Don’t Be Fooled by “protein Cookies”

The other day at the gym I found a packet of “protein cookies” with peanut butter and was completely fascinated by it. The packaging proudly reads “18 grams of protein per bag”, along with all the healthy sounding words: Non-GMO, Gluten-Free and High-Protein. Don’t be arrogant, bag of cookies, you’re still junk food.

It seems that nowadays you will find more protein in almost everything from cream cheese to peanut butter and cereal, and now in cookies. This is because protein is important for overall health, weight loss, and muscle growth. Now, protein is the ultimate health halo: as long as something boasts “high protein” (even if it’s not really that high), you might perceive it better for you. Few foods have such a powerful aura of health ( cabbage and acai come to mind ). To see the health halo in action, here are some quotes from the back of the package (some parts are highlighted in bold):

Force bites protein biscuits without a sense of wine protein packed treats that will delight your taste buds and energize your body with the energy you need to go about a busy day.

Enjoying life. Love your body. It’s nice to do it.

The taste of health.

Sounds great, but it’s actually hypocrisy. Because if you look at the ingredients, the first one is brown sugar. And while one packet claims 18 grams of protein, there are three servings in each packet . Cool, so if you want protein, you’re getting 3 to 1 on 18 grams of sugar and 18 grams of fat.

Hey, I’m not saying sugar is necessarily evil. It’s just that most of us are already eating too much added sugar (and all the fat that is usually combined with high-sugar foods), which makes it difficult for truly nutritious foods to meet our daily calorie goals.

To its credit, this protein cookie has a much shorter list of ingredients than, say, Oreos. But if you’ve eaten the entire packet of protein cookies, well, that’s 420 calories, which is likely to make you hungry soon after (and let’s be honest: can most of us really settle for two little cookies?). Sure, you can claim you “deserve it” because you’ve had a tough workout , but thinking like that is a slippery slope that can lead to overeating.

If you’re trying to eat more protein, there are much better alternatives, like making your own protein shakes , where you can control the ingredients. If you want a cookie, you can get the real cookie from the bakery. Make it good.


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