How Does Protein Work and Can I Have Too Much?

The amount of protein we need varies according to age, gender, weight, activity level and other factors such as stress or illness. As a general rule of thumb, it is safe for healthy individuals to consume 35% of their calories from protein.

But again, this can depend on the many factors listed above as well as the sources of the protein you are eating. For example, plant-based protein might be safer in higher quantities than animal proteins.

protein food preparation 8fit

Too much of a good thing leads to fat storage

When we consume food, we consume energy in the form of calories. When we don’t use as much energy as we consume, our body stores the extra as fat. Even though your body works harder to convert protein to glucose — the fuel your brain and body needs — excess protein could still lead to additional fat. Many studies haven’t found benefits when more than 1.6 grams of protein is consumed per 1 kilogram of bodyweight.

Eating smaller amounts of protein more frequently, could help prevent excess protein from being stored as fat by giving our bodies more time to digest and break them down. As Dr. Elizabeth Lipski, M.S., C.C.N., explains in her book, Digestive Wellness, having too much protein at once can lead to fermentation in the small intestine or putrefaction in the gut. Both of these can increase the risk of colon cancer and can feed the growth of unfriendly bacteria. Tip: It’s often easy to detect if you are consuming too much protein because you will likely experience unfavorable, smelly gas and stomach pain.

3 snacks with perfect amounts of protein

How does protein work when incorporated into mid-meal snacks? Apart from tasting darn good, more importantly, pairing your apple, banana, celery or crackers with protein like hummus, nut butter or a hard-boiled egg keeps you feeling full for longer and stabilizes blood sugar levels.

1. Banana and nut butter snack

high protein snack nut butter

2. Greek yogurt with fig and walnut

yogurt fig protein bowl

3. Protein brownies with 4 ingredients

protein bars chocolate mint

Search for these recipes in the 8fit recipe book and add them to your meal plan.