What is Protein? What is its importance for the human body?
The human body requires many nutrients and other essential sources for healthy functioning. Protein is the most versatile molecule and the key to all the biological processes inside the human body. As per dieticians and medical professionals, the average dietary allowance of Protein that is recommended to a person is always calculated according to their body weight. In other words, 1 gram of protein can be taken for every 1 kilogram of weight that the person has on a general basis.
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The typical recommendation for an adult is 0.8 grams of protein for every kilogram of body weight. Now, the questions arise, how much Protein is too much that can cause a problem in your body? The dietary allowance or RDA for the recommendation of Protein varies from person to person. It mainly depends upon the following factors –
- Activity and workout
- Metabolic rate
- Other medical issues
Along with this, if a woman is pregnant or breastfeeding her child, she will be recommended individually. It is always better to consult a dietician first before you start with a proper protein diet.
What happens if you eat too much Protein?
Many people who start taking Protein to build up good physic; do not know how to eat too much Protein for them. As a result of it, they end up causing trouble to their health and the whole body functioning.
There are people who consume 2 grams of Protein per kg of their body weight for a long time, and yet they do not develop any signs of side effects. And, some athletes may even take 3.5k grams of Protein for their per kg body weight. However, the researchers say that taking more than 2 grams of Protein for a prolonged time can cause severe health problems.
These are the symptoms that are associated with eating too much protein –
- Indigestion and intestinal discomfort
- Unexplained exhaustion
- Headache and nausea
The daily RDA for Protein that can be taken as per the IOM (Institute of Medicine) is as follows –
- Infants between the age of 0 to 6 months – 9.1 grams/day.
- Infants between the age of 6 to 12 months – 11 grams/day.
- Children between the age of 1 to 3 years – 13 grams/day.
- Children between the age of 4 to 8 years – 19 grams/day.
- Males between the age of 9 to 14 years – 35 grams/day.
- Males between the age of 15 to 20 years – 52 grams/day.
- Males above the age of 20 – 56 grams/day.
- Females between the age of 9 to 15 years – 34 grams/day.
- Females above the age of 15 – 46 grams/day.
- Pregnant and breastfeeding women of all ages – 70 grams/day.
Remember that being physically active plays an important role in the intake of Protein. It may increase over time as you keep on pushing yourself for more stamina build-up.
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Is eating too much protein bad?
The intake of any nutrient in a high amount for a long time comes with risk, and so is the case with Protein. In simple words, the consumption of anything in excess amounts will certainly result in health issues and other complications. Even though there might be benefits to a high-protein diet, it’s critical to be aware of the associated health risks.
Increase in body weight –
It is true that eating a lot of protein will cause you to lose weight, but this effect will pass quickly. An excessive amount of protein causes the body to store it as fat and excrete the amino acids. It will eventually result in weight gain over time.
Develop bad breath –
Many people are seen to develop bad breath due to a large amount of protein intake. It mainly happens to occur when you restrict your diet and stop taking carbohydrates.
Kidney damage –
According to reports, kidney damage is more likely to occur in people with kidney disease. It is because of the nitrogen found in the amino acids of Protein. So when your kidney is damaged, it has to work hard to remove nitrogen from your body. Furthermore, it will result in kidney damage.
When you are continuously taking a high-protein diet, your body will function more actively. As a result of this, it will flush out the excess nitrogen and, along with it, other fluids and water. Though you may not feel thirsty, you will get dehydrated every now and then.
In a recent study, over 44% of people eating a high-protein diet reported constipation. It is because these diets restrict the consumption of carbohydrates that contain fiber.
Protein intake that is too high can strain the kidneys, which may result in kidney issues and raise your risk of developing other health issues. You need to eat a moderate amount of protein in a balanced way, depending on your unique needs, such as your activity level, age, and general state of health. Consulting with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian can provide personalized guidance on protein requirements. We can benefit from this nutrient without the drawbacks of excessive consumption by exercising moderation and including a variety of protein sources in a balanced diet.