We’ve heard it everywhere, from every health and wellness outlet – exercise daily, and incorporate a diet with whole, nutrient-dense foods, complex carbs, and protein into your routine. Even high protein diets are widely promoted, with the assurance that it’s all you need to lose weight, gain muscle, or just generally get in shape. And yes, it’s true, we do need protein in our diet in order for the body to function appropriately, but just how much is too much?
Before we delve into just how much protein is necessary for the human body, let’s take a quick look at what protein is used for. Protein exists in every single cell within the human body; from nails and bones to blood and muscles, protein is responsible for muscle growth and repair, as well as being the building block for important hormones and enzymes that the body needs in order to function properly. Protein also plays a major part in metabolism, and aids in building reserves of energy throughout the body.
Typically, if one is trying to get a certain amount of macronutrients into the body each day (i.e. carbohydrates, fats, and proteins), general guidelines suggest aiming for protein to make up between 10-35% of daily caloric intake. This number can – and will – vary greatly from person to person, depending on factors such as activity level and exercise goals. A goal of weight loss also plays a part in overall protein consumption and should be considered when beginning an exercise program.
According to the American Council on Exercise, an active individual who is participating in a regular fitness routine should be aiming for protein to be approximately 10-15% of their daily caloric intake, while someone who is training at a higher level, such as an athlete or someone participating in high-intensity exercises, should be consuming 20-30% of daily calories from protein. Those who have a goal of weight loss should also be aiming at the higher end of daily protein intake; ranging anywhere from 25-30% of total calories.
This might sound odd – after all, if you are aiming for weight loss, then why would you need more protein? Science has shown us that an increase in protein level intake for those looking to decrease body fat aids in weight loss, for several reasons. For one, protein helps keep you fuller for a longer period of time, thus decreasing excess snacking and overeating at mealtimes – and therefore decreasing extra unnecessary caloric intake. Secondly, protein helps boost the thermic effect of food within the body, which subsequently aids in burning more calories throughout the day than compared to a diet with lower amounts of protein.
Let’s break down the RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) for protein; for most people, it’s recommended that intake is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight. For example: if someone is 180 pounds, that’s about 81.8 kilograms (dividing 180 by 2.2). Now, we take 81.8 kg and multiply it by 0.8, giving us a total of 65.4 grams. Again, that recommended intake will vary from person to person, depending on factors such as exercise and health goals; life events like pregnancy, physical stress levels, and high-intensity training can also have an impact on just how much protein is needed each day.
See more about – 15 Tasty Fruits That Are Also Super Healthy
According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, most people are eating more protein than their body actually requires – especially if we’re basing consumption off of the recommended intake based on body weight (0.8g/kg). However, this is not the case for teenage women and older women. Figures tend to show us that protein consumption typically decreases as we age, although this is when protein is even more necessary in the diet in order to prevent sarcopenia; this is essentially a decrease in overall muscle mass, which can lead to injuries and an overall decline in functionality.
The same study referenced above by the American Journal of Nutrition also refers to protein intake in terms of AMDR, or the Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Range. The AMDR also recommends 10-35% of daily caloric intake for protein, and this research study recommends that increasing protein intake – especially for those who are obese or are trying to manage bodyweight appropriately – to anywhere from 25-30% of caloric intake. In general, most of the American population isn’t going to top a 35% daily caloric intake of protein, unless they are doing ultra-endurance events.
What if you do end up eating too much protein though, based on your weight and activity level? An excessive amount can be harmful, yes – kidney stones are prominent in diets high in protein, and saturated fat might need to be taken into consideration with the consumption of protein intake that comes from red meat on a daily basis. With all that being said, it can be hard to narrow down just how much protein is too much for someone, especially since it will vary from person to person and be dependent on several factors.
Typically, we wouldn’t want to see protein ranges over 2 grams per kilogram of bodyweight – so if you do your math and know you’re consuming that much, it might be time to take another look at your physical goals as well as fitness goals and see if your needs require that much protein.
It can be hard to cut down on protein consumption if your daily intakes are too high; thus, it can also be challenging to add protein into your diet if you’re typically getting your caloric intake more from carbs and fats rather than protein. In general, you want to aim for lean sources of meat for protein, as well as low-fat dairy products, nuts, lentils, and fish, and complement these protein sources with nutrient-dense carbohydrates and healthy fats.
If you’re still struggling to determine appropriate protein levels that suit your physical and exercise goals, speak with a local fitness specialist, nutritionist, or personal trainer in order to get macronutrient levels that will work for you!
See more about – Everything You Need to Know About the Ketogenic Diet
The post How Much Protein Is Too Much? appeared first on Next Luxury.
Credit: Source link