There is a big question among gym goers as to whether too much protein is bad for a healthy diet and nutrition. The answer for athletes, fighters, and bodybuilders may be different from the answer for more sedentary folks and those who are not training for a competition. Protein consumption draws a variety of responses among the experts, including doctors, nutritionists and personal trainers. Here are the main schools of thought.
Too Much Protein Is Bad
Doctors and nutritionists are usually in the camp that says you should eat only a small amount of protein per day. The usual recommendation is somewhere around 0.36g of protein per pound of body weight. That would mean that a 200 lb. man would need to keep his protein to around 72g per day. That equates to about three 3-ounce chicken breasts. Although you would probably have a variety of protein sources, this gives a picture of the amount.
These experts say that if you eat too much protein, you will damage your liver and your kidneys. They even suggest that you will suffer liver failure and other dire consequences if you eat too much protein. They also say that if you supply your body with massive amounts of protein, your body will not be able to absorb all of it.
It Is Possible to Eat Large Amounts of Protein Safely
Many fighters, bodybuilders, and athletes use high protein diets and shakes to improve their muscles recovery and performance. It is very common for these athletes to take in as much as 300g of protein or more per day. They set a goal of how much protein they want to include as part of their diet and nutrition, and then they construct their meals to contain that amount.
Fighters, bodybuilders and athletes report few if any side effects to eating these large amounts of protein. They do say that they need to drink more water to stay healthy than they would otherwise. Many also say that the body needs to get used to larger amounts of protein, so it should be increased gradually at first.
However, people who are sold on diets containing high levels of protein note several advantages. The added protein helps them to keep their muscles in good repair even though the workouts, fights, and competitions they are involved in can be a strain on the muscles. When carbs are kept low, the protein works as a second source of energy (not great for athletic performance, but good for bodybuilding), and one that is less likely to cause fat gain. While training for a particular bodybuilding competition using high protein diets, bodybuilders tend to see their muscles getting harder and more defined.
High protein diets may not be for everyone, but they have their place in muscle building. That is not to say there might not be some upper limit of protein that would finally be bad for you, but it is unlikely that people would eat that much when training. The key to success in this area of diet and nutrition, as always, is to study, learn, and pay attention to the needs of your own body.
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