Protein is essential, but don't go overboard

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by KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on July 1, 2013 at 3:46 PM

Updated Monday, Jul 1 at 5:57 PM

Americans are eating protein more than ever, thanks to research showing that protein can help you lose weight and stay fuller longer.

Manufacturers are taking notice and are adding protein to products -- from granola bars to breakfast cereals, and even drinks like almond milk and water. But like many things, it's important to eat protein in moderation.

Phil Lempert, also known as the "Supermarket Guru," says that with the price of meat and poultry on the rise, consumers are gobbling up these new options.

"What we're discovering through good science is that there's a lot of vegetable proteins out there that are very tasty," Lempert said,

While protein is essential, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics says it should only make up 10 to 35 percent of your daily calories. The average American consumes about double the recommended amount of protein.

Too much protein can be harmful. It can stress the kidneys, increase the urinary loss of calcium and lead to dehydration.

To stay healthy, aim for 25 grams of protein per meal, and watch your portion size. When you can, stick with traditional sources of protein, like beef, fish, turkey and dairy sources.

How much is 25 grams of protein per meal? Here are some examples.

  • A four-ounce hamburger patty contains 28 grams
  • The average chicken breast has 22 grams
  • Most fish fillets contain about 22 grams
  • A half-cup of tofu has 20 grams

If you're on a high-protein diet, be sure to cut back on carbohydrates and fat. Otherwise, you risk putting on weight instead of losing it.

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