There is a boom in the U.S and in many countries around the world, including Brazil, regarding the consummation of protein to help athletes and the people in general to gain muscles, specially with the “new wave” of protein powders in the market.

An ideal protein intake is about 0.5 grams (500 mg) of protein per pound of lean body mass. This calculates to about 40-70 grams of protein per day. While high protein diets are extremely popular, eating excessive amounts of protein can be damaging to your health. According to statistics, most individuals in the U.S take in 3-5 times more protein than they need.

If you eat more protein than your body really can use, it can cause problems with your overall health and fitness in several ways. Too much protein can lead to these health issues:

• Increased blood sugar
• Weight gain
• Too much body fat
• Stress on your kidneys, which must get rid of
excess protein
• Loss of minerals from your bones
• Dehydration
• Cancer cell stimulation

Your body processes protein less efficiently as you age so that eating enough high quality protein becomes more important. There is an upper limit as to how much protein your body has the ability to make use of. We eat, on average, much more protein than our bodies need as well as too much carbohydrate-containing foods and not enough foods high in healthy fat.

Part of the problem is that the consumption of meat has risen to a great degree in the last century. Most of this meat is not high quality meat and comes from animal farms where animals are fed grains that have been genetically altered instead of grass in a pasture. You should eat meat that has been pasture-fed but even this can lead to protein excesses in the body.

When you eat protein, your body takes what it needs and converts all of the rest of it into sugar and finally into fat. When your blood sugar levels are increased from eating too much protein, you put yourself at risk of getting infections by yeast (called Candidiasis) and pathogenic bacteria. The growth of cancer cells is stimulated by the excesses of sugar and fat in your body.

Eating too much protein also causes stress on the kidneys. The kidneys are responsible for removing the nitrogenous waste products in the bloodstream and when there is too much protein, both the excess protein and water is lost through the kidneys, resulting in dehydration.

You need to know exactly how much protein you need to consume in order to be healthy. It can be calculated as taking in 500 mg of protein per pound of lean body mass or about 40-60 grams of protein daily. If you are excessively exercising or are pregnant, you need to take in about 25 percent more than that. You also need to remember that a serving of protein is about the size of one deck of cards. Then you need to estimate the amount of protein you need. Your lean body mass is your percent body fat subtracted from a hundred. Make that into a percentage and multiply that by your total weight in pounds. Multiply that number into 0.5 grams per pound to get your protein requirement for the day.

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