From breakfast cereal to sliced bread suddenly there’s added protein in everything

Until recently, a high protein diet was favoured only by avid gym-goes (woman in gym kit above)

Until lately, a excessive protein weight loss plan was favoured solely by avid gym-goes (girl in fitness center package above)

Until very lately, high-protein diets had been strictly the protect of fitness center fanatics, who chugged down synthetic-looking ‘shakes’ that had been inexplicably filled with as a lot of the muscle-building macronutrient as a complete roast hen.

But not any extra. These days, grocery store cabinets heave with merchandise claiming both to be ‘high’ in protein, or have it ‘added’ in a way. There is high-protein breakfast cereal, protein-enriched sliced bread, and protein-packed cheese – not to point out the yogurts, ice lotions and even the high-protein Mars Bar.

Feeling parched? Try a cup of high-protein espresso, or a pleasant glass of high-protein water. And if the hype is to be believed, we are able to all profit.

Extra protein, advocates declare, conquers starvation to hold us slim, retains pores and skin and hair wanting wholesome and aids higher sleep.

Proteins are naturally occurring compounds made up of constructing blocks generally known as amino acids. In many various mixtures, these assist keep and generate new muscle, develop bone, make very important hormones and produce enzymes that help digestion and organic reactions in the physique.

Many gym goers are known to chug down protein shakes (pictured above) either before or after working out

Many fitness center goers are recognized to chug down protein shakes (pictured above) both earlier than or after understanding

So, sure, along with carbohydrates and fat additionally discovered in all meals, they’re important.

But such is the plethora of high-protein merchandise that you just’d be forgiven for pondering we’re all poor in it.

How do they add protein to meals? 

Look on the elements record of meals that declare to have added protein, and also you’ll see wheat, milk or whey, soya, or pea protein.

This would sometimes be a powder – generally known as an isolate or focus – blended in throughout manufacture.

To make this, first the supply ingredient – say, soya bean – has to be ‘defatted’. Soya beans are crushed to take away the outer shell or hull.

They are then washed in the solvent hexane, a chemical by-product of crude oil, to dissolve the naturally occurring fat, after which in ethanol, acidic waters and later alkali to take away carbohydrates.

Finally it’s centrifuged and heat-dried to create a concentrated powder that’s about 90 per cent protein.

In the case of milk, the protein whey liquid is a by-product separated out in the course of the cheese-making course of. This is then pumped via a collection of ever-finer filters and heated to create a powder.

In all instances, flavouring could also be added to masks the attribute bitter style of an isolate.

Get your dose the straightforward approach! 

Two slices of Hovis Medium Wholemeal toast

(8g) with butter + Pret a Manger Mature Cheddar & Pret Pickle sandwich (20g) + Baked potato (four.5g) with half a 145g tin of tuna (20g)

52.5g protein!



This couldn’t be farther from the reality. Studies present that common UK consumption of protein, from meals equivalent to meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy, soya, nuts and pulses, is above really helpful ranges.

For most of us, the really helpful protein consumption is 50 grams a day.

But the National Diet and Nutrition survey reveals common consumption in Britain is 84.6g for males and 64.4g for girls.

And protein isn’t exhausting to come by. You can get 50g from a baked potato with tuna and mayonnaise, or from a cheese omelette.

So why are we being fed the road that we want extra?


The motive gym-goers down copious quantities of protein shakes and bars is as a result of, in principle, they assist construct muscle.

After all, the extra ‘work’ you do in the fitness center, the extra protein your physique wants, proper? Well, maybe not.

In 2010, the European Food Safety Authority concluded a scathing assessment of those merchandise, stating that any claims they helped construct muscle, enhance energy or stamina weren’t backed by any information.

Even for these doing common weightlifting, protein supplementation has minimal impact on boosting muscle mass – the expansion is down to the workouts alone.

So will choosing a high-protein Mars Bar over the usual one have a Popeye-like impact in your biceps? The reply is easy: no.

And but the expansion of the sports activities diet market appears unstoppable: we now spend greater than £800 million on such merchandise (together with ‘energy drinks’, that are a complete different story) every year.


Another ‘health halo’ round high-protein meals is that they by some means assist us slim down.

A 2016 Mintel report discovered 1 / 4 of customers purchased them to lose or keep weight and 36 per cent mentioned protein stored them ‘fuller for longer’. This perception can in all probability be traced again to low-carbohydrate diets such because the Atkins and South Beach Diet plans, and the newer Ketogenic or Keto diets, which do end result in weight reduction with out the necessity for calorie restriction.

Slimmers on these diets give up bread, pasta, potatoes, rice, or every other starchy or high- carb veg, pulses and fruit and change them with protein-rich meat, poultry, fish, eggs and cheese.

Compared to low-fat diets, these on low-carb plans do drop extra pounds sooner. But the losses degree up after a yr or so.

In research, dieters really feel fuller on a high-protein plan and it’s believed protein takes extra power to digest than fats or refined carbohydrates, equivalent to sugar.

So whereas protein has 4 energy per gram, up to 1 / 4 of these energy are used up by the physique in digesting it. Dietician Helen Bond believes high-protein consumption can forestall muscle loss in slimming regimes brought on by the physique utilizing up protein reserves in muscle fibre.

A high protein intake may help people to prevent muscle loss (man drinking a protein shake above)

A excessive protein consumption could assist individuals to forestall muscle loss (man consuming a protein shake above)

‘For people trying to lose a substantial amount of weight, doubling protein intake – 100 grams of protein on a 1,600-calorie diet – may help to prevent muscle loss,’ advises Bond.

‘But you can get this through a palm-sized portion of animal protein, such as fish or chicken, at each meal, plus a couple of protein-rich snacks such as nuts and yogurt.’

And in the event you’re not proscribing energy, there isn’t any proof by any means that added protein will profit weight reduction.

Bond warns that many merchandise, equivalent to breakfast cereals and snack bars with added protein, are removed from wholesome.

‘Many are excessive in added sugar, and people consuming these high-protein variations pondering they’re “being healthy” are mistaken.’


For older individuals, protein consumption is essential to keep muscle mass, which, in flip, prevents falls and fractures. The present guideline of 50g of protein per day for adults relies on the advice of zero.75g of protein per kilogram of physique weight.

But a current examine in the Journal Of The American Geriatrics Society discovered that these aged 85 with a better protein consumption – 1g of protein per kilogram of physique weight – had been much less seemingly to be disabled.

For the common 10st (65kg) grownup, this equates to 65g of protein a day. The additional 15g may come from one bowl of porridge, or a serving of yogurt with a handful of walnuts.

So what occurs to the protein we eat however don’t want? It is damaged down in the kidneys and largely excreted in urine. But there are some well being considerations.

A 2014 examine on the University of Southern California discovered that 50- to 65-year-olds consuming high-protein diets had been 4 instances extra seemingly to die from most cancers than these consuming a low-protein one.

Although it didn’t show protein causes most cancers, examine writer Dr Valter Longo urged molecule referred to as insulin-like progress factor-1 was to blame, which tends to be greater in individuals with a high-protein consumption. This molecule additionally stimulates tumour progress.

A 2018 Finnish examine linked high-protein consumption, of about 106g per day, with a 3rd greater danger of coronary heart failure in males, in contrast to those that consumed a decrease quantity of 78g per day.

But it’s not all dangerous. Bond factors out: ‘Some high-protein products might make for more nutritious choices than other ready-made foods.’

Extra protein? We eat TOO MUCH already! Are the faddish new high-protein meals value all the cash? 

To discover out what it’s best to snack on, and what’s not value the additional price, we took an in depth take a look at among the hottest protein-enriched meals in the marketplace. Here’s our verdict…

*Nutritional values all per serving 

Ryvita Protein Red Quinoa & Sesame 200g, Waitrose, £1.59

Ryvita Protein Red Quinoa & Sesame 200g, Waitrose, £1.59

Protein 2.1g 
Cals  37 
Sat Fat  hint 
Sugar  zero.2g 
Salt  zero.1g 

Verdict: These include pea protein, quinoa and sesame seeds together with rye grain, including protein. But they nonetheless solely have 2g of protein every in contrast with zero.9g in an unique Ryvita. With a protein-rich topping, the sort you select is pretty irrelevant – two protein Ryvita with 50g smoked salmon present 15.9g protein, whereas two regular Ryvita with the identical topping have 13.5g protein.

Taste check: Ryvita can style a bit like cardboard, however these are fairly moreish.


Mars Bar Protein 27, corner shop £1.65

Mars Bar Protein 27, nook store £1.65

Protein 19g 
Cals  200
Sat Fat  2.6
Sugar  13g 
Salt  zero.39g 

Verdict: This has 28 fewer energy and 17g much less sugar per bar than a regular Mars. But there are nonetheless greater than three teaspoons of sugar in a bar, virtually half of the every day really helpful consumption. A bar like this would possibly attraction in the event you imagine you want to devour 20g of protein after understanding to assist construct muscle – however a 2013 examine discovered no proof doing so will increase energy or muscle mass.

Taste check: A bizarre dry texture. Not as good as a standard Mars. 


Tesco Finest High Protein Loaf 400g, Tesco, 85p

Tesco Finest High Protein Loaf 400g, Tesco, 85p

Protein 5g 
Cals  85
Sat Fat  zero.3g 
Sugar  1.2g 
Salt  zero.3g 

Verdict: There is a development for these breads in supermarkets: Lidl and Tesco have their very own model variations and Warburtons has a variety. Added wheat protein offers 5g protein per slice – double the quantity in a small slice of a regular wholemeal. But given there’s 7g of protein in a slice of cheddar, it appears pointless. If you’re a vegan struggling to get protein, possibly this loaf will assist. It additionally has the identical quantity of carbs as regular bread.

Taste check: Like most industrial loaves, this lacks ‘substance’, however was excellent toasted. 


Breyers Creamy Chocolate 500ml, Watrose, £4.99

Breyers Creamy Chocolate 500ml, Watrose, £four.99

Protein three.9g 
Cals  62
Sat Fat  1.1g
Sugar  four.5g 
Salt  hint

Verdict: The tub guarantees that is ‘high protein’ however two scoops of Häagen-Dazs Belgian Chocolate Ice Cream has precisely the identical quantity. The low-cal Breyers is the higher alternative for slimmers however that’s not something to do with its modest protein content material – it’s down to being decrease in energy.

Taste check: Rather pretty and chocolatey. A bit like a frozen mousse. You’d by no means guess it was low-cal. 


Vieve Protein Water Strawberry & Rhubarb 500ml,, £2.49

Vieve Protein Water Strawberry & Rhubarb 500ml,, £2.49

Protein 20g
Cals  85 
Sat Fat  zero
Sugar  zero
Salt  zero.14g 

Verdict: This drink – like so many different merchandise – keys into the concept that busy lively individuals want to prime up with protein between meals. This merely is just not the case as most individuals get sufficient protein from having three meals a day. It additionally comprises added sweeteners and the protein is from an animal supply so it’s not appropriate for vegetarians.

Taste check: Horribly candy and actually synthetic-tasting regardless of being ‘naturally flavoured’. I really really feel thirstier after a number of swigs. 


Eatlean Protein Cheese Grated 180g, Tesco, £2

Eatlean Protein Cheese Grated 180g, Tesco, £2

Protein 10.8g 
Cals  52 
Sat Fat  zero.4g
Sugar  hint
Salt  zero.6g 

Verdict: This is low-fat cheese – the fats is eliminated throughout manufacturing in an identical approach as is completed with skimmed milk, that means the protein is extra ‘concentrated’. A 40g serving gives 15g protein, in contrast with 10g in regular cheddar. There is 8g much less saturated fats and virtually 100 energy per 40g serving. So a great possibility for dieters… in the event you can bear the style.

Taste check: We didn’t strive it melted, because the makers recommend – however raw, it was like consuming barely flavoured candle wax.


Innocent Smoothie Berry Protein, 750ml, Waitrose, £3.70

Innocent Smoothie Berry Protein, 750ml, Waitrose, £three.70

Protein 5.6g 
Cals  147 
Sat Fat  1.2g
Sugar  23g 
Salt  hint 

Verdict: Thanks to added soya, this gives about 4g extra protein per serving than a regular Innocent strawberry and banana smoothie. But there’s additionally virtually six teaspoons of ‘free’ sugar in it – the sort linked to tooth injury… which is a lot, contemplating seven teaspoons is the really helpful every day restrict. A 250ml glass of semi-skimmed milk would offer 123 energy, eight.5g protein and nil free sugars.

Taste check: Much creamier than the common Innocent smoothie – and equally as cloying and candy after a number of mouthfuls.


Oomf! Bench Pressed Original Oats 75g, Waitrose, £1.30

Oomf! Bench Pressed Original Oats 75g, Waitrose, £1.30

Protein 20.3g 
Cals  281
Sat Fat  zero.8g
Sugar  10.2g 
Salt  zero.2g 


Oomi The Protein Noodle 2x11g, £2.50

Oomi The Protein Noodle 2x11g, £2.50

Protein 12.7g
Cals  97
Sat Fat  1.61g
Sugar  2.3g 
Salt  1.7g 

Verdict: These ready-to-eat noodles include added fish protein. They’re decrease in carbs than regular noodles and have over 12g protein per serving. However, the identical dimension serving of ordinary wholewheat noodles gives 6.8g protein naturally anyway, and has 15 fewer energy in addition to being 30 per cent greater in fibre and far decrease in salt.

Taste check: A curious texture – agency, however not fairly like an egg noodle. A clean chunk, not dissimilar to a crabstick. And, eaten ‘naked’ they odor faintly fishy.


Nestle Shreddies Max Oat Granola 400g, Sainsbury's £2.75

Nestle Shreddies Max Oat Granola 400g, Sainsbury’s £2.75

Protein 6g
Cals  182
Sat Fat  zero.4g
Sugar  8g
Salt  zero.18g 



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