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Healthy Eating

Here you will find tons of information about healthy eating and incorporating the principles of healthy nutrition into your daily life. Built around Dr. Cederquist’s nutritional foundation for healthy weight loss, these articles place a wealth of information right at your fingertips.

What Happens When You Have Too Much Protein in Your Diet?

"Protein, protein, protein!" You may have heard this recommendation when starting your weight loss journey. And though protein plays an imperative role to health, can you have too much protein? bistroMD shares the meaty truth!

What Happens When You Have Too Much Protein in Your Diet?

Protein Basics and General Recommendations

Protein is one the three core macronutrients, the remaining two being carbohydrate and fat. The body requires all three to keep it running smoothly and efficiently, day in and day out. But primarily focused on protein, it builds and repairs the body's tissues - bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and even the blood. It further is utilized to create body chemicals to facilitate imperative processes, largely in the forms of enzymes and hormones. A high-protein diet has been suggested to initiate weight loss while reducing fat mass and promoting lean, muscle mass. In fact, evidence has shown high-protein diets can induce great fat loss.

General protein guidelines indicate 0.8 grams (g) of protein per kilogram (kg) of body weight (1 kilo equals 2.2 pounds). So for a 160-pound female, this would equate to approximately 58 grams of protein each day. Factors also play a large part in protein needs, including age, gender, and activity level. All factors aside, common recommendations suggest a minimum intake of 56 grams for men and 46 grams for women (71 grams if pregnant or breastfeeding) per day. But in addition to the slightest amount, is too much protein bad? In a healthy individual, experts suggest a maximum intake is topped at 2.5 g/kg of body weight. Health conditions, including kidney and liver disease, and calcium status further have implications on protein intake recommendations.

Can You Have Too Much Protein?

Although the body cannot suffice without it, you can actually and absolutely have too much protein. When protein sources are primarily the only foods filling the diet, your body is missing out on valuable nutrients provided by carbohydrate and fat sources, including fiber, antioxidants, and fatty acids. Especially if consuming high amounts of steak and pork, you are not only consuming protein, but large amounts of saturated fat. Lack of nutrients paired with increased saturated fat raises the risk for heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and several cancer types.

Too much protein can also add strain to body organs, mainly to the kidneys. Especially in the long-run, a high-protein diet may cause kidney damage. The kidneys are responsible to filter out and excrete byproducts, particularly nitrogen from protein sources. If too much protein is consumed, the kidneys may not be able to keep up with the demand, subsequently causing nitrogen buildup and damaging the kidneys overtime. In addition to kidney damage, liver function may also be compromised following a long-term, high-protein diet.

And although research suggests a high-protein diet effectively fosters great weight loss, studies indicate their use for short-term. Exceeding a high-protein diet following a six-month span has shown to lose its effectiveness, largely related to the individual's adherence to the diet. Additionally, high-protein diets may even promote weight gain. If any food is consumed in excess and "calories in" surpasses "calories out," the body mostly holds onto the excess energy, converts it into fat, and stores it.

BistroMD's Proven Program

Instead of feeding into extreme high-protein claims and diets, let bistroMD help! bistroMD is based on proven science, providing you the fuel it needs to lose weight effectively and safely. All daily meals provide 1,100 to 1,400 calories with 40 to 50 percent total caloric intake from lean, adequate protein, 20 to 25 percent of calories from healthy fats, and 30 to 35 percent from complex carbohydrates. When protein is ample yet balanced, the meal plate has further room to invite valuable nutrients from additional food groups. The safe, proven protein supply assists not only in weight loss, but discourages the harmful consequences that generally come from a high-protein diet.

But bistroMD balances each plate not only with nutrients, but vegetarian selections and extensive flavor varieties, including grilled salmon with creamy pesto, pork tenderloin with mushroom masala, eggplant lasagna casserole, tilapia with smoky tomato sauce, four cheese ravioli, hickory smoked BBQ beef with Yukon gold potatoes, chicken a la king, and well, you get the picture! Adhering to these meals, unlike during most high-protein diets, will feel natural and effortless. Ultimately, your taste buds and nourished body will thank you! Find more on the scientifically-proven program at the official bistroMD page, also offering gender and health-specific program options!

Sydney Lappe's Photo
Written By Sydney Lappe, MS, RDN. Published on December 15, 2016. Updated on September 14, 2019.


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