PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The protein diet trend continues to bulk up with more people getting onboard.

Protein shakes, bars, and other supplements can be attractive to people who are on-the-go, but are they secretly sabotaging your weight loss?

Sierra Dunaway carries a lot on her shoulders.

“I have three under the age of 6 so our schedules are crazy,” Dunaway said.

The mom of three balances a full-time job, teaching CrossFit classes at her gym and working out.

“A lot of time during lunch or snack. Grab a protein shake,” she said.

A home-cooked meal isn’t always an option.

“It is an essential nutrient. Something you require to stay alive and be healthy,” Richard Williams said.

Williams, a registered dietitian, says protein is important for maintaining muscle mass.

Athletes and people who are very active will require more, but that doesn’t mean most of us should turn to supplements.

“For the most part, protein supplements are probably a waste of your money. They are not necessary for most people,” Williams said.

He says we should aim to get protein from sources like meat, dairy, eggs and beans. High protein diets are trendy, but eating more of it won’t make you lose weight.

It’s about burning more calories than you eat.

Since convenience often dictates our decisions. if you choose protein shakes or bars to supplement a meal, read the label.

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We compared a smoothie chain’s peanut butter and banana protein shake to a Dairy Queen small vanilla cone.

The smoothie did have more protein, but also more calories, grams of fat and sugar.

A popular brand’s mint chocolate chip protein bar didn’t fare much better when compared to a serving of Blue Bell’s mint chocolate chip.

The ice cream had fewer calories and less sugar.

Dunaway sticks to whey protein powder when she supplements.

“This has one gram of sugar per serving, and 22 grams of protein,” she said.

As with everything in her life, it’s about balance.

“Get as fresh as possible, vegetables and meats cooked to your liking,” she said.

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