Protein is taking over the world. Slap the word “protein” on a food, and it’s guaranteed to sell. Protein ice cream, protein cookies, protein cereal, protein protein.
And while I think it’s great to aim to eat more protein, a lot of these labels are incredibly misleading. The first time I saw Protein Cheerios, I immediately grabbed the box in excitement. 11g of protein for Cheerios?? Sold!
If I can teach you only one thing, it’s that you need to read the nutritional info of food and not rely on the front of the package.
11g of protein sounds great, until you realize a serving doesn’t actually have 11g. It has 7g, but if you add some milk, then it has 11g. Fun fact: an Oreo has 20g of protein if you pour a protein shake all over it.
The other thing you’ll notice is that in order to bump up the protein, the serving size is also bumped up. Compare one serving of Protein Cheerios to TWO servings of plain Cheerios, and the macros are incredibly similar (except the sugar, of course).
Sure, Protein Cheerios might taste better than plain Cheerios, so maybe you prefer those. The point here is that the extra protein you’re excited about might not be extra protein at all. You can eat regular Cheerios and get nearly the same amount of protein (and more cereal).
This applies to a lot of “protein” products out there. Let’s look at some peanut butter…
It looks like Skippy has gotten in on the high protein game now too.
And, like most the other “protein” products on the market, it isn’t actually very high in protein.
There are no regulations on when you can or can’t call a product “protein ___”. I can sell you raisins that have 2g protein instead of 1g and call them Protein Raisins.
When someone inevitably does that, we know they stole my idea.
In Skippy’s case, the protein peanut butter has 10g of protein vs 8g in regular ol’ peanut butter. For 2g of protein, you’re eating peanut butter that doesn’t taste as good and costs $3 more.
Regardless, I can guarantee that this is going to sell well, because people will see the gigantic PROTEIN in big bold letters and buy it without thinking twice.
I’m all for high protein products. If you can successfully create a higher protein version of something, I think that’s awesome. But this trend of companies releasing misleading “protein” products drives me nuts. Pun intended.
Always, always, ALWAYS, read the nutrition facts. When you know what you’re looking for, you’ll never fall for these marketing gimmicks again.
Important side note: Wegman’s makes the best peanut butter. Even when the ingredients are just peanuts, they use a combo of love and magic to make theirs. if you don’t have a Wegman’s near you, remember my peanut butter philosophy: less is more.
I’m not a stickler for so-called “clean” ingredients, but when it comes to peanut butter, I do feel that fewer ingredients is better! Peanuts + salt is all you need.
But, back to the original point…
Learn to read the nutrition facts. When you can do that, these decisions on what to buy become a breeze, and you don’t need to rely solely on the product name.