HEALTH

Are Americans obsessed with getting enough protein?

Mar 11, 2024, 11:00 AM

getting enough protei...

Many Americans use supplements, bars and drinks like Premier Protein, to increase their protein intake. (Jason E. Miczek/AP)

(Jason E. Miczek/AP)

LOGAN, Utah — The average American man gets about 31% more protein than he needs every single day, and 60% of men are trying to increase their intake even more. What’s going on?

“Nutrition fads come and go,” said Mindy Anhder, registered dietitian nutritionist with Intermountain Health. “After a couple of decades of being a dietician, I’ve seen all sorts of nutrients be popular in the nutrition world. We happen to be in a protein world right now.”

How much do we need?

The average man needs about 56 grams of protein per day. The average woman needs less at 44 grams. But those numbers vary.

“That varies with individuals based on age, gender and activity level,” Anhder explained. “There is a broad spectrum of how much protein we should eat.”

The need for protein changes as we age. Activity level makes a big difference, too.

“Athletes and young people may need more protein,” Anhder said, “but we know that all sources of protein are good for us, whether they come from plants or animals.”

The main concern for dieticians is that, with this increase, we’re not getting enough of other nutrients — like fiber.

Quaker Oats recalls dozens of products over foodborne illness risk

“I think as people have increased their protein over the last few years with a protein craze and a protein push in the nutrition world, that means they’ve pushed out some of those foods that are high in fiber,” Anhder explained. “They’re eating more protein, and that means some foods have to go. We’ve noticed as dieticians that people are eating less fiber than they need.”

How much fiber do we need?

Our need for fiber doesn’t vary as much by age, gender or physical condition.

“Fiber is pretty specific,” Anhder said. “Most Americans should be getting 25 to 35 grams a day of fiber.”

The best sources of fiber for your diet are fruits, veggies and legumes.

“As a dietician, I always want to push people to eat more fruits and vegetables,” Anhder said. “Frozen, canned and fresh fruits and vegetables are all pretty equal in nutrition for vitamins and minerals. If people would eat, no matter what form it comes in, more fruits and vegetables, I think they’ll see improvements in their health.”

Fiber is important in our diet for a lot of reasons.

Swapping processed meat for plant-based foods may cut diabetes and heart disease risk, new review finds

“Fiber is not digested, so it goes through the digestive system and is excreted,” said Anhder. “By doing that, it will make you feel full longer. It helps with cardiovascular disease by getting rid of some harmful fats. It can also help with blood sugar control. It can improve digestion.”

Protein drinks, bars and supplements

Is protein deficiency still a thing?

“It can be,” Anhder said, “especially in our elderly population.”

Anhder explained that she does think some people are getting more protein than they need, but we also have the same number of people who are not getting enough.

Many people try to supplement their intake by using drinks, powders and bars. Anhder stressed that these are not made to be meal replacements, but meal supplements for people who may need more.

“Some of those can be beneficial, especially with athletes who may have a higher protein need,” Anhder said. “We also use some of those products for people who have wounds and medical conditions that require higher protein.”

Tyson Foods, a large US meat producer, invests in insect protein

“You need to realize that those products are not regulated,” she said. “So, when you’re buying supplements of any kind, whether that’s a protein, vitamin, or mineral supplement, you need to know what you’re looking for. You could be buying things that you maybe don’t want.”

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Health

The Instagram logo is seen on a cell phone in Boston, USA, Oct. 14, 2022....

KELVIN CHAN AP Business Writer

Instagram begins blurring nudity in messages to protect teens and fight sexual extortion

Instagram says it's deploying new tools to protect young people, including a feature that will automatically blur nudity in direct messages.

7 hours ago

An image produced using optical microscopy shows Clostridium botulinum, an ingredient in Botox and ...

Deidre McPhillips, CNN

Counterfeit Botox injections linked to illness, hospitalization in two states

People in at least two states have been hospitalized with botulism-like illness after receiving counterfeit Botox.

1 day ago

Image of Lunchables. Consumer Reports has petitioned the USDA to remove school Lunchables from scho...

Parija Kavilanz and Sandee LaMotte, CNN

Consumer group wants Lunchables out of school lunch programs

Consumer Reports said their tests found the school cafeteria version of Lunchables has too much sodium.

2 days ago

Provo School year Plan...

Heather Peterson

Free annual health screenings will be offered to Provo City School District students

Free annual health screenings will soon be offered at elementary schools in the Provo City School District.

2 days ago

Former President Trump says abortion ban in Arizona goes too far....

Associated Press

Trump says Arizona’s abortion ban goes too far while defending the overturning of Roe v. Wade

Former President Trump said Arizona's abortion ban goes too far, but defended the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

2 days ago

people protest in arizona after abortions law roe v wade overturned by supreme court...

KEVIN STONE, KTAR

Most abortions banned in Arizona after state Supreme Court upholds 1864 law

It will be illegal to perform abortions in Arizona except when necessary to save the life of the mother. Abortion had been legal in Arizona up to 15 weeks of pregnancy.

3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Live Nation Concerts

Artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Wellsville Mountains in the spring with a pond in the foreground...

Wasatch Property Management

Advantages of Renting Over Owning a Home

Renting allows you to enjoy luxury amenities and low maintenance without the long-term commitment and responsibilities of owning a home.

Are Americans obsessed with getting enough protein?