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Health Monster

5 Foods That Prove the Protein Craze Has Gone Too Far

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You can hear the taunts across schoolyards, cafeterias and supermarkets across the nation: Mine’s got more protein than yours! How many grams? How many grams does yours have? What percentage of your daily allowance? Hey, high protein is not just for body-builders anymore! Gone are the days of needing those horribly flavored protein powder shakes. Nowadays, everything from chips to bread to dessert is being stuffed with the stuff.

As a vegan eater, meaning constantly on my toes and ready to debate protein content, the pendulum has definitely now swung far too far in the wrong direction. Time and time again, I’ve explained how a balanced plant-based diet provides plenty of protein without any extra effort, but now the discussion is completely out-of-my-hands and has begun to resemble something similar to a news broadcast:

Unlike the population’s general lull in the RDA of fruit and vegetables, there has been no evidence that people consume too little protein, yet here we go stuffing the grocery store aisles with protein-enhanced products that make absolutely no sense and can actually have a negative outcome.

So, sit back, grab a vegan cookie (no protein added) and enjoy this list of signs that the protein craze has gone too far.

1. High-Protein Lunchables

protein-funny

Lunchables were a weird idea to begin with, and they still are. It only ups the ante that the already horribly processed collection of lunch junk is now on the protein bandwagon. Seriously, do we need to feed our children—do we need to feed ourselves—what essential amounts to a normal Lunchable with nuts. Shouldn’t we actually shoot for healthy, balanced lunches as opposed to a laundry list of factory food with “Portable Protein Pack” written across it?

2. Cheerios Protein

protein-cheerios

First of all, cereal is usually consumed with milk or yogurt, so even if it’s soy milk or vegan yogurt, the bulk of the protein was there—and still is—to begin with. Secondly, the new protein packed Cheerios has over twice the calories and way more sugar. Again, the food hasn’t gotten any healthier. It just has more protein, and in all likelihood, it is an unneeded addition. Basically, Cheerios has added granola to the normal cereal. Why not just have a homemade granola, or even one from the store?

3. The Cantina Power Menu

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Taco Bell has jumped on the bandwagon yet again (I still remember the 90s low-fat menu, with special cheese and no fat refried beans). When fast food joints have had time to get with the program and join the trend, you know it has gone too far. Taco Bell is now offering bulked up burritos and bowls for those drive-thru customers looking for more protein. Once again, it seems folks might have missed the mark here. Drive to the next window.

4. Protein Fortified Milk

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Traditionally, high in protein products like milk are beginning to be fortified with even more protein. That’s right. Dry milk proteins are now being added to milk in order to beef up the already questionable dairy protein folks are ingesting. Rather than noting how troublesome casein is and finding healthier sources of protein, companies have decided to just jam a bit more in there and see what happens. When companies start changing milk, you know something is up.

5. Cricket Cookies

 

I got it

Now, eating bugs is nothing new in the world at large, but when crickets find a place in mainstream American shopping carts, not for apocalyptic survival but for added protein, then something is askew. Consuming insects used to have a worse reputation than the vegetable plate, but now companies are making cricket cookies to create a new “high protein” angle. And, people are buying in and still not buying vegetables! Holy jumping Jiminy!

I must note for sure that we vegans are not without blame. Due to its protein prowess, quinoa is in such demand now that Bolivian farmers have been put in the horrible situation of starving themselves to meet their quotas, and we are a big part of that. But, the point is that this is all for not because most of the population is getting more than enough protein, including vegans of good practice. The advertising quandary for more protein is nonsensical health-wise, just like Fox News. So, spin on that ad guys.

Image source: Ali Al-Hadidi/Wikimedia

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25 comments on “5 Foods That Prove the Protein Craze Has Gone Too Far”

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Debby GreenDee
2 Years Ago

I've been a veggie for almost 25 years and never has anybody brought up protein. People usually don't make a big deal out of it when I say I don't eat meat. Or they ask why, which I think is a good conversation to have. Anyway, it makes me think that the 'protein scare' has been injected in (American?) society artificially by industries that benefit from it. - also, what is a lunchable? - note to the author; *all for naught ;)


Reply
Merwie Garzon
18 Jul 2014

Thank you.... I was trying really hard not to say anything about the "naught", but it was bothering me!

Debby GreenDee
18 Jul 2014

Haha, I didn't really want to sound like a smart ass but as I was posting something anyway, I thought I'd throw it in there

Paula Rogers
2 Years Ago

Most people have no idea how much usable protein a person needs. Anywhere between 45-60 grams per day, depending on sex, age and activity. Not much really. A lot less than the producers want you to purchase. Remember, don't believe the hype.


Reply
Mike Gonzales
2 Years Ago

Don't hate on protein. A big part of why it's good in meals is for slowing down the absorption of carbohydrates, especially high glycemic index ones like potatoes. And anyone who is in to weight training will tell you that increased protein intake will speed up recovery times. It's all about balance. Fat, carbohydrates and protein are all essential in our diets.


Reply
Oses Austine
2 Years Ago

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Reply
Lori Yo
2 Years Ago

I think most people don't even know what protein is. This wouldn't be an issue if people had a basic understanding of nutrition.


Reply
Jennifer Angelo Thomas
2 Years Ago

"But where do you get your protein? " lol D'Shannon Llewellyn


Reply
D'Shannon Llewellyn
2 Years Ago

Jennifer Angelo Thomas


Reply
Jayme Calhoun
2 Years Ago

Omg. Protein Cheerios?!? We are truly a culture obsessed with that nutrient...


Reply
Paula Rogers
2 Years Ago

This is what protein deficiency looks like. It's called kwashiorkor. No one in the western world suffers from it because we all get way too much protein in our diets.


Reply
Jayme Calhoun
17 Jul 2014

:(

Merwie Garzon
18 Jul 2014

And even in the case of these poor starved children, the overall problem was of lack of calories, which then results in insufficient protein (along with everything else).

Elina K. Virtanen
2 Years Ago

Buckwheat... A source of protein superior to quinoa!


Reply


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