ZDF Series “Nelson Müller: The Protein Compass”: How to Get a Good Protein Supply

Updated on 05/05/2022 07:18

“I’m going to show you how to live well with protein,” promises Nelson Müller in the second installment of his series of nutritional compasses. Late Wednesday night, the TV chef explains how much protein you really need, where to find it and how manufacturers make money off of specialty protein foods.


Trend, lifestyle, art, culture, hobbies, work, pleasure – food has a different meaning for everyone. But for everyone it is one thing above all else: necessity. Given these necessities of life, we are invited to think about what is in our food. TV chef Nelson Müller did just that and looked at “the building blocks” of our food in the three-part “Kompass” series. It started Tuesday night with “The Fat Compass”, later Wednesday night “The Protein Compass”.

Why is it?

About proteins. It means not only what is neither shell nor yolk in the egg, but also protein in the sense of protein. It’s not just in chicken eggs, but almost everywhere – in varying amounts. With the second part of his “Kompass” series, Nelson Müller now wants to show which proteins are best in which food. Thus, the subtitle of Elias Ettenkofer’s documentary reads: “Living well with eggs, fish and tofu”.

How does Nelson Mueller do this?

“Protein is important for the growth of our body,” Nelson Müller explains at the start of The Most Important Thing, then goes looking for clues to show the viewer as many things about protein as possible. Of course, this cannot be completely complete in a 45-minute program, which is why Müller has to focus on individual topics.

So Müller goes to a gym in Hattingen to ask a highly decorated bodybuilder about his protein intake; the documentary makes a price comparison between end products such as pizza or muesli and their special protein variants, interviews the manufacturer of a “protein quark” and visits a mass chicken farm near Hamburg.

A food designer “builds” uniform eggs from various ingredients, just like those used in ready meals; Müller drives to a salmon farm in Norway and a salmon farm in Switzerland, to a soybean producer in Gernsheim and to a tofu producer in Beckum.


Many people who want to eat healthy like to eat fish. It contains high quality proteins and valuable fatty acids. But in the seas, high demand is a problem and many fish stocks are overexploited. Therefore, durability should be considered when purchasing. But how to recognize the recommended fish species from an ecological point of view?

What is the show information?

  • Protein is important for building muscle.
  • The amount of protein a person needs depends on their weight.
  • For example, a person weighing 60 kilograms will already get the daily amount of protein with 90 g of bread, 50 g of Gouda cheese, 25 g of ham and 100 g of light cottage cheese; Athletes only need one more egg.
  • Many proteins are contained in foods of animal origin, but also in beans, peas or lentils, for example.
  • Special protein products should be treated with caution: “Just because a product says ‘high protein’ doesn’t mean it now has a higher protein content than another product on the shelf that doesn’t. say no,” says Britta Schautz of the Consumer Advice Center in Berlin. Often, you’re only paying a “blatant price premium,” says Schautz.
  • According to Schautz, the need for protein can also be met with foods that are not special “high protein products”.
  • An egg is made up of 1% carbohydrates, 11% fat, 74% water and 13% protein.
  • In Germany, the annual consumption of fresh eggs per inhabitant is 125 eggs.
  • Egg white contains 11%, egg yolk 16% protein
  • Cracked eggs are sorted and end up in the industry as “egg products”; that’s 13 million eggs a day.
  • Cooking eggs for just 4-5 minutes retains most of the nutrients in the egg; same for poaching.
  • The origin of eggs in ready meals is often concealed.
  • 80 to 90% of the salmon in the supermarket comes from aquaculture.
  • Aquaculture looks like less overfishing, but it has other problems: food scraps and animal droppings pollute the water, and the animals too burst out and “disrupt the ecosystem.”
  • Wild salmon is almost extinct in Germany.
  • Farmed salmon is fed with other fish; 20% of the world’s fish catches are used as feed for fish farming. Dependence on the sea and its resources remains.
  • Large-scale fish farming is also factory farming. A better alternative is organic fish.
  • In Germany, 200,000 tons of salmon or 2.5 kilograms per person are consumed each year.
  • Conclusion on fish: “Eating fish is hardly possible in a sustainable way.”
  • “Soy products like tofu are a very good alternative to animal products,” says Nelson Müller.

The conclusion:

After Nelsons Müller’s “big compass”, the “protein compass” is a mad but not reckless dash through the many aspects of proteins. Even if Müller cannot explain every aspect in detail, the most important remains for the viewer and gives him concrete and practical advice for everyday life and this seems to be the main objective of Elias Ettenkofer’s film.

Müller raises his head again and sees the effects that aquaculture, for example, has on the environment and ultimately also on people. However, the documentary ignores global connections or questions about how we feed all people – including protein – and apparently didn’t want it either. But the spectator now knows well or at least better how to live with eggs, fish and tofu, and that’s already it.

Nelson Müller: Der Fett-Kompass”: Tuesday May 3 at 8:15 p.m. on ZDF

Nelson Müller: The Protein Compass”: Wednesday, May 4 at 1:45 a.m. on ZDF

Nelson Müller: Der Zucker-Kompass”: Tuesday May 10 at 8:15 p.m. on ZDF

Or all episodes from the ZDF media library

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