In spite of what we believe, most Americans get more than enough protein in their diets. Unless you are an athlete, weightlifter or serious exercise enthusiasts, you want to focus on less rather than more protein. Eating too much protein has been associated with a number of negative effects on the body, including:
- Weight gain. Excess calories from excess protein may be stored as body fat.
- Intestinal irritation. Too much protein has been linked to constipation, diarrhea and/or excessive gas.
- Dehydration. Experts advise drinking a half gallon of water per 100 grams of protein.
- Seizures. Seizures have been linked to excess protein intake – but only if insufficient amounts of water are consumed.
- Increase in liver enzymes.
- Nutritional deficiencies. Just focusing on protein intake causes some high-protein dieters to overlook other nutrients. Ensure that your diet is balanced and nutritious.
- Risk of heart disease. This is a bit misleading. A healthy high-protein diet is not associated with heart disease. But if you are getting all of your protein from unhealthy sources that are loaded in unhealthy fats, obviously the risk for heart disease will increase.
- Kidney problems. Some believe that high protein and low carbohydrate diets – when done long term – can possibly cause kidney issues, but more research needs to be done.
Personal Trainer Davey Wavey suggest the following 5 tips to help exercise enthusiasts balance protein needs with a vegan diet?
- Eat lots of nuts. 1/4 a cup of nuts can have upwards of 8 to 9 grams of decent quality protein.
- Cook with quinoa. 100 grams of quinoa contains some 14 grams of high-quality protein. In fact, the protein in quinoa has a higher rating than either beef or chicken.
- Stock up on oatmeal. A cup of oatmeal has 6 grams of relatively high quality protein. A great way to start the day!
- Spread the hummus. A half cup of commercial hummus has 10 grams of protein, and it makes a great addition to a sandwich – or a condiment for fresh veggies.
- Almond and peanut butter. These butters are wise choices and great additions for smoothies and snacks. Typically, a serving of nut butter will have 6 – 8 grams of protein
There are many athletes and celebrities that swear by vegetarian and vegan diets, including Jake Shields –Vegetarian Boxer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mqzPOUaSg2Y
Check out these Hollywood stars that don’t eat meat: http://www.everydayhealth.com/diet-nutrition-pictures/influential-celebrity-vegetarians.aspx#/slide-1
Yours in health,
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