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Is Too Much Protein Unhealthy?

The idea seems simple enough: since protein provides the essential amino acids that fuel our bodies, getting more of it must be a good thing. Hence, you’ve probably seen, or purchased, gallon-sized vats of protein powder that promise everything from muscle building to weight loss. But nutrition experts interviewed in the New York Times questioned whether following the modern protein craze is a wise choice. A few of their reasons for concern include the fact that:

  • Most people can reach the recommended protein intake—56 grams per day for men, and 46 grams per day for women—by eating moderate amounts of protein-rich foods.
  • People can absorb only a limited amount of protein per meal (20 to 40 grams). We didn’t evolve to consume refined protein powders multiple times per day.
  • Some studies have linked high-protein diets—especially animal-based ones—with an increased risk of diabetes and cancer.

While these experts don’t claim to know exactly how consuming large amounts of protein supplements affects the body in the long term, they do advise caution. That being said, there are certain groups—the elderly, teenage girls, professional athletes, and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding—that may fall short on protein and may need to increase their intake.

Source: New York Times

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