Protein Consumption And The Halo Effect

protein consumptionPsychologist Edward Thorndike was the first to coin the term “halo effect”  in 1920. He provided empirical evidence of a cognitive being created when we form an opinion of someone with little actual knowledge.

It works like this. We have a favorable overall impression of someone and thereby think all their qualities are favorable even though we lack any specific knowledge of them. For example, we might like how someone looks and thereby judge them to be a person of noble character. The opposite might be true.

The halo effect is used by marketers to persuade us to make a purchase. It is currently being used in the marketing of protein.

Protein is essential to life.

But we don’t need it added to foods.

Yet if you look in the grocery store it seems like every package has “contains protein” on it. This has resulted in much confusion and the overconsumption of protein. How much do we really need?

Nutrition experts recommend that we getting 10-35% of our total calories from protein is sufficient.

You might want to see a Registered Dietitian to help you determine the exact amount you need based on your health status and activity level.

Generally, if you’re a healthy and not-so-active adult, it is recommended that you consume about 0.8g/kg of body weight. That’s about 54g of protein if you weigh 150 lbs.  This number goes up to 1.2 -1.7 for endurance athletes and 1.4 -1.8 for strength athletes. Again, you might want to seek the help of a Registered Dietitian.

Eating too much protein doesn’t usually create problems for healthy adults. But the possibility does exist for issues such as nausea, weakness, and diarrhea.

Cases have also been reported of kidney problems such as kidney stones. Research has also been conducted on how excessive protein consumption may increase the risk of osteoporosis by leeching calcium from the body.

The message here is not to get caught up in this high protein craze. You don’t need protein added to everything you eat.

When you see this kind of packaging just remember, this is halo marketing.