Anyone else feel like marketplace is blowing up with progressive nutrition products?! It’s actually a very exciting and interesting nutrition world right now. We used to live in a land of standard Quaker granola bars and orange juice fortified with calcium. Now, there are snack bars in the refrigerated section, live bacteria in EVERYTHING and claims touting benefits like improved circulation, brain health support and detox via charcoal! Food has never been so interesting, and as companies continue to make technology advancements, I think we will only have more nutritious, accessible and functional foods meant to fit your personal lifestyle and needs.
Anyway, I wanted to touch on one ingredient being used across several brands and food categories, and that’s collagen. It seems like it’s in everything! Traditionally found in the beauty aisle in creams, lotions or powders, it is now being marketed as an beneficial, edible protein. Here are some interesting executions I have found.
So what it is and why is it trending?
Collagen is the main structural protein found in skin and other connective tissues. Not to be confused with keratin, which is a fibrous protein forming the main structural constituent of hair, feathers, hoofs, claws and horns. Although both are insoluble proteins, their structures and functions are quite different. Keratin is found in epidermis layer and collagen is found in dermis. Many foods like meats, fruits and vegetables contains nutrients that contribute to your body making its own collagen. For instance, Vitamin C is crucial in collagen production, as you may know, sailors used to get Scurvy (a condition characterized by lesions and such of the skin) from lack of Vitamin C while out at “C” (ha – so punny.) So if you are not ingesting collagen itself, there is no worry that you would be deficient if you are eating a healthy diet with plentiful nutrients.
In the spirit of all protein everything, consumers can’t get enough of it. Although we’ve mentioned there are consequences to eating too much protein, like your kidneys having to work too hard to filter it all, it seems as if more is always the goal. Remember that a normal healthy person requires .8g of protein per kg of body weight. So if you divide your weight in pounds by 2.2 you will get your weight in kg and then you can multiply by the .8. If you are trying to get a little more, you can make it easy and round to 1g/kg 🙂
Protein from different sources is also highly debated and moreover, a personal choice. Some prefer plant based proteins because they may be following a vegan or vegetarian diet, or just want to choose options lower in fat. Animal proteins are generally seen as higher quality, as they possess a full or complete profile of the amino acids, but may not have other positive nutrition attributes that plant based proteins have to offer. So what does collagen have to offer?
Collagen is said to:
- promotes skin elasticity
- holds together your bones and muscles
- protects your organs
- provides structure to joints and tendons
Although these benefits are appealing and the products are quite interesting, I would think twice before investing in them, as they can be expensive as a trending food form. Your body should be making an efficient amount of collagen needed to support such bodily functions, however it may be an interesting swap to your normal protein powder or snack bar routine!