Can you have too much protein? Proteins are a part of every cell in your body, accounting for up to 15 percent of your body weight.[i] They’re known as the “building blocks of life” because protein is broken down or digested into amino acids your body needs to break down food.
Your body also uses protein for repairs and maintenance of your skin, muscles, organs and glands, as well as for growth and development during childhood and pregnancy. Even enzymes, which catalyze essential biochemical reactions within your cells, are a type of protein.
The institute of Medicine (IOM) explains that protein:[ii]
“Serves as the major structural component of all cells in the body, and functions as enzymes, in membranes, as transport carriers, and as some hormones. During digestion and absorption dietary proteins are broken down to amino acids, which become the building blocks of these structural and functional compounds.”
Because proteins are constantly being broken down, they need to be replaced regularly to ensure a steady supply, and this is where the protein in your diet comes in.
You may have heard the (wise) advice that you should include a bit of protein with every meal, as this will help you feel full longer and may help with weight loss. Protein is also necessary to preserve muscle mass (although it will not necessarily promote muscle growth) and encourages fat burning, making protein-rich foods like nuts, beans, poultry and meat often preferable to highly processed carbs.
Because of the many benefits associated with protein intake — and the vast amount of protein shakes and supplements on the market — many believe they may not be getting enough of this dietary staple. But the truth is, most Americans get plenty of protein in their normal diets — and many may actually be getting too much.
How Much Protein is Healthy?
National guidelines recommend that adults get between 10 and 35 percent of their daily calories from protein, or 8 grams of protein per every 20 pounds of body weight.[iii] Popular high-protein, low-carb diets that have increased in popularity for weight loss in recent years typically recommended that 30-40 percent of your calories come from protein, and this higher level does show some proven benefit, provided your intake of carbs is reduced correspondingly. As written in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition:[iv]
“Newer research indicates that the high-protein content of these diets may actually be the reason for their partial success in inducing weight loss, despite no restrictions in total calories. High-protein diets, such as the Atkins diet, may also suppress food intake by producing ketosis. Ketosis results from the depletion of glycogen stores induced by a severe restriction of carbohydrates, to an extent that goes far beyond what is commensurate with a healthy diet.”
Generally speaking, however, an average adult man eating an average protein diet would need about 56 grams of protein per day, whereas an average adult woman would need about 46 grams. To put this in perspective, 50 grams of protein is about equal to the eating the following foods:[v]
- Chicken, 3 ounces
- Two large eggs
- Peanut butter, 2 tablespoons
- Yogurt, 8 ounces
As you can judge from the list above, it’s quite easy for most people to get adequate protein in their daily diets … and then some. An average double hamburger at a fast-food restaurant can have 56 grams of protein — the recommended amount for a man for an entire day. As the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated:[vi]
” … most adults in the United States get more than enough protein to meet their needs. It’s rare for someone who is healthy and eating a varied diet to not get enough protein.”
What Happens if You Eat Too Much Protein, or Too Little, Protein?
If you don’t eat enough protein, your body will begin breaking down protein-rich tissues such as your muscles to get enough essential amino acids. This can result in muscle wasting and weakness. Beyond your muscles, a lack of protein can impact your immune system, increasing your risk of infections, your skin, your hair and even your mood, making you increasingly irritable. In extreme cases, too little protein can lead to shock and death.[vii]
As mentioned, not getting enough protein is a rarity in the United States. It’s much more likely that you may be getting too much protein, which can stress your bodily systems. Specifically, too much protein can put a strain on your kidneys, which is especially dangerous if you already have kidney disease. Excess protein also causes your liver to become overworked and may lead to hepatic encephalopathy, which is characterized by a decline in brain and nervous system function.[viii]
Further, while a high-protein, low-carb diet is linked to weight loss, simply eating excess protein — without cutting carbs — may increase your calorie intake such that it makes you gain weight instead of lose it.
What are the Best Sources of Protein?
In order to make your protein grams count, you’ll want to be sure you’re consuming a variety of protein sources to give your body all of the essential amino acids your body needs. There are 20 different amino acids your body needs, but your body can only make some of them. Essential amino acids are those that must be supplied via your diet because they can’t be made by your body; the complete protein sources below provide all of the essential amino acids:
- Meat and poultry — choose organic, grass-fed and naturally raised sources whenever possible
- Fish — wild-caught is best
- Milk, cheese and other dairy products
Incomplete protein sources may not contain all of the essential amino acids, but they can be combined with other incomplete proteins to give your body all the essential amino acids it needs; these are referred to as complementary proteins (rice and beans is one example). Healthy sources of incomplete proteins include:
- Nuts and seeds
This FIGHTS the “Bad” Protein Byproduct In Your Body … But Are YOU Getting Enough?
If you suffer any type of ongoing (chronic) pain, it’s almost guaranteed you are not getting enough of the proteolytic enzymes whose job it is to eliminate the excess protein in your body that keeps you STIFF and IN PAIN…
You see, as your body uses the proteins you eat to repair itself, it also produces a protein byproduct some call metabolic waste… also known as SCAR TISSUE!
This scar tissue builds up in your joints, muscles, blood vessels, and your organs as you age… preventing your body from healing, making you susceptible to diseases, and causing chronic pain!!!
And there are 2 BIG PROBLEMS you need to know…
One, most people don’t get enough of these proteolytic enzymes in their daily diet in the first place. They come from eating a raw and whole food diet, rich in whole fruits and vegetables. A good example is eating papaya, which produces these enzymes in the form of papain, and pineapple, which produces bromelain.
And two, as you age past your 30s, your body becomes increasingly unable to produce these enzymes on it’s own…
That’s the key reason why for many people in their 40s and beyond, their bodies seem to take much longer to heal… why they are more susceptible to illness… and why they experience more PAIN that doesn’t seem to go away!!!
If you want to end pain… if you want to protect yourself from diseases and heal faster if you are or do get ill… you simply NEED to boost your daily intake of proteolytic enzymes!
The good news is you can supply your body with the proteolytic enzymes it needs at any age with Heal-n-Soothe, our overall #1 bestseller that provides a natural source of proteolytic enzymes… and the top 12 natural anti-inflammation (anti-scar-tissue) and pain-stopping ingredients in all…
Written By: Updated: May 13,2013