Signs You Need More Protein

People with blood sugar concerns are often wary of overeating protein. We hear from folks who are concerned about kidney health that they don’t want to overdo their protein intake. That is entirely understandable! But there’s a balance between caring for your kidneys and not getting enough protein.

If you have a kidney health concern, you should speak to your doctor about how much protein is right for you. For most people with blood sugar concerns, about one and a half to two grams of protein to every kilogram (2.2 pounds) of body weight is appropriate. That should equal about 20 to 30 percent of your daily diet.

Most of us don’t get the right amount of protein. Some signs of a lack of protein are well known. If you have difficulty gaining or maintaining muscle, a doctor or trainer may have already told you to eat more protein. “Many people trying to put on muscle mass focus on bulking up by eating as many calories as possible,” said registered dietary nutritionist Destini Moody. “However, you’ll likely become frustrated and gain fat without enough protein in those calories. You’ll also notice your strength either declining or not improving if you aren’t eating enough protein.”

Another pretty well-known side effect of a lack of protein is hunger. Protein gives you a lot of energy and helps reduce cravings. While we often talk about how fiber helps you because it doesn’t break down quickly, protein helps you because it’s so nutrient-dense compared to carbs.  

What you might not know is that protein can boost your immune system. Not eating enough protein can weaken your immune system and make you more vulnerable to infections. The antibodies in your immune system that protect you from illnesses are made from protein.

While many of us think hunger can make us moody, eating the wrong thing can also impact mood. A lack of protein negatively impacts neurotransmitters in the brain that help balance mood. Carbs can spike your blood sugar and lead to crashes that make you feel tired and out of sorts. Protein can help keep you steady and your brain functioning correctly.

You can sometimes spot a protein deficiency by looking at your hair and nails. ( They are formed by keratin, a form of protein. If you aren’t eating enough protein, your hair and nails can be brittle, weak and not grow as quickly as you would like. Instead of taking a supplement for hair and nail growth, eating more protein could solve your problem!

Finally, a serious problem of not eating enough protein is anemia. Most people think it’s only caused by an iron deficiency in your diet. But, a lack of protein can cause the body to not have enough red blood cells to carry oxygen everywhere it needs to go. That can cause exhaustion, weakness and shortness of breath. If you have anemia, speak to your doctor about the possible causes and learn if eating more protein would benefit you.

As you can see, protein plays a major role in many aspects of health. You should consult your doctor about your protein intake if you have a kidney concern. But, for most people, more protein is generally better, as very few of us hit our daily goal. Eating a healthy diet rich in different foods can help keep you healthy and happy!  

Banner image: Mark DeYoung via Unsplash

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