Protein is essential for your health for many reasons: People who are trying to lose weight usually follow a low-carb, high-protein diet. Protein helps keep you feeling full and satisfied after a meal and provides the fuel for your workouts. Questions have been asked whether you can eat too much protein?
Well the answer to that isn’t quite so cut-and-dried: The amount of protein that’s right for you depends on many factors, such as age, sex, weight, activity level and health goals.
Confirmed research recommends 46 grams of protein per day for the average adult woman and 56 grams per day for the average adult male. Athletes, seniors, people recovering from injuries or illness and pregnant or lactating women need about 25 percent more protein.
But some people eat about 100 grams of protein per day, which is the equivalent of eating three five-ounce steaks a day!
Signs That You’re Eating Too Much Protein:
1. You’re Gaining Weight
If you increase your protein intake without decreasing other foods in your diet, you’ll have an excess of protein and calories. And if you have a sedentary lifestyle and eat excess protein — or excess anything — you will gain weight.
2. You’re Dehydrated
Excess protein is filtered out of your body by your kidneys. A by-product of protein metabolism is nitrogen. The kidneys use water to flush out the nitrogen, which creates a dehydrating effect. When you decrease carbs, your body retains less fluid as well.
3. You’re Having Digestive Issues
Have nausea, indigestion, diverticulitis or constipation? When you increase meat, fish, chicken, cheese and other dairy on a high-protein diet and don’t eat enough fiber, the kidneys use excess water to rid your body of nitrogen and you can develop constipation.
Too much protein also puts a strain on your digestive enzymes, which can lead to digestive issues.
4. You’ve Got Bad Breath and Headaches
In a diet low in carbs with increased protein and fat, your body may go into a state of ketosis. In ketosis, your body is burning fat for fuel instead of carbs. Bad breath and headaches are a side effect of ketosis.
The biggest potential problem with following a high-protein diet is that you may not be getting enough fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, all of which are found in grains, vegetables and fruits.
So what can you do? Switch some of your protein sources to plant-based proteins, which will then provide you with these other needed nutrients.