So many people are today are worried about getting enough protein in their diets, but the truth is that many people, especially Americans, eat too much protein. Learn why overloading on protein can be harmful to your health and how much you should really aim for each day.
1. Too Much Protein Can Cause Kidney Disease and Other Health Problems That Stem from Kidney Strain
Eating too much protein puts a lot of stress on many internal organs, but especially your kidneys. This is because your kidneys are responsible for removing not only nitrogen that is contained in all protein, but also the the urea that is created during protein metabolism from your body. While your kidneys are dealing with this overload, they may not be able to perform their many other important duties as well as they would otherwise.
Just one of these jobs is removing other other toxins in your body, including pesticide residue, medications, and virtually every other toxic substance that enters your body. When your kidneys are forced to put this job on the back-burner as it handles the nitrogen and urea overload, it can create lead to health problems you may not even realize are related to your kidneys.
Along with forcing your kidneys to work harder, eating too much protein can even cause your kidneys to enlarge, similar to how the heart enlarges in sufferers of congestive heart failure and the liver enlarges in liver disease. This can quickly lead to kidney disease and even kidney failure.
2. Too Much Protein Called “as Bad as Cigarette Smoking” by Health Researchers
If the potential kidney damage is not enough to convince you to lower your protein intake if it is high, then the fact that medical studies reveal that too much protein is just as dangerous as smoking cigarettes may. Everyone today knows that cigarette smoking is one of the best ways to end up in a graveyard sooner than they would like to, and researchers discovered that people of middle age (meaning everyone other than children and the elderly) are more likely to develop cancer, diabetes, and die early for unknown reasons when they eat a high-protein diet.
If you think the people who at too much protein must have been body-builders or people on low-carb diets, it may surprise you that the study found that anyone eating just 20 percent of their calorie intake or more from protein were susceptible to these detrimental health effects. Not surprisingly, they found that if the protein came from meat and animal-based products, it increased the health hazards more than plant protein did.
How Much Protein Should You Eat?
Since the above study linked eating 20 percent of your calorie intake as protein to the detrimental side effects, then limiting your protein intake to 10 to 15 percent of your daily calorie intake would be wise. If you feel like you can’t go this low immediately, then begin replacing the meat or other high-protein items in your diet gradually (but don’t take too long!).