Can You Eat Too Much Protein?

by Danny Cullen

According to recent studies, it looks like some of us might be eating too much protein. Considering its revered status amongst fitness enthusiasts, it’s tough not to ask how it’s possible to over indulge. 

The organic compound obviously plays an important and powerful role in our bodies. It’s responsible for the growth and maintenance of muscle, skin, nails, bone and even hormones and enzymes. You quite literally cannot live a healthy life without protein.

But with the explosion of the protein powder industry (and the positive marketing that has accompanied it), fears amongst the scientific community are growing.

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“No one can tell you the long term effects, and that’s what worries me,” said Dr. John E. Swartzberg, chairman of the editorial board of the University California-Berkley Wellness Letter in an interview with the New York Times. “It’s an experiment.”

The main concern that health professionals share is over-consumption. The recommended amount of protein per day—45 grams for women, 55 for men—can be accomplished rather easily. The anxieties arise when men consume twice that. According to a 2015 analysis of National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, many American men are consuming 100 grams of protein a day on average. 

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The problem is that there’s only so much protein your body can use. Jim White, a registered dietitian and exercise physiologist, speaking to the New York Times had this to say: “The body only digests and absorbs a certain amount of protein at every meal.” That number is about 20 to 40 grams.  Consuming more than that can shortchange your body of other important macronutrients.” Considering your body can only use a certain amount, overindulgence in protein not only seems wasteful, but potentially dangerous.

Keeping in mind the murky waters of supplements, try balancing your protein intake with nutrients from some of these favorite Z Living recipes: 

Poached Black Drum Fish
This poached black drum fish from Family Style with Chef Jeff is a good post-workout meal. The fish offers an appropriate level of protein, while the Swiss chard is high in antioxidants and fiber. Adding a beet salad brings several nutrients and potassium. 

Mango-Habanero Ceviche
Take note of Z Living’s The Posh Pescatarian’s ceviche with avocado recipe. Host Stephanie Harris gets her protein with triggerfish, while the nutrients in mangos help with weight loss. 

Vegan Sushi
This creative take on the Pacific favorite combines nutritious ingredients like kimchi, asparagus, avocado, and nori into a tasty wrap with rice. Learn how to make it with Z Living’s Good Food America! 

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