Protein consumption is an important part of any diet, especially for those who exercise regularly and need protein to repair muscles and build energy. Eating the proper portions of proteins like chicken, fish, meats, milk, and eggs in proportion to your weight can be incredibly nutritious for the body and can help body tissues, blood vessels, hair, skin, and nails. However, it is possible to get too much of a good thing, especially when you’re on a high-protein diet like Atkins or Paleo. How do you know if you’re eating too much protein? The following seven signs can help you decide if you should re-think your diet.
You’re in a Bad Mood
Being in a bad mood from time to time is normal; however, constantly being in a bad mood might be due to excessive protein. By eating too much protein and not enough carbs, you don’t get enough sugar for your brain to run on. Try to take a closer look at how much protein you are actually eating compared to carbs, and try to even out the difference. Try reaching out for a piece of fruit or yogurt, brown rice, and whole grain oatmeal.
You’ve Got Brain Fog
Feeling fatigued lately? Can’t seem to shake off the afternoon slump? It might not be due to a long day or loads of work, it might be due to your high-protein diet that is causing you to have incoherent thoughts. A sugar deficit can cause the brain to shrink, and carbs (which have sugar) are the brain’s main source of energy. Make sure your diet includes some sugar that balances out carbs and proteins in order to avoid brain fog.
Feeling restless and not eating for extended periods of time can ultimately lead you to feel like you’re “hangry” (angry and hungry), but nutritionists argue that it might be that you have eaten too many grams of protein and not enough carbs in your day. By not consuming the necessary amounts of carbs, the body’s blood sugar drops and doesn’t produce enough mood-regulating serotonin, thus causing “hangry” signs. When you start feeling those old familiar symptoms creeping up, try grabbing a snack or side dish like Greek yogurt with berries, string cheese with fruit or hummus with whole grain crackers to stabilize your blood sugar.
You’re Gaining Weight
If you find yourself drinking a few protein drinks a day or eating excess animal protein, keep in mind you are consuming extra fat and calories. No matter where these calories are coming from, sugar, protein, or fat, it will undoubtedly cause weight gain. Shift your meals towards a healthier direction and aim to properly balance your diet by eating lean proteins, whole grains, fruit, and vegetables. Always remember that half your plate should be filled with fruits or vegetables, one quarter should be protein, and the other should be starch or whole grains.
You’re a Little Backed Up
Regular digestion cycles not only make you feel good, but also keep you healthy by minimizing potential stomach issues. However, if your protein intake is too high, you may struggle to stay regular. By replacing the majority of your diet with protein, you don’t eat enough fiber, grains or vegetables. Fiber plays an important role in the digestive system and regularity, and without it, you can experience constipation. Try to eat 25 grams of fiber daily from foods like whole grains (like oatmeal and quinoa), vegetables, and fruit.
You’re Always Thirsty
A constant desire for water is an indicator of too much protein. In fact, eating too much protein can cause mild dehydration, as the kidneys are being overworked to remove the excess protein as well as the nitrogen waste from metabolizing the protein, causing you to urinate too much and eventually wreck your kidneys. The solution? Water! And of course, reducing your protein intake.
You’ve Got Dragon Breath
As it was found to be a common complaint about those who participated in the famed Atkins diet, bad breath can be caused by eating too much protein. Since the body and brain run on carbs, the lack of them in the body cause it to use fat as fuel and produce ketones, which are responsible for the foul smell in your mouth. This can be especially dangerous for diabetics.