Protein – the Latest MadLib

Sound the alarm! You’re not getting enough protein! Well, if you watch the ads on TV these days, you’ll probably think that you’re not.  After all, every food under the sun is trumpeting its protein content.  (Well, except for kettle corn. As previously established, kettle corn is a gift from the gods and is, therefore, exempt from all dietary claims and requirements.) High protein snack bars, high protein yogurt, high protein cereals are all in league to make us think that our protein intake is too low, that we would be healthier if only we ate more of it!

Here’s the scoop: according to the CDC, the average adult female needs 46 grams of protein daily.  The average adult male needs 56 grams.  The National Center for Health Statistics says that the average adult female consumes 70.1 grams of protein daily, while the average adult male wolfs down 101.9 grams. So, um, yeah.  You’re probably getting enough.

So, why all the hype about protein the last few years?

The Adkins Diet was phenomenally successful – high protein, low carb.  Madison Avenue marketed the whole “low carb” thing so pervasively that we as consumers didn’t even see it anymore.  They had to use something new to grab our attention.  And, voilà! High protein everything hit the shelves.

Collins River CowWe like new things.  We want the latest phone, the greatest tablet, the most modern car and the trendiest diet.  The Mad Men know this.  They study us. They probe us. They poll us. They monitor our behavior.  I’m pretty sure that’s where the beings from Roswell ended up – in a suit and tie, probing us via our loyalty cards.  They know more about us and our purchasing behavior that we do. Statistically, they can manipulate us by using the laws of large numbers – they exert a little pressure here, we buy gummie vitamins for adults, a little pressure there and we buy frozen PB&Js. They pull a little there and we’re spending millions to clothe and amuse our cats who grow their own fur coats and who will play for hours in a cardboard box.

All of this hype and nonsense has lead to the unhealthiest American population. Ever. We are overweight, under exerted, overstressed, undernourished, diabetic, cancerous, depressed, agitated, infertile and angry in record percentages. It’s time for us to realize that the advertisements are not our friends. They are not giving us friendly advice.  They are trying to sell us something. They imply that our purchase of the Something will make us prettier, smarter, sexier, more successful and have better hair.  But, the truth is, our purchase of that Something is more likely to do all of those things for the person who came up with the ad campaign than it is for us.

Human chemistry just hasn’t changed that much.  We don’t need some new formula, packaging or buzzword.  We need basic nutrients delivered in or near their natural state. Period.

(And kettle corn.)


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