Protein is a critical part of our diet, we need it for energy, building and repairing muscle, processing nutrients, and boosting immunity.
Protein is made up of amino acids which are the building blocks of body tissues, including muscles, blood vessels, hair, skin, and nails.
Animal protein sources, such as meat, fish, milk, and eggs, contain all nine essential amino acids, while most plant-based protein sources don't have the full complement of amino acids in the exact right amounts (soybeans being an exception).
If you spend a lot of time in the gym, protein should be especially important for you, because it not only builds muscle, but it also repairs and maintains muscle.
There are many elements to take into consideration when determining how much protein you need on a daily basis. The Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) of protein for adult men and women is around 50 to 62 grams per day, and it will prevent any protein deficiencies.
But what happens when you go overboard? Here are three signs your diet might be too heavy-handed on the protein.
You’re gaining weight
A high-protein diet can help you lose extra pounds in the short term, but if you consume a lot of egg whites and whey protein without cutting off other food intake, you’re going to gain the weight instead of losing it.
If you’re not careful about your complete diet, eating more protein than you should, can also put you at increased risk for metabolic disease. Make smart adjustments to your diet as a whole and make a plan to consume lean protein alongside quality carbs and healthy fats.
You’re getting dehydrated
Hydration is essential when you increase your protein consumption. With an excessive protein intake, you need to find a balance and increase your fluid intake also.
Make sure you drink enough water so that you’re never thirsty and also avoid salty and caffeinated foods that dehydrate you.
You get constipated
Protein is great for packing on muscle, but it delivers precisely none of the fiber that your digestive tract needs to stay regular. Sometimes, the lack of fiber combined with dehydration is the perfect recipe for constipation.
If you’re feeling constipated or bloated, you should check your protein intake and increase your fluid intake. You should also increase your grain consumption until the symptoms subside.
You have bad breath
When you cut your carbs to the minimum (which you're likely doing with consuming a super-high-protein diet), your body enters a state called ketosis, where it starts to burn fat for fuel instead of the usual carbohydrates.
This is great for weight loss, but as far as your breath is concerned, the chemicals called ketones that can leave your mouth smelling rather bad. This isn’t something you can fix with brushing, flossing, or rinsing, since the smell is coming from inside you.
You start having kidney problems
Whenever your body needs to digest protein, your kidneys are the ones who do the crucial job of filtering the waste products. This puts a greater strain on your kidneys and can lead to kidney damage, especially among people with early stages of kidney disease.
Your performance decreases
When you increase your protein intake, your consumption of carbs and fats often decreases and both your training intensity and performance suffer. You need to divide your protein consumption between your meals and snacks and make sure you get all the energy-boosting carbs and healthy fats in moderation.
Your mood changes
Having a crappy mood? It’s not you, it’s protein. Your brain needs carbs in all their sugary, starchy glory to stimulate the production of the mood-regulating hormone serotonin. Not having them in your diet, you're more likely to feel grouchy and irritable.
If you notice any of these signs, your protein, carbohydrates and fat balance may be out of sync. We recommend checking and making the dietary adjustments needed to make sure you don’t consume too much protein.