Powdered protein makes for a measly meal

Dietary fads usually seem to involve ways to lose weight. Yes, you can drop pounds by eating only salad, or nothing but grapefruit, or by sticking to cabbage soup. I don’t recommend it, but you could.

However, one thing I don’t recommend is a new, unhealthy fad you should avoid. It’s anti-food and scientifically dubious.

The fad, which is gaining popularity in Silicon Valley, where internet start-ups and tech toys are born, consists of drinking formulations of protein powder added to water or milk instead of eating.

According to a report in The New York Times, “Silicon Valley’s workers are now increasingly chugging their meals, too, so they can more quickly get back to their computer work.”

If you are tempted to try a regimen like that, I just have one word of advice – Don’t!

The drinks have names like Soylent, Schmilk, People Chow and Schmoylent.

The names of these concoctions might sound distasteful, but that might not be as bad as the actual taste. According to The Times they: “…typically taste like bland, gritty pancake batter. But never mind that, since the meal replacements save techies money and time.

If you are in a hurry, once in a while, a protein powder meal might get you by until you can sit down to a real meal. But if you’re in that much of a hurry, you’re fending off too much stress for your own good. Under those circumstances, a sit-down meal is probably what you need to cool off your emotions and recover your body’s homeostatic well-being.

And what about the natural chemicals in real food, thousands of which have never even been identified, that help the body fend of viruses, bacteria, cancer, heart problems, etc.?

You’re not going to find them in any kind of processed food, no matter how faddishly it is named.

Yes, I know that these powders have added minerals and vitamins and probably some fiber. But that doesn’t make them something your body can use effectively to keep functioning optimally.

Plus, buyer beware: many makers of protein powders are being sued because their products don’t contain as much protein as their labels claim.

If you do decide to try an occasional drink made from protein powder, make sure it has no questionable ingredients. Don’t consume any that have artificial sweeteners or questionable preservatives.

And watch out for those that have lots of sugar. “Chocolate” protein powder is probably more powdered ice cream than powdered protein.

If you’re in a big hurry for a protein rich meal, try eating a couple of protein-rich hard boiled eggs and follow it with a piece of fruit like an apple. I guarantee that eggs will keep you from being hungry, help you keep extra pounds off, and give you natural chemicals that your body needs and enhance your nutrient absorption.

Carl Lowe

By Carl Lowe

has written about health, fitness and nutrition for a wide range of publications including Prevention Magazine, Self Magazine and Time-Life Books. The author of more than a dozen books, he has been gluten-free since 2007.