“No special products required to get enough protein” | NOW

From energy bars to peanut butter and from muesli to crisps: Nowadays, the packaging of almost all supermarket products says “packed with proteins”. But what are proteins anyway? And do we need a lot more of it? We ask Professor of Nutrition and Health Jaap Seidell.

What are proteins

“Protein is an expensive name for protein. We need proteins for various physical processes. They are mainly used as building material. For example, for building muscle and repairing body cells.”

How Much Protein Do We Need?

“About 0.8 to 1 gram per kilogram of body weight per day. Children need a little more because they grow. Older people too, because muscle mass decreases with age.”

“By claiming ‘with protein’, manufacturers are responding to consumers’ gut feelings that products with protein are healthy.”

Won’t we make it Is that why they are added to products?

“Those who eat typically get an average of 80 grams of protein a day. They are found in almost all foods. Animal proteins are found in meat, dairy products, eggs, and fish. Vegetable proteins are found in nuts, grains, and legumes such as.” Contains beans and soy, so if you have a varied diet and match the five-disc, you can get enough protein easily. “

But why are they added to products?

“Marketing. With the claim” with protein “manufacturers react to the consumer’s gut feeling that products with protein are healthy. Incidentally, they are not added to many products that contain this claim, as many products are already high in protein. Take Take peanut butter, for example, a naturally protein-rich product. You already get 3 grams of protein per spread. If you choose the fortified peanut butter, that’s 4 grams. “

“Manufacturers are not actually lying when they say that their products contain protein. The claim is not wrong, but it is nonsense. “

But isn’t that a delusion?

“In and of itself, manufacturers aren’t lying when they say their products contain protein. The claim isn’t false, but it’s nonsense. And it could be a little misleading to pretend that proteins make a product better or make it healthier. Take energy bars or chips. with added protein … These types of products are not that healthy at all. They are often full of sugar and fats. “

Bodybuilders swear by extra protein in the form of protein shakes. Trash too?

“Yes. You need extra protein for muscle regeneration and muscle building after a very hard workout, but you can just as easily use quark for it. Quark contains as much protein per 100 grams as many so-called protein shakes that are available in fitness stores.”

“Quark is also much cheaper because the proteins don’t have to be removed from the milk in order to be made into ‘whey proteins’. Another advantage of quark: In addition to proteins, it also contains all kinds of other healthy nutrients.”

Can We Get Too Much Protein?

“Not with a normal diet. Basically, the body uses excess building materials for fuel. But if you take in more fuel than you burn, the body stores that fuel as fat. Just like too much fat or too many carbohydrates that you can.” so getting fat from too much protein. “

Jaap Seidell is Professor of Nutrition and Health at the VU University of Amsterdam and has written the books The Food Labyrinth and Juggling with Food, among others.