Does Protein Make You Gain Weight – When It is too Much

  • Usman 

A high-protein diet is one of the recommended strategies for weight loss. It is also part of any balanced diet. But there are also some diet plans which take it to the extreme. For example keto diet and zone diet. These plans take protein intake to extreme levels. But is excess protein good for weight loss. Does protein make you gain weight if you overdo it? We will look at answers to these questions here. 

What does protein do

Protein is one of the macro nutrients of our food. It has 4 calories per gram. It is used as source of energy for the body. And excess of this nutrient can be stored as fat.  

Protein is also important because our body tissues are made of protein. In addition to this protein is also required for producing different useful hormones and enzymes in the body. 

high protein food

How much protein do I need

It is recommended that your daily diet intake should include protein. But you would definitely ask: How much protein do I need? 

According to US Government health recommendations, you should strive for 50 grams per day of protein in your diet, based on a 2000 calorie diet. 

According to Australian Government health department, the recommended dietary intake for protein is 0.75/kg weight for females and 0.84 g/kg for males. Pregnant and breastfeeding females are encouraged to have 1g/kg of. This amounts to around 63 g of daily protein intake for a 75 kg man. 

How does protein help you lose weight

Does protein make you lose weight? It definitely helps us lose weight because it is digested slower than carbs, therefore, it keeps us fuller for longer. The result is less calorie intake. 

It also helps build muscles, which are calorie burners. Therefore, a high-protein diet is good for building muscles. 

Also, our bodies need to burn extra calories to digest protein. This would also add up to create a calorie deficit.

Research studies also associate high-protein diet with weight loss. A study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found convincing evidence that a high-protein diet suppresses appetite and helps burn more calories. 

How much protein is too much

But all these good things about protein do not mean that we go to extreme and increase our protein intake significantly higher than the recommended intake. 

Does eating too much protein make you fat? We should keep in mind that even this has calories. And overindulgence quickly adds up to calorie count, and we might be following a calorie surplus diet even though we will be eating healthy protein rich diet. 

So, definitely when you overeat protein, you increase your chances of weight gain. A research published in 2015 found that risk for weigh gain increases with higher protein intake, especially when your daily protein intake crosses 20 percent of your total calories.  

Does protein make you gain muscle

Protein is primary source of muscle fiber, therefore, it is essential for building muscles, and maintaining them. However, our body’s ability is capped at maximum of 30-35 gram protein processing per meal. Anything above will most likely be saved as fat. 

Does protein make you gain weight without working out? Actually, the answer is yes. If you are not working out then any excess protein above the recommended daily intake will not go towards building your muscles. There is high chance that this will make you gain weight. 

But high-protein diet is very useful for gaining weight, most of which will be healthy muscle mass, if you work out. 

When you wonder if your weight loss is being sabotaged by protein and you are gaining weight while being on a protein rich diet, then you need to see symptoms of an overly protein rich diet. You might feel constipation, thirst, weight gain and moodiness. These symptoms should alert you that you are eating too much protein and you may gain weight that will be attributed to protein. 

The bottom line

A diet with too much protein can actually sabotage your weight loss. Quite ironically a diet rich in protein may actually make you gain weight. 

There is no doubt that it is better than carbohydrates for satiety and thermogenesis but it is not replacement for carbohydrates. In fact studies have shown that when you replace carbs with protein, you are more likely to gain weight. On the opposite, replacing fat with protein doesn’t have that effect. 

But this should not discourage you that protein makes you gain weight. In fact, it helps you lose weight if you are within the recommended range. In fact a review published in 2015 found that the optimum protein intake is about 25 percent of daily calorie intake. This comes to between 25 and 35 grams during each meal. This amount is equal to almost a deck of cards. So, that should serve as a rough measurement for you. 

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Muhammad Usman

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