by Matt Weik
It should come as no surprise that marketing of products is slowly getting out of hand nowadays. Brands make some rather unusual calls for labels and marketing materials, and make the naïve believe that products with added protein are high in protein, as the label claims. But not so fast. Although they have added protein to many products, it is a glorified, unhealthy product. Many protein bars fit the bill. It's just a glorified candy bar.
Look, a jerk is a jerk, regardless of whether you add chocolate or protein to describe it as high in protein. There are so many things in my mind on this subject that we need to talk about right away.
Just because it contains a lot of protein, it is still not a good choice
Protein biscuits, protein brownies, protein bars, protein donuts, protein ice cream, protein popcorn … the list goes on and on. Many consider these products as functional foods. For me, this is a kind of track. Let me explain.
If you look at some of the products on the market today that are high in protein, you will need to look more closely at the ingredients. Although the product may be high in protein (or at least I can tell you from the breakdown of the labels, which I will discuss later), all other macros can be astronomical.
As an example, let's use the new AllMax Nutrition Hexapro Protein Popcorn (I do not want to pick it, but its product is the perfect example of what I'm explaining). Many will look at the packaging, understand that it is popcorn with added protein, wipe the drool from the side of their mouth and shout, "Shut up and take my money!" And they have the right to do it – damn it, the popcorn, as it says to the packaging looks delicious. But if you turn it around and look at the label, I think the wheels fall off.
For starters, if you grab a bag of popcorn, we all know damn well that nobody will pay attention to the portion size. AllMax popcorn has four servings per pack. Sorry, I'm a little bit careful. This whole bag will be demolished in one session – let's be real. But hey, if you have self restraint, it is good for you if you can drop the bag after opening it.
Each serving of this high-protein popcorn contains 250 calories, 12 grams of fat, 29 grams of carbohydrates, 15 grams of sugar and 10 grams of protein. If you consume the whole bag, you will receive 1,000 calories, 48 grams of fat, 116 grams of carbohydrates, 60 grams of sugar and 40 grams of protein. Now I do not want to choose AllMax because it's all about giving consumers a "healthy" snack. The problem is that it is not. The packaging says that it contains 40 grams of protein, but not that you probably consume half of the recommended calories a day when you consume the entire bag, just to get the 40 grams of protein that they are contained in the product Front side of the packaging to see.
40 grams of protein, 1,000 calories and a ton of sugar, carbohydrates and fats are not exactly my idea of a good time. If I wanted 40g of protein and some popcorn, I'd drink a protein shake that would give me 40g of protein and less than 300 calories, with no carbs and sugar. AND THEN I make a bag of Orville Redenbacher's Movie Theater Butter Popcorn (the good, unhealthy stuff loaded with butter) and eat it for 200 calories, 12 grams of fat, 23 grams of carbs, 0 grams of sugar and 3 grams of protein. Do you see where I'm going with it? Just because someone claims to be healthier or healthier to you does not mean it is.
With my method of extracting 40 grams of protein and making my own popcorn, I saved about 500 calories, 36 grams of fat, 93 grams of carbs, and 60 grams of sugar. Now tell me which option would you prefer? I go shake and popcorn every day all day. And it is cheaper too!
Are these calls a good thing?
The short answer is "NO" because labeling on the label is far from being a good option for you and your healthy lifestyle. Are they good at eating in moderation? Absolute. But so are things like ice cream, butter popcorn, donuts, as you call it. The AllMax popcorn in the above example, I would never recommend anyone to eat something regularly. The macros have gone completely out of control. Protein rich clearly means only that it is high in protein. Do not think for a second that the added protein makes the profile a healthier option for you. This is not necessarily the case and we have to be sure that we are not being cheated.
To be considered "high protein" on a label, the article must contain at least 20% of the recommended daily value (DV) of the commonly used reference amount (RACCs). In short, the daily value for protein is 50g, which means that an article must have over 10g of protein to be labeled high in protein.
There are brands that use the high protein content to their advantage and are good for them, although they serve the system in a sense. Again, a pile of chocolate is still a pile of chocolate, even if you fill in more than 10 grams of protein and note "high protein" on the front of the label. And there are even some brands that claim they are high-protein on their website if their protein content is not high enough.
What can we learn from this in the end? It's easy. Learn how to read labels. Just because the packaging is pretty and there are some exclamations that meet all expectations does not mean that it's a good option for you. 40 grams of protein are fantastic. 40 grams of protein with 1,000 calories and a shipload of fat, carbohydrates and sugar? No thanks.