Does Eating Protein Make Your Muscles Bigger?
Updated: Jul 1, 2022
Protein, which can be derived from foods like meat, cheese, milk, fish, and eggs, is believed to support muscle growth and gym goals. Protein is necessary for the reproduction and reparation of human cells. Because of its abilities, protein has become known as a “muscle builder.” Protein powder has become an appealing and increasingly popular method of consuming protein for muscle growth. However, overconsumption of protein does not necessarily help one attain their desired muscle goals, instead it leads to adverse effects.
While protein helps build muscles, it can help only to a certain extent. For instance, a study on athletes who consumed varying amounts of protein showed that after a certain amount of protein there were no advantages for muscle growth for athletes. Less than or about 2.2 g of protein is the amount believed to support muscle gains for athletes, while any more does not support muscle gains. Protein itself also does not support muscle growth. Muscle growth for many is only possible through a combination of them consuming protein and intensely exercising. Most importantly, those looking to grow their muscles must keep in mind that their genetics play a huge role in the size of their muscles. Genetics can limit the size of their muscles, which cannot be changed no matter how much they exercise or eat protein. Furthermore, consuming too much protein may lead to immense problems.
Overconsumption of protein can have mild to dangerous side effects, especially for those who do such believing it can help them build huge muscles. These side effects are detrimental consequences to one’s health. In fact, too much protein can cause some body systems stress as well as cause dehydration due to the buildup of toxic ketones in the kidneys. In some cases it can negatively affect the bones due to the loss of calcium in the bones. It may also cause bowel issues like constipation and diarrhea due to the lack of fiber in the diet. In the most extreme case, overconsumption of protein derived from red meats can lead to an increased risk of cancer. Some side effects do not necessarily harm one's health, but they are unfavorable for many. Over consuming protein means an excess of protein, which can contribute to one’s body weight. It can also lead to bad breath that does not go away no matter the amount of mouthwash or toothpaste. Given these life altering and unfavorable effects of protein, one should be cautioned of consuming too much protein for supposed muscle gains.
Protein is essential for health and for muscle gains, but the amount consumed should be monitored carefully. The Food and Nutrition Board recommends that only 15% of one’s diet should be composed of protein. Any more or less may be dangerous, depending on the health conditions of each person. Those looking to use protein powders to assist in muscle growth should keep these factors in mind and should even consider getting their protein intake from foods such as eggs, milk, and fish instead.
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