Is it possible to eat too much protein?
As the macro of the moment and so-called building block of muscle, protein is fetishised as much by supermarket giants as it is by pneumatic gym bros. While devouring a whole chicken in one sitting has long won you kudos in some circles, now you’re being exhorted to chow down on protein-enriched ice creams and cereals. Sadly, it is possible to have too much of a good thing.
According to a consensus of nutritional authorities, you need 0.75g of protein for each kilogram of your bodyweight, so an 80kg man requires around 60g a day – roughly three salmon fillets. But the greater the physical stress placed on your body, the higher its demands. For a man of the same size who trains hard, the International Society of Sports Nutrition recommends 112g per day. Exceed this, however, and the benefits are soon negated. One study found those who ate more than 1.62g of protein per kilo of weight (around 130g, or two juicy steaks) built no more muscle than more moderate diners.
Shakes, steaks and (fortified) ice creams all have their time and place, of course. But if you’re eating three wellbalanced meals a day, you’re unlikely to fall short. It might even end up where you don’t want it. “Your body struggles to digest excess protein,” says nutritionist Rhiannon Lambert. “It may simply wind up being stored as fat.” In a nutshell, don’t over-egg it.
YOU NEEDN’T PLATE UP EXTRA PROTEIN TO MAINTAIN MUSCLE.