These days, the majority of food products claim to be 'high protein' with big brands like Mars and Weetabix all hopping on the bandwagon. But can a bowl of Weetabix really claim to be 'high protein' if it only has 7.6g per serving? The answer is no, not really. For me as a fitness professional, a product is not 'high protein' unless it has 25g of protein minimum as that's what I could get by eating a chicken breast or by drinking a protein shake, both staples of the high-protein food group. So why are companies doing this? And have you been sucked into their clever marketing ploys?
Once upon a time, 'low fat' and 'low calorie' foods were the big trend. But then everyone finally realised that if a product has zero fat, it probably contains a lot of sugar and is not actually that healthy at all. The high protein fad is just that, a fad. Yes, it's true that most people don't consume enough protein in their diet, but eating a bowl of Weetabix probably isn't going to help and you would definitely be better off just eating a chicken breast or drinking a protein shake. Companies realise that people will buy something just because it has the word 'protein' on the packet and will be willing to pay a large premium for it!
Check Your Facts
Don't just be drawn in by clever marketing and branding: just because a company has splattered the word 'protein' on the packet doesn't mean it's healthy. Let's use Warburton's as an example who have created 'protein' bread. Is no food product sacred? Bread is a staple carbohydrate source, it doesn't need to be high in protein! Let's compare the nutritional information of a regular loaf of their bread to a loaf of their high protein bread, like for like (per 100g, not per slice, because if you look closely their slice sizes differ per product).
First, Warburton's Regular Wholemeal Bread
per 100g Energy 974 kJ 231 kcal Fat 2.8g - of which saturates 0.5g Carbohydrate 37.8g - of which sugars 2.4g Fibre 6.4g Protein 10.6g Salt 0.95g
Next, their 'High Protein' Wholemeal Bread
per 100g Energy 953 kJ 227 kcal Fat 3.3g of which saturates 1.0g Carbohydrate 32.0g of which sugars 2.0g Fibre 7.8g Protein 13.5g Salt 0.98g
As you can see, the 'high protein' version actually only has 2.9g more protein per 100g than a regular loaf! As well as 0.5g more fat. Is that really worth going mad for? Is it worth paying nearly twice as much? (A 400g loaf of the regular bread is 75p while the high protein version in the same size is £1.20).
So how does the marketing work?
Warburton's claim that a slice of their regular bread is 23.8g on average, whereas a slice of the protein bread comes in at 29g. It's a bigger slice, so it's going to have a higher protein content anyway! Always be weary of suggested serving sizes as they are hugely manipulated by companies so that they fit their desired nutritional information. They will do this for fat and sugar content as well, for example they might say that one cookie is two servings so that the fat and sugar content 'per serving' is not as high. It's a very common trick that lots of food companies do.
The bottom line
As always, the best advice is to always eat as naturally as possible. These foods are not naturally high in protein, so chances are they aren't good for you. There are heaps of foods which are naturally high in protein such as chicken, turkey, nuts, seeds, and quinoa. You are far better eating more of these types of foods than highly processed, sugar-filled treats which happen to have a marginally higher protein content than their non-protein counterparts!
A Silicon Valley startup company have created what they call 'The Impossible Burger'. The Impossible Burger is 100% plant-based making it the perfect solution for vegetarians and vegans who miss eating their favourite foods. But what is it?
Who are Impossible Foods?
Founded by Patrick Brown, Impossible Foods is a Silicon Valley startup on a mission to make the global food system more sustainable. The fast-growing team includes scientists, engineers, chefs, farmers and foodies.
How did the company get started?
The company started in 2011 with the aim of answering the question “Why does meat taste like meat?” Brown and his team spent the next five years researching every aspect of the unique sensory experience of meat, from how it looks raw to how it sizzles. They then recreated the precise flavours, textures, aromas, and nutrition of ground beef using only plants. By understanding meat at the molecular level with the help of scientists and chefs, they managed to make a burger that truly tastes like meat yet is completely plant-based.
How does it work?
The Impossible Burger is made from simple ingredients found in nature, including wheat, coconut oil and potatoes. The secret ingredient, however, is heme. Heme contributes to the characteristic colour and taste of the meat, and it catalyses all the other flavours when meat is cooked. Heme is exceptionally abundant in animal muscle and it’s a basic building block of life in all organisms, including plants. Impossible Foods discovered how to take heme from plants and produce it using fermentation.
What's in the burger?
Water, Textured Wheat Protein, Coconut Oil, Potato Protein, Natural Flavors, 2% or less of: Leghemoglobin (soy), Yeast Extract, Salt, Soy Protein Isolate, Konjac Gum, Xanthan Gum, Thiamin (Vitamin B1), Zinc, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Vitamin B12.
How is the impossible burger better for the planet?
It takes a lot of land, water, food, and time for cows to turn plants into meat. Compared to a burger made from cows, making an Impossible Burger uses about 1/20th of the land, one-quarter of the water, and produces 1/8th of the greenhouse gas emissions.
What's the nutrition information?
Unfortunately for us here in the UK, the Impossible Burger is currently only available in the US, however Impossible Foods say they hope to expand internationally in the future.
Today we’re supporting Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution Day. Jamie Oliver is making the biggest live Facebook video ever created in order to support his food revolution campaign. The food revolution campaign aims to group people together in support of children everywhere having access to good, fresh, and nutritious food.
We live in a world of extremities. Right now, 41 million children under 5 are overweight, whilst 159 million are so undernourished they can’t grow properly. Globally, we waste enough food to feed the world’s hungry four times over. Not only is food waste immoral, it’s unnecessary. With his initiative, Jamie Oliver aims to get the attention of governments at the World Health Assembly meeting in Geneva on May 23 to tackle the child nutrition crisis.
The Food Revolution is all about education. With better food education, people can make better choices with what is available to them, wherever they are in the world. The Food Revolution reminds us that to sustain nutritious food for now and for the future, we need to care for the planet that produces it, linking up individuals, food and the environment to create a sustainable, healthy food system on both a commercial and a domestic level.
Jamie Oliver says: “In essence, the Food Revolution is about each and every one of us taking a stand. And that doesn’t mean we all need to make radical changes – we all have the power to contribute to the bigger picture simply by making the effort to act positively in small profound ways, whether that’s cooking with our kids, reading up on current food issues, sharing what we learn with those around us or buying a better product that supports a fairer system – it all counts.
It’s about building a community of people – experts, parents, communities, policy makers, activists, scientists, you, me – and turning that collective noise into a powerful movement, harnessing technology to elevate our voices into one loud, united choir. I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t try to make a difference, and the fact that you’ve taken the time to read this, suggests that you feel the same way.”
There are currently over 2,000 ambassadors in more than 115 countries, including celebrities such as Cheryl Fernandez-Versini, celebrity chefs such as Donna Hay and bloggers such as clean eating Alice and Arron Crascall.
Sundried is an ethical company which supports charity Water for Kids, providing children in need with clean water. These children also need access to food supplies and we believe supporting the right nutrition here in the UK as well as globally is essential.
As the Food Revolution supports everyone understanding what they are buying, and having the knowledge to make conscious, well-informed decisions on the ethics behind their produce, it is a revolution Sundried fully supports.
Fitness is as much about having a healthy diet as it is having a healthy exercise regime in place.