The Problem with BuzzNutrition

We love to see key nutrients like protein get some time in the spotlight, but Buzzfeed’s latest nutrition listicle is showing that not everyone with a set of GIFs is qualified to give health advice.  

  • It seems like this list is mixing and matching dietary guidance to suit the end conclusion that protein is not worth focusing on. The first point uses World Health Organization guidance to set a target intake, which focuses on many countries with low access to protein food. But when it comes to how much protein is being consumed, they use U.S. data from NHANES.  If they are going to use NHANES data from the U.S., then they need to use U.S. standards for protein consumption as well: the Institute of Medicine's Dietary Reference Intake Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Range, which is that protein should make up 10 - 35% of total daily calories.  (For a 2,000 calorie diet, this would mean 50 - 175 grams of protein/day). The CDC, which Buzzfeed cites in the next sentence, echoes this recommendation for the U.S.
  • The RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance) is for MINIMAL intake, to AVOID DEFICIENCY, not to attain optimal health. Certain populations especially such as the elderly, athletes, and pregnant women may require more protein.
  • A single chicken breast has enough protein for entire day?! To get 54 grams of protein, you would have to eat a chicken breast nearly three times the recommended serving size (USDA). It’s a bad idea to rely on a single meal or food item to try to meet all your protein needs.
  • When you look at AMDR measurement, the calories from protein eaten by an average person is at the low end of the recommended range.  Research has proven that when protein comprises about 25% of a person’s caloric intake, they are more likely to feel satisfied and not overeat, which is a major benefit for weight management. Eating protein also comes with numerous other health benefits including muscle building and repair, immune health, and bone health.
  • The article consistently mentions getting protein from “whole foods,” but there are a variety of sources of protein to satisfy every preference, taste, and budget. There’s no one “right” food source to get protein.

Buzzfeed, we love that you care about nutrition but we are surprised you provided 11 surprising facts on protein that are not all science-based, and some are steeped in inaccuracy. Our list just has one thing on it: Protein is a very important nutrient in our diet.

If you think the Buzzfeed listicle was a source of accurate information, then you're not getting your recommended daily allowance of facts. Check out our protein resources here for more info.



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