Signs You Could Be Eating Too Much Protein
Fat and carbs both have their fair share of haters, but protein is pretty much always getting good press. It’s easy to see why: protein is an essential nutrient for strong bones, muscles, skin and pretty much every other part of the body, and it is responsible for thousands of different chemical reactions to make sure your body functions at its best. But that doesn’t mean more is always better.
Despite the National Academies of Medicine recommends consuming between 10 and 35 percent of the daily calories from protein , people often adopt high-protein diets in the hopes of losing weight or toning up. A review published in the Journal of Cachexia, Sarcopenia and Muscle found there is no benefit to consuming more protein than recommended as increased consumption had no significant improvement on athletic performanceit only led to minimal muscle gain in healthy adults who were involved with resistance exercise training.
In fact, eating too much protein will do more harm than good for healthy individuals, often compromising at the expense of fiber, carbohydrates or other necessary nutrients. Eating too much protein for a prolonged period of time can cause place a burden on the kidneys, liver and bones, as well as potentially increase the risk for heart disease and cancer.
Here are a few major warning signs to tell if you might be packing too much protein into your day.
Related: The 10 Best Vegan Protein Sources
Physiological And Metabolic Effects Of High
Protein is more satiating than carbohydrate and fat in the short term, over 24 h and in the long term. In the short-term fast proteins are more satiating than slow proteins, and animal protein induces a higher thermogenesis than vegetable protein. In the longer term, the higher post-absorptive satiety and thermogenesis are sustained irrespective of the protein source. A variety of investigations have examined the effect of HP diets on satiety. Typically, these studies presented one of several preloads with varying protein content to each subject on separate occasions in a cross-over design. For several hours following the consumption of the preload, subjective satiety ratings were measured repeatedly. Halton and Hu summarised the main findings that of the fourteen studies that compared HP to at least one other macronutrient, eleven found that the protein preload significantly increased subjective ratings of satiety. Other studies that have used nose-clips and liquid format have not found effects of HP meals suggesting a role in sensory characteristics in promoting satiety. The Maastricht lab has published many preloading studies that suggest that HP diets are more satiating in comparison with normal protein meals, when fed at iso-energetic amounts.
Bone health including osteoporosis
What Are The Best High
The best choices for high-protein diets are foods with a high protein percentage. The protein percentage of a food tells you how much protein per calorie a food has.10 Foods with a lot of protein and less fat and carbohydrate are ranked higher, as are low-fat, low-carb foods with a lot of fiber.
Foods in the middle range of protein percentage can help you maintain your weight and your muscle mass. Going a little higher over 30 or 35% may help you lose weight.
Foods with a lower protein percentage may lead to weight gain, while foods with the highest protein percentage may be good choices for someone who is really trying to reduce body fat and become lean and fit.
Fortunately, most high-protein foods are delicious and have plenty of vitamins and minerals, too. You can start with this list of the best high-protein foods.
- Meat and poultry: beef, chicken, lamb, turkey
- Seafood: shrimp, crab, salmon, tuna
- Eggs: whole eggs or egg whites
- Dairy: cottage cheese, greek yogurt
- Legumes: Beans, lentils, peas, and soy
- Non-starchy vegetables11: spinach, cauliflower, broccoli, mushrooms
If your diet consists mainly of the above foods, you are on your way to eating a healthy diet with plenty of protein.
Here are a few tips to help you increase how much protein you eat and ensure you get adequate protein without adding too many unnecessary calories:
Read Also: Diet For Women Over 60
Eating High Protein The Next Steps
After reading this guide about the potential concerns and side effects of a high-protein diet, are you ready to get started increasing your protein intake? If so, start by reading our introductory guide to high-protein diets. There you will learn practical tips on how to get started, plus information on all the potential benefits of a high-protein diet.
The following are low-quality nutritional epidemiology studies that suggest a minimal increased risk with red meat intake. However, as we discuss in our guide on observational vs. experimental studies, this line of evidence is complicated by healthy user bias, poor data collection, confounding variables, and other methodological weaknesses.
Other studies show a link with processed meat but not minimally processed red meat.
An extensive review found evidence for an increased risk of heart disease and all-cause mortality, albeit extremely small with a hazard ratio of 1.03.
Controversy Surrounding High Protein Diets
While high protein diets are relatively safe for healthy individuals without health implications, it’s important to note this diet is not suitable for everyone.
“You should not follow a high protein diet without the guidance of a medical professionalconsuming too much protein can be a burden on the body,” which, Kiernan says, can lead to undesirable health issues.
What’s more, some protein choices are more helpful to the body, given many protein-rich foods from animals can contain unfavorable levels of saturated fats and cholesterol.
Consuming too much protein can also be taxing for the kidneys, and so this pattern of eating has negative characteristics for anyone with a hiked cholesterol count or renal dysfunction. To counterbalance this characteristic, an increase in water intake is required to avoid the risk of dehydration.
Recommended Reading: Grain Free Diets For Dogs
Risks And Side Effects Of A High Protein Diet
When followed for only a short period, a high-protein diet plan might not be hazardous to the majority of otherwise healthy individuals. By increasing your sense of satiety, such diets may aid in weight loss.
Dairy products with full-fat and red meat are common components of high-protein diets, both of which may raise your risk of heart disease.
As a result of your bodys inability to properly eliminate all the protein metabolisms waste products, a high-protein diet may deteriorate renal function in those who already suffer from it.
The following is a list of some of the potential dangers and negative effects of a high-protein diet.
Should You Follow A High Protein Diet
Protein is essential to your health, and high protein diets have been linked to certain health benefits. However, this does not mean that following a diet very high in protein is the right choice for you.
Keep in mind that the overall quality and nutrient density of your diet is what matters most when it comes to health promotion and disease prevention. The exact macronutrient composition of your diet is less important.
As mentioned above, your protein needs depend on many factors, including your body weight, age, body composition goals, overall health, and activity level.
Most physically active people would benefit from following a diet that delivers 0.540.9 grams per pound of protein per day.
However, others may need more. These people include athletes, those with physically demanding jobs, pregnant and breastfeeding people, and those with certain health issues (
Also Check: Low-carb And Low-fat Diet Together
Protein Intake And Heart Disease
Recent findings by Hu et al. suggests that replacing carbohydrates with protein may be associated with a lower risk of ischemic heart disease. This result is consistent with evidence from metabolic studies that replacement of dietary carbohydrate with protein has favorable effect on plasma lipoprotein and lipid concentrations. However, because an increase in protein intake from animal products such as meats, dairy products, and eggs is often accompanied by increases in intakes of saturated fat and cholesterol, dietary advice to improve public health based on these findings should be made with caution.
Recent novel approaches have shown that glucose and lipid intake may induce an increase in the generation of reactive oxygen species and oxidative stress. For example, Mohanty et al. produced evidence that all three major macronutrients induce an increase in ROS generation. However, their data also show that different nutrients produce distinct patterns of stimulation of ROS generation after their intake. Of the three nutrients, glucose induced the greatest ROS generation, followed in decreasing order by fat and by protein . The detriment of oxidative stress is that it may damage proteins and lipids, the latter through lipid peroxidation. Lipid peroxidation of LDL-C particles is an essential step in the development of atherosclerosis.
Getting Too Little Protein
Protein deficiency means not getting enough protein in your diet. Protein deficiency is rare in Australia, as the Australian diet generally includes far more protein than we actually need. However, protein deficiency may occur in people with special requirements, such as older people and people following strict vegetarian or vegan diets.
Symptoms of protein deficiency include:
- wasting and shrinkage of muscle tissue
Read Also: Keto Diet Rules For Beginners
Is Eating More Animal Protein Bad For My Health
Animal protein sources, most notably red meat, have been implicated in an increased risk of heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, and early death. However, as we cover in our detailed guides on red meat and another on diet and cancer, the data against animal foods are very weak and do not support strong conclusions.15
Even using the poor quality data, it is unclear what impact animal foods have on an individuals health since the overall risk reported for large populations is so minimal.16
However, when looking at higher quality evidence, there is no support that animal food sources are less healthy.
What If I Have A Hard Time Reaching My Protein Target
Some people may struggle to increase their protein. If youve lived your whole life thinking two eggs make up a high-protein breakfast, changing that to four eggs may seem daunting.
One solution is to add high-protein snacks to your meals or eat them between meals .
Another option is to make a protein powder smoothie. Although our bias is to recommend whole foods first, we acknowledge that protein powders play an important role in helping some people reach their protein targets.
You can also make a few key dietary swaps to help increase the protein percentage of your foods.
For instance, you could switch out regular cheese for low-fat cheese or even cottage cheese. Or, instead of eating regular yogurt, go for low-fat Greek yogurt. You could also swap your bacon for Canadian bacon or turkey bacon. These swaps allow you to consume protein with fewer other calories, thereby providing more room in your diet for additional protein-containing foods.
Don’t Miss: Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Urinary So
The Citrus Solution To Gout
Gout can cause harmful side effects, so make sure you are consuming only the necessary substances. Vitamin C from citrus fruits, oranges, pineapples, and strawberries is a great source of dietary fiber, lowering uric acid levels and preventing gout attacks. If youre looking for a more definitive answer, supplements or foods such as grapefruit or oranges are both great options.
Will More Protein Shorten My Life
One of the hottest concerns about protein is understanding what effect it has on human longevity. Animal data suggest that lower protein diets can improve longevity, although the implication for human diets is unclear.13
The data suggesting animal protein intake leads to diabetes, heart disease, or even premature death are low-quality and should not be used to make conclusive arguments. To date, there is no high-quality evidence that animal protein worsens health or causes premature death.14
Even if one believes the hypothesis that eating more protein reduces longevity, we still dont know how to quantify the impact for an individual. Will it reduce your life expectancy by months? One year? One decade? And what are the trade-offs with respect to the beneficial effects of increased protein intake: weight loss, metabolic improvements, and improved healthspan?
We conclude that, based on the current level of evidence, the benefits of higher protein diets outweigh the potential drawbacks for the overwhelming majority of people.
Don’t Miss: Hugh Jackman Workout And Diet
Gout And Uric Acid: Causes Symptoms And Treatment
If you have gout, it is critical that you consult with a healthcare professional to determine the best treatment option. Dietary changes, such as avoiding processed foods and alcohol, as well as medication such as allopurinol, can reduce Uric acid levels. With the help of homoeopathy, a permanent cure for uric acid can be achieved.
High Protein Diet And Hepatic Glucose Production
HP diets are generally poor in carbohydrates and are assumed to promote gluconeogenesis. However, the evidence from literature remains unclear because metabolic investigations are generally performed in the fasting state. For instance, Bisschop et al. compared the effect of low- and rich-CHO diets on glucose fluxes in healthy subjects, using deuterated water to assess the relative contribution of gluconeogenesis and glycogenesis. After fasting overnight, the EGP decreased with the low CHO diet when compared with the high CHO diet. This was due to an approximate 55% decrease in glycogenolysis, while gluconeogenesis increased by only 14% with the low CHO diet. Veldhorst et al. compared the glucose fluxes in the fasting state of subjects after 2 days of a balanced or a CHO-free diet. The EGP decreased by 20% after the CHO-free diet, while gluconeogenesis represented the main flux of EGP. Linn et al. also reported an increase fasting gluconeogenesis rate in subjects fed an HP diet for 6 months, together with a moderate increase of EGP. These studies show that the increase in proteins at the expense of CHO in the diet moderately increases gluconeogenesis but drastically decreases glycogen storage due to the lack of CHO substrate.
Glenn H. Olsen, in, 2009
Read Also: Kylie Jenner Weight Loss Diet
High Protein Diet May Harm Polar Bears
- Washington State University
- A high protein diet appears linked to kidney disease and shortened lifespans for captive polar bears, a relationship similarly suspected in humans. A careful look at what zoos have fed polar bears revealed they mostly offered a diet intended for big cats, containing about 2-3 parts protein to 1-part fat, a reversal from what was observed in the wild.
A high protein diet appears linked to kidney disease and shortened lifespans for captive polar bears, a relationship similarly suspected in humans, according to a review led by Washington State University wildlife biologist Charlie Robbins.
The paper, published in Zoo Biology, takes careful look at what zoos have fed polar bears revealing they mostly offered a diet intended for big cats, containing about 2-3 parts protein to 1-part fat, a reversal from what was observed in the wild.
“Zoos made some assumptions in the past about the nutritional requirements of polar bears because their diet is almost exclusively animals,” said Robbins, professor and founder of WSU’s Bear Center. “But, unlike cats, they do not need and cannot tolerate high protein.”
Polar bears feed almost solely on seals and are classified as carnivores. But recent research has demonstrated that polar bears, like other bears, have nutrition and physiology more closely aligned with primates, including humans.
Of over 600 wild bears examined, the team found no evidence of liver or kidney disease.
Risks And Side Effects Of High Protein Diet You Should Know
Otella has an experience of around eight years of writing about health and nutrition-related topics. She is a full-time mother and a housewife, and the time she has left after doing her mother and household duties is spent writing for Working for Health as a full-time writer. Her life goal is to raise both her boys into a gentleman, and at the same time, she wants to educate people on how to keep themselves fit by tweaking their daily diet.
Fact checked by
Dr. Emina Ribich
Emina Ribic MD graduated from Medical faculty of University of Sarajevo in 2017. She worked as a research associate at Clinical Center University of Sarajevo, where she was working on study preparations, data collection and analysis, and coauthored several scientific articles. She is currently employed as a field doctor in the Emergency medical services.
Know more about our editorial guidelines.
Diets like Zone and Atkins became popular in the 1990s, and high-protein diets are returning. The macronutrient ratios of diets like the Caveman or Paleo diet might vary, but they are usually heavy in protein.
However, protein can be a significant component of a keto diet along with a fat component. Therefore, one must consume adequate protein daily to maintain a healthy weight.
You can strengthen and heal your body by using this substance. It has also been found that a high-protein diet can help you lose weight and keep the weight off while enhancing satiety.
Don’t Miss: Low Cal Diet Weight Loss
Animal Versus Plant Protein
Is all protein the same? No, not really.
Animal proteins are considered complete sources of protein meaning they supply all nine essential amino acids whereas all plant sources aside from soy are incomplete.30 This doesnt mean you cant get all essential amino acids from plant sources. It simply means you will need to combine different sources, such as beans with nuts or whole grains.
Your body also absorbs animal proteins much better than most plant proteins, meaning you can eat less for the same effective amount of protein. Again, that doesnt mean you cant get adequate protein from plant sources. But it does mean you may need to increase your intake goals by 20% or more.31
Lastly, plant sources of protein tend to be higher in carbohydrates than animal sources. If you follow a very low-carb or keto diet, this can make meeting all your goals challenging.
Soy is unique among plant proteins since it is a complete protein and appears to have similar bioavailability, muscle-building effects, and weight loss benefits as animal proteins.32
However, aside from soy, evidence suggests animal protein may be more beneficial for strength and muscle maintenance and may provide a better source of micronutrients, especially from red meat.33
Longevity and chronic diseases
Summary: Animal versus plant proteins