Experts: Too much protein can be unhealthy


Stephanie Ward's protein-packed diet includes smoothies, beans and a fortified chocolate bar.

"I'm more inclined to buy the ones that have the little label on it that says 27 grams of protein," Ward said.

Thanks to research showing protein can help shed pounds and keep you fuller longer, manufacturers are adding it to foods that may not have had it naturally.

"We're seeing protein being added to just about everything -- granola bars, breakfast cereals, breads," supermarket guru Phil Lempert said.

"A lot of these proteins are dairy free, they're soy free, they're gluten free. And they're a great additive, especially for people that don't eat meat," said Jim White with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

But too much protein can be a bad thing.

"Consuming double the amount of protein we need can cause stress on the kidneys. It can increase the urinary loss of calcium. It also can cause dehydration," White said.

To keep things in check, aim for 25 grams of protein per meal and watch portion size. And when you can, stick with traditional sources of protein, like beef, fish, turkey and dairy.

Since Ward doesn't eat meat, she feels those fortified foods are the way to go.

"I just want to make sure that I have enough in my body to build muscle," Ward said.

If you're on a high-protein diet, you may need to cut back on carbs or fat. Otherwise, you risk putting on weight instead of losing it.

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