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"Shape" featured Jessica Tosto, M.S., R.D., a clinical coordinator in the MS Nutrition and Dietetics Program at Pace University in "Protein Spreads Are the Latest Healthy Eating Food Trend"

10/18/2018 News Release Image

"Shape" featured Jessica Tosto, M.S., R.D., a clinical coordinator in the MS Nutrition and Dietetics Program at Pace University in "Protein Spreads Are the Latest Healthy Eating Food Trend"

If you're counting macros or simply trying to up your protein intake to build muscle, you know the importance of eating the right amount of protein every day. A food trend hitting shelves at health stores that might help you do that is high-protein spreads, aka glorified nut butter/frosting hybrids that taste like heaven on a spoon.

Compared to most nut butters, which average 6 to 8 grams of protein per serving, protein spreads may have up to 14 grams or so per serving, thanks to added ingredients such as whey protein. They're high in fat, too—mostly the heart-healthy kind (and if you're following keto, the more fat, the better).

Enticing flavors and an irresistible drippy texture practically made for Instagram add to the appeal of protein spreads. The brand Nuts 'n More has mouthwatering flavors such as apple crisp, banana nut, cookie dough, and spiced pumpkin pie, while a company called Buff Bake sells lip-smacking varieties like snickerdoodle, cinnamon roll, and rocky road. Grenade Carb Killa's Hazel Nutter spread is a dead ringer for that oh-so-addicting chocolate spread by another name.

Protein spreads are enough to have you craving dessert at any time of day—smearing them on pancakes, fruit, oatmeal, toast, or anything else you can think of—but are these high-protein spreads really part of a healthy diet? The answer: It depends on the ingredient list.

"It's important to realize that not all high-protein spreads are created equally," says Jessica Tosto, M.S., R.D., a clinical coordinator in the MS Nutrition and Dietetics Program at Pace University. Tosto points out that some spreads promoted as low-calorie may have lots of artificial sweeteners and fillers, while other spreads may be higher in calories and have more added sugar.

Consider comparing a protein spread's label to that of a standard nut butter, like almond butter, which often contains just one ingredient: almonds. "The protein content is not as high, and you may get more calories from almond butter than some of the lower-calorie, high-protein spreads, but you are also getting additional benefits of consuming these healthful nuts, with none of the extra sugars or artificial additives in more processed spreads," says Tosto. (Related: 5 High-Protein Nut and Seed Butter Packs You Can Fit In Your Pocket)

Read the full article.