You’ve probably heard about the benefits of a high protein diet from a friend, medical professional, or in the news at some point. With its many functions in the body, protein is vital for our health. High protein diets are said to help increase muscle mass, lose weight, and stay satiated for longer.
Too Much of a Good Thing
Talking with your Physician or a Dietitian about your specific protein needs is necessary to avoid going overboard. When eating excess protein our bodies start to break it down in a process called gluconeogenesis to provide extra glucose for energy. It’s then stored in the muscles as glycogen.
This can lead to some weight gain if over-consumed over an extended period of time.
Other Concerns of Excess Protein
Excess protein can also lead to diarrhea because these are often lower in fiber (meats, dairy), although some protein items like nuts and seeds are heart-healthy options packed with fiber.
Make sure when eating high amounts of protein, you are increasing hydration as well. A study has found that as athletes increased protein intake, dehydration also followed suit.
The general recommendation for healthy individuals without any pre-exisiting medical conditions is typically around 0.8-1.0 grams per kilogram of body weight. For example, a 150 lb. individual (68 kg) would be recommended to consume around 54-68 grams of protein a day. These levels are all depending on your activity level, health status, and current diet.
It’s best to work with a medical professional to determine what your ideal protein intake level is. From there, a nutritionist can recommend meal plans and types of protein sources that will best support your weight and wellness goals.