My Protein Bites Protein Cookies // Girl Don’t Do It
Welcome back to my favorite “healthy” food review series. After a long and refreshing hiatus, I am back with all new foods to give you my opinion on.
For those of you that are new to Girl… Don’t Do It, it is my food review series in which I take a so called “healthy” food, and use what I’ve learned on my healthy food journey to really pick apart if this “superfood”, or “low calorie” treat is actually worth your dollars.
So I’m not a dietician or nutritionist, but I am a girl who looooooves food, and has seen and felt the benefits of how eating good food can change your life physically, mentally, and emotionally (also did I mention how much I love food, cuz duh).
I’m more like your big sistah auntie queen that’s just trying to look for ya. But know that I also have close friends in the medical, health, and wellness field that I check in with from time to time (like Yes Queen’s favorite doctor/fitness entrepreneur, Dr. Daniel Reardon… aka Dr. Dan)! Don’t forget to check out the homepage calendar to see when I host my monthly 1-on-1 livestreams with him!
So how I like to assess if a food is worth incorporating regularly into my diet is by reviewing the three major parts of its nutritional story to decide if it’s “YAAASS QUEEN” or a “Girl...Don’t Do It!”
Every food that we eat has a nutritional story, and over the course of the last few years that I have been restructuring my diet, I have found that the foods that have a synergy between those three crucial parts tend to be the most nutritionally valuable.
So what are the three parts?
The serving size indicates how many servings of a food are in one container/package.
The calories indicate either how many calories are within that one standard serving, or how many calories are within the container/package.
So I always like to look at the calories in relationship to the serving size because more often than not many food brands will list the calories for one serving size rather than the standard serving that most people will eat. Doing this can make it appear as if you are eating less calories than you actually are.
And while many companies do this without ill intent, it doesn't change the fact that many people will misunderstand how many calories they are consuming because of it, and many companies still do nothing about it.
So the macronutrients refer to the protein, carbohydrate, and fat breakdown of a food. Ideally, healthy packaged foods have a balanced/appropriate ratio of each component.
When reviewing the macronutrients, I specifically use the Altman rule to help me rule out any unbalanced foods.
PROTEIN (G) + Fiber (g) > sugar (g)
It's SO important to look into the ingredients of the foods that you consume because that is the ultimate telltale sign of whether or not something is worth putting in your body. Many people are taught to only focus on the calories or the macros, but if it's coming from a shitty place it won't matter how balanced or perfect the calories/macros look because it will still be sourced out of crappy materials.
Okay so now that you know how the process works, let's get into it!
My Protein Bites Protein Cookies
So anyone who knows me knows that I have a very deep and intense relationship with cookies.
But many cookies have such an extremely high caloric value that I realized that I needed to find a healthier alternative if I wanted to eat them regularly.
And sorry if I have to be the one to tell y’all, but most protein cookies aren't any healthier for you.
Funny enough, if you dig into their nutritional story, you'll actually find that sometimes eating a regular cookie would have less calories or a macronutrient impact then eating one of those cookies. But I believe that there's got to be at least a few brands out there that have our best interest at heart, and I’ve made it a personal mission to find out who they are!
Which leads us to this week's choice: My Protein Bites Protein Cookies!
I saw them at my local gym, and while I'm not a huge fan of hard cookies, I will say the 24 grams of protein and three cookies in every pack definitely caught my eye.
85 Calories per cookie / 255 per container
So given that most standard cookies are above 100 calories per cookie, I'm definitely impressed with the calorie ratio per cookie. I also really liked that they have clearly written out and bolded that the calories presented are for one cookie. Some protein cookie brands like to do this thing where they only report the calories for half of 1 cookie, which as you can imagine, often tricks people into thinking they are eating less than they actually are. So I’m very vigilant about that. I also like that even if I ate all 3 cookies, I'd still be consuming a pretty low amount of calories comparatively to if I ate three standard cookies.
As far as I can see, this section checks out!
Total fat (per cookie): 2g
Sat. Fat: 1.5g
Total carbs (per cookie): 10g
Total protein (per cookie): 8g
Total fat (per package): 6g
Sat. Fat: 4.5g
Total carbs (per package): 30g
Total protein (per package): 24g
So after doing Fitness Genes, and discovering that I had a saturated fat sensitivity, I definitely try to be more vigilant about how much saturated fat I'm getting from the foods I eat. Saturated fat in general isn't the best food to consumed in high quantities as it has been linked to unhealthy things like heart disease. So I would also say that it's a good practice for everyone to monitor how much saturated fat they consume (even if it's from good sources like coconuts and coconut-based products). Harvard Medical School published that “most nutrition experts recommend limiting saturated fat to under 10% of calories a day.”
As someone that tries to eat on average 1,800 calories a day, that would be >180 calories (22.5 g).
So, ultimately, as far as the saturated fat is concerned, I would say per cookie, it looks fine. Consuming the whole package, however, puts it a little over my safety zone of 3 grams of saturated fat. I try not to consume foods that would put me over 3 grams per serving.
Buuuuuuut, it’s not crazy over my limit so I would still feel comfortable eating the whole package if I felt like it was that kind of day.
The carbohydrate amount, both per cookie and per package, is amazing and very low in comparison to the standard cookie. The sugar is kept extremely low and there's also a decent amount of fiber.
The protein amount we already knew was out of this world given that it's heavily marketed on the front cover of the package, but it's important to justify if the high protein amount is worth all of the other elements of the food as well. A lot of food marketers know that if they heavily advertise the protein, most people won’t look beyond that, which often creates leeway for them to use crappy ingredients or inaccurately represent the caloric value.
Meeting with a dietitian once, she suggested that I use what's called the Altman rule to help me make quick judgments about packaged foods to buy that wouldn't impede my health and fitness progress.
The Altman rule is basically adding up the protein and fiber amounts, and comparing it to the amount of sugar in the food. If the sugar is higher than the protein and fiber combined, then I was told that it's not nutritionally valuable.
So applying the Altman rule…
8g (protein) + 3g (fiber) = 11g
11g protein/fiber > 3 g sugar
24g (protein) + 9g (fiber) = 33g
33g protein/fiber > 9 g sugar
So these cookies definitely pass the test!
Ok, so there’s just one more section to check…
Protein blend (oat flour, nonfat milk powder, whey protein concentrate, brown rice flour), brown sugar, coconut butter, natural flavor, ground cinnamon, maltodextrin, whole eggs, almond milk, baking soda, salt.
So I'm already in love with this ingredients list because it's very, very short, and contains many familiar words that I can pronounce. It's usually a very big red flag if the ingredients list is super long, and filled with words that you've never seen before or that you would need a chemistry degree to pronounce; that usually means that it's being made with junk.
The only word that I'm unfamiliar with is maltodextrin. So let's look it up!
Maltodextrin— a common, highly processed, food additive made from starchy foods, such as rice, corn, and wheat. It is typically used as a thickener, and is found in many food seasonings, instant puddings, pie fillings, candy, and soups. (Livestrong)
Seems harmless at first, but then this is where it got interesting…
It’s also been linked to a few studies that say maltodextrin could also be negatively impacting gut health, but that more studies would need to be conducted amongst humans before anything conclusive could be stated.
So TL;DR: Foods with maltodextrin should not be consumed in large quantities, and anyone with diabetes should definitely steer clear of it because of it being a high glycemic additive.
So for those of you that have never read and ingredients list before, it is important to note that the lists are organized by most used ingredient to least used ingredient.
Given that maltodextrin is closer to the end of the list, it is a fair assertion that it was not a heavily-used ingredient. However, it's still an important ingredient to take into consideration when planning out meals, especially given that it was recommended for those looking to lose weight to keep foods with maltodextrin low.
So considering everything I've looked at today, I would say that these cookies are a…
YAAASS QUEEN! (with caution)
Given that the calories are low, the macros are balanced, and many of the ingredients are familiar items, I would recommend these cookies for anyone looking for a healthier alternative to a traditional cookie. I’m not too happy about the saturated fat content (especially if you plan to consume the whole pack), and the maltodextrin is one of the least favorable ingredients, but given its low status on the ingredients list, I would say eating this cookie in moderation would be your best bet (like 1-2 packs a week). But if you’re diabetic, or trying to follow a strict weight loss plan, then I wouldn’t recommend these.
Hope you enjoyed this week’s Girl… Don’t Do It review! If you want to see what other healthy snacks I love to eat, don’t forget to check out my Amazon influencer store, which I update regularly.
I’ll catch you next time! In love, peace, and unapologetic thiccness!