In terms of healthy macronutrients, fats and carbohydrates have their share of haters, but protein is always gaining acceptance. It’s easy to see why: Protein is an essential nutrient for strong bones, muscles, skin, and just about every other part of the body, and it’s responsible for thousands of different chemical reactions to ensure your body functions at its best. But that doesn’t mean that more is always better.
People often adopt high-protein diets to help them lose weight or get toned, but research shows it’s probably best to follow the current recommendation of consuming 10 to 35 percent of your daily calories from protein.
An analysis of 32 protein-related studies found that consuming more protein than recommended has no benefit. Here are some of the main warning signs for whether you may be eating too much protein in your day.
6. You Always Have to Pee
If you think you always have to urinate, it may be due to excessive protein consumption. Our kidneys can only process a certain amount of protein at a time, so the excess begins to accumulate.
Protein buildup in the kidneys creates a much more acidic environment in the kidneys, causing you to have to urinate all the time. Increased acid production can also cause bone and liver problems.
5. You’re in a Funk
A high-protein diet may have helped you tone up for the summer or get closer to your weight goal, but could it also be contributing to your bad mood? Maybe. Especially if your protein to carbohydrate ratio is grossly wrong.
Carbohydrates run the show in your brain, telling you what to do and how to do it. Carbohydrates are specifically responsible for the release of serotonin, the body’s “wellness” hormone.
A study by the American Medical Association on the psychological effects of low-fat and low-carbohydrate diets found that people who followed a high-protein, high-fat, and low-carbohydrate diet for a year experienced more anxiety, depression, and other negative effects feelings than those on a low-fat, high-carbohydrate, moderate-protein diet.
4. You’re Constipated
High-protein diets are often low in fiber, especially when your main protein sources are animal products, which can wreak havoc on your digestive system. Fiber helps move everything through the intestines and can only be found in plant foods.
Simply mixing your protein intake with foods that provide fiber and protein, like whole grains, beans, or tempeh, can make a huge impact.
Also, try increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables for many more health benefits than just eating regularly.
Think about protecting your body from chronic disease and weight gain, and keeping your gut healthy, just to name a few.
3. Your Weight Is Creeping Back Up
High-protein diets are often praised for helping people reduce the size of a dress or two in just a week, but the long-term effects are not as desirable.
Following a high protein diet generally means eating fewer carbohydrates, which is not sustainable for most of us in the long run.
This can lead to food cravings and less energy to start your morning workout, and it can put you back on the weight you’ve worked so hard to lose.
2. You’re Tired All the Time
Even if you get the coveted eight hours of sleep each night, eating too much protein can cause your body to the tire for a number of reasons.
First of all, we now know that binge drinking can overwhelm the kidneys, liver, and bones, causing them to work overtime.
Also, eating too few carbohydrates can really affect our brain, keeping us from being alert, focused, and energized every day.
Since carbohydrates are your brain’s main source of energy, you probably want to increase your intake of healthy foods, such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, to get back to your best level.
Not only can this help you get your energy back, but you will also get more vitamins, minerals, and fiber than your body needs to be healthy and happy overall.
1. You Have Bad Breath
If you or someone you know has tried the ketone diet, they probably use the term “keto breath.” This happens when you focus more on consuming protein and fat rather than healthy carbohydrates – your body needs to adapt and produce horrible-smelling ketones, like acetone (yes, the nail polish remover ingredient!).
Trying to find a more balanced approach to macronutrient intake will help your body get back to working with carbs and catch your breath.
Simply swapping out multiple sources of animal protein for plant versions, like whole grains and beans, each week will keep your protein intake at the maximum limit of your daily needs, while increasing your intake of healthy carbohydrates.