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    When it comes to protein, how much is too much?

    You've probably heard the claims by now: Here's a diet that's delicious, easy to stick with, and guaranteed to help you lose weight effortlessly. Or, perhaps it's supposed to build muscle, protect your joints or prevent Alzheimer's. Whatever the diet and whatever the claim, there's a good chance that it ...

    When it comes to protein, how much is too much?

    March 30, 2020

    You've probably heard the claims by now: Here's a diet that's delicious, easy to stick with, and guaranteed to help you lose weight effortlessly. Or, perhaps it's supposed to build muscle, protect your joints or prevent Alzheimer's. Whatever the diet and whatever the claim, there's a good chance that it is, indeed, too good to be true.

    In recent years, high protein diets are among the most popular, whether the protein is consumed as a supplement (protein shakes for body builders!) or simply a larger than usual portion of a balanced diet (such as The Zone, Atkins or Paleo Diets).

    Perhaps you're curious about one of these diets or have already tried them— did you ever wonder whether too much protein might be a problem?

    How much protein do you need?

    Protein is essential for life – it's a building block of every human cell and is involved in the vital biochemical functions of the human body. It's particularly important in growth, development, and tissue repair. Protein is one of the three major "macronutrients" (along with carbohydrates and fat).

    So, consuming enough protein is required to stave off malnutrition; it may also be important to preserve muscle mass and strength as we age. And, in recent years, some have advocated a higher protein diet to rev up metabolism to make it easier to lose excess weight, though success in this regard is highly variable.

    The ideal amount of protein you should consume each day is a bit uncertain. Commonly quoted recommendations are 56 grams/day for men, 46 grams/day for women. You could get 46 grams/day of protein in 1 serving of low-fat greek yogurt, a 4 oz. serving of lean chicken breast and a bowl of cereal with skim milk.

    A weight-based recommended daily allowance (RDA) of 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight. For a 140-pound person, that comes to 51 grams of protein each day. (You can convert your body weight from pounds to kilograms by dividing by 2.2; so, 140 pounds is 64 kg; multiplying this by 0.8 equals 51). Active people— especially those who are trying to build muscle mass— may need more.

    Based on percent of calories— for an active adult, about 10% of calories should come from protein

    To pay more attention to the type of protein in your diet rather than the amount; for example, moderating consumption of red meat and increasing healthier protein sources, such as salmon, yogurt or beans.

    But some experts suggest that these recommendations are all wrong and that we should be consuming more protein, up to twice the standard recommendations. Still others claim that the average American diet already contains too much protein. (Read more about the thinking of experts on this subject in this summary of two "Protein Summits" in 2007 and 2013 organized "to discuss the role of protein in human health and to explore the misperception that Americans overconsume protein." Note, these meetings were sponsored in part by animal-based food industry groups.)

    Can too much protein be harmful?

    The short answer is yes. As with most things in life, there can be too much of a good thing and if you eat too much protein, there may be a price to pay. For example, people that eat very high protein diets have a higher risk of kidney stones. Also a high protein diet that contains lots of red meat and higher amounts of saturated fat might lead to a higher risk of heart disease and colon cancer, while another high protein diet rich in plant-based proteins may not carry similar risks.

    So, when it comes to protein, how much is too much?

    It's hard to provide a specific answer since so much is still uncertain and the experts themselves don't agree. However, for the average person (who is not an elite athlete or heavily involved in body building) it's probably best to aim for no more than 2 gm/kg; that would be about 125 grams/day for a 140-pound person. New information could change our thinking about the maximum safe amount, but until we know more about the safety, risks and benefits of high protein diets, this seems like a reasonable recommendation.

    What's a protein lover to do?

    If you want to maintain a high protein diet, the details matter:

    Find out from your doctor if you have any health conditions (such as kidney disease) that might make such a diet risky

    Get your protein from healthy sources such as low-fat dairy products, fish, nuts and beans, lean chicken and turkey; avoid proteins sources that contain highly process carbohydrates and saturated fat

    Spread your protein consumption across all of your meals throughout the day

    Choose a well-balanced diet that includes lots of vegetables, fruits, and fiber; the Mediterranean diet or the DASH diet are good starting points.

    Image: samael334/Getty Images

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    Disclaimer:

    As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.

    Source : www.health.harvard.edu

    How Protein Can Help You Lose Weight Naturally

    This is a detailed review of the weight loss effects of protein. A high protein diet can boost metabolism and reduce appetite, helping you lose weight.

    NUTRITION

    How Protein Can Help You Lose Weight Naturally

    Written by Kris Gunnars, BSc on May 29, 2017

    Protein is the single most important nutrient for weight loss and a better looking body.

    A high protein intake boosts metabolism, reduces appetite and changes several weight-regulating hormones (1

    Trusted Source Trusted Source , 2 Trusted Source Trusted Source , 3 Trusted Source Trusted Source ).

    Protein can help you lose weight and belly fat, and it works via several different mechanisms.

    This is a detailed review of the effects of protein on weight loss.

    Protein Changes The Levels of Several Weight Regulating Hormones

    Your weight is actively regulated by your brain, particularly an area called the hypothalamus (4

    Trusted Source Trusted Source ).

    In order for your brain to determine when and how much to eat, it processes multiple different types of information.

    Some of the most important signals to the brain are hormones that change in response to feeding (5

    Trusted Source Trusted Source ).

    A higher protein intake actually increases levels of the satiety (appetite-reducing) hormones GLP-1, peptide YY and cholecystokinin, while reducing your levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin (6

    Trusted Source Trusted Source , 7, 8, 9 Trusted Source Trusted Source , 10 Trusted Source Trusted Source ).

    By replacing carbs and fat with protein, you reduce the hunger hormone and boost several satiety hormones.

    This leads to a major reduction in hunger and is the main reason protein helps you lose weight. It can make you eat fewer calories automatically.

    BOTTOM LINE:

    Protein reduces levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin, while it boosts the appetite-reducing hormones GLP-1, peptide YY and cholecystokinin. This leads to an automatic reduction in calorie intake.

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    Digesting and Metabolizing Protein Burns Calories

    After you eat, some calories are used for the purpose of digesting and metabolizing the food.

    This is often termed the thermic effect of food (TEF).

    Although not all sources agree on the exact figures, it is clear that protein has a much higher thermic effect (20-30%) compared to carbs (5-10%) and fat (0-3%) (11

    Trusted Source Trusted Source ).

    If we go with a thermic effect of 30% for protein, this means that 100 calories of protein only end up as 70 usable calories.

    BOTTOM LINE:

    About 20-30% of protein calories are burned while the body is digesting and metabolizing the protein.

    Protein Makes You Burn More Calories (Increases “Calories Out”)

    Due to the high thermic effect and several other factors, a high protein intake tends to boost metabolism.

    It makes you burn more calories around the clock, including during sleep (12

    Trusted Source Trusted Source , 13 Trusted Source Trusted Source ).

    A high protein intake has been shown to boost metabolism and increase the amount of calories burned by about 80 to 100 per day (14

    Trusted Source Trusted Source , 15 Trusted Source Trusted Source , 16 Trusted Source Trusted Source ).

    This effect is particularly pronounced during overfeeding, or while eating at a caloric surplus. In one study, overfeeding with a high protein diet increased calories burned by 260 per day (12

    Trusted Source Trusted Source ).

    By making you burn more calories, high protein diets have a “metabolic advantage” over diets that are lower in protein.

    BOTTOM LINE:

    A high protein intake can make you burn 80-100 more calories per day, with one study showing an increase of 260 calories during overfeeding.

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    Protein Reduces Appetite and Makes You Eat Fewer Calories

    Protein can reduce hunger and appetite via several different mechanisms (1

    Trusted Source Trusted Source ).

    This can lead to an automatic reduction in calorie intake.

    In other words, you end up eating fewer calories without having to count calories or consciously control portions.

    Numerous studies have shown that when people increase their protein intake, they start eating fewer calories.

    This works on a meal-to-meal basis, as well as a sustained day-to-day reduction in calorie intake as long as protein intake is kept high (17

    Trusted Source Trusted Source , 18 Trusted Source Trusted Source ).

    In one study, protein at 30% of calories caused people to automatically drop their calorie intake by 441 calories per day, which is a huge amount (19

    Source : www.healthline.com

    The role of protein in weight loss and maintenance

    Over the past 20 y, higher-protein diets have been touted as a successful strategy to prevent or treat obesity through improvements in body weight management. These improvements are thought to be due, in part, to modulations in energy metabolism, appetite, and energy intake. Recent evidence also sup …

    . 2015 Jun;101(6):1320S-1329S.

    doi: 10.3945/ajcn.114.084038. Epub 2015 Apr 29.

    The role of protein in weight loss and maintenance

    Heather J Leidy  1 , Peter M Clifton  1 , Arne Astrup  1 , Thomas P Wycherley  1 , Margriet S Westerterp-Plantenga  1 , Natalie D Luscombe-Marsh  1 , Stephen C Woods  1 , Richard D Mattes  1

    Affiliations

    Affiliation

    1 From the Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology, School of Medicine, University of Missouri; Columbia, MO (HJL); the Sansom Institute for Health Research, School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences (PMC) and School of Population Health (TPW), University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia; the Department of Nutrition, Exercise, and Sports, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark (AA); the Department of Human Biology, NUTRIM, Faculty of Health, Medicine, and Life Sciences, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands (MSW-P); the Centre of Clinical Research Excellence in Nutritional Physiology, Interventions, and Outcomes, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia (NDL-M and PMC); Preventative Health National Research Flagship, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO)-Animal, Food, and Health Sciences, Adelaide, Australia (NDL-M); the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience; UC College of Medicine, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH (SCW); and the Department of Nutrition Science, College of Health and Human Sciences, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN (RDM).

    PMID: 25926512

    DOI: 10.3945/ajcn.114.084038

    The role of protein in weight loss and maintenance

    Heather J Leidy et al. Am J Clin Nutr. 2015 Jun.

    . 2015 Jun;101(6):1320S-1329S.

    doi: 10.3945/ajcn.114.084038. Epub 2015 Apr 29.

    Authors

    Heather J Leidy  1 , Peter M Clifton  1 , Arne Astrup  1 , Thomas P Wycherley  1 , Margriet S Westerterp-Plantenga  1 , Natalie D Luscombe-Marsh  1 , Stephen C Woods  1 , Richard D Mattes  1

    Affiliation

    1 From the Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology, School of Medicine, University of Missouri; Columbia, MO (HJL); the Sansom Institute for Health Research, School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences (PMC) and School of Population Health (TPW), University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia; the Department of Nutrition, Exercise, and Sports, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark (AA); the Department of Human Biology, NUTRIM, Faculty of Health, Medicine, and Life Sciences, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands (MSW-P); the Centre of Clinical Research Excellence in Nutritional Physiology, Interventions, and Outcomes, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia (NDL-M and PMC); Preventative Health National Research Flagship, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO)-Animal, Food, and Health Sciences, Adelaide, Australia (NDL-M); the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience; UC College of Medicine, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH (SCW); and the Department of Nutrition Science, College of Health and Human Sciences, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN (RDM).

    PMID: 25926512

    DOI: 10.3945/ajcn.114.084038

    Abstract

    Over the past 20 y, higher-protein diets have been touted as a successful strategy to prevent or treat obesity through improvements in body weight management. These improvements are thought to be due, in part, to modulations in energy metabolism, appetite, and energy intake. Recent evidence also supports higher-protein diets for improvements in cardiometabolic risk factors. This article provides an overview of the literature that explores the mechanisms of action after acute protein consumption and the clinical health outcomes after consumption of long-term, higher-protein diets. Several meta-analyses of shorter-term, tightly controlled feeding studies showed greater weight loss, fat mass loss, and preservation of lean mass after higher-protein energy-restriction diets than after lower-protein energy-restriction diets. Reductions in triglycerides, blood pressure, and waist circumference were also reported. In addition, a review of the acute feeding trials confirms a modest satiety effect, including greater perceived fullness and elevated satiety hormones after higher-protein meals but does not support an effect on energy intake at the next eating occasion. Although shorter-term, tightly controlled feeding studies consistently identified benefits with increased protein consumption, longer-term studies produced limited and conflicting findings; nevertheless, a recent meta-analysis showed persistent benefits of a higher-protein weight-loss diet on body weight and fat mass. Dietary compliance appears to be the primary contributor to the discrepant findings because improvements in weight management were detected in those who adhered to the prescribed higher-protein regimen, whereas those who did not adhere to the diet had no marked improvements. Collectively, these data suggest that higher-protein diets that contain between 1.2 and 1.6 g protein · kg-1 · d-1 and potentially include meal-specific protein quantities of at least ∼25-30 g protein/meal provide improvements in appetite, body weight management, cardiometabolic risk factors, or all of these health outcomes; however, further strategies to increase dietary compliance with long-term dietary interventions are warranted.

    Source : pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

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