Season 11 Episode 3

Why Are Protein Products Such a Big Deal?

Protein: from balls to powder, it seems to be dominating our lives these days. In this episode we take a look at the science behind it, before delving a little deeper into the current ‘trend’ for protes to try and work out what all the fuss is about. We discuss some of the strangest products out there, – protein beer anyone? – as well as the pasta helping kids get their daily fill of protein. What about you guys? Do you buy protein products, or do you try to get it in your meals? And do you think protein is really the hero it’s made out to be? Comment below!

 Best soundbite: “Balls, they’re everywhere… and they’re delicious!” – Barry Taylor

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Something to make you think...

Protein certainly isn’t going anywhere: the market is projected to reach $14.5bn by 2023, more than half as much as the global market in breakfast cereal! But do you think this recent interest in protein is a good thing or a bad thing?

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  1. MimiConnor

    My hubby is type 1 diabetic
    So a low carb high protein diet was recommended by his diabetes educator
    High protein snacks actually keep him full for longer

    Otherwise he’s gonna eat shit like chips(I meant potato chips in a foil bag, Aussie here) fast food stuff

    Less sugar is always good
    But I wouldn’t say high protein diet is for everybody
    ALWAYS talk to your GP first

  2. Mnemosyne

    A nice side-effect of high protein, is acutally a lactose free yoghurt here in Germany, which is just amazing! Although I am wondering if yoghurt and other milk products already have a high level of protein?

  3. Sunanda_K

    Hmm. “High Protein” has become an unfortunate trend and as Jakob points out here, the term is often used to push up the prices of something that might be quite reasonable before the trend hit. Making sure that you eat your macros everyday is good thing though, and I’m glad more people are now aware of it but- and this is the big BUT- of late I find high protein things with a LOT of added sugar in them. Protein powders/ straight up pure proteins taste bad ( and I’d know, I was recommended collagen drinks because I have a connective tissue disorder- it is vile). So somehow, people are trying to hide it in candy like snickers and still trying to get away with appearing “healthy”. Actually, you could easily get enough protein to keep healthy muscle tone from natural foods and not resort to things that seem to be hydrolyzed in an industrial facility unless you’re an athlete/sportsperson/training for a specific event etc.

    • Sorted

      We agree, it’s actually quite hard to get a clean protein replacement without any extra added rubbish in there or bulking agents.

  4. Jakob

    Me personally, I think the term, or the “lifestyle” that is “high protein”, often goes hand in hand with low carb. This actually benefits most of our bodies in our refined carb heavy diets. That is why I think this “lifestyle” is also associated with being “healthier” outside of the bodybuilding community.

    What bothers me with “high protein” branded products is the very misleading marketing behind it. A “high protein” branded product may already be high protein by itself. For example you might have a yoghurt branded as “high protein” that might cost double than a regular yoghurt but have the same amount of protein.

    To conclude, I think we should stick to “natural” sources of protein. Dairy, Legumes, Meat/Fish, etc. should be on our diet, rather than “high protein ketchup” wich might not benefit you in any way and may be 2 quid more expensive.

    • Sorted

      Definitely – stick to the main protein groups rather than the gimmicks. A little bit of protein ketchup isn’t going to make a difference at all in the grand scheme of things, apart from make your wallet a bit lighter!

  5. mclivingston

    Coincidentally enough, I just got back from the gym and was drinking a protein shake when I started listening to this episode. I am trained as a biologist & bioengineer, workout 4-5 times a week, and eat very little meat, so I have a lot of opinions on this topic. I started consuming protein supplements – mainly shakes and bars – because I wasn’t getting enough in the food I eat to satisfy my body’s needs due to my active lifestyle. There is a small weight loss element to it, but simply maintaining any muscle mass (without looking like a body builder) requires a decent amount of protein to be consumed each day.

    I completely agree with y’all’s point that sticking “protein” on the front of food packaging is a frustrating trend that plays on people’s lack of knowledge about how much protein is in everyday foods. Something I don’t think got brought up in y’all’s discussion is that high protein content has been associated with diet food for decades because protein makes you feel full for longer (it takes longer for the stomach acids/bacteria to break down protein than carbohydrates), so consuming high-protein food *should* make you eat less food mass. There is a scientific basis for the association between protein and diet/slimming/weight loss, but the current trend has blown it way out of proportion. Essentially, eating more protein alone won’t help you lose weight, but it does add value to an otherwise healthy & active lifestyle.

    • Sorted

      We agree, it’s all about balance and knowledge 😁

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