3 Reasons to Avoid “Healthy” Protein Desserts
Your body needs protein, yet it often craves sugar. Sometimes simply hearing the word “dessert” is enough to fuel the desire for something sweet. That’s why these new, protein desserts that are high in this essential nutrient seem like such a good idea. Why not treat yourself to something you want while getting something you need?
However, before you stock up on these “guilt-free” protein dessert options, I want you to know that they are not as healthy as they claim to be. With ingredients that are inflammatory or toxic, you can’t trust these sweet proteins the way you can rely on my delicious, new Cookies & Cream Paleo Protein.
What Are These “Healthy” Protein Desserts?
You can now find these protein desserts I’m talking about everywhere, and more are manufactured every day. That’s right — manufactured! Here are just a few types of packaged protein desserts with an added boost of this essential building block for your body:
- High-protein ice cream
- Cheesecake (dairy or soy)
- Protein cookies
- Peanut butter cups
While these protein desserts may sound like better-for-you options, you should always read the nutrition facts labels to understand what you’re putting into your body. And pay attention to the serving sizes in these packaged protein desserts. They can be very misleading and you can end up with much more than you bargain for!
3 Reasons to Avoid “Healthy” Protein Desserts
1. Added sugar and/or artificial sweeteners
Even eating too much naturally occurring sugar (and that’s anything over 25 grams of sugar daily for women and 37.5 grams for men) can cause you to crave more sweet, sugary foods. Added sugar and sugar substitutes only enhance this tendency, even if they’re combined with protein.
There are five artificial sweeteners approved by the FDA including saccharin (Sweet’N Low™), aspartame (Equal™), sucralose (Splenda™), neotame (Newtame™), and acesulfame potassium (Sweet One™). Studies show that these artificial sweeteners can cause weight gain, brain tumors, and bladder cancer among other illnesses.1 Avoid any protein dessert (or anything else) that contains these ingredients.
Many companies that manufacture protein desserts do use natural sweeteners. However, too much of these are associated with a higher risk of glucose intolerance, and a precursor to prediabetes and diabetes.2
Protein desserts often contain refined sugar, which is toxic to your body. Eating something you need — protein — with something you don’t — refined sugar — is not a good way to optimize your diet.
2. Inflammatory and toxic ingredients
Choosing a protein dessert doesn’t mean you can ignore the rest of the ingredients. Many just don’t fit into a gluten-free, dairy-free, Paleo, or autoimmune diet. Even if your protein dessert is gluten and dairy-free, many of them contain:
- Caramel color
- Corn fiber
- Milk protein concentrate
- Peanuts and other legumes
- Processed vegetable oils (i.e. soybean oil)
- Tree nuts
- Whey protein
3. Questionable proteins
Protein desserts tout the amount of protein per serving on the nutrition label. Trust me, it is not as impressive when you find out what provides those additional grams of protein.
Pea proteins contain less inflammatory lectins than the split peas they’re sourced from. However, oligosaccharides in pea proteins can still cause intestinal discomfort and gas.3 Not to mention, pea protein can give protein desserts a gritty, unpleasant texture.
Milk and/or Whey protein
Many protein desserts contain dairy, which I advise you avoid because it causes inflammation.
Casein proteins, one of the two milk proteins, form insoluble curds in the stomach, making it hard for digestive enzymes to do their work. Slower digestion is also associated with the delayed release of the protein’s amino acids into the bloodstream. Whey, the other milk protein, can also be difficult to digest and cause gas and bloating.
There Are Healthy Protein Dessert Options
A little something sweet now and then will not derail your health goals. Processed foods, on the other hand, never do your body any good. However, there are ways to treat yourself to a satisfying, nutrient-dense protein dessert while optimizing your health.
Buy small and local
If you’re looking for protein desserts, specialized bakeries and farmer’s markets can offer you a multitude of delicious options that fit into a variety of diets including Paleo, keto, gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, and egg-free.
Create dessert at home
You can make amazing desserts — including high protein desserts — at home. Check out the recipes on my blog and The Autoimmune Solution Cookbook for more for healthy baking and dessert recipes.
Make a delicious smoothie
I love making smoothies because not only are they a nutritious addition to your diet, you can also customize them however you like! I often enjoy a simple smoothie with ice, water, and my delicious Cookies & Cream Paleo Protein.
My new Cookies & Cream Paleo Protein is an excellent choice for a protein-rich treat, at any time of day! Try it for breakfast for a meal that will keep you satisfied until lunch. Or opt for it as a nutrient-dense dessert!
Unlike many of the packaged protein desserts you’ll find, my custom-formulated Cookies & Cream Paleo Protein is gluten-, dairy-, and sugar-free and sourced from non-GMO, hormone- and antibiotic free, grass-fed beef. It’s truly a high-quality protein. In fact, it has 21 grams of protein in every serving! Plus, it’s autoimmune friendly, keto friendly, and Paleo approved.
With none of the nasty additives or inflammatory ingredients you’ll find in packaged protein desserts, Cookies & Cream Paleo Protein is an ideal, protein-rich choice.