By Heather Brown

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Many of the trendiest diets right now are all about protein, and food companies are paying attention.

So, that has researchers wondering: Are we getting too much? How much protein do we really need? Good Question.

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“What we don’t know is, now that we’ve gotten to be protein heavy society, can there be too much,” says Sure Moores, Kowalski’s nutritionist.

She says how much protein an individual needs depends on the person. The USDA recommends 0.8 grams for every two pounds of body weight. It’s higher for pregnant women, older people and people who are very physically active.

Another way to measure how much protein a person should eat is by percentage of daily calories. According to the USDA’s MyPlate, that’s between 15 percent and 35 percent.

Four ounces of chicken has 28 grams of protein. There are 7 grams in an ounce of peanuts, and 17 in a container of Greek yogurt. Protein shakes can have 30 grams in one serving.

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Moores says most people can only process about 25 grams of protein at a time. For some, protein beyond that could ultimately be excess calories a person isn’t burning off.

“Protein is great for helping you not lose muscle, but in order to gain muscle, you have to do that work,” she says.

Moores also says too much protein can put problematic stress on the kidneys.

But, research has shown protein makes a person more likely to fill up and eat less.

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“Look at it in the whole day,” she says. “Don’t have 50 grams of protein for breakfast for the hope it will carry you to the afternoon because it won’t.”

Heather Brown