Have you noticed that whenever anyone tries to change their diet they always get concerned about protein? When you try to get healthier, be it giving up fast food, trying to gain muscle, or attempting to go vegetarian or vegan – you always hear about eating enough protein. Obviously we need protein in our diet, but is this obsession of having lots of it actually reasonable? Or are we just conditioned to think that the more protein we eat the better off we’ll be? Well, turns out there is such a thing as too much protein. Generally the amount of protein you need varies by age, gender and activity level, maxing out at around 3,5 grams of protein per kilogram of weight for serious athletes who are doing heavy training every day. On average people generally need between 45 to 55 grams of protein per day. But what happens when you eat too much protein? Well you’re about to find out.
You know that feeling when your stomach just feels hard and heavy and like weighted down? It’s not a nice feeling. Eating too much protein can definitely feel that way, since protein is hard to digest and if you have too much at once or just constantly have too much – your stomach and intestines will struggle.
Having too much protein can cause your body to flush out water, leaving you dehydrated. Most of the time you can just drink more water to counteract that, but a lot of the time people don’t even realise they’re more thirsty than usual, because a lot of the time we’re not drinking enough water either way.
While protein is a great fuel for our body and is legitimately what our muscles are made of, it’s also not the easiest thing to digest. When you eat too much of it, your digestive system has to work longer and harder to digest it and that can make you feel exhausted, for no apparent reason.
A lot of the time people who eat too much protein are the ones who are following a low-carb high-protein diet. When you build your meals around protein and try to minimize carbs, chances are you will be getting very little fiber in your diet, and that can only lead to constipation.
When you eat a lot of protein and very little carbs your body goes into ketosis, which actually causes super bad breath. And you can’t really fix that with mough-wash or brushing your teeth a lot. The smell is coming from your digestive system. The best you can do is just try to hide it by drinking more water and chewing gum.
Lots of people think that you will only lose weight from increasing your protein intake, but in fact, too much protein will not magically make you lose weight. It will also not just turn into muscle and is far more likely to be stored in your body as fat. Because too much of anything will be stored as fat in your body. Overconsumption of calories is what leads to weight gain, and at the end of the day too much protein, is just too much calories.
Heart Disease and Cancer Risk
In most cases people who eat too much protein get it from eating a lot of red meat every day. And studies show that eating a lot of red meat is directly linked to heart problems and increased risk of cancer. It’s much better to get protein from heart healthy foods like fish, poultry, nuts and legumes. But even then, just eat everything in moderation.