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Protein POPCORN is Here! Meet Protes: The Team That Fixed Popcorn

When it comes to finding high-protein snacks, we’ve seen just about everything. But there’s one category that’s been growing in the general food market — ready-to-eat popcorn — that hasn’t been dented at all by the sports nutrition or health food industries.

Protes Protein Popcorn

Finally, someone has found a healthy way to get protein into popcorn… without adding extra junk!

That has all changed with the arrival of Protes Protein Popcorn, a new protein-powered popcorn that’s about to generate some serious excitement for athletes and snackers alike.

You may know the name “Protes” from the protein-powered chips, Protes Protein Chips. They are often billed by health-conscious consumers as the only decent option for high-protein, no-nonsense chips on the market. Despite not being first to market, they often rank as best.

While those chips also happen to be vegan, Protes Popcorn is not – as you’ll see below, it’s a whey protein isolate based snack, and you’re going to get 8g protein alongside 10g carbs / 2g fiber – stats we doubt anyone will top anytime soon in the popcorn market!

A protein-infused popcorn?!

We’ve seen a few other “protein popcorns” out there, but none are like this. Others add a dash of protein to a massive amount of chocolate or caramel glaze, which adds an absurd amount of sugar and carbohydrates while melting and making a total mess. But popcorn doesn’t need more carbs – it needs more protein and healthy fats!

Protes Chips and Popcorn

You may know Protes Chips… now get ready to meet (and eat) Protes Popcorn!

So instead, the team at Protes had to find another way to get it done. Leaving us to wonder… is the protein injected?!

We’ll dig into the handful of the ingredients below, but if you’re interested, check out our prices and sign up for news, alerts, coupons, and giveaways with PricePlow below:

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Our Protes Popcorn Review

Mike and CJ did their official review on Protes, and it’s as good (if not better) than advertised – and a killer deal!

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The initial Protes Launch and Taste Test

At the 2018 Arnold, Mike and CJ interviewed Krik Angacian, founder of the Protes brand, and gave Protes a taste test. Wow! White cheddar tastes like legit white cheddar popcorn… with a bunch more protein added!

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The Protes Popcorn Ingredients

As mentioned above, these are whey protein isolate based, so they are not vegan like Protes Protein Chips are. With that out of the way:

  • Popcorn

    Protes Protein Popcorn Ingredients

    Note that the Protes Protein Popcorn Ingredients have 8g protein added to the popcorn, but 10g protein total (thanks to 2g provided by the popcorn), which is shown on the front of the bag.

    You guessed it! The main ingredient is real-deal, air-popped popcorn.

    If you’re here reading, then chances are you’re a fan of popcorn, so you know what you’re going to get with it – a snack that adds a bit of fiber to your day, but often needs a little bit of “help”, both in the flavor and the nutritional departments.

    The next ingredients are how Protes brings it:

  • High oleic sunflower oil

    Sunflower oil comes from sunflower seeds, but the question is really about what grade is used.

    If you’ve never looked up the differences, high-oleic oils (including high-oleic sunflower oil) contain lower amounts of linoleic acid[1] and greater amounts of monounsaturated fatty acids. This is important because linoleic is a polyunsaturated fatty acid, and is thus less shelf-stable and more prone to spoilage — something we don’t want here. With high oleic sunflower oil, you get less of those unstable polyunsaturated bonds (by being “unsaturated”, the bond is less stable and there’s a greater chance of it being broken down).

    High Oleic Sunflower

    The High Oleic Sunflower Breakdown. Image courtesy CentraFoods

    Instead, you have more monounsaturated fat, something we’re always happy to have. Usually the “high-oleic” form will have at least 80% monounsaturated fat. This means the bags will last longer, handle heat better, and won’t ‘degrade’.

    Given that popcorn (above) and whey isolate (below) are both low-fat ingredients, and these bags have 9g fat inside, we’re guessing that nearly all of that fat is coming from this high oleic sunflower oil. It’s about a half a teaspoon worth, which should make for the perfect consistency in one 2-cup bag.

  • Whey protein isolate (8g additional)

    Now comes the protein part – bringing popcorn up to 10g per serving total.

    Normally an amount of popcorn providing 10 carbs like Protes’ does would only have 2g of protein – so we’re getting about 8g bonus, really leveling out the macronutrients alongside the fats above.

    Protes Protein Popcorn Sweet Cinnamon

    If you like it sweeter, then the sweet cinnamon flavor is where you’ll want to go first!

    Whey protein isolate is a highly-filtered form of whey protein (from the milk of a dairy cow) that’s been refined to the point where nearly all lactose and carbs and fats are removed. Also known simply as whey isolate, it’s 90% protein by weight,[2,3] making it the favorite of “lacto-friendly” athletes and dieters who are looking to increase protein but not increase anything else. And that’s exactly what we need when trying to boost a snack like popcorn that’s already got the carbs covered!

    How do they do it?!

    Since whey protein isolate is a powder, the big question is, how do you get roughly 9g of protein powder (which would then yield us our 6g extra protein) onto what’s essentially 21g worth of other ingredients? Because by our math, Protes Popcorn is nearly ¼ whey protein isolate – that’s a lot of powder!

    That’s the trade secret of Protes. They wouldn’t tell us everything, but they did tell us that they wouldn’t use a carb-laded glaze. Been there, done that, don’t need the sugars.

    Our guess? They probably got a little bit of whey isolate to “sprinkle” onto the popcorn alongside the spices and adhered with the oil… but we’re thinking that this isn’t enough, and they had to go another route, perhaps “infusing” it right into the middle of the popcorn!

    No matter how they did it, it got done, and beta reviewers are loving it.

  • Seasoning

    Protes Popcorn White Chedder

    …but if you like it saltier then white cheddar will be for you!

    The seasoning is going to depend on what flavor you choose. At launch, there’s sweet cinnamon and white cheddar, each of which use different ingredients. For instance, white cheddar has a bit more whey and buttermilk powder added to some milk and salt, while sweet cinnamon uses sugar, spices, and sea salt.

    Note that these seasonings cause the white cheddar to come in with a bit more sodium, but we’re especially pro-sodium here at PricePlow, barring any genetic conditions.

    No artificial colors, flavors, or sweeteners

    As you’d hope, there’s no need for anything artificial. Instead of a fake sweetener, there’s a bit of stevia added to the sweet cinnamon flavor.

    So while this isn’t vegan like Protes Chips, they still do stay true to the all-natural crowd.

    Expect to see more

    Since we honestly expect this product to take off, we expect more flavors to get developed over time too – and each will of course have different seasonings, so check the label when those come out.

That’s all for the ingredients — if you’re not hungry yet, we’re not sure what to tell you, because this is exactly what the health food market needed, and Protes was first to deliver a serious effort.

Calculating the Macros: Beating Popcorn by a Landslide!

First, realize that normal popcorn has roughly 81% of its calories coming from carbs, 10% coming from fat, and 9% coming from protein.[4] So if you were to get 10 carbs from popcorn alone (the same number that Protes has here), then you’d be looking at 1g fat, 2g protein, and 2g fiber, for a grand total of 50 calories. Not exactly “acceptable” to those of us who are trying to keep protein higher and carbs and fats within reason.

Now take a look at the nutrition facts for Protes Protein Popcorn:

Protes Protein Popcorn Ingredients Flavors

The full labels for both flavors

  • Calories: 150
    • Calories from Fat: 80
  • Protein: 10g (8g from whey isolate, 2g from popcorn itself!)
  • Fat: 9g
    • Saturated Fat: 1g
  • Carbohydrates: 10g
    • Fiber: 2g
    • Sugar: 2g

Essentially, what the team has done here with Protes Popcorn is re-adjust the ratios to something more reasonable. Dieters get themselves into trouble by eating too many solo carbs without the protein, and then the next thing you know, they’re not satiated and are still falling short on their numbers.

This solves that and doesn’t let your carb count “drift away”.

150 calories the old way, or 150 calories this way?

Plus, nobody’s eating 10g carbs worth of solo popcorn. Another way to look at our comparison above is to see how 150 calories of popcorn alone gives you — and it’s about 30g carbs, 5g protein, and 2g fat.

That’s a very lopsided 150 calories! Unenhanced air-popped popcorn might be acceptable to low-fat dieters, but low-fat diets increase the risk of death, so it’s probably best to try something in the other direction.

Protes Popcorn Review

Team PricePlow is on the salty side

Flavors Available

As mentioned in the “Seasonings” section above (as well as all the pictures), Protes Popcorn is launching with Sweet Cinnamon and White Cheddar.

Also, as mentioned above, we foresee this product being a massive success, and there will be requests for more flavors, which we assume Protes will gladly try to deliver. This is why you should sign up for alerts below using PricePlow or on our Protes news page.

A few words from the brand

Krik Angacian, co-founder of the Protes brand told us how excited they are for this launch, and how long it’s taken them to get it right. At first, they tried to stick with the Vegan route, given the success of their Protes Protein Chips. However, they realized that they’re not necessarily a vegan company – they’re more of a protein snack company!

Krik went on the record to Food Navigator:

“We wanted something with at least 10g of protein because any less than that and the sports nutrition consumer won’t be interested, but we just could not get a vegan white cheddar product to taste good, it had this awful grainy mouthfeel and taste. We tried pea, rice, hemp and other proteins but once we added in the level we wanted it just got too granular.

Eventually I sat down with Ryan and said are we a vegan protein company or are we a protein snack company? And we made the determination that we are a protein snack company, and once we started working with whey protein isolate, we came up with something that tasted phenomenal. It has a very familiar taste, texture and mouthfeel but delivers all that protein as well.”[5]

PricePlow’s Pumped for Protein-Powered Popcorn

To wrap things up… it’s about time!

Protes High Protein Popcorn

First time seeing Protes? Check out their chips too – which also happen to be vegan, but don’t let that scare you!

Protes hit a grand slam with their Protein Chips, making everyone forget about Quest. But they needed to make their next move, and with that brought a bit of an existential crisis.

We’re glad to say that they chose the right path – for protein and flavor – and now the PricePlow family is truly excited to dig in.

Everyone has a protein powder, and protein bars are quite saturated. But what about those of us who want something crunchy?! Or at least a bit less chewy?

For those of us who are okay with some carbs, but just don’t want to leave our protein numbers in the dust, Protes Protein Popcorn hits the spot.

The only question is… do you want your popcorn salty or sweet?!

Protes Protein Popcorn - Deals and Price Drop Alerts

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Disclosure: PricePlow relies on pricing from stores with which we have a business relationship. We work hard to keep pricing current, but you may find a better offer on your own.

Posts are sponsored in part by the retailers and/or brands listed on this page.

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References

  1. Aladedunye, F, et al; “Frying stability of high oleic sunflower oils as affected by composition of tocopherol isomers and linoleic acid content”; Food Chemistry; 2013 Dec 1; 141(3):2373-8; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23870970
  2. American Dairy Products Institute; “Whey Protein Isolate”; https://www.adpi.org/DairyProducts/Whey/WheyProteinIsolate/tabid/95/Default.aspx
  3. Hoffman, Jay R, et al; “Protein – Which is Best?”; Journal of Sports Science and Medicine; 2004; 3, 118-130; http://www.jssm.org/vol3/n3/2/v3n3-2pdf.pdf
  4. SELFNutrition Data; “Snacks, popcorn, air-popped Nutrition Facts & Calories”; https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/snacks/5356/2
  5. Watson, Elaine; “Protes unveils protein popcorn: ‘We’re the first ones to bring function to the category'”; Food Navigator; February 19, 2018; https://www.foodnavigator-usa.com/Article/2018/02/19/Protes-unveils-protein-popcorn-We-re-the-first-ones-to-bring-function-to-the-category
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