Major athletic organizations like the NFL and MLB only allow athletes to consume products with NSF for Sport certification.

We took the most popular flavors of our products and put them through this extra level of testing to get NSF Certified for Sport. We support athletes of all levels whether you just bought your first pair of climbing shoes or you’ve qualified for the Olympics. We want our athletes to know there’s nothing harmful hiding in any Gnarly product. NSF Certified for Sport products are tested on a lot-by-lot basis, meaning every batch we produce gets tested.

Why we care

NSF doesn’t mess around with their testing practices for nutritional supplements, and they stand out as an accredited third-party testing facility. While companies can conduct their own in-house testing, third-party testing lets the consumer know testing results have been presented in all honesty. 

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) largely regulates supplements at the manufacturing level, but it’s far from a flawless system. The sheer scale of manufacturers the FDA is responsible for regulating is massive, meaning it’s not capable of inspecting every manufacturing facility. Issues can arise from this lapse in resources. From 2007 to 2016 the FDA found 776 over-the-counter dietary supplements that contained unapproved pharmaceutical ingredients — from steroids to antidepressants.

The responsibility then shifts to the consumer to research product safety. This is where the credibility of NSF testing becomes important. 

Why you should be looking for the NSF label

Countless buzzwords cover the labels of food products these days. With few exceptions, companies can write almost anything they damn well wish on a label. But there’s often nothing at all to back up the label claims. Free-range chickens only need a few inches of access to the outdoors to gain certification, and labeling a product as “natural” or “fresh” could mean anything, really.

We’ve always made clean nutritional products for athletes, but we understand that words can only go so far. Words don’t hold the same weight as scientific data and rigorous testing. Which is why we invested the time and resources into this certification. The NSF label is the trustworthiness we believe Gnarly customers deserve. It’s as honest and transparent as we can get and is exactly what you deserve as an athlete.

You can step out of that refreshing shower after an epicly sweaty workout and crawl into those crisp, clean sheets at night knowing you also feed your body with clean energy. We think you have earned it  cleanliness from the inside out.

Lauren Allain

Lauren Allain

Lauren is a journalist and adventure seeker based in Seattle, Washington. You can find her bouldering, running, and exploring tidepools at the beach.

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