There’s a big push in the fitness world to amp up on on as much protein as you can. With fitness athletes, supplement companies, and even some personal trainers urging you to intake loads of protein to achieve your goals. However, The American Dietetic Association provides warnings that maybe too much protein isn’t the best idea.
Protein is used for a number of tasks, including, but not limited to contracting muscles, making enzymes, and regulating bodily functions. The minimum Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) given by the Institute of Medicine, is about 56 grams for adult men, and 46 grams for adult women. For Adults, the Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Range (AMDR) for protein is within 10 to 35% of your total daily caloric intake with the other calories coming from both carbohydrates and fats. Protein is an important macronutrient because it is essential to the growth and repair of every cell, and an adequate supply is needed throughout your life. What is concerning is that there is some added pressure being placed on some people to supplement their workouts with loads more protein than they might need. Staying within the AMDR is strongly recommended, but is going past the upper limit really too much?
Unfortunately, more protein doesn’t necessarily equal more gains, more training does. When we stock up on extra protein our body turns the excess protein into fat. You may think, “well I can always burn off that fat later, but at least I have enough protein to build muscle quicker.” However, your body doesn’t work like that. Your body only uses the amount of protein it needs, but when the excess turns into fat the result may not be too appealing. There is already a space for fats and if protein starts to add to that pile you may end up with even more fat than you intended.
In addition, protein isn’t an excellent source of energy. Relying on protein as your source for energy may disrupt your strength gains by not giving you the adequate amount of fuel to train more efficiently. If you have tasks that require more energy than you should opt for using carbohydrates as your main source of energy because they are the main fuel for your body. Too much protein may actually lead to dehydration, metabolic imbalance, toxicity, nervous system disorders, or kidney problems.
So what about athletes? Don’t they need more protein than the average adult? Sure, but the difference is slight and not overblown like some protein supplement companies would like you to think. Usually, athletes don’t need to put an extra emphasis on getting enough protein because they eat more and tend to make up the slight difference in protein requirements with those extra calories. Even elite athletes need to stay within the AMDR to supply their bodies with adequate enough energy to perform the most efficiently throughout their careers.
Tip: Instead of overdosing on protein, try staying within the AMDR for proteins, carbohydrates, and fats as consistently as you can!
Points to remember
- Get adequate protein but skip the excess
- Rely on Carbohydrates as your main source of energy
- Practice regular exercise to promote muscle building (strength training, plyometrics, yoga, etc…)
If your worried you aren’t getting enough protein or you’re getting too much, go to ChooseMyPlate.gov to educate yourself on common protein sources, and consult with a physician on possible steps you can take.
Also, be sure to pick up the “American Dietetic Association’s Complete Food & Nutrition Guide” for more info!
Thanks for reading!
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