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Protein: How Much Is Too Much?

Dec 2, 2009

Our body can’t do without its daily dose of proteins. Proteins are one of the three macronutrients that the human body needs to create the hormones and enzymes. Muscle, hair, skin and connective tissue are all made up of proteins.

How Much Protein Do We Need?                                            

Going to the gym to build up the muscles seems to have caught on with everyone. And, proteins help in building muscles. True, but how safe is it to follow a protein rich diet? The protein requirement of the body depends on many factors like age, gender and activity level. About 30% of our diet should include proteins. Ideally, as per RDA recommendations, for every pound of body weight, you should consume about 0.36 grams of proteins. Also, 15% of your total daily caloric intake should be proteins, or in 1800 calories diet you should have 270 calories from proteins. 

For a person involved in endurance workouts and rigorous resistance training, the protein needs may increase since the workouts break down the muscle proteins, and have to be replaced rapidly. You could use Fitday's free online diet journal to track your food, weight loss, exercises and goals. It will help you big time!

Should Protein-Rich Diets Be Encouraged?

Even though the daily consumption on average of most Americans is more than the dietary requirements, some of the very popular high protein diets followed include Atkins and Zone. While some encourage consumption of eggs, meat and cheese, which are rich in both proteins and saturated fats, others restrict the consumption of carbohydrates, making them very unbalanced.

A high protein diet essentially cuts down on the intake of carbohydrates, with the assumption that extra calories means extra fat; it rather burn up the stored reserves of glycogens. It however does not provide the body with all the essential nutrients it needs. The high protein diets could be followed for a short duration of time, but prolonged usage is not advisable. They could lead to potential health problems.

Problems with Too Much Protein

A well planned diet, with attention to proteins, can provide the body with stamina, energy and overall well being. It would also help in building muscles and burning fat. But, medical research is yet to confirm the advantages of consuming excess proteins. On the contrary, excess proteins in the body have been cited as the main reason for ketosis. During ketosis the body uses the fat present in the body for energy. This causes mild dehydration, glucose intolerance, sleep problems, fatigue and kidney problems.

Consumption of low carbohydrates means reduced intake of fiber, causing constipation, colon cancer, heart disease, diabetes, obesity and hemorrhoids.  High protein diets also increase the risks of osteoporosis because of the loss of calcium. It also increases the requirement of vitamin B6 in the body to metabolize the excess protein present.

For a healthy body, it is very important to have everything - proteins, carbohydrates and fats - in the correct proportions.

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