Eating your curds and …

Poornima, an official blog regular, asked, “I have a question on whey proteins. I see it everywhere now- everyone talks about it. Do you think it is a good idea to give whey protein to kids?”

This is the second time it’s come up in one day, so I might as well tackle what seems to be an evolving food fad: whey. There’s even a website, www dot wheyprotein dot com, extolling whey’s many virtues. Apparently it’s been popular among body builders for years, and according to that site the manufacturers are working hard to popularize whey for the rest of us.

Whey is one of the major proteins in milk—it’s the watery stuff that holds cottage cheese together, the stuff between the curds that Little Miss Muffet enjoys. As such, it’s a perfectly good protein, and dairy products are a good part of a balanced diet. It’s certainly not essential, but it’s a reliable and tasty source of protein, calcium, and vitamins A&D (in fortified milk.)

There’s nothing I can find that looks especially unique or powerful about whey. It’s just the latest in a string of food fads—remember soy? green tea? How about dark chocolate, pomegranates, or red wine? All of these are good for you in their own ways, but none of them is a substitute or improvement on a good, balanced, healthy diet.

We’re all looking for simple solutions, magic pills, or the one food that’ll cure obesity and hair loss. But a healthy diet is one that relies on a mix of healthy items from many different sources. You want healthy? Avoid trans-fats and fats from animal sources, eat unprocessed whole grains, and (most importantly) don’t consume more calories than you need. That’s it.

There is no “superfood.”

Except maybe the dark chocolate. Mmmmm……..

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