If you are reading my blog, then chances are high that you are living a life focused on fitness, health and working towards being the best version of yourself! So well done you!
Chances are also high that you are aware of the importance of protein in your diet.
Protein is an essential nutrient that is vital for muscle growth, cell repair, staving off hunger and even plays its own role in weight loss. Unlike energy (fat), we cannot store it in our body so ideally, we will have it in our diet each and every day. The problem is that the amount of protein we need seems to have been grossly exaggerated by fitness and supplement companies around the globe.
Yes, having a protein-rich diet is important for building and repairing muscle fibres, especially when we are stressing them with regular exercise, however, you can have too much of a good thing!
Here are some side effects to having too much protein that you may not have been aware of:
Kidney damage - Consuming amino acids from protein also means you are consuming nitrogen. A normal and healthy amount of protein means that the nitrogen levels can be processed by your kidneys. Too much protein, over extended periods of time, can actually stress your kidneys and cause damage.
Dehydration - This same excess in nitrogen actually causes your body to use more fluids to expel it, meaning you are left requiring more water. If you don’t drink more you can end up being dehydrated.
Weight gain - Like with any food, too much protein stops being useful for muscle building and instead gets converted into energy and then stored as fat.
- Halitosis - Okay, this is just a fancy name for ‘bad breath’, but too much protein in your body and not enough carbohydrates, actually sets off a process known as ketosis. Though ketones are an energy source with some benefits, they also have an unfortunate side effect of producing bad breath.
Even if you are an avid fitness enthusiast, it is important to know that you can receive all the protein you need just be following a healthy and balanced diet.
I generally make sure I am eating a protein source with each meal, including my snacks, as these keep me feeling satisfied and energised. I also ensure that I am enjoying complete proteins, or combinations of incomplete protein sources, each day so that I know I am getting all the 9 essential amino acids I need to help keep my body fit, healthy and active!