Blog & Recipes

Protein - can you have too much of a good thing?

A story made headlines recently about an Australian woman who tragically died after consuming a very high protein diet in preparation for a bodybuilding competition, due to an undiagnosed metabolic disorder (full story here). According to results from the 2015 Canadian Community Health Survey, almost 50% of Canadians are using nutritional supplements and the daily percentage of energy intake from protein has increased for both children/teenagers and adults. Between these stories and several conversations we’ve had, we were inspired to write a blog post about protein - and if you actually can have too much of a good thing.

First, let’s get back to basics… what exactly is protein? What does it do? What are some food sources of protein?

Essentially, protein is broken down by the body into amino acids which are then used:

  • As structural building blocks (muscles, bones, hair, skin, nails, etc.)

  • To carry oxygen around the body

  • For tissue repair

  • To fight infections

  • As part of enzymes and hormones

  • As a source of energy

It is important to note that, unlike other macronutrients (carbohydrates and fat), the body does not store protein and therefore we need to consume adequate protein from food. If our diet is inadequate in protein, the body may turn to our muscles as a protein source which results in muscle breakdown and loss.

So what are some food sources of protein? Protein can be found in both plant and animal-based food, here are some examples:

  • Meat and poultry

  • 75 g or ½ cup portion has ~21 g of protein

  • Fish and seafood

  • 75 g or ½ cup portion has ~21 g of protein