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  • sarahjanefehlberg

Protein - Too Much Of A Good Thing?

Updated: Jun 21, 2019

I was talking to a friend yesterday about our “why’s” – why we want to do the things we want to do, for me it was transitioning into being a Naturopath and her transitioning into a yoga and birthing mentor healer, teacher and doula.

 When she asked me it made me say out loud why I am doing what I am, whilst a little confronting (because lets me honest sometimes we don’t even know ourselves why we do things, or maybe we do, but we never say it out loud).

It made me later think that actually having a “why” holds so much importance and anchors you back when you can feel lost amongst it all sometimes, constantly reminding each other of our “why’s” can be such a great anchoring tool!

My “why” is to be able to create networks and friendships to share my knowledge and experience as well as continuing education to people about health and wellbeing from a holistic non-judgemental standpoint

As I am clinic now I am able to do so in one on one consultation, but I have worked so hard on my website, along with working on my skills and career as well as study, it can easily become neglected.

Its nice to come back and share some thoughts here anyway, hope you enjoy!

At this time of the year, many people hit the new year, literally running – to the gym……

After the onslaught of Christmas and New Year festivities it can leave us feeling sluggish, full, fat and tired.

Often media, marketing and the gym scene can push supplements including protein to consumers with “shakes” claiming to solve all of these woes by offering an all in one that’s meant to cure all of the above.

My question is when did a heavily processed 100 ingredient PRODUCT outweigh the goodness of WHOLEFOOD and NUTRITION?

Being in the fitness industry for a long, long time and having trying these fads myself I can tell you now, they are short lived. Yes you feel good and start noticing change, but whats actually happening on the inside when we ingest copious amounts of protein for weight loss and delete the actual nutrients we need to thrive?

Carbohydrates for example always get a bad rap, however these are ESSENTIAL for energy production!

There is defiantly a cultural obsession with power and strength = protein.

I hear you, the people reading this saying I’m a quack….. Hear me out.

I’m not saying you don’t need protein for muscle growth and repair and MANY other functions, proteins are the essential building block of cells, we do need protein….I am talking about excess consumption and its effect on our bodies and the social obsession its become!

Many teens and adults self prescribe protein supplements – especially athletes and body builders and personal trainers who have not learnt nutrition (I was one of them!) , without evaluating the risks or talking to a professional about there specific requirements.

This is mainly because of misguided information on the belief that the ingredients offer performance enhancing benefits and an increased muscle growth as well as repair or even weight loss!  

Whilst protein does repair muscle and helps it grow, its the excess that I don’t think is ever advertised or spoken about and its so important to our health..

Excess protein within the body creates havoc and metabolic burden on the liver, kidneys and bones. High protein and high meat diets are also associated with increased risk of coronary heart disease due to the extra saturated fats and cholesterol.

Count your calories or Macros? hitting your protein targets? – are you then placing your wine in also as carbohydrates? – training hard, having high protein to loose the fat and gain the muscle yet drinking and binging on your “cheat days”? Sound like you?

Consider low fluid intakes and the excess intake of protein and you are getting closer and closer to the main risk factors for kidney stones. Fasting on and off and then binging? – Have you considered the havoc you are causing on your liver?

Protein increases renal acid excretion and acid load, this excess load can be buffered only partly by your bones by releasing calcium that needs to be excreted via the kidney. This is simply put is the bodies own way of dealing with an excess load of protein and secreting the calcium, which then can be a direct cause of calcium formed kidney stones.

Animal proteins are also a source of purines which form uric acid. Excessive intake of animal protein is also associated with uric acid stones. Uric acid is determined by the PH of urine. When there is excess protein especially meat sources and the PH falls below a 5.5 uric acid, solubility decreases. High protein diets have been studied and proven to have a toxic load to the kidney directly increasing the risk of uric acid stone formation.

Wonder why us Naturopath’s/Nutritionists always are banging on about those bitter greens? more colour on your plate, a palmful of meat if you have to – and not every’s not because we just like greens, or think they are better, its because we understand and study the intricate science behind what happens in the body when you overload on protein – your body in time will bare the burden and prevention is way better than cure my friend..

Protein needs to be an individualised requirement as no two people are the same and we are all at different life stages. Menopause, Pregnancy, Triathlete, Body Builder, Mums, Dads, Elderly, Children – we all have different needs and nothing should ever be self prescribed.

Another thing I think we forget along the way is what our being in touch with our own bodies and trusting your instincts and listening to ourselves. Do you really truly think its “healthy” to drink powdered processed “health food?”……

WHO (World Health Organisation) Suggests 4.5% of our calories come from protein per day – or 32 grams per day.

I hope I’ve provided you with some food for thought here,

some simple protein suggestions you may not have known exist…

  • 1 cup of broccoli – 2.6 grams protein

  • 1/4 cup of almonds – 8 grams protein

  • 1 cup cooked lentils – 18 grams protein

  • 1 tablespoon Chia –  3 grams protein

  • 1 cup Quinoa cooked – 8 grams protein

  • 3 tablespoons spirulina – 10 grams of protein – get your greens in too!

If this got you thinking and you are inspired to get some professional advice on your diet, lifestyle and or health concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact me!

Do you train? read my latest article about "Overtraining"

See article here

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