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TikTok & Nutrition

Dietetic Tech students explore the trends

Does protein make you bloated? by Kimberlyn Flores

After a good workout session, I take in protein powder to improve my muscle mass and strength. In the beginning of my journey, I didn’t think that the quality and amount of protein would affect me physically, such as causing bloating. While protein can cause bloating, it depends on the quality of protein, amount of protein consumed, and how spaced out we consume it. Sometimes it’s easy for consumers to be led on by brands’ ads, focusing on the item being high in protein, low on calories, and low on sugar.

Influencers on TikTok misinform viewers into believing that protein powder is not real food and toxic, which in turn causes bloating. They claim that whey protein concentrate is a “cheap protein.”  Animal-based protein powder such as whey concentrate contains 80% protein, 20% carbs, and trace fat. Half of those carbohydrates come from lactose, and some people cannot break down lactose; those that are lactose intolerant will struggle with bloating. A better choice for lactose intolerance is whey isolate, which is 90% protein and little to no lactose. Whey isolate is the whey concentrate that is repeatably filtered, which makes it higher in protein and low in lactose. A good plant-based protein for those who struggle with lactose intolerance, is “Only What You Need Dark Chocolate,” which contains 140 calories, 20g of protein, and 8g of sugar for 2 scoops.

How many people have heard the myth that to maintain muscle mass you need to consume the grams of that equal to your weight?  This could be nearly impossible for some people!  I learned from Professor Levine in the Dietetics program that excessive protein gets flushed out of the system. To truly find out the amount of protein in grams one should be consuming daily, you divide your weight by the number 2.2. A 200- pound person would consume 91 grams. Spreading your protein throughout the day will avoid causing bloat or stress to your gastrointestinal tract, and if you are muscle building this turns out to be effective and used better by your body.

To those who are stressed out about the consumption and quality of protein powder, I hope to have alleviated your worry with the information provided: protein powder isn’t the primary issue making you bloat.


Gluten and dairy-free? by Michelle Rocano

TikTok has recently become a major source to find the latest trends relating to nutrition. A particular trend that I found in some of these videos was the popularity of products labeled as dairy and gluten-free. Many influencers on TikTok have been promoting that they are healthy and better simply because of the label gluten or dairy-free. Food brands have also been taking advantage of this by using these terms to market their products and often charging significantly higher prices compared to their original products. However, are these products truly the healthier option or are we being convinced to pay more for a labeled product that may not necessarily be the best for our health and our wallet?

Although people do suffer from intolerance or allergies to gluten and dairy, it has become a trend to buy food labeled as this simply because we see others consume it. However, it is crucial to understand that these alternative products are equally (if not more) processed than regular foods we may be consuming.

Two popular food items are gluten-free bread, promoted as an alternative to white bread, and dairy-free yogurt instead of regular yogurt. Although these food replacements may contain no dairy or gluten, the ingredients used to make these foods are higher in sodium, sugar, and fat content.  Aside from that, you can also be missing out on the nutrients and benefits that these whole foods contain. For example, Greek yogurt is high in protein and calcium and rich in probiotics that help feed the good bacteria in our stomach to maintain gut health.

In addition to misleading ingredients, most gluten and dairy-free labeled foods can be quite costly. For instance, regular whole wheat bread only costs around $3 while gluten-free bread can range up to $7. Next time you are in the store trying to decide if you should go for the alternatives mentioned on TikTok, look at ingredients and costs to decide if it is worth it for you to buy gluten and dairy-free labeled foods.

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