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Food Trends Health Plant-Based Products Science Technology

This New Protein Made from Thin Air Might Just Save the Planet

Photo: Solarfoods.fi for Solar Foods

In what is perhaps one of the most interesting and oddly inventive ideas ever introduced to the world of food, Finnish based Solar Foods has created a protein made from thin air. Founded in 2017, Solar Foods is a food-tech company that specializes in innovative food production on a global scale. Their new creation is called Solein® and is dubbed a revolutionary bio-tech solution that enables natural protein production using renewable air and electricity. Naturally, these simple ingredients are utilized by a rather unique yet complex method called bioprocess. Bioprocess uses complete living cells or their components (e.g. bacteria, enzymes, chloroplasts) to obtain desired products. What that means in layman’s terms is that Solein® has the potential to be a new alternative to plant-based and animal-based protein that doesn’t rely on terrestrial resources. 

This is significant because the food industry has a massive impact on worldwide carbon emissions. It’s reported that livestock contribute 14.5% of anthropogenic greenhouse emissions. Anthropogenic means man-made. That’s the equivalent of 7.1 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide. To get a sense of the scale, here’s an excerpt from The Washington Post, written by reporter Chris Mooney:

“In the International System of Units, the prefix “giga” means 109, or one billion (1,000,000,000). Hence terms like “gigawatt” or “gigahertz.” Thus, a gigaton is equivalent to a billion metric tons.

A male African elephant might weigh, at most, 6.8 metric tons, according to the San Diego Zoo. So a gigaton is well over a hundred million African elephants. As for sea life, the blue whale can weigh as much as 146 metric tons, according to NOAA. So a gigaton is more than 6 million blue whales.”

“We’ve set out to change humankind’s approach to food,” Pasi Vainikka, Solar Foods CEO says. Suffice to say, it requires thinking outside of the box to truly combat this cubicle of impending crisis. Using renewable air and electricity, Solar Foods’ believes Solein® will help create a new era of food diversity. Time will determine the effectiveness of this new protein. If the fate of the world interests you, further information about Solein® can be found here.

Photo: Solarfoods.fi for Solar Foods
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#foodbeast Drinks FOODBEAST Grocery Hit-Or-Miss Plant-Based What's New

Coffee Protein Shakes – The Quick and Delicious Breakfast of the Future

As much as I love coffee there are times when home brew just isn’t good enough, but the trip to the café isn’t worth the time. There are other days when I wish coffee could constitute a meal (and at times it has to).  Well, now’s the time to rejoice coffee lovers, for Nescafé plans to deliver with something new! Starting January 2019 Nescafé is bringing Coffee Protein Smoothies and Whipped Shakeable Lattes to the market.

These protein smoothies are plant-based with 15 grams of protein per bottle, non-dairy, and no artificial sweeteners. It’s a combination of 100% Columbian Arabica coffee, oats, and almond butter and will be available in Banana or Mocha flavors. It’s delicious and filling, perfect for the coffee enthusiast on the go and easy on your wallet for $3.49. Plus, it is a vegan friendly option for our plant-based friends.

Lattes are not typically available outside of the café, but Nescafé has really shaken things up with this new invention — literally. All you have to do is give the bottle a good shake for a few seconds and you get the frothy and creamy experience of a latte on the go. These are available in delicious Coffee and Vanilla flavors. It’s also cheaper than your typical latte, priced at $2.49.

Be sure to keep an eye out at your local markets in the New Year, because Nescafé is looking to switch up your morning routine.

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Drinks Fast Food

Starbucks Just Launched A Protein Cold Brew That’s Entirely Plant-Based

It appears Starbucks is trying to help you with those gains, as the coffee chain just released a duo of protein-packed cold brew slushes nationwide. The two new flavors are the Almond Protein Blended Cold Brew and the Cacao Protein Cold Brew.

Starbucks’ Almond Protein Cold Brew boasts a blend of the chain’s slow-steeped cold brew along withe Almond milk, plant-based protein, almond butter, and a banana date fruit blend over ice.

The Cacao Protein Blended Cold Brew features cacao powder, cold brew coffee, coconut milk, plant-based protein, and a banana date fruit blend over ice.

Each beverage has about 10-12 grams of pea and brown rice protein.

Photo Courtesy of Starbucks

I grabbed a couple from the Starbucks next door for my fellow coworkers to sip on.

“I think it’s a tastier, pricier alternative to post-workout protein mixes, which can be incredibly bitter and often taste very much like the flavoring agents they use,” said Constatine Spyrou. “This tastes clean, natural, and less bitter.”

He also added that he’d be happy swapping out protein powders at the gym for one of these post-workout, he’d just rather the beverage had double the amount of protein offered.

“It tasted like a reduced sugar banana shake,” said Ricky Zollinger, video producer and all around buff guy. “If I were to drink it, I would probably do it before a workout. Banana is a good source of energy and would also wake me up.”

Those who aren’t familiar with the taste of protein shakes may be surprised by the initial bitterness behind the beverage. Myself, the taste of the almond flavor definitely took me by surprise, but quickly grew on me the more I tried it.

Starbucks says the drinks will only be available for a limited time while supplies last. This will probably one of the final menu additions before the return of Pumpkin Spice items.

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#foodbeast Brand FOODBEAST Health Packaged Food Products SPONSORED

Protein POPCORN Now Exists, Here’s Where To Buy It

For most people, popcorn is primarily a snack designated for the movies or a lazy night on the couch. Well get ready, because Protes is about to change the way you look at popcorn, just like they did with corn chips!

A few months ago, we wrote about Protes’ protein-heavy approach to snacks, when Protes debuted a brand new line of pea protein-based chips with 15 grams of protein packed inside each serving.

One cup of popcorn typically has about 1 gram of protein, but Protes’ popcorn has a massive serving of 10 grams per bag! By using whey protein, Protes was able to capitalize on gains and keep this popcorn on the healthy side, without sacrificing on taste.     

Seeing as it’s both gluten and GMO free, this isn’t your average popcorn. With flavors like Sweet Cinnamon and White Cheddar, it might not be long before gym enthusiasts start replacing protein bars with bags of Protes to get a quick snack in after their gym routine – which isn’t a bad idea.

So, if you’re trying to get some extra pop in your protein, be on the lookout for Protes Popcorn at GNC stores in the near future. In the meantime, head to www.eatprotes.com to get your fix!

Photos by Pete Pham


Created in partnership with Protes

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Health Packaged Food

Study Finds Many Popular Protein Powders Contain BPA and Toxic Metals

One of the biggest parts of being a workout nut is how you bulk post-exercise. That typically means protein powders blended with water or some other liquid to help you recover. However, those blends may have some inadvertent toxicological effects.

protein powders

Photo: Marco Verch // Flickr

A new study from national advocacy group Clean Label Project evaluated 134 of the top protein powders, as determined by Nielsen and Amazon.com. The protein powders were evaluated by third-party organization Ellipse Analytics, who found that 70% of them contained lead concentrations of at least 4 micrograms per kilogram.

The Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) recommends a weekly dosage of 25 micrograms/kilogram to be tolerable, meaning that if you had one of these protein powders every day, you would hit the recommend amount on those beverages alone. (It’s estimated that humans consume 20-30 micrograms  of lead per kilogram weekly in the normal food we consume.) Lead toxicity could lead to changes in neural behavior and abodminal pain.

Photo courtesy of the Clean Label Project

Lead wasn’t the only contaminant of concern found in protein powders by the Clean Label Project’s study. Cadmium, arsenic, and BPA were also detected in a majority of products. Mercury was found in some blends as well. Each of these metals or processing impurities are known to cause toxicity at certain levels.

Cadmium has an established reference dosage of 1 microgram/kg/day, while some of the protein powders in question had a concentration of over 200 micrograms/kg, according to the raw data. Arsenic’s reference dose is even lower, at 0.3 micrograms/kg/day. Clean Label Project’s limit of quantification for this study was 4 micrograms/kg, so all detectable traces of Arsenic easily exceeded that amount.

Raw data was not provided for BPA, and for the most part, minimal amounts of mercury were found to be present in less than half of the samples.

While the fact that heavy metals are present at all in protein powders is concerning, it should be noted that these concentrations apply to entire packages of protein blends. You can typically get 12-14 servings per pound of powder, so the actual daily ingested amount would be lower than in the raw data. Many of these metals can build up over time, however, causing chronic toxicity symptoms that should be watched out for.

Photo courtesy of the Clean Label Project

For those looking to avoid as many of these adulterants as possible, there are some usable patterns that the Clean Label Project picked up. None of the egg-based protein powders evaluated contained lead, for example. Furthermore, plant-based protein blends tended to have more heavy metals and BPA present than non-plant-based. This is likely due to soil contamination where the plants are grown, according to Ellipse Analytics’ director of operations and quality, Sean Callan, PhD.

Organic protein powders also had 1.5 times the arsenic and lead of conventional powders, and up to 4.8 times more cadmium.

The Clean Label Project also ranked the brands evaluated based on their overall heavy metals, processing contaminants, by-product contaminants, and nutritional quality. Of these, Biochem, Jarrow, Puori, Performix, and Reservage Nutrition scored the highest, while Quest Nutrition, Nature’s Best, Sunwarrior, Vega, and Garden of Life were the bottom five brands.

Those who are deeply concerned about this study’s results can utilize the above to select protein powders that weren’t found to contain as many metals and other contaminants. For those not sold on the study, it is currently being peer reviewed for accuracy and validation of methods performed. If accepted by peers, it could potentially be published in journals or utilized in reports, where it will be more impactful than just the presented data on its own.

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#foodbeast Brand FOODBEAST Health Packaged Food Products SPONSORED

A New Brand Of Protein Chips Comes In Flavors Like Spicy Chili Lime & Salted Caramel

At long last, there may finally be an answer to the lack of healthy, protein-based snacks. Protes, a Brooklyn-based company, has created a solution in the form of a protein-based tortilla chip that may change the way you look at other tortilla chips from now on.

Regardless of your lifestyle, it’s never a bad idea to eat more protein. However, if you’ve ever spent time browsing the supermarket shelves, you’d know finding healthy and delicious snacks is harder than finding a needle in a haystack.

By introducing vegan and GMO-free chips to the market, Protes is here to change the mindset that tasty snacks can’t be healthy.

Protes Chips are made with pea protein, and each bag contains 15 grams of protein. With flavors like Zesty Nacho, Tangy Southern BBQ, Toasted Coconut and Spicy Chili Lime, there’s a flavor for every day of the week.  

So, next time you’re that late night snack craving hits, pop open a bag of Protes so you can taste all the flavor but dismiss all the guilt.  

Currently Protes Chips are available at GNC and The Vitamin Shoppe, along with their website www.eatprotes.com.


Created in partnership with Protes Protein Chips

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#foodbeast Brand Cravings Features FOODBEAST Health Packaged Food Products SPONSORED Video

Meet The Grain-Free Treat That Could Disrupt The Cookie Market

As much as we strive to be conscious about the quality of our diets and the impact food has on our wellbeing, the truth is, it’s easy to let your priorities on health slide when you’re hangry AF.

You know those days where you’re feelin’ good about what you’ve eaten through lunch, but become voracious around 7pm and just stuff your face full of whatever you can get yours hands on for dinner?

Or worse – treat your body like a goddamn temple all day, but succumb to your deep, dark dessert cravings after dinner set to an internal monologue along the lines of, “It’s 10pm! You should be in bed already, why are you doing this?!”

Yeah, we’ve all been there.

Luckily, we’ve stumbled upon a cookie that’ll satisfy your cravings, keep you full (MAJOR KEY), and not make you feel gross.

This heaven-sent treat is from the masterminds at KNOW Foods, a company that makes a whole bunch of “superfood” versions of traditional grain-based foods like bread, pasta, and waffles (YES, WAFFLES!). Take it from us that these actually live up to the hype.

The magic behind most of their recipes starts with a rare, natural sugar called Allulose, which tastes just like regular sugar but only has 1/10th the calories.

The name might sound foreign, but Allulose actually occurs naturally in many foods – maple syrup and figs being just two examples.

KNOW Foods then replaces all grains and gluten with superfoods like coconuts, almonds, and chia seeds. There are no preservatives, no GMOs, no yeast, no dairy, and all the healthy fats come from those seeds and nuts we already talked about.

It shouldn’t be possible but it is, and we are SHOOK in the best way.

Right now, the cookies come in four flavors – chocolate chip, double chocolate, cinnamon, and lemon. They’re all bomb, but the double chocolate chip is without a doubt our favorite; each bite transports you to a fudgy, chocolatey oasis you never thought could exist in a good-for-you format.

You can stock-up on these cookies and other KNOW Foods products on Amazon or KnowFoods.com. Rumor has it they’ll start popping up in stores around October – we can’t wait!

Photos by Peter Pham


Created in partnership with KNOW Foods

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Health Science

Relax, The Red Liquid In Your Steak Isn’t Actually Blood

Have you ever walked down the meat aisle and notice all the different cuts of beef swimming in a bright red liquid? Off the cuff, you might think it’s blood. It’s crimson, seeping from raw meat, so it stands to reason that it has to be blood right? Well, it turns out, it’s not blood at all.

Tech Insider’s latest video sheds some light onto the mysterious red liquid that encompasses packaged meat.

When meat is transported from distributor to the seller, it’s typically frozen to ensure it makes it to the destination without going bad. The red liquid is actually a combination of thawed water and myoglobin mixing together in the thawing process.

Myoglobin is a chemical protein found in the beef’s muscles, and is essentially what gives meat its red color. Because the ice crystals rupture muscle cells, they carry some myoglobin along during the thawing process.

Another contributing factor to the reddish liquid that wasn’t shown in the video, is that some meats are given an injection of saltwater in a process known as “plumping” that’s supposed to make for juicier cuts of meat.

So the next time you fire up the grill, and your steak is sitting there in a pool of red liquid, you now know that it’s not blood.