‘Packed with Protein' a new trend taking over grocery shelves

Are products pushing protein healthy, worth the money?

WINTER PARK, Fla. - It's the latest food trend that seems to be taking over grocery store shelves:  products pushing the word protein.

With the price of meat and poultry on the rise, shoppers are eating up these new, "protein-fortified" options.  They're easy to pack in a lunch box, but nutritionists question whether they're really as healthy as you might want to believe.

Stephanie Ward's protein packed diet includes smoothies, beans, and fortified chocolate bars.

 "I'm more inclined to buy the ones that have the little label on it that says 27 grams of protein," said Ward.

 Research shows there are plenty of people like Ward who have an appetite for protein in hopes of shedding pounds and staying fuller, longer.

Manufacturers are catering to this craving.

Look down any center aisle in the grocery store, and you'll see boxes of granola bars, cereals, and even drinks plastered with the label "protein."

But when it comes to feeding your kids, experts say natural sources of protein are better.

"It is probably best to give them more whole foods, trial mix , Greek yogurt or string cheese so they get all those other nutrients in their food, said Winter Park nutritionist Kristina Larue.

Larue says you really don't need that much protein for a balanced diet.

On average 25 grams per meal for adults.

As for your child,  you should base their intake on their weight and activity level.

"Look at the palm of your hand, thickness and that is a good estimate of how many ounces you need. Women usually eat three ounces of protein which has 27 grams of protein," said LaRue.

She also warns when you double the amount of protein you need, you can actually cause stress on the kidneys, constipation and dehydration.

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