Every wellbeing expert would agree that protein is vital to maintaining a healthy, strong, energetic body, but finding consensus on how much protein we need each day isn’t quite as simple.
To help you wade through oodles of information out there, we’re going to break down just how much protein you need, and what happens when you get too much or too little of the good stuff.
Not Enough Protein
Due to the vital role proteins play in our bodies, protein deficiencies can have devastating effects. If you’re eating a diet high in processed or carb-heavy foods, you may not be getting enough protein to maintain your body.
Mind Body Green shares some common symptoms of protein deficiency:
- Brain fog
- Getting sick regularly
- Fluid retention
- Hair, skin, and nail troubles
- Slow recovery from injuries
Being able to support the natural processes of your body is one of the most important reasons to ensure you’re meeting your goal of getting the recommended amount of protein each day. But where protein is concerned, it is also possible to have too much of a good thing.
Too Much Protein
While the focus of our attention in the past few years has been on drastically upping our protein intake and there are repercussions from being chronically protein deficient, many health professionals are concerned that we’re actually eating too much protein – especially from animal sources.
The Guardian reports that some studies indicate eating vast quantities of protein can cause significant health issues, “a recently published study by researchers at the University of Eastern Finland, who tracked 2,400 middle-aged men over the course of 22 years, reported that a high-protein diet resulted in a 49% greater risk of heart failure. Many large, long-term population studies have also found that people who consume large amounts of protein, especially in the form of red and processed meat, are more likely to be obese or develop type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and colon cancer.”
Clearly, when it comes to protein, more isn’t always better.
The Perfect Formula
So how do you walk the line between getting too much protein and not enough? You can calculate your approximate protein requirements based on the following formula used by most registered dieticians, nutritionists, and national nutritional guides:
0.8 grams of protein per kilogram (or 0.36 grams of protein per pound) of body weight per day.
Using this formula, a 150lb woman would require 54 grams of protein each day, while a man who weights 86kg would require 69 grams.
Fitness apps like MyFitnessPal or apps that track macros can help you identify how much protein you’re currently eating, and help you stay on track to meet your goals. Work with this number as a rough guideline for a few weeks to ensure you’re meeting your daily protein recommendations and see how you feel!
The body is built to crave balance – physical, emotional, and spiritual. Swinging wildly to either extreme and having too much or too little of anything can create a host of problems down the road. Protein is no different. It’s a vital ingredient to a healthy life and it’s essential to get enough of it. But overloading your body with too much protein (especially to the exclusion of other food groups) can be really tough on your body.
Seek balance, assess your own needs, and stick to your goal of meeting the daily recommendations for protein intake. Your body will thank you!