Protein is essential to build and repair tissue. It’s also used to make enzymes, hormones and other body chemicals. It’s the building block of bones, cartilage, muscles, skin and blood.
Protein is a macronutrient, along with fat and carbs. But, unlike fat and carbs, the body doesn’t store protein, and has no reserves to draw on when it needs it. Some people assume that eating more protein will assist with this. But let’s look into this a bit further.
The real truth is that we need less protein than what we think. But, getting the best possible sources from the most protein rich foods, is going to be your best bet in getting the protein your body needs, whilst maintaining a lean body composition.
The proper amount of protein you should be eating
The total amount of protein one should eat, needs to be the size of their palm. While eating a bit more than this isn’t bad for you, if the amount is far in excess of your overall activity (which is a natural occurrence when consuming anything really) it can most definitely contribute to excess weight gain.
Another issue is that when consuming just protein for weight loss, the results can become abundant within the first few months, but then it starts to taper off. You will find that the results are not the same as when you begin your high protein dietary plan.
Adding more won’t actually increase muscle mass
The problem with this notion is we’ve all been led to believe that consuming protein shakes by the dozen will miraculously help us put on muscle mass. While it is your best bet to eat a diet that’s rich in protein, you also don’t need to over consume it in the hope it will add muscle mass. What you should focus on instead, is training with weights properly, and making sure this program is challenging your body. That stimulus, plus the proper amount of protein for your body shape, will do the job in helping you gain muscle mass.
Is too much protein bad for your health?
That all depends on the source you are eating regularly. Is it filled with saturated fat? In other words, is your protein more like eggs, fish and lean meats, or bacon and sausages? Eating higher fatty meats is ok in moderation, but making it a regular occurrence, isn’t going to do you any favours on the health scale.
Some people can afford to indulge in those extra grams of protein, without an ill effect. You can experiment with this via trial and error with your own eating. Those of us who are highly active, eating more calories will not do any harm long term. It all depends on how much you train, and how active you are.
Sedentary people should be aware that over consumption of anything will lead to weight gain. Exercise is an advantage for body composition and health; therefore, I recommend we all do some form of activity to keep us healthy.
Final notes. Make sure your protein intake is the size of your palm, so you don’t have to purchase scales or become too obsessive about monitoring your portions. IF you train, then you may be able to get away with some extra protein. If you train with weights, then experiment to see what your baseline is. Remember, to build muscle mass, we have to train with heavy weights and eat well overall. Aim for a balanced diet, filled with vegetables and proteins.