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Misleading Protein Claims

Misleading Protein Claims

Clever food packaging can lead us to believe that some foods have more protein than others.

You’ll learn: The best formula for determining which foods are good sources of protein, how to avoid misleading food claims, why some nutrition label information can lead you to gain unwanted weight.


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I was recently pacing the aisles of the grocery store. It was obvious that “protein” is now a major selling point. Food packages boldly display exactly how many grams of protein they have.

As more people realize that getting enough protein is important, the macronutrient is having something of a moment. The worldwide protein market was worth $70 billion in 2021, and it’s forecasted to be roughly $114 billion by 2030.

But we often miss the full story with protein marketing.

Some foods marketed as high in protein, it turns out, aren’t high in protein at all.

To understand this, let’s talk about protein cookies.

The curious case of protein cookies

In short

Many foods that advertise having high protein have far less protein than you think. Luckily, there’s an easy formula we can use to determine good protein sources.

The details

You’ve probably seen Lenny & Larry’s cookies. They’re a gas station and airport Hudson News store staple.

The pitch is that they’re a healthy cookie—they advertise having 16 grams of protein and 10 grams of fiber.

They’re also a perfect example of the point we’ll be making today.

If you assumed these cookies were high in protein, well, so would anyone else.

Their chocolate chip cookie boasts a large “16G protein per cookie” on the wrapper. Sounds like a lot of protein for a cookie!

But there’s one overlooked question we must ask ourselves before accepting this as a high-protein food. And this question can help us find which foods are actually good sources of protein, leading us to better health and performance.

The question is: