Protein: How Much is Too Much?

The most recent recommendations for optimum protein consumption rely on body weight and age to determine the right individual level of this essential nutrient.  Low-carbohydrate, high-protein diets may actually cause physical damage over the long term, and even better-balanced meal selections that depend too heavily on protein components in food can cause some harm.

A reliance on protein-rich foods such as animal meat, whether for reasons of diet or tradition, does not leave enough room in the diet for vegetables, fruit, nuts and legumes. A healthy alternative is to decrease the servings of meat and add in a raw vegetable or fruit smoothie.  Look for smoothie recipes that use dark green vegetables to give your body vitamins such as A and C and the minerals calcium and iron.

What do Nutritionists Say?

In an article on her website, author and nutrition coach *Angela Hubner* states that the challenge today is how to avoid getting more protein than you need.  She includes charts created from the World Health Organization and the U.S. recommended daily allowance.  For example, a person with an ideal body weight of 130 pounds should consume between 27 and 46 grams and a person with an ideal body weight of 180 should limit their protein intake to between 37 and 65 grams.

To further illustrate the challenge so aptly identified by Hubner, an article on the site **Family Education** took a look at the protein content of three typical meals, which include scrambled eggs, bacon and milk for breakfast (28 grams), a tuna salad sandwich for lunch (26 grams) and a 6-ounce steak for dinner (21 grams).  The total for the day exceeds the recommended allowance for a person weighing 180 pounds! Imagine what would happen when that excess amount is multiplied over days, weeks, months and even years.

What are the Consequences of Too Much Protein?

Because the body only metabolizes the amount protein it actually needs, the remainder contributes to weight gain when fat is present in the food source.  Be wary of promises of loosing weight from low-carbohydrate diets.  Your body needs carbohydrates to have the ability to burn – instead of store – fat.  **Health Experts**  writing about these risks agree that a diet in which more than 30% of the calories are derived from protein puts stress on your kidneys.  The body reacts to this diet by producing a toxin called ketones, which can lead to dehydration as the kidneys work to expel the toxin. Other side effects of a ketonic build up in the bloodstream include fatigue, headaches, nausea and even dizziness.

Can Too Much Protein Cause Joint Pain?

***Researchers*** have identified a correlation between excessive protein intake and joint pain.  Some doctors even refer to this malady as Protein Arthritis.  While athletes do require more protein to build muscle and maintain the energy to compete effectively, your activity level and lifestyle should be considered when you are trying to determine your appropriate protein level.

A Chart to Help You Plan

The chart below is an excerpt from information provided by the ***FAMILY EDUCATION - CHART***  website, which quoted the source as 1996 First Databank. The protein content of the various foods gives you some creative ways of fulfilling your daily requirement while not overdoing it. The serving size for the items in the first chart is three ounces.


Animal Protein


sirloin steak


roast beef


turkey breast










Vegetable Protein


tofu (6 ounces)


walnuts (1 ounce)


whole wheat bread


soybeans (1/2 cup)


split peas (1/2 cup)


oatmeal (1 cup)



A Healthy Alternative

Smoothie blenders are a good way to help you reach and maintain a healthy weight while giving your body the nutrients it needs.  If you follow the latest recommendations for making vegetable and fruit portions half of all food portions each day, you can choose from a variety of smoothie recipes that use raw food.  Soups made with your high performance blender can also help you loose weight with healthy nutrition and also provide vegetable protein.

Visit some of the sites linked in this post to learn more about how much protein you need.  Try modifying your diet to include more vegetable and less animal protein. Look for ways to use raw food in your blender to give your body crucial vitamins, minerals and fiber.


**Family Education**   --

**Health Experts**  --

***Researchers***  --

***Family Education - Chart***  --

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