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Are you eating too much protein?

Are you eating too much protein?

Protein is all the rage right now. From nutrition bars to breakfast cereal — and even ice cream — food manufacturers are touting protein content to encourage you to buy their goods. But do you really need more protein in your diet? Unless you are an elite athlete, chances are good you’re getting more than enough.

According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, on average, men are already consuming 102 grams of protein per day and women are consuming 70 grams of protein per day — almost twice the required amount.

10% to 35% of your calories should come from protein. So if you're consuming 2,000 calories daily, that’s 200–700 calories from protein, or 50–175 grams.

The recommended dietary protein allowance for an average sedentary adult is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight. For example, a person who weighs 165 pounds should consume 60 grams of protein per day.

What nutrients should I focus on then?

Those same studies indicate that most Americans need to eat more grains, vegetables and fruits. The nutrients found in these food groups, are the same nutrients associated with reducing the risk of chronic disease. The graph below is an excellent illustration that shows the nutrient disparities between average consumption and recommended intakes. The opportunity to improve your health by eating nutrient-dense foods is huge.

Step One Foods

Learn more about protein:

Reference: [1] U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010. 7th Edition, Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, December 2010.

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