Don’t buy into protein myths

Judging by all the protein bars, shakes and powders on the market, you could easily get the impression that you need more protein. But what’s the real story?

“Contrary to all the hype that everyone needs more protein, most Americans get twice as much as they need,” said Kristi Wempen, a Mayo Clinic Health System registered dietitian nutritionist.

Another myth about extra protein is that it leads to bigger muscles. Strength training is what leads to muscle growth, not ramping up protein intake.

“The body can’t store protein, so once needs are met, any extra is used for energy or stored as fat,” added Wempen. Extra protein intake also can lead to elevated blood lipids and heart disease, because many high-protein foods are high in total fat and saturated fat. Extra protein intake, which can tax the kidneys, poses an additional risk to individuals predisposed to kidney disease.

Protein options are soy, nuts, seeds, beans, lentils, lean meats (skinless chicken or turkey and lean beef or pork), fish, egg whites and low-fat dairy.

Mayo Clinic News Service