What Happens to the Body if You Drink Protein Every Day?
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Protein is a vital macronutrient responsible for various functions in the body.
It is a primary building block of the body, used to repair and build tissues, produce enzymes and hormones, and is a crucial part of muscles, bones, cartilage, skin, and blood.
Many people consume protein shakes daily, especially those who are physically active or trying to gain muscle.
However, the daily consumption of protein shakes or supplements can have both benefits and potential downsides.
Benefits of Daily Protein Consumption
Muscle Maintenance and Growth: For those engaged in regular strength training or resistance exercises, consuming adequate protein supports muscle protein synthesis. It helps prevent muscle protein breakdown and promotes the repair and growth of muscle fibers.
Weight Management: Protein has a higher thermic effect than carbs or fats. This means your body burns more calories processing protein compared to other macronutrients. It also promotes satiety, potentially leading to reduced calorie intake.
Recovery After Exercise: Consuming protein post-exercise can aid in quicker recovery, reduce muscle soreness, and enhance overall training adaptations.
Supports Metabolic Functions: Proteins are crucial for the production of enzymes, hormones, neurotransmitters, and molecules that play critical roles in various bodily functions.
Potential Downsides of Excessive Daily Protein Consumption
Kidney Strain: While the idea that excess protein intake harms the kidneys is mostly a myth for healthy individuals, those with existing kidney issues should be cautious. Consuming too much protein might exacerbate their condition.
Digestive Issues: Over-reliance on protein shakes or consuming too much protein can lead to digestive issues, including bloating, gas, and stomach cramps. This is especially true if the protein supplements have additives or ingredients to which an individual might be sensitive.
Nutrient Imbalance: If one relies heavily on protein shakes and doesn't consume a balanced diet, they might miss out on essential vitamins, minerals, and other macronutrients.
Caloric Surplus: While protein shakes can be helpful in managing weight, they also contain calories. If consumed in excess without adjusting total caloric intake, they could lead to weight gain.
Potential Toxins: Some low-quality protein powders might have contaminants such as heavy metals. It's essential to choose high-quality protein sources and, if possible, opt for those tested for purity.
How Much Protein Do You Really Need?
The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for protein for the average adult is 46 grams per day for women and 56 grams per day for men.
However, these numbers can vary based on age, gender, physical activity level, and health goals.
Athletes or those engaging in intense physical activities may require more protein to support muscle recovery and growth.
While drinking protein every day, especially in the form of shakes, can offer numerous benefits, it's essential to ensure that the intake aligns with one's individual needs and health goals.
Overconsumption can lead to potential downsides.
As always, it's advisable to consult with a healthcare professional or nutritionist when making significant changes to one's diet or supplement routine.