04 21 2015
  6:10 am  
     •     
40 Years of Service

(AP) -- Carbs? Calories? Fat? They are so very last decade. Dieters and would-be healthy eaters know the nutrient of the moment being tallied, sought and bought is protein.

Spurred by trainers, diet gurus and weight-loss plans, Americans are seeking more- and more unique - sources of protein, from almonds ground into milk and soy reshaped as pasta, to peas and whey turned into powders and shakes. And food producers are happy to oblige.

Powders and energy bars packed with 20, 30 or even more grams of protein per serving are selling briskly. Supermarket shelves once crowded with foods boasting of being high in fiber or low in fat now are jammed with claims of protein content. Yet this is happening even as Americans eat less meat, the go-to source of protein for generations.

"People are getting smarter about foods in general," said Phil Lempert, a food marketing expert known as The Supermarket Guru. He sees higher meat prices driving people to other sources of protein, a movement that has becoming more pronounced this year.

"Longer term, I think you're going to see people starting to look at more vegetables and different combinations to create proteins like rice and beans."

Amanda Perry - an on-the-go mom with two jobs and a 1-year-old - is a good example. She counts on lots of protein to keep her feeling full and full of energy. But she needs it to be portable, so she often mixes protein powder with almond milk, maybe a banana and some peanut butter.

"It's easily portable, which I think is awesome for busy people because you're on the run," said Perry, a 31-year-old personal trainer who owns a gym in Chelmsford, Mass., with her husband. "You can't really take a chicken breast or a piece of steak with you if you're going to be out for several hours."

Red meat, a rich source of protein, is going through an especially bumpy run. Prices are up, and so are health concerns about beef and its saturated fat content. Americans are expected to consume about 15 percent less beef on a per capita basis this year compared to 2007, according to Steiner & Company, an economic consultant to the food industry. Per capita consumption of all red meat and poultry is expected to be down by 10 percent over the same period.

But if forces are pushing people away from meat, health conscious Americans are simultaneously being lured to other sources of protein, such as nuts, beans, soy and seafood.

Protein has had popularity peaks before - think of the Atkins diet craze not so many years ago - though this time there are a chorus of voices touting the benefits of protein-heavy regimens like the Paleo Diet, which stresses the lean meats and wild plants eaten by our ancestors. And it's being helped along by accumulating evidence that plant-based protein can lower cholesterol levels and have other beneficial effects.

A trip down the grocery aisle shows food makers are tuned in to this trend and happy to engage shoppers about it, from Yoplait Greek yogurts ("2X protein") to Boca meatless lasagna ("21 g protein") to Perdue chicken breast tenders ("excellent source of protein").

Like your protein concentrated? Analysts say sales are up for high-protein bars.

"As Americans are becoming more health conscious and busier, protein bar sales are increasing because they are a convenient way to gain protein on the go," said IBISWorld analyst Mary Nanfelt, adding that many protein bars are eaten after a workout to help the stressed-out muscles.

Also popular are the protein-rich powders, often made with whey, once associated mostly with weightlifters looking to bulk up. Perry said her protein powders - which are vegan because they sit in her stomach better - make her feel more energetic.

"I used to be afraid of it. And I have friends and clients who are sort of afraid of it. They think, `Oh, I'm going to gain too much weight, it's too many calories.' But what they don't know - and this is common for a lot of women - is that they're not getting enough calories, and they're not getting enough protein."

Actually, most Americans eat plenty of protein. The latest available federal survey of what Americans eat, which covers 2007-2008, shows both men and women commonly consuming more protein than needed, sometimes by a third or more.

Of course, the amount of protein needed varies by age, weight and activity level, though federal recommendations suggest 56 grams daily for a 154 pound man and 46 grams for a 126 pound woman. Those levels are not difficult to achieve if, say, you scramble eggs for breakfast, grab a couple of slices of pepperoni pizza for lunch and eat chicken and broccoli for dinner.

"There's this whole idea that I think a lot of people are plagued by that you have to get so much protein. And the truth is most of us do get enough protein and you don't have to have as much as you think," said Marisa Moore, an Atlanta-based dietitian and spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

People worried about protein might do better focusing on a healthy, diverse diet rather than counting grams.

Margaret McDowell, a nutritionist with the National Institutes of Health's Division of Nutrition Research Coordination, notes that lean meats and poultry, seafood and fat-free dairy products are all good ways to get protein.

"If you can consume your foods from a normal diet, that would be preferable because foods give a lot of other things beside protein and it's probably more tasty and enjoyable to eat a lean piece of grilled chicken," McDowell said. "I only eat protein bars if I'm desperate, if I'm running for a long time or need a quick snack."

Proteins from meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and milk are "complete," meaning they contain all the essential amino acids the body needs, while proteins in plants like beans and peas, grains, nuts, seeds, and soy are "incomplete" proteins because they lack in one or more of the essential amino acids. This is why a vegan diet takes a little bit more planning.

But McDowell said a vegan diet can provide adequate protein by including a variety of plant protein sources.

"I think most of us don't need a supplement," McDowell said.

© 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

Pacific NW Carpenters Union

Commenting Guidelines

  • Keep it clean: Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually oriented language
  • No personal attacks: We reserve the right to remove offensive comments
  • Be truthful: Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything
  • Be nice: No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person
  • Help us: If you see an abusive post, let us know at info@theskanner.com
  • Keep to topic: We will remove irrelevant posts and spam
  • Share with us: We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts; the history behind an article

Recently Published by The Skanner News

  • Default
  • Title
  • Date
  • Random
  • When should we use military to enforce US goals? NASHUA, N.H. (AP) — Rand Paul lashed out Saturday at military hawks in the Republican Party in a clash over foreign policy dividing the packed GOP presidential field. Paul, a first-term senator from Kentucky who favors a smaller U.S. footprint in the world, said that some of his Republican colleagues would do more harm in international affairs than would leading Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton. "The other Republicans will criticize the president and Hillary Clinton for their foreign policy, but they would just have done the same thing — just 10 times over," Paul said on the closing day of a New Hampshire GOP conference that brought about 20 presidential prospects to the first-in-the-nation primary state. "There's a group of folks in our party who would have troops in six countries right now, maybe more," Paul said. Foreign policy looms large in the presidential race as the U.S. struggles to resolve diplomatic and military conflicts across the globe. The GOP presidential class regularly rails against President Barack Obama's leadership on the world stage, yet some would-be contenders have yet to articulate their own positions, while others offered sharply different visions. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, whose brother, President George W. Bush, authorized the 2003 invasion of Iraq, declined to say whether he would have done anything different then. Yet Jeb Bush acknowledged a shift in his party against new military action abroad. "Our enemies need to fear us, a little bit, just enough for them to deter the actions that create insecurity," Bush said earlier in the conference. He said restoring alliances "that will create less likelihood of America's boots on the ground has to be the priority, the first priority of the next president." The GOP's hawks were well represented at the event, led by Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who has limited foreign policy experience but articulated a muscular vision during his Saturday keynote address. Walker said the threats posed by radical Islamic terrorism won't be handled simply with "a couple bombings." "We're not going to wait till they bring the fight to us," Walker said. "We're going to bring the fight to them and fight on their soil." South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham addressed the question of putting U.S. troops directly in the battle against the Islamic State group militants by saying there is only one way to defeat the militants: "You go over there and you fight them so they don't come here." Texas Sen. Ted Cruz suggested an aggressive approach as well. "The way to defeat ISIS is a simple and clear military objective," he said. "We will destroy them." Businesswoman Carly Fiorina offered a similar outlook. "The world is a more dangerous and more tragic place when America is not leading. And America has not led for quite some time," she said. Under Obama, a U.S.-led coalition of Western and Arab countries is conducting regular airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. also has hundreds of military advisers in Iraq helping Iraqi security forces plan operations against the Islamic State, which occupies large chunks of northern and western Iraq. Paul didn't totally reject the use of military force, noting that he recently introduced a declaration of war against the Islamic State group. But in an interview with The Associated Press, he emphasized the importance of diplomacy. He singled out Russia and China, which have complicated relationships with the U.S., as countries that could contribute to U.S. foreign policy interests. "I think the Russians and the Chinese have great potential to help make the world a better place," he said. "I don't say that naively that they're going to, but they have the potential to." Paul suggested the Russians could help by getting Syrian President Bashar Assad to leave power. "Maybe he goes to Russia," Paul said. Despite tensions with the U.S., Russia and China negotiated alongside Washington in nuclear talks with Iran. Paul has said he is keeping an open mind about the nuclear negotiations. "The people who already are very skeptical, very doubtful, may not like the president for partisan reasons," he said, and "just may want war instead of negotiations."
    Read More
  • Some lawmakers, sensing a tipping point, are backing the parents and teachers who complain about 'high stakes' tests   
    Read More
  • Watch Rachel Maddow interview VA Secretary Robert McDonald  
    Read More
  • Some two thousand people pack halls to hear Trayvon Martin's mom speak   
    Read More
load morehold SHIFT key to load allload all
Carpentry Professionals

PHOTO GALLERY

Calendar

About Us

Breaking News

The Skanner TV

Turn the pages

Portland Opera Showboat 2
The Skanner Photo Archives