More and more companies are advertising the amount of protein in their products to try and sell more goods, but the question is should you be buying products high in protein?

In short, no. The average healthy adult does not need to be seeking out extra protein from items like protein bars and powders. 

If average consumers do not need this additional protein in their diet, why have protein products become one of the latest nutrition fads?

According to registered dietitian Jim White, "people think that if they fill up on protein it will be the magic bullet, whether for weight loss or to get in better shape and build muscle".

Recommendations for Protein Consumption

chocolate, butter, peanut, peanut butter
Jocelyn Hsu

Of course, adequate consumption of protein is essential to a healthy diet but daily protein requirements are not an astronomical number. For a young female adult, the USDA suggests eating 5.5 ounces of protein in a day. 

Although this general recommendation of 5.5 ounces per day will vary according to age, sex, weight and physical activity level, the amount of protein needed for the average healthy adult can easily be consumed from natural foods.

For example, 5.5 ounces can be consumed from 3 ounces of chicken, 1 egg, 1 tablespoon of peanut butter and 1/4 ounce of nuts. Even though 5.5 ounces of protein in a day will not satisfy the nutritional needs of everybody, nutritional protein needs can still easily be met for most healthy individuals through consuming whole foods. 

With protein recommendations so easily met, it seems a bit unnecessary to be seeking out products solely because they're high in protein. Also, there are looming health concerns from consuming products that provide extra protein.

Health Concerns

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Allison Wojtowecz

A lot of products that advertise how much protein they have come with a hefty amount of added sugar.

For example, a Luna Protein Chocolate Peanut Butter bar has 13 grams of sugar. These hidden grams of sugar can quickly stack up throughout the day and push people over the edge of added sugar recommendations day after day. 

Additionally, according to the New York Times, "doctors also have concerns about long-term effects of maintaining a high protein diet," as it can lead to kidney disease.

Also, according to the Food and Drug Administration, "federal law does not require dietary supplements [this includes protein powders] to be proven safe to FDA's satisfaction before they are marketed." This is why it is so important to adequately research products you are supplementing in your diet. 

Yes, you can consume a protein bar without dying of kidney problems, but whole foods are always a better option.

If you do need to continually consume products high in protein products due to health reasons or inadequate protein consumption, be sure to look up the product or supplement and consult your doctor to ensure there will be no negative health benefits in the long run.

*Consult a doctor or registered dietitian to get a more accurate estimation of your protein needs. If you are planning on making any changes to your dietary patterns please consult your doctor or a registered dietitian before doing so. If you want to find out more about natural protein sources, you can visit