Spoilers: Most are just glorified candy bars that we don’t need.
Grocery stores, gas stations, gyms, pharmacies: they all offer protein bars for purchase. Presented as healthy on-the-go snacks or as part of a workout routine, these snacks are taking over the billboards. But despite all the praise, there is nothing healthy about these snacks, quite the opposite.
As the New York Times explains, protein bars originated in California. In the late 1980s, two long-distance runners living in the San Francisco Bay Area came up with a new recipe: mix vitamins, oat bran, milk protein, and corn syrup. Combination that would become a PowerBar, one of the first modern nutrition bars. Today, its image has spread far beyond sports fanatics, challenging its original usefulness.
There is no doubt that our bodies need proteins to maintain our muscles, hair, skin, nails and organs. This is one of the reasons why these amino acid molecules have their own place in the wellness area. “You can write ‘protein’ on a candy bar and sell it without people asking any questions,” quips Janet Chrzan, assistant professor of nutritional anthropology.
Also an overrated reputation, according to nutrition professor Eric Rimm: “It would be hard to find an American who actually needs the extra protein.” Most meat eaters consume far more than the recommended daily allowance, which is 0.4 grams per kilogram of body weight. And once you’ve written off the omnivore diet, get protein from plant sources like tofu, nuts, and…
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