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Protein Bites - Don't Be Fooled

By Karen Kelly, R.D. | June 21, 2019

You are walking through the grocery store and see a package of Protein Bites and think to yourself,  'hmmmm, those dietitians at the NJBC are always telling me to get more protein, I think I'll throw these in my cart.  Hey, it even says made with all natural ingredients and there’s chocolate and bananas. This is great!"

Hold on. Don’t be fooled.

I put these in MY cart to show you how important it is to read the food labels so you can start to make better choices.  I also put a box of Entenmann's Chocolate Donuts in my cart to compare side by side.

 First, let's define serving sizes - one donut equals about 3 protein bites.  Looks reasonable in the picture, right?

Now let's look at calories - a serving of the Protein Bites has 160 calories and the donut 170.  Not much of a difference there.

As we go down the label we can see the total fat in the protein bites serving is 10 grams vs 12 grams in the donut.  Carbohydrates and Sugar? Protein Bites have 17 grams of carbs and 11 grams of sugar while the donut has 15 carbs and 8 grams of sugar.  The donut has less sugar and carbs than the serving of protein bites.

Finally, let's check out the protein.  The Protein Bites have 6 grams of protein, that’s only 2 grams per bite and the donut has 1 gram of protein.  Certainly not a good source of protein based on the amount of calories and sugar in the Protein Bites.

The verdict - the protein bites are no more a healthy food choice or a good source of protein for you than a donut.  When in doubt, your best bet is always to read the food labels and question the “healthy” descriptions on food packaging.  

Karen Kelly, RD, is a registered dietitian at New Jersey Bariatric Center, a medical & surgical weight loss center with offices in Springfield, Somerville, Hoboken, East Brunswick, Hackettstown and Sparta, New Jersey. She provides pre-operative and post-operative nutritional counseling to New Jersey Bariatric Center’s Gastric Bypass, Gastric Sleeve, LAP-BAND (gastric band) and revision patients, in addition to dietary counseling for patients in our Medical Weight Loss program.
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