Having adequate protein is important, but can you have too much protein? How much is sensible and healthy? You need protein to maintain your muscle tissues. Protein is made of amino acids and digests back to its basic amino acid. Those are necessary for the creation of enzymes, act with the hormonal system, build connective tissue, provide energy and boost the immune system. The amino acids also help balance the fluid in your body, build tissue throughout the body and are important to the immune system. A number of factors go into that decision on how much protein you require.
Your sex and your level of activity help determine the amount of protein you need.
The factors that determine the amount of protein necessary include body weight, sex and how active you are. If you’re working out with weights and trying to build muscle tissue, you’ll need more protein. Of course, the more you weigh, the more protein you’ll need, so the amount is based on percentages of daily intake. Women need more protein, since they have less muscle mass. The required daily amount is approximately 10% of your total caloric intake, but most people in America eat approximately 16%. Seniors need more to help preserve muscle mass, since they don’t process protein as well.
New diets are based on eating more protein.
The three macronutrients in a diet are carbohydrates, fat and protein. The traditional view of consumption is to allocate 10 to 35% of those calories to protein, with 45 to 65% going to carbohydrates and 20 to 35% to fat. Increasing the protein can actually improve your chances of losing weight. For the average person the DRI—the Dietary Reference Intake—is to consume 0.36 grams of protein per pound of body weight.
You can harm your body by consuming far more protein than you need.
Some of the problem comes from the food you don’t eat if you include too much protein in your diet. You’re more apt to cut out healthy carbohydrates, which often provide fiber. Less fiber leads to constipation, an increased risk for heart disease and for some, chronic illness. Too much protein can affect your kidneys, while increasing the risk of causing liver dysfunction, bone disorders, cancer and artery disease.
- There are many experts now leaning toward the intake of more protein, especially if you’re trying to lose weight. It digests slower, so you eat less and it takes a lot of calories to digest it.
- If you eat too much protein over a long time, it could be unhealthy. However, too much protein is 0.9 grams per pound of body weight. A 16-oz rib-eye steak has 7 grams of protein, so 130 pound person would have to eat over 16 steaks every day to achieve that amount.
- Ensuring you get high quality protein is important. High quality protein can come from beans, salmon and yogurt. It’s far better than getting all your protein from red meat.
- Eating a diet higher in protein can boost your metabolism. It also can help stabilize your blood sugar if you’re eating a sugary treat.
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