Protein Powders- How Have They Gotten So Mainstream?

This is just a hunch, but I’m guessing it must have to do with the fact that they are, for no better words, quick and easy.

Whether they were first introduced as a ‘bodybuilding supplement’ or part of the treatment for various illnesses involving muscle wasting, I do not know, but what I do know is that they’re everywhere now and far too many people think of them as being a great thing to use on a daily basis and sometimes even more than that.

I found some interesting info on Wikipedia

Don’t get me wrong; I do think there is a time and a place for them, thus the word ‘supplement’.  They’re one great example of what I call an ‘in a pinch food’.  If I’m traveling for a race, you can believe I’d rather use the PaleoPro beef/egg powder in my race day shake than chance using raw eggs from a store I’ve never been to before.

In addition, they can come in handy if you’re scrambling for something to eat when you’re in the office longer than you expected or as an addition to a fresh juice you purchased on a road trip.

They are, however, still processed proteins and the bottom line is that we need to focus on a minimally processed diet as much as possible.

Many people make the mistake of reading the word ‘protein’ on a bar’s wrapper or that of a powder and automatically assume that means it’s a great thing to buy without even looking into the ingredient panel.

Think about it.  If you’re really just adding protein to your juice or whatever liquid you’re choosing to use, how do you think it gets so sweet?  Or how does it mix so well without clumping?

Additives.  Those very same ingredients that allow the powder to mix without a blender or to impart sweetness without white sugar are the very same ones that are often responsible for GI distress including cramping, bloating, gas, constipation or diarrhea.  Heck, you might as well eat some gluten for that matter.  Kidding, of course, but honestly, why eat or drink anything you know will likely make you feel ill?

A recent article in the Times did a great job at providing an overview of protein bars, how they’re made, what they contain and who uses them.

Of particular interest to me was the last paragraph, in which we learn about which big food companies are most successful with their protein products,  the most curious of which is a product of Kraft called ‘2 X Protein Cream Cheese’.


I think I’ll just stick with my wild sablefish and grass fed bison, thank you very much.