2. Adverse Consequences of Excessive Protein Intake
With advancing age, getting adequate amounts of high-quality protein is especially important, as your ability to process protein declines with age, as does the level of age-related muscle loss (sarcopenia), thereby raising your protein requirements.
That said, you’d be wise to monitor your intake to make sure you’re not overdoing it. Americans consume the most meat per capita in the world — more than 175 pounds of pork, poultry, and beef per year,1 and evidence suggests this is far too much for optimal health.
Making matters worse, the vast majority of this meat comes from animals raised in concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), the quality of which is significantly inferior to organically raised, pastured, or grass-fed and grass-finished meats.
It’s important to realize that there is an upper limit to how much protein your body can actually use. And, on the average, Americans consume anywhere from three to five times more protein than they need, along with far too many carbohydrates and insufficient amounts of healthy fats.
To understand why eating too much protein is a bad idea, consider the following:
- When you consume more protein than your body needs, your body must remove more nitrogen waste products from your blood, which stresses your kidneys.2 Chronic dehydration can result, as was found in a study involving endurance athletes.3
- Excessive protein can have a stimulating effect on an important biochemical pathway called the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR). This pathway has an important and significant role in many cancers. It’s also a significant regulator of the aging process.
- Excessive protein also adversely impacts the GCN2 pathway, which like mTOR is involved in the aging process.