Proteins are vital for a human being. It is made of amino acids that are known as the building blocks of life. A lot of people sometimes exceed their protein intake because they are trying to lose weight or build muscle. On the other extreme, even low levels of protein can cause health issues as well.
What Happens If You Are Overeating Protein
1. Weight Gain
If your diet revolves mainly around protein and you are eating unhealthy levels of it, it’s going to show up on the weighing scale. When you consume protein, the body converts it into energy and excess amounts gets stored as fat.
2. Calcium Loss
When you eat excess amounts of protein, your body releases more calcium into the urine. Regular loss of calcium can eventually cause weak bones and osteoporosis later in life. To compensate this loss, you would need to increase calcium intake in your diet.
3. Increases Kidney Issues
A high-protein diet can worsen your kidney if you already have kidney related problems. Excess protein sends your body into an overdrive mood to get rid of the extra nitrogen released from protein metabolism. This causes a lot of stress on your kidney and eventually leads to damage.
4. Risk Of Liver Issues
Some studies claim eating too much protein can cause severe liver damage. Just like how it affects your kidney, excess protein in your diet can cause your liver to work overtime. The liver takes a lot more effort to remove toxins released from protein metabolism. If the liver is unable to maintain a balance, it could cause your body to become overly acidic.
5. Nutritional Deficiencies
People who follow high-protein diets tend to have deficiencies in other nutrients. They restrict themselves from carbs and don’t include various types of nutritious foods in their diet.
It takes a lot of water to breakdown unhealthy amounts of protein. If you are following a high-protein diet, your body can get dehydrated, especially if you aren’t drinking enough water to match up with your protein content.
7. Digestive Problems
With a lot of protein in your diet, it could take a toll on your digestive health. More protein, especially from meat sources, offer no dietary fiber. This makes you feel constipated, bloated, and generally uncomfortable.
What Happens If You Aren’t Eating Enough Protein
1. Muscle Weakness
Your muscles need protein. One of the first indicators that you are low on protein are muscle cramps and weakness. Protein is a building material for your muscles. If your skin goes flabby where your muscles used to be, it could be a sign of protein deficiency. This eventually leads to bone and joint pain as well.
2. Skin Rash
Just like your muscle, the skin relies on protein as a building material. If you aren’t eating enough protein, you could develop a skin rash, sometimes followed by skin peeling and flaking. That’s not all. You could be more prone to sun damaged skin as well.
3. Hair Loss
Your hair is made primarily of keratin, a type of protein. If you aren’t eating enough protein, your body reacts by restricting the amount of protein that is needed for your hair. This results in thin hair and a lot of hair loss.
4. Lower Immunity
Low amino acids can make you more prone to infections. Because protein is required for your body to build antibodies to fight infections. Also, healing and rebuilding cells takes a lot more time if you have a protein deficiency.
5. Mood Swings
Protein plays a very important in your mood. It is required for neurotransmitters that primarily control your mood. If you are low on protein, it cannot help stimulate hormones serotonin and dopamine, which is responsible for you to feel calm and relaxed. As a result, it causes irritation and mood swings.
6. Lesser Risk Of Developing Cancer
While low protein levels come with a lot of harmful health issues, some studies indicate it could reduce the risk of developing cancer.1When you aren’t getting sufficient amounts of protein, you reduce the growth of certain hormones that feed cancer development.
It is important to eat healthy amounts of protein for maximum health benefits. Make sure to restrict saturated fats and stick to healthy sources of protein. Experts suggest a mix of plant-based and animal-based protein. For vegetarians, eat plenty of leafy greens, beans, legumes, and nuts.
|↑1||Levine, Morgan E., Jorge A. Suarez, Sebastian Brandhorst, Priya Balasubramanian, Chia-Wei Cheng, Federica Madia, Luigi Fontana et al. “Low protein intake is associated with a major reduction in IGF-1, cancer, and overall mortality in the 65 and younger but not older population.” Cell metabolism 19, no. 3 (2014): 407-417.|