As summer arrives and people focus on getting in shape, many incorporate high-protein foods into their diet alongside exercise. However, excessive protein consumption can actually have adverse effects on the body. Let’s explore the correct ways to consume protein for optimal health.
Impaired Liver and Kidney Function: Protein is one of the three essential macronutrients that contribute to muscle growth, hormone synthesis, and immune function. While it is a vital nutrient for overall health, consuming more protein than the body needs can strain the liver and kidneys. The breakdown of protein produces ammonia, which can accumulate and cause liver damage. In severe cases, it can lead to conditions such as hepatic encephalopathy. Additionally, the metabolic process generates a substantial amount of nitrogenous waste, burdening the kidneys. When the kidneys fail to function properly, it can result in increased levels of LDL cholesterol, raising the risk of atherosclerosis, hypercholesterolemia, and cardiovascular diseases.
Recommended Protein Intake: The general protein requirement for adults is 0.8-1 gram per kilogram of body weight. For individuals focusing on muscle growth, a protein intake of 1.2-2 grams per kilogram of body weight is recommended. According to the Korean Nutrition Society, the daily recommended protein intake for adult males is 50-55 grams, and for adult females, it is 45-50 grams.
Balanced Consumption of Animal and Plant Protein: When consuming protein, it is important to have a balanced intake of animal and plant protein sources. Relying solely on animal protein, such as meat and fish, can increase the intake of saturated fats and cholesterol, elevating the risk of hypertension and diabetes. Animal protein intake leads to the production of acidic hydrogen ions, which are neutralized by the release of alkaline substances such as calcium. This can result in a higher risk of osteoporosis. On the other hand, plant protein consumption has been associated with lowering blood cholesterol levels.
Achieving Nutritional Balance: To promote muscle growth, it is important to combine protein intake with carbohydrates. Carbohydrates assist in muscle cell synthesis and prevent muscle loss. Protein provides a satiating effect, and excessive consumption can interfere with the intake of other essential nutrients. It is recommended to consume an appropriate amount of protein while also maintaining a balanced intake of carbohydrates, dietary fiber, and fats to ensure proper nutritional balance.