It is said that protein is essential — but what about overeating protein?
Usually, everyone seems to hate carbs, how detrimental they are to weight loss and the evil effects of overindulging in them over the years. As a result, many people tend to adhere to a lower carb, higher protein diet, thinking it’s the best alternative for their health and weight loss goals. It may be apparent that perhaps we’re having far too much protein — that can have the opposite effect of better health. But, on the other hand, it’s scary to think that maybe you or I may be eating more than what’s required unknowingly.
How much protein do we need every day?
Various studies show that there is no benefit to consuming more protein than is recommended. The scary thing is that usually when we eat more protein, it’s at the expense of other essential nutrients — such as fibre, carbs and healthy fats. In addition, too much protein can cause adverse effects to our kidneys, liver and bones. Finally, let’s not forget that most people over-consume animal protein, leading to increased heart disease and cancer. If you think you may be consuming too much protein, check out the information below and take action to reverse them.
Symptom One: You are a little moody all the time
High protein, low carb diets may be great for weight loss at a faster rate, but carbs play a massive part in our overall wellbeing. When you eat carbs, it releases the feel-good hormone called serotonin. Lack of serotonin over a long period can increase our anxiety, depression and the chances of developing negative feelings. One way to combat this is to carb cycle according to your training goals. This is a great way to get the best from both worlds, without the added stress of not attaining your present weight loss goals.
Symptom Two: Having to wee all the time
This may be a little hard to spot if you are inclined to drink a lot of water. The problem is that once there is a build-up of protein in the kidneys, you are more likely to pee a whole lot more. There is only so much protein the kidneys can handle at a particular time. This increased acidity production from too much protein can cause problems to your bones and liver. Researchers found that plant and dairy proteins had a much lower negative effect on renal function than non-dairy animal protein. So perhaps it’s a healthier alternative to think about adding more plant protein to your diet for better health and giving your kidneys and liver a well-deserved break.
Symptom Three: You can’t do any number two’s
Those high protein diets have a knack for stopping you from going to the bathroom, possibly causing bloating, gas and discomfort along with it. If you choose to eat more plant-based protein sources, you will not experience this kind of discomfort. However, it’s best to add both alternatives to your diet for the long haul to make it easier on your gut and digestive tract. Another way to bring on number two is drinking a lot more water — hot water. That will help break things along and aid in digestion throughout the day.
Symptom Four: Feeling lethargic all the time
We can quickly put down tiredness to lack sleep or push ourselves a bit too much in the gym. But did you know that too much protein can leave you feeling tired and run down? The reasoning behind this is overconsumption can put your kidneys, liver and bones under strain. Having zero to minimal carbs can strain our brain, too, by decreasing our sharpness, focus and diminishing our energy during the day. Eat lots of green veggies and healthy carbs, like sweet potato and oats, to get your energy back. They contain a lot of nutrient value and fibre.
Symptom Five: That bad protein breath stench
This one is beyond awful and can turn a lot of people off. No amount of tooth brushing seems to help either! This is that acetone like smell that the body produces when you consume lots of protein. They term this “keto breath”, which is easily solved by eating carbs to get your body back into balance. If you want to get more protein in your diet and don’t want to experience any of the adverse effects above, then it’s best to supplement a few animal protein days, filling them with plant-based protein. Not only will you start to feel lighter, but you will also be surprised as to how good you feel. For a few months now, I’ve minimised my animal protein levels and feel fantastic. I believed in the past that animal protein would be the only advantageous nutrient to grow muscles and keep me lean. This is entirely false, as plant protein provides you with even more benefits without the troublesome negative symptoms above. Nevertheless, do give it a try for a month and see what it does for you.