How much protein is in cottage cheese

Protein? Quark also makes you strong

Are you already on the protein trip? What used to only be bought by bodybuilders is now a trend in supermarkets and health food stores. The extra portion of protein is in more and more foods - and promises more muscles, shedding pounds, health.

Apparently, this is hugely popular with consumers. As soon as spring arrives, they increasingly turn to vanilla milk with extra protein, protein quark, protein smoothies or Skyr, the yogurt with the complicated name but a lot of protein. Protein breads or protein-rich mueslis and porridges are also in demand. The latest craze are fitness country hunters with 50 percent protein content and protein grilled sausages. Protein foods were already a big hit in 2017. A new surge of growth can be expected in 2018, says Robert Kecskes, retail expert at the Gesellschaft für Konsumforschung (GfK) in Nuremberg. Nutrition experts, however, consider protein foods to be completely unnecessary and expensive. What's up

That's what proteins do

Protein is an important building material for cells and tissues. Competitive athletes and bodybuilders have long relied on consuming protein in powder form or in bars in order to build more muscle mass. Protein also has a reputation for helping you lose weight. Protein-rich foods fill you up well, better than low-protein foods. Nutritional trends such as low carb (few carbohydrates) or paleo based on the Stone Age model, as well as vegetarian and vegan diets, build on this. Anyone who consumes a lot of protein in order to become leaner should know that, according to studies, this only works for about three to six months, as Antje Gahl, ecotrophologist and spokeswoman for the German Nutrition Society (DGE) explains. The weight loss effect becomes smaller or disappears completely if you rely on a protein diet over the long term. “Protein also provides energy and has just as many calories as carbohydrates,” Gahl points out.

An extra kick of milk protein

The food industry has now discovered the good reputation of protein and has revamped products. If you want to lose weight, you shouldn't have to struggle with powder, bars or fry fish, but rather find the extra portion of protein as ready-made food on the shelf when shopping. In addition to the normal cereal flakes, muesli variants enriched with soy, pea or wheat protein are now on offer. Milk gets additional milk protein. Toast rolls, crispy bread and mixed breads are baked with extra wheat protein concentrate, and smoothies are pepped up with soy proteins. "We consider the trend created with cheap ingredients to be the latest scam to pull the money out of consumers' pockets", criticizes Andreas Winkler, spokesman for the consumer organization foodwatch in Berlin. Protein products are up to 2.5 times as expensive as conventional offers. At 41 cents per 100 milliliters, a vanilla protein drink costs almost 40 percent more than the usual vanilla milk from the competition. For 500 grams of protein bread, 3.18 euros would have to be invested, more than twice as much as for normal wholemeal bread.

Good business

The convenient protein kick to go is well received by Germans. Not least through advertising messages that suggest sexiness, muscle growth, slimness or even protection against heart attacks. That pulls. And it really pays off for manufacturers. In the past year alone, protein products achieved sales of over 200 million euros. Four years earlier it was only around 50 million, according to a joint study by the food industry and GfK. “We will see a further increase this year,” market researcher Kecskes is convinced. “Buyers are willing to pay a little more money for the extra portion of protein.” According to the GfK study, protein products are particularly popular with young and fitness-oriented citizens. However, there are also consumers who only occasionally exercise. At the same time, the researchers believe that consumers' ignorance of healthy eating is astonishingly high. During the investigation, 54 percent said they were not familiar with the area.

Basically unnecessary

From the point of view of consumer advocates and the German Nutrition Society, foods with a plus in protein are absolutely superfluous. And products that are inherently not healthy, such as chocolate bars, will certainly not get an extra portion of protein either. “This is a marketing strategy,” emphasizes Gahl. Protein supplements are simply not necessary for a healthy adult. So normal quark does it too. "Even strength athletes in competitive sports, vegans and those who want to lose weight can easily meet their protein needs with normal protein-rich foods," says Wiebke Franz, nutrition expert at the Hessen Consumer Center. Protein is abundant in meat, legumes, fish, dairy products and eggs, for example. "Those who have a balanced diet do not need to eat anything extra," assures ecotrophologist Gahl. A quarter of a liter of milk, three slices of wholemeal bread, a small cup of yogurt, a portion of lentils and a piece of fish - that's a good 60 grams of protein. That's more than a grown man needs in protein a day. For a 60-pound woman, it is only about 48 grams, and even an amateur athlete who trains for half an hour four to five times a week does not need to consume more protein

Careful, fat man

Anyone who thinks that they can easily get their weight under control with ready-made protein foods from the supermarket is wrong, says consumer advocate Franz: "Nothing will happen without training." On the contrary: special protein powders, porridges, breads or bars are often also used enriched with sweeteners, additives or flavors. If you eat or drink an extra portion of protein in addition to normal food, you often don't even lose weight, but rather gain weight. Too much protein is usually not harmful to the body. But a lot of protein also means a lot of calories. The excess protein is a source of energy and could ultimately show up as love handles, Gahl points out. Only adults with impaired kidney function should be wary of too much protein. Otherwise, what counts when losing weight is the energy balance. Only those who eat fewer calories than they use can bring pounds to melt.