How Much Protein Is Too Much?
How much protein do you consume on a daily basis? Is it 100 grams, 150 grams, or more? Health experts recommend one gram of protein per pound of body weight. However, it's not unusual for athletes and regular gym goers to consume as much as two grams per pound of body weight. Is it safe? What are the consequences? Let's find out!
How Much Protein Do You Really Need?
Statistics show that most Americans consume up to five times more protein than they need. Even though protein is crucial to your health, does it mean you can go overboard?
Surprisingly, the recommended dietary allowance is just 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. However, this number applies to sedentary individuals. It's not the specific amount you are supposed to eat, but the minimum protein intake.
Most nutritionists agree that eating one gram of protein per pound of body weight is safe. It all comes down to your activity levels. Intense exercise causes damage to your muscles. It also puts stress on the central nervous system. Your body needs protein to repair damaged tissues and recover from training.
Upon ingestion, protein is broken down into amino acids that support muscle growth and repair. It also helps preserve lean mass when you're in a calorie deficit. The more active you are, the higher your protein intake should be. A diet that's low in protein will lead to catabolism aka muscle loss. On top of that, you may experience a number of issues, such as:
- Fatigue and tiredness
- Slow recovery from exercise
- Low energy
- Poor immune function
- Muscle pain and aches
- Joint pain
- Mood swings
- Difficulty building muscle and losing fat
- Sluggish metabolism
- Poor mental focus
- Poor sleep
- Recurring infections
- Loss of strength
- Brain fog
- Digestive issues
- Irregular periods
- Frequent injuries
- Increased hunger and cravings
These symptoms may indicate that your body isn't getting enough protein. In the long run, your immune system will become weaker, leaving you vulnerable to diseases.
Why Your Body Needs Protein
Every cell in your system needs protein to function optimally. This nutrient is the building block of your muscles and tissues. It plays a key role in body composition, metabolism, brain health, heart function, hair growth, and much more.
Protein supports the production of antiobodies that fight infections. Moreover, it aids in hormone synthesis, enzyme production, and nutrient absorption. Under certain circumstances, it can be used as a source of energy. For instance, when you're on a low-carb diet, your body will use protein and fats for fuel.
This nutrient regulates hormone levels and supports athletic performance. A high-protein diet will boost testosterone production and improve insulin response. It will also lower the hunger hormone ghrelin levels, leading to better appetite control. Its metabolism boosting effects shouldn’t be overlooked either.
What Happens If You Eat Too Much Protein?
Most "dangers" associated with a high protein intake are just a myth. By now, you should a clear idea about the role of protein in your system. Many so-called "health gurus" have linked high-protein diets to kidney damage, osteoporosis, and obesity. Nothing could be further from the truth.
There are no studies showing that protein hurts the kidneys or the bones. The main risk factors for kidney failure are diabetes and hypertension. A high-protein diet prevents both conditions, leading to improved kidney health. This nutrient actually lowers your risk of insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, type II diabetes, and osteoporosis.
Don’t fear protein – this nutrient will boost your health on ever level!
- Protein is made up of amino acids, which are the building blocks of your cells and tissues.
- Every system in your body needs protein to function at its peak.
- How much protein you need depends on your activity level.
- There are no real dangers associated to a high protein intake.