Coca-Cola’s new milk product will satiate protein-crazed Americans for twice the price as regular milk

When it comes to health and diet, many Americans are increasingly concerned with protein intake and intolerance to gluten and lactose. Coca-Cola was clearly privy to this health trend and has now released Fairlife, a lactose-free milk product that contains 50 percent more protein, 50 percent less sugar, and 30 percent more calcium than typical […]

When it comes to health and diet, many Americans are increasingly concerned with protein intake and intolerance to gluten and lactose.

Coca-Cola was clearly privy to this health trend and has now released Fairlife, a lactose-free milk product that contains 50 percent more protein, 50 percent less sugar, and 30 percent more calcium than typical milk (and comes at twice the price of a normal gallon).

“As manufacturers identify these trends, they try to Frankenstein them together. Sometimes it works really well, and sometimes it doesn’t,” Jonas Feliciano, a senior beverage analyst at the consumer-research firm Euromonitor International, told The Atlantic. He believes Fairlife, which is a blend of some components of regular milk, could start to appear in diets alongside other options that are considered healthy, like raw milk, kombucha and coconut water.

But do consumers actually need more protein in their diets?

David Levitsky, a professor of nutritional science at Cornell University, has his doubts about Fairlife. “Because Americans eat far more protein than they need, adding the protein will not do any good,” he says. It could actually be harmful. “Reducing the sugar without reducing calories is a waste of time. If consuming this product increases total daily calorie intake, much like sugar drinks, it will worsen the obesity problem.”

Even if Americans are eating more protein than they need, they certainly don’t know it because the trend in believing more protein means better health has only become more engrained over the years.

The Atlantic shared this chart:

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Carbonated soda drinks sales have gone down recently, so it makes sense that Coca-Cola is trying a different avenue. But how safe and healthy can such a modified version of milk actually be?

“Coke is taking a food that’s wholesome—milk—and unnecessarily taking it apart and putting it back together, all the while charging more for its ‘services,’” says Melanie Warner, author of Pandora’s Lunchbox: How Processed Food Took Over the American Meal. “I don’t think this is a product anyone should get excited about.”

Future sales will definitely indicate how excited people really are about the new product.

[Photo from Flickr user Bertalan Szürös]