The protein snacks that are less than advertised

How about some “Protein Peanuts” from Frito-Lay?Protein Peanuts

Think “protein” peanuts should have more protein than regular peanuts, especially since they’re coated with soy and whey protein?

Think again. Ounce for ounce, Frito-Lay’s Nut Harvest “Crunchy Protein Peanuts” deliver no more protein than regular peanuts. An ounce of Planters roasted peanuts, for example, has the same 7 grams of protein.

Hey, but you do get more sugar from the Nut Harvest version. And it costs more, too!


Quinoa has a (somewhat undeserved) reputation for being a high-protein grain. (And for being difficult to pronounce, too: either KEEN-wah or kee-NO-ah.)Qchips

Simply 7 is a Houston-based snack company that claims its Quinoa Chips “are designed to deliver all the flavor and nutrients of the ancient super grain quinoa.”

Would a hefty amount of protein be among those nutrients?

Not really. Simply 7’s Sea Salt Quinoa Chips contain almost no protein. Well, almost none. One gram per serving. That’s it.

How can that be when the first ingredient is quinoa flour? For starters, quinoa isn’t exactly high in protein. And it’s not as if you’re eating a serving of quinoa in these chips. There’s also potato starch, corn starch, oil, corn flour, sugar, and salt.

Well, at least the company no longer claims that these chips are a “Good source of protein.” That’s what bags of Simply 7 Sea Salt Quinoa Chips said until last spring.

Hmm. You’d need about 65 grams of quinoa to supply the 9 grams of protein the old label said was in each 28-gram serving.

That might explain why Simply 7’s current label lists the protein at just 1 gram. The company says it switched farmers, and that “the new quinoa has less protein.”

Our guess: It didn’t realize (or choose to recognize) what any nutritionist would: that its original lab analysis was probably wrong.

Better alternatives

Looking for a real healthy snack with some protein?Roasted Broad Beans

The Enlightened brand of “Sea Salt Roasted Broad Beans” is one possibility. They taste more like crackers or chips than beans, thanks to oil and some salt. It’s hard to beat 7 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber in every 100-calorie serving.

Other options: The Good Bean brand of “Crispy Crunchy Chickpeas” with 5 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber for 120 calories.  Or Seapoint Farms “Dry Roasted Edamame” with around 14 grams of protein, 8 grams of fiber, and 130 calories. doesn’t accept any paid advertising or corporate or government funding. Any products recommended by have been vetted by our staff of nutritionists and are not advertisements by the manufacturers.


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5 Replies to “The protein snacks that are less than advertised”

  1. What do you mean when you say that quinoa “isn’t exactly high in protein”? Exactly how high is it and how high does it need to be before it is “exactly” high in protein?

    1. “High” in protein on food labels means at least 20 percent of the Daily Value, which for protein is 50 grams. So “high” is at least 10 grams of protein per serving. A serving of quinoa has about 6 grams.

  2. Glad to see these food exposed. The rush by manufacturers to load up everything with the trendy healthy additives (soy, “keen-wah,” blue-green algae, coconut, etc., etc.) is helpful. People need to understand the manufacturers are not trying to make us healthy, they are trying to sell stuff. They are not your friends, they do not care about your health, and they make this stuff because they get to double and triple the sales price because people literally buy into it! Much of the stuff they are adding as healthy is actually TOXIC.

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