Can You Consume Too Much Protein?
In the fitness world protein is the most essential macronutrient your body needs. Protein helps you stay full while working to build and maintain your lean muscles. Because of this we get the notion that eating huge quantities of protein is always a good idea, but is it?
Eating too much protein will not hurt you. It has been suggested in the past that higher protein diets will have a negative effect on your bone density or hurt your kidneys. The research is in, and that is not true. In fact, a higher protein diet has been shown to keep you fuller longer, speed up muscle gain, and improve muscle recovery and repair.
You are left with an unbalanced diet. If you’re only eating protein all day you are most likely neglecting other high-quality foods such fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, and whole grains.
Leaning too much on one macronutrient will ultimately lead to deficiencies in other macronutrients. For example, if you’re not in taking enough carbohydrates because of the volume of protein you’re ingesting, you will probably feel a dip in your energy levels.
Typically, your muscles can absorb between 30-35 grams of protein in one sitting. When you eat more than that, they either go to other parts of your body or you just flush it out.
How Protein Do You Need?
The most important message to be made about protein is not to eat more of it, but understanding when you should eat it. You must intake a sufficient amount of protein throughout the day to continually fuel your body as your body does not have a reserve for protein as it does for fats and carbohydrates.
What this means for you
Spread your protein intake throughout the day as opposed to consuming it all at one time. One quarter of your plate should be a protein at every meal. It is suggested that your protein intake should be .8 to 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight per day.
Where does Protein Powder Come In?
There is nothing wrong with supplementing protein with a powder. You will want the majority of your protein to come from whole foods (80% or more). One of the main benefits of protein powder is that is it mostly protein. The problem comes in again, if you’re only drinking a shake you are missing out on vitamins, minerals, and other micronutrients that you get when you eat whole foods.
Recommendations for protein powder intake:
- Do not ingest more than 40% of your daily calories from powders
- Do not have more than 40-50 grams of protein in one sitting.
Following these guidelines will allow your body to utilize its protein intake to the fullest.