Product Review – Quest Protein Chips

These are perfect, right? – 19g protein, 5g carbs, 4.5g fat

 

For years, many of you have heard me preach the importance of getting enough protein at each meal – between 20-30g of protein per meal. And then you find these chips. You look at the numbers and you think you have hit the jackpot! Is this a good product to eat?

 

This is a Stepping-Stone Food

 

The answer is yes and no. It really depends on the individual. This is what I would call a “Stepping-Stone Food”, which means it is not what I would consider ideal, but if it is better than what you are eating now, you can eat it for a while until you are ready to take the next step.  Let’s look at the ingredients.

 

Ingredients:

Protein Blend (Milk Protein Isolate, Whey Protein Isolate), High Oleic Sunflower Oil, Calcium Caseinate, Corn Starch, Natural Flavors, Buttermilk Powder, Psyllium Husk. Nonfat Dry Milk, Contains less than 2% of the following: Cheddar Cheese Powder (Cultured Milk, Salt, Enzymes), Tomato Powder, Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, Spice, Salt, Soluble Corn Fiber, Whey Powder, Chia Seed, Turmeric Oleoresin (Color), Malic Acid, Sugar, Sunflower Lecithin, Calcium Carbonate, Yeast Extract, Stevia Extract.

 

When I read the above ingredients, this is what I see:

 

  1. All ingredients in blue – If you are sensitive to dairy, this product will not work well for you. Choosing the plainest flavour available or a non-cheese/dairy-based flavour, which in this case is Chili Lime, will help you avoid all the yellow highlighted ingredients except for the milk protein isolate and calcium caseinate.

 

The deal with protein powder – Whey protein powder is sold as a concentrate and an isolate. The concentrate contains casein and lactose while the isolate has had most of the casein and lactose removed. People who are sensitive to dairy are often reacting to the casein and/or lactose, which is why, many people who do not do well with whey concentrate are fine using a whey isolate. On this label, the protein blend is milk protein isolate and whey protein isolate. The whey protein isolate is good, which is why it is highlighted in green (although we do not know the quality of whey isolate used, which is a whole other issue); however, milk protein isolate is essentially another word for casein. It differs from other protein powders because it is made from skim milk, so it is high in casein and low in fat. In addition, more casein is added as the fourth ingredient in the form of calcium caseinate. So even if you choose a non-cheese flavour, if you are sensitive to dairy, this product likely won’t work well for you.

 

  1. The ingredients written in red are ingredients to strive to avoid on a regular basis if you wish to eat as cleanly as possible. This includes corn starch, natural flavours, spice, salt, soluble corn fiber, sugar, and yeast extract.

 

If you are sensitive to corn, corn-based products can cause bloating and prevent weight loss.

 

Natural flavours and spices are catchall names that include all sorts of things. We don’t really know what it is, so I like to avoid it as much as possible.

 

Salt is difficult for the body to breakdown and can contribute to high blood pressure. Instead look for products that contain sea salt.

 

Sugar – In this case the total grams of sugar is only 1g and is less than 2% of the ingredients. Do I still need to avoid it?

 

    • I like to because quite often the sugar can be corn based. I consider each ingredient based on the quality, not the quantity. If I consider it to be a low quality ingredient, which in this case I would, I do my best to avoid it.

 

Yeast extract – If you have any sort of digestive issue, yeast extract will be contributing to the problem, so it is best avoided.

 

Tomato powder is in red as well. If you have any sort of inflammatory condition, night-shade vegetables, which includes tomatoes, can contribute to the pain and inflammation.

 

  1. High Oleic Sunflower Oil – I put this ingredient in grey because it is a questionable one. High oleic sounds healthy, doesn’t it? It simply means it is high in monosaturated fats, which means it is also low in saturated fats and polyunsaturated fats. Many people are looking to avoid saturated fat either for cholesterol reasons, inflammatory reasons or for the simple fact that all it does is add fat to the body. Polyunsaturated fats are highly unstable and go rancid easily – definitely not something you want in a product like this, so from this perspective, the high oleic monosaturated fat is good. What we don’t know because the label does not specify is:
    1. Is this oil a genetically modified product?
    2. How is it processed? Has it been processed using high heat?

 

Oils that are genetically modified are higher in omega-6 fats. The higher in omega-6 a product is, the more inflammation it can potentially cause. On the package, this product features that it is:

    • Gluten Free
    • Baked never fried
    • Kosher

 

Nowhere on the package does it say anything about Non-GMO, therefore, I would say it is safe to guess that there is a good probability the oil is GMO.

 

Expeller pressed means an oil has been processed using minimal heat. Although high oleic sounds healthy, expeller pressed is really the phrase we are looking for. Nowhere on this label does it say expeller pressed, so once again, I would say it is safe to guess that there is a good probability heat has been used in the processing which has potentially damaged the oil.

 

Regardless of what the product is, if it is a better choice for you than what you would have chosen previously, it is a good choice. Changing how you eat takes time. It is a wonderful process in which you gradually keep evolving. What you consider healthy now, may not be your same opinion a year from now, and that’s ok. That’s how this process works.

 

References:

  1. https://well.ca/products/quest-nutrition-protein-tortilla-chips-ranch_180440.html
  2. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/milk-protein-isolate#nutrition
  3. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/whey-protein-isolate-vs-concentrate#TOC_TITLE_HDR_3

 

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