We’ve all heard the phrase, “life goes faster on protein”. This is indeed accurate – however only up to a certain extent. Without a doubt, protein is the most well-known dietary component in the fitness market and is crucial for athletes who constantly need to improve their performance. Because of its high profile in amino acids (the building blocks of protein), it plays a large role in an athlete’s lifestyle for muscle development and recovery. With that being said, it almost sounds like “more protein = more muscles” and that you should always be on protein like it’s some kind of recreational drug. But did you know that too much protein can also be harmful, even for someone who is healthy?
Too much protein can also be dangerous, especially if you don’t monitor your protein intakes and instead, start taking in as much protein as possible. One of the first downfalls of having too much protein is that it can actually make you GAIN WEIGHT. When someone consumes high amounts of protein, the excess protein might not only be used to provide the body with energy, but it may also be stored as fat. Just like fats and carbohydrates, protein provides calories as well. By consuming more protein than your body needs to grow, repair and maintain cells, the excess protein will be turned into glucose (which is used for energy). And we all know that when energy is not being used, the body automatically converts it into body fat.
An overdose of protein can also lead to kidney failure. The kidneys undergo heavy amounts of work by filtering wastes and extra fluid which is then decomposed by urinating. By consuming too much protein, it may add “extra” work to the already overworked kidneys which can result in some serious damage. This is because your kidneys will have to work harder in getting rid of extra nitrogen that is found in the amino acids of proteins. There have been studies showing that by consuming high amounts of protein, it will lead to abnormal Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN) levels as well as a more concentrated urine.
These diseases and side effects are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to consuming high amounts of protein. So, the real question is, how do you avoid diseases like these but the same time not have to worry about losing muscle mass? Before going on a high protein diet, you need to be able to understand how much protein you are putting into your body. This can be done by learning how to calculate your macros. Calculating and tracking macros is important where everyone should learn how to do, it doesn’t only give you the benefit of understanding what goes in your body, but also making you aware of how much you are lacking or how much you need to lose.
At the end of the day, it’s not about consuming as much protein as you can but consuming the recommended amount of protein in a day. The recommended amount of protein for adults is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight. For example, if you weigh approximately around 65kg – 70kg, you will then have to consume somewhere in between 114 grams – 123 grams of protein a day. However, people who exercise regularly whether it be with weights or just body weight, for more than one hour a day. They will require a slightly higher protein per pound amount as their muscles require more to recover while going through these strenuous activities 1 gram – 1.5 grams per kilogram of body weight is required. For example, if weigh around 80kg, you will need to consume approximately 176 grams – 264 grams of protein a day. Anything more than 2 grams per kilogram of bodyweight is considered excessive consuming.