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When Eating Too Much Protein Affect Your Health

Protein, the building block of life, is good for you, right? But can it ever be trouble? Certainly, if you have damaged kidneys, otherwise moderate dietary intake of protein is fine. Even then, if you’re aiming to up how much protein you’re eating, do so gradually, as a sudden jump may not be the best thing for your body, though there isn’t much research on the topic. When eating lots of protein, experts do recommend drinking more water, and though this may (or may not) have a biological basis, it’s still a good practice.

So how much protein is too much? A good rule of thumb is try not to go over one gram of protein per pound of body weight. So a 185-pound person would want to take in under 185 grams of protein a day to stay healthy. Too much protein can cause dehydration and damage to kidneys. The best sources of protein have all the essential amino acids in the right amounts.

In general, animal proteins are considered better than plant proteins.

Protein is all-important these days, mostly because of research that’s found it keeps you feeling fuller, longer and therefore helps you lose weight. If you look at your grocery store shelves, you’ll see many products that call out protein on the label – granola bars, cereals, almond milk and juices are some of the items that typically advertise that they’re sources of protein.

Research that examined active male athletes and measured the urinary creatinine, albumin and urea found there were no significant changes in dosages of 1.25-2.80/kg bodyweight. The same lack of association has also been shown for postmenopausal women. Keep in mind these are healthy subjects.

When it comes to the kidneys and protein, there are functional changes in these organs related to your intake of this nutrient. Restricted protein diets are the norm for those who know they have kidney damage. This makes sense, as protein is known to be involved with renal function, and if not controlled for by diet could possibly accelerate (or not reduce) the loss of kidney function.

If you have kidney damage, check with your doctor on protein intake.

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When Eating Too Much Protein Affect Your Health Continued…

The latest research appears to point to a “too much, too soon” situation as slower, more controlled changes don’t bring any adverse changes to the kidneys. Take home? Change your protein intake over a moderate length of time, not abruptly, for the best results.

And while normal dietary amounts of protein are also okay for the liver, there’s evidence that high protein refeeding after prolonged (over 48 hours) of fasting might cause injury to the liver. The current treatment standards for hepatic disease call for a reduction in protein intake. This is due to the chance of ammonia build up in the blood that could contribute to encephalopathy.

At least some work with animals suggests that the damage can become evident when going through periods of sufficient protein intake and then protein malnutrition. The evidence is still preliminary and more work will need to be done.

There is also no relation between protein intake and risk of bone fractures, which is a sign of bone problems. For postmenopausal women, soy protein seems to have a protective affect on bone mass, perhaps due to the isoflavones content.

To your good health,