What are the problems related to drinking too many protein shakes?
Unfortunately, many trainers are mistaken when they expect a miracle from protein supplement shakes. Most people generally think that their muscles will automatically grow with the consumption of excess protein throughout the course of the day, while others are just too lazy to commit the time and energy to preparing and eating solid food.
These people keep drinking protein shakes and ultimately realize by the end of the day that they have consumed their 5th protein shake. What problems could possibly arise from drinking too many protein shakes?
Protein shakes are not a substitute for regular food
Just like the name suggests, protein shakes are dietary supplements and meant to supplement a healthy food based diet. Protein shakes, as they are referred to in the fitness community, are not meant to replace regular, normal meals, but to supplement meals if your diet does not include the required level of protein and nutrients that your body requires.
You might work out on a daily basis, and you may need a high protein intake for muscle regeneration. Or, maybe you are on a diet and do not have the time to properly prepare and eat meals during a busy day, but you would like to retain your hard earned muscle mass. These are all possible reasons for consuming protein shakes, but are too many protein drinks healthy for you to consume?
In an ideal world, we would all have the time to dedicate to preparing homemade healthy, nutritious meals, in addition to sitting down to eat them mindfully. But given how busy many people are today, it is not surprising that protein shakes, bars, and snacks marketed as healthy, nutrient dense alternatives have grown in popularity exponentially over the past several decades.
What is “too much” in this situation?
You should never attempt to consume more than a third of your protein intake with shakes! Whether you are an elite bodybuilder or powerlifter that is out to set weekly PR’s and pack on slabs of muscle or a novice trainer with a hectic lifestyle that is just attempting to maintain, you should drink no more than two protein shakes per day. Every now and then it may creep up if there are no other reasonable alternatives or solutions to eating quality foods, but definitely not on a regular basis!
Why it is not good to consume protein shakes excessively?
- Protein shakes are liquid nutrients. Your body is “specialized” to process solid food. If you continuously burden your body with liquid meals, your stool will change in consistency. You will either suffer from constant diarrhea or have a loose stool. In addition, you can expect to be regularly bloated and have an enhanced gas production.
- The excessive consumption of protein causes acidification: You might experience a number of the following symptoms: constant fatigue, tiredness, irritability, constant smaller illnesses, weakness, incapacity to lose weight, spots on your skin, unpleasant mouth odor, broken nails and hair, etc. In order to avoid these side effects, you should consume a large quantity of vegetables together with your high protein intake.
- Extra burden for the kidneys: Consuming large qualities of protein places a huge burden on your body, especially on the kidneys to metabolize the over abundance of nutrients and excrete the waste products. If you are suffering from a kidney disease, you should not consume protein excessively, but even in a healthy body, the continuous protein overload could result in significant health and wellness problems.
- Calcium loss: The excessive protein intake can cause a withdrawal of calcium in the bones that can lead to a weakening of your bones. Therefore, when you follow a diet rich in protein, you must pay attention to an increased intake of calcium!
- Weight gain and loss: Protein is a nutrient that contains 4 calories per gram. If you consume too much of it, it will result in a weight gain like any other nutrient that is over consumed in the body. Generally speaking, if you want to gain weight and lose body fat properly, you must slowly increase your level of protein and healthy fats while slowly decreasing your overall caloric consumption of carbohydrates. On the other hand, if you want to lose weight and retain your current level of muscle mass, you must maintain your overall caloric consumption of protein, moderate your intake of healthy fats, and significantly decrease your consumption of carbohydrates. If you are a novice, these simple steps can result in a huge transformation in your physique. Nevertheless, it is very important to follow a proper balanced diet if you want to lose weight and reset your metabolic rate and set point!
- Unnecessary: If you consume more than 2.5g/kg (in body weight) protein, empirical evidence and science-based data has maintained that the human body simply cannot process it. The extra protein places an extra burden on your body and stores the surplus accordingly.
High quality protein shakes can be an excellent alternative and solution for a busy lifestyle, as they provide a nutritious high quality protein. Just remember, like anything else in life, you must follow a sensible food based diet, exercise regularly, follow the prescribed dose, and don’t get carried away to extremes!