Incorporating enough protein into your diet can aid you towards leaner muscles, curbing your hunger, speeding recovery after exercise, and more benefits. However, although it is important to maintain a healthy diet of protein, did you know that too much protein may come with some positive and negative effects?
According to the Mayo Clinic, most research suggests that those who are very active should eat about 1.2 to 2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. Lean meats, poultry, and seafood are popular examples of foods that contain a good source of protein. However, other non-meat options include eggs, legumes and beans, nuts, and even certain dairy products like cheese.
But how much would be considered too much? We spoke with members of our medical expert board, The Nutrition Twins, Lyssie Lakatos, RDN, CDN, CFT, and Tammy Lakatos Shames, RDN, CDN, CFT, about the surprising side effects of eating protein. See what they have to say on the matter. Then, for more on protein, read on about The One Major Side Effect of Using Protein Powder, Says Dietitian.
“Often when people go on a high-protein diet, they think they’ll feel less bloated, but they don’t include enough fiber rich foods like fruits and vegetables or whole grains and beans (carbs) and they become constipated because of the lack of fiber,” say The Nutrition Twins. “The constipation leads to stomach discomfort and bloating, and often people’s pants feel tight.”
Protein is great for weight loss, keeping you fuller for longer. As you cut carbs and fat and eat more protein, your hunger hormone, gherlin (your hunger hormone) is reduced, while you’ll increase satisfaction hormones.
According to the Nutrition Twins, this can be very helpful for weight loss, as hunger is what frequently leads to poor, calorie-dense food choices and overeating.
Eating too much is one of the major causes of gaining abdominal fat. Protein is not an exception and can cause more weight gain if you eat too much of it.
“For most people, more protein doesn’t mean bigger muscles, it can mean more body fat, including around the midsection,” say The Nutrition Twins. “Unless you’re weight training and challenging your muscles very consistently and truly need that extra protein for muscle growth, extra protein won’t help to increase your muscles.”
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There are foods that are going to give you bad breath no matter how little of it you eat. However, in this scenario, you can control it.
According to the Nutrition Twins, if you cut carbohydrates out completely or only include tiny amounts of them in your diet, you could go into the process called ketosis because your body is forced to make fuel from alternative sources.
If this happens, the result is a strange nail-polish-like smell coming off your breath.
A balance of carbohydrates in your diet is needed if you want to function properly. If you’re not giving your body sufficient carbohydrates, that connects to your brain not having enough fuel, resulting in the inability to focus and may cause brain fog.
Luckily, this can be reversed quickly when you give your body and brain more carbohydrates for fuel. The Nutrition Twins suggest even simply eating a piece of fruit will help most of the time.
A major part of a high-protein diet usually includes relying on a daily serving or two (or more) of protein powder.