Anyone who’s ever dieted has heard the rule that carbs are bad and protein is good. It’s the reason why we shun bread and prefer cheese, and why we avoid pasta and anything made with white flour. But do any of us know exactly why this is true? And more importantly, is there a downside of consuming too much protein? We offer a crash course in understanding why protein consumption is good for you, and what can happen when you overdo it.
Proteins are broken down into amino acids and are used throughout the body to benefit your health. In addition to building muscle and making blood, if you’re consuming the necessary amount of protein, you can recover faster from cuts because protein helps in tissue repair. The right amount of proteins in your diet can also boost the immune system to help prevent illness and disease, as well as maintain healthy skin, hair, nails, and cartilage.
In terms of weight loss, protein can help in raising your metabolism, and since protein is digested slowly, it makes you feel full longer while still maintaining your energy. Since the body can’t store protein, it’s necessary to have an appropriate portion every day. You can acquire protein through meat consumption: chicken, turkey, fish, as well as eggs and milk. You can also supplement your diet with other foods such as almonds, beans, and grains.
The not so good
On the downside, it’s important to choose smartly among the protein group; a lot of the foods in this group can be high in saturated fat and cholesterol. So while you want your protein to come from animal sources, you also want to stay away from consuming fatty cuts of lamb, beef, and pork. Too much of certain animal proteins can also raise your cholesterol, such as egg yolks, liver giblets, or any organ meats. The wrong choice of these proteins can ultimately create weight gain and increase the risk of heart disease.
For those that use nuts and seeds to get more proteins, people should also be wary of the amount of calories consumed and eat in small portions to replace animal products, rather than eat in addition to meat in the course of a day.
Also, since protein takes longer to digest, too much can have an adverse effect on your digestive system, creating issues that include constipation, diarrhea, and/or excessive gas.
Finally, creating a diet that focuses too heavily on protein creates a risk of ignoring other necessary nutrients, particularly those that come from carbs. Overdoing protein consumption can also cause dehydration, so much so, that it’s been advised to drink a half gallon of water per 100 grams of protein.
Balancing your diet to include a bit of everything has always been the best way to stay healthy. By coordinating your food groups to balance each other, you can have the figure you’ve always wanted, and the great health you never knew was possible by adding more proteins to your diet in a sensible way.