What Happens When You Consume TOO MUCH Protein?

Fats and carbs are unpopular macronutrients, while protein is the darling of dieters and the food industry. That’s why you’ll see many packaged foods boasting their protein content. A big debate over the years relates to protein consumption – is there an upper limit after which protein becomes detrimental to the human body?

The evidence is inconclusive. However, after a certain level of consumption protein will no longer be beneficial for weight loss or increased muscle mass.

One study showed that consuming over 5 times (4.4 g/kg of body weight per day) the recommended daily allowance has no effect on the body. Muscle mass did not increase (sorry body builders), nor was there any effect on fat mass, free fat mass, or percent body fat.

Several studies have shown that excess protein intake may cause renal stress, kidney stones, and some forms of cancer. However, there are questions regarding their design and the validity of their results.

To help you understand how much protein you need, refer to the chart below. The DRI or the Dietary Reference Intake is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight (Take your weight in pounds and divide by 2.2 to get kilograms). At the very least you should be getting this amount of protein to function.

If you are an endurance athlete, you may want to up your intake to approximately 1.2 g/kg of body weight. Body builders can go up to 1.7 g/kg. This is barely twice the DRI.

Weight 130 lbs 150 lbs 170 lbs 200 lbs
Inactive 47 grams 54 grams 61 grams 73 grams
Endurance 70 – 82 grams 81 – 95 grams 92 – 108 grams 109 – 127 grams
Strength and power athletes 70 – 100 grams 81 – 115 grams 92 – 131 grams 109 – 154 grams

Most Americans have no problem at all reaching their daily protein goals, simply because there are so many protein rich foods in our diet. Try to focus on getting your protein from whole foods instead of powdered supplements.

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