Are you a protein addict? Are protein shakes and protein based dishes your favorite meals? Do you believe that eating a lot of protein will give you that dream body faster?
Well, then it’s high time for you to make some changes.
It is common for fitness freaks to consume loads of protein powders. Be it sports or bodybuilding, people are lured by the notion of massive fitness gains in a short period of time. And while in the short term, there are benefits that can be derived from this approach; in the long term, too much protein does more harm than good.
There are certain undeniable benefits of consuming protein, like muscle gain, hunger control, fitness and weight loss. But there are limits to this. When you cross these limits, you reverse the effects of protein and expose your body to a number of adverse side-effects. There have been a number of tragic instances of athletes dying due to protein overdoses.
What is the permissible limit of protein intake?
The necessary and sufficient range is 0.45 grams of protein for men (per pound), and 0.35 grams of protein for women (per pound). So, if you’re a 150-pound man, 67.5 grams of protein in a day is the permissible limit.
What happens when you cross this limit? The consequences of crossing the limit are as follows:
- Your kidneys might fail
Kidneys are the major excretory system in the body. Too much of protein results in a heavy load on the kidneys, as they have to work harder to excrete that extra nitrogen. In the short term, your body can adapt to this; but in the long run, there will be a consistent breakdown of the micro structures in the kidneys, ultimately leading to kidney failure. So if you start eating protein supplements at the age of 18, and continue through to 30, you are very likely to find yourself looking for a dialysis by the time you turn 35.
- You will lose out on other nutrition
Eating a lot of protein leads to satiety, and you feel full for a long time. This will result in you consuming lesser foods rich in vitamins and minerals. Carbs especially are essential for the body. Imagine going without fruits for a long time. You will eventually become deficient in other micronutrients. Missing important nutrients will have a lot of issues on enzyme synthesis, hormone metabolism, etc.
- You will be dehydrated
Eating too much protein leads to the accumulation of toxic nitrogen in the body. The nitrogen has to be excreted, for which the body diverts the fluids to the kidneys to flush the toxins. The result – the amount of water in the body reduces, leading to dehydration. Over a prolonged period of time, this can result in a number of toxic effects. When coupled with kidney damage, the problem becomes even more serious. If you are someone on protein shakes, then make sure that you hydrate yourselves very well.
- Your breath becomes smelly
The increase in protein intake in the body means a reduction in carbs intake. When this happens, the stored fat in the body is used for supplying fuel. This is known as ketosis. Ketosis results in the accumulation of ketone bodies in the body, which causes bad breath. If you really want to know how it smells, try to find people who are on a water fast for five days or more. They will have bad breath, that does not go away with brushing or flossing.
- You will gain weight in the long term
Imagine that you cut on carbs for few months but still end up gaining few pounds. Will that not be frustrating? That’s what happens when you consume protein for a long time. You will reset your metabolism; and instead of actively using up protein for wear and tear, your body stores it up. There are undeniable benefits of a low carb diet on a short term; but in the long term, the effects will reverse, making the whole exercise counter-productive.
- You will lose those abs
When you start gaining weight, as explained above, you will lose those washboard abs, as the weight gain will mostly give you a muffin top. How does this happen? As mentioned earlier, your metabolism gets reset. And the protein is broken down and converted into fat to be stored in the body. When that happens in the long run, you will put on extra weight, increasing your waistline and tummy.
- Too much of animal protein may lead to cancer
The incidence of intestinal cancer is linked to the intake of excess animal protein in the form of red meat. So when you consume animal protein for extended periods of time, you put yourself at the risk of developing cancer.
- Too much protein can be nauseating
There is a limit to how of something the body can process at a time. This applies even to water. Too much protein will cause nausea. Accumulation of toxins may also aggravate this.
Protein consumption needs to be moderated if you really want to reap the benefits of protein. Judicious, rather than excessive, protein consumption will take you a long way towards achieving your dream body.