What is in this article?:
- Can you get too much protein in your diet?
- Too much protein
What is protein and are you getting too much in your diet? One food scientist weighs in, plus explores some of the health issues associated with too much protein.
Too much protein
Western dietary and culinary modes have an unhealthy fixation on protein. In fact, some studies suggest that the large amounts of animal protein Americans typically ingest are tied to the higher incidence of inflammatory conditions and some diseases. A 1997 report by the World Cancer Research Fund and American Institute for Cancer Research noted that animal-sourced, high-protein diets were linked with increased incidence of some types of cancer. Current research and epidemiology support these assertions.
When people eat too much protein, they take in more nitrogen than they need. This places a strain on the kidneys, which must filter out the extra nitrogen from our blood, excess amounts of which can lead to kidney disease. Diets rich in animal protein cause more calcium loss than normal and increase the risk of osteoporosis, while osteoporosis and hip fracture rates are significantly lower in countries with lower-protein diets.
Keep It green, keep It lean
There are studies on both sides of the protein issue, but the current RDI [Reference Daily Intake] for the amount of protein required by the “average” adult is about 50 grams, but can change based on metabolism, exercise, or if you are pregnant or nursing. More specifically, the standard RDA [Recommended Daily Allowance] is around .8 g/kilogram or .36 grams per pound of body weight. If you are an endurance athlete or are trying to build muscle via anaerobic exercise, your requirements will be slightly higher; but even if you’re going trail running with Artemis or lifting with Atlas, seeds, legumes and green vegetables are some of nature’s best in terms of protein density per calorie. The humble broccoli contains upward of 11 grams of protein per 100 calories compared to ~6–8 grams of protein per 100 calories of steak (1.2 ounces). Eating fewer calories and getting twice the protein plus plenty of fiber, vitamins, minerals and other phytonutrients translates to eating smarter. Now that’s what we call thinking green
About Michael Singer
Michael Singer is the food scientist for Sakara Life Organic Meal Delivery, a weight-loss and healthy-living program based on a whole-food, plant-rich diet that includes fresh, nutrient-dense and delicious ingredients, delivered to all of New York City, with love.