Don't Risk Your Health Overloading on Protein
By Bryony Crane, RD, CDE – Registered Dietitian, Virtua Nutrition
Protein is in many of the whole foods you already eat. But, it’s also available on grocery store shelves in everything from bars and shakes to powdered supplements.
News headlines would lead you to believe that loading your diet with protein offers nothing but health benefits.
But the reality is that protein overload could be harming your health.
Most people have a diet that adequately fills the protein requirements without the need for added supplementation. While it’s typically associated with meat, protein is also found in poultry, fish, nuts and seeds, beans and legumes, grains, some dairy products and vegetables. The amount of protein in each varies but, over the course of a day, it certainly adds up.
How much protein is too much?
To get the ideal amount of protein, the average 180-pound man should aim for 65 grams per day, while a 150-pound adult woman should get about 55 grams. For context, a 1-ounce portion of meat contains roughly 7 grams of protein.
Certainly, there are times to boost protein intake to help meet fitness goals. It’s crucial for wound healing or following bariatric surgery. However, most diets, even well-planned vegetarian or vegan diets, don’t require protein supplementation.
The fact is—you can, indeed, consume too much protein.
Overloading on protein, especially meats, can result in the following:
- Kidney strain and even kidney stones
- Increased bad cholesterol and heart disease risk
- Deficiencies in nutrients you get from other food groups like fruits and vegetables
- Weight gain
A registered dietitian can help you create a healthy diet that’s tailored to your nutritional needs and that also helps you meet your fitness goal – whether it’s building lean muscle and strength or trying to be fit and healthy.
Updated April 5, 2018