Advertising
Advertising

Can Too Much Protein Hurt Your Health?

Can Too Much Protein Hurt Your Health?

“Too Much Protein Is Hurting Your Health.” That was a headline that recently ran in a national newspaper.

It seems that every time I turn on the TV or pick up a magazine lately, the “experts” are telling me that a high-protein diet is dangerous and causes more harm than good.

The list of health problems “they” say are connected to a high-protein diet is long and includes weight gain and excess body fat, cancer, diabetes, kidney damage, heart disease, osteoarthritis and more.1,2,3

But a protein-based diet is what our primal ancestors ate. Their whole culture was built around hunting for and eating meat. And they never suffered from the diseases that affect us today.

Let me explain why protein is so good for you.

A diet high in protein helps to:

  • Add lean muscle mass and boost metabolism
  • Increase energy
  • Balance hormones
  • Improve libido
  • Sharpen memory

But there is a problem with a lot of the protein that’s available today. Let me explain.

Advertising

Today’s toxic food supply

Today’s meat, poultry, and fish is nothing like the pure, whole foods our ancestors ate. Our toxic environment has contaminated our food supply.

Food safety is a serious public health issue. One out of six Americans gets sick from eating contaminated food each year. More than 100,000 end up in the hospital.4

Most beef in your grocery store comes from sick cows.

For food manufacturers, a bigger cow equals bigger profits. To increase the size of cattle and to get them to the slaughterhouse faster, manufacturers inject the animals with growth hormones. These hormones show up in the meat you feed your family. Japan, Canada, Australia, and the European Union have banned these hormones but the U.S. still allows them.

hormones-cattle

    To further fatten them up, cattle are also fed an unnatural diet of grain, especially corn. A cow’s digestive system evolved around eating grass. Grain is so unnatural that it makes the animals sick. To counter this problem, the cows are pumped full of antibiotics.

    Advertising

    Try to avoid this meat at all costs. Instead, choose grass-fed beef from cattle that were allowed to graze in open fields. The meat from grass-fed cattle is pure and full of the protein, vitamins, and nutrients you need to thrive.

    grass-fed-cows

      And if you’re still worried that eating meat will drive up your cholesterol, it won’t.

      A large-scale study found that including lean meat in your diet helps reduce cholesterol levels. And it doesn’t matter whether it was white meat or red meat. Both lowered LDL cholesterol and raised good HDL cholesterol.5

      Fish is one of the healthiest high-protein foods you can eat

      But only if you know where your fish comes from.

      Unfortunately, most of the fish sold today is full of toxins like mercury and PCBs. These contaminants come from factories, farms, plastics, and more. They make their way to the world’s oceans and are ingested by fish.

      Advertising

      fish-contaminants

        And if you think farm-raised fish are a safer option, I’m sorry to tell you that — with the rare exception — the opposite is true. Fish farming is a dirty, disgusting industry. The fish produced by most aquaculture farms are more contaminated than wild fish.

        There are good options available, though. Seafood Watch, a nonprofit program to sustain healthy oceans, has a list of five of the best fish to eat.6 They include Atlantic mackerel, freshwater Coho salmon, Pacific sardines, wild-caught fresh Alaskan salmon, and canned wild-caught Alaskan salmon.

        When shopping for high-quality fish, look for the following logos:

        Alaska Seafood: Wild, Natural, Sustainable, MSC (Marine Stewardship Council) for Wild-Caught Fish and BAP (Global Aquaculture Alliance Best Aquaculture Practices) for farmed fish.

        Poultry is a perfect protein choice

        However, chickens and turkeys are often infected with Salmonella, E. coli, and other bacteria. To kill these bacteria, some manufacturers soak their poultry in toxic chemicals.

        To make sure your poultry is safe, look for these guidelines:

        Advertising

        • Free range
        • Certified organic
        • Raised without antibiotics
        • Certified humane raised and handled

        To Your Good Health,

        Al Sears, MD, CNS

        References:

        1. Enos D. “How Protein in Your Diet Affects Weight Gain.” Live Science. March 27, 2013.
        2. Walton A. “Why High-Protein Diets May Be Linked to Cancer Risk.” Forbes. Mar 4, 2014.
        3. Greger M. “Does Animal Protein Cause Osteoporosis?” NutritionFacts.org. July 31, 2014.
        4. Hunninghake DB, Maki KC, Kwiterovich PO Jr, et al. Incorporation of lean red meat into a national cholesterol education program. step I diet: a long-Term, randomized clinical trial in free-living persons with hypercholesterolemia. J Am Coll Nutr. 2000;19(3): 351-60.
        5. Mann N. Dietary lean red meat and human evolution. Eur J Nutr. 2000 Apr;39(2):71-9.
        6. Seafood & Your Health. Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch.

        Featured photo credit: wikimedia.org via upload.wikimedia.org

        More by this author

        exercise-boost-immune-system-2 The Right Exercise To Boost Your Immune System Hunter-Gatherers No Carbs Diet protein Can Too Much Protein Hurt Your Health? infrared-sauna-detox Best Detox To Get Rid Of Toxins aloe-natural-treatment Aloe’s Natural Treatment Benefits

        Trending in Health

        1 Will a Weight Loss Cleanse Really Improve Your Health? 2 Intermittent Fasting Weight Loss (The Ultimate Weight Loss Hack) 3 8 Best Teas for Weight Loss and Fat Burning 4 The Effects of Stress on Your Body And Mind (You Never Knew) 5 7 Signs You’re Burnt out (And How to Bounce Back)

        Read Next

        Advertising
        Advertising
        Advertising

        Last Updated on October 12, 2020

        How to Spot a Burnout And Overcome It Fast

        How to Spot a Burnout And Overcome It Fast

        Burnout at work is an issue that most people who suffer from it, suffer unknowingly.

        Have you ever felt that you can’t start an assignment, have an immense urge to Netflix binge, or couldn’t get yourself to wake up on time even though you have a lot on your plate? The cause for these might be burnout.

        According to Deloitte’s report, “many companies may not be doing enough to minimize burnout.” This is to say that the responsibility is not only on the employee. According to that report, nearly 70 percent of professionals feel their employers are not doing enough to prevent or alleviate burnout within their organization, and they definitely should.[1]

        Too many companies don’t invest enough in creating a positive environment. One out of five (21%) said that their company does not offer any programs or initiatives to prevent or alleviate burnout. It is the culture, not the fancy well-being programs that would probably do the best work.

        This is a significant problem for individuals and companies, and it’s also an issue on a macro level. A Stanford University research found that more than 120,000 deaths per year, and approximately 5%–8% of annual healthcare costs, are associated with the way U.S. companies manage their workforces.[2]

        It is both the employee and the employer’s responsibility—and the latter can certainly take more responsibility.

        In this article, I’ll guide you on how to know if you suffer from burnout and, more importantly, what you can do about it.

        Who Are Prone to Burning Out?

        For starters, it is a good thing to know that you’re in good company. According to a Gallup poll, 23% (of 7,500 surveyed) expressed burnout more often than not. Additionally, 44% felt it sometimes. Nearly 50% of social entrepreneurs who attended the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in 2018 reported having struggled with burnout and depression at some point.[3]

        According to Statista (2017), 13% of adults reported having problems unwinding in the evenings and weekends. According to a Deloitte survey (consisting of 1,000 full-time U.S. employees), 77% of respondents said that they have experienced employee burnout at their current job.[4]

        Advertising

        Burnout is not only an issue of the spoiled first-world. Rather, it is a serious matter that must be taken care of appropriately. It affects so many people, and its impacts are just too significant to be ignored.

        Some occupations are more prone to burnout, such as people who deeply care about their jobs more than others. According to the Harvard Business Review, “Passion-driven and caregiving roles such as doctors and nurses are some of the most susceptible to burnout.”

        The consequences can have life or death ramifications as “suicide rates among caregivers are dramatically higher than that of the general public—40% higher for men and 130% higher for women”. It is also the case for teachers, non-profit workers, and leaders of all kinds.[5]

        Deloitte’s survey also found that 91% say that they have an unmanageable amount of stress or frustration. Heck, 83% even say that it can negatively impact their relationships. Millennials are slightly more impacted by burnout (84% of Gen Y vs. 77% in other generations).

        What Is Burnout Syndrome?

        So, what is it, exactly? Burnout was officially included in the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) and is an occupational phenomenon.

        According to the World Health Organization, burnout includes three dimensions:[6]

        1. Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion;
        2. Increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job;
        3. Reduced professional efficacy.

        The 5 Stages of Burnout

        At this point, you must have a clue if you’re at risk of burnout. There are different methods for understanding where you are on the burnout syndrome scale, and one of the most common ones is the “five stages method.”

        1. Honeymoon Phase

        As you may remember If you’ve gotten married, there’s always the honeymoon phase. You’re so happy and feel almost invincible. You love your spouse and at this stage, you’re very excited about everything. It’s the same when it comes to taking on a new job or role or starting a new business.

        At first, most of the time, you’re hyper-motivated. Although you might be able to notice signs of potential future burnout, in most cases, you might ignore them. You’re highly productive, super motivated, creative, and accept (and take) responsibility.

        Advertising

        The honeymoon phase is critical because if you plant the seeds of good mental health and coping strategies, you can stay at this phase for extended periods.

        2. Onset of Stress

        Let’s continue with the wedding metaphor. Now that you’re happily married for some time, you might start noticing certain issues with your spouse that you don’t like. You might have seen them before, but now they take up more space in your life.

        You might be less optimistic and feel signs of stress or minor symptoms of physical or emotional fatigue at work. Your productivity reduces, and you think that your motivation is lower.

        3. Chronic Stress

        Let’s hope you don’t get there in your marriage, but unfortunately, some people get there. At this stage, your stress level is consistently high, and the other symptoms of stage 2 persist.

        At this point, you start missing deadlines, your sleep quality is low, and you’re resentful and cynical. Your caffeine consumption might be higher, and you’re increasingly unsatisfied.

        4. Burnout

        This is the point where you can’t go on unless there is a significant change in your workspace environment. You have a strong desire to move to another place, and clinical intervention is sometimes required.

        You feel neglected, your physical symptoms are increasing, and you get to a place where your stomach hurts daily. You might obsess over problems in your life or work and, generally speaking, you should treat yourself.

        5. Habitual Burnout

        This is the phase in which burnout is embedded in your life. You might experience chest pains or difficulty breathing, outbursts of anger or apathy, and physical symptoms of chronic fatigue.

        The Causes of Burnout

        So, now that we know how to identify our stage of burnout, we can move on to tackling its leading causes. According to the Gallup survey, the top burnout reasons are:[7]

        Advertising

        1. Getting unfair treatment at work – This is not always something that you can fully control. At the same time, you should remember that even if you’re not calling the shots, it doesn’t mean that you have to accept unfair treatment. The consequences mentioned above are just not worth it in most cases.
        2. Workload – Another leading cause of stress according to dozens of interviews conducted before writing the article. According to Statista, in 2017, 39% of workers said a heavy workload was their leading cause of stress. We live in a busy work environment, and we will share some tips on how to manage that.
        3. Not knowing your role – While not something you can fully control, you can, and probably should, take action to better define it with your boss.
        4. Inadequate communication and support from your manager – Like the others above, you can’t fully control that, but as we’ll soon share, you can take action to be in better control.
        5. Time pressure – As mentioned, motivated, passionate workers are more in danger of experiencing burnout. One of the reasons is that they’re pressuring themselves to do more, sometimes at the expense of their mental health. We’ll address how to work on that as well.

        How to Overcome a Burnout

        After going over the stages of burnout and the leading causes of becoming burned out, it might be a good time to let you know that there is a lot you can do to fight it head-on.

        However, let’s start with what you should not do. Burnout cannot be fixed by going on a vacation. It should be a long-term solution, implemented daily.

        According to Clockify (2019), these are the popular ways to avoid burnout:

        1. Focus on your family life – 60% of adults said that stable family life is key to avoiding burnout. Maintaining meaningful relationships in your life is proven to reduce stress (instead of having many unmeaningful relationships).
        2. Exercising comes in second, with 58% reporting that jogging, running, or doing any exercise significantly relieves stress. Even a relatively short walk might improve your body’s resilience to stress.
        3. Seek professional advice – 55% say they would turn to a professional. There are online websites where you can speak with professionals at reduced costs.

        Aside from the three most popular ways of avoiding burnout, you can also try the following:

        1. Improve Time Management

        Try understanding how you can use your time better and leave more time for relaxation. That’s easy to say (or write) but more challenging to implement. It would help if you started by prioritizing yourself. Understanding the connection between your values and your everyday tasks is a tremendous help. You can use proven methods to improve the relationship between your vision and goals to your daily life tasks’ lists. Check out the Horizons of Focus or V2MOM methods to get started.

        2. Use the P.L.E.A.S.E. Method

        The P.L.E.A.S.E. is a combination of things you should do to be at your best physically. It means Physical Illness (P.L.) prevention, Eat healthy (E), Avoid mood-altering drugs (A), Sleep well (S), and Exercise (E).

        3. Prioritize

        You don’t have to say yes to everything that comes across your way at work (or in other aspects of life). You’d be surprised how easy it can become once you start saying no. Some might even describe it as exhilarating.

        4. Let Your Brain rest

        Culturally, most of us are already wired to think that hard work is essential, and while that’s true in most cases, we sometimes forget that our brain needs to rest for it to recharge. Seven hours of sleep are essential (depending on your age). Meditation might be helpful, too.

        5. Pay Attention to Positive Events

        According to Therapistaid.com, we tend to focus on the bad things in our lives. However, by focusing on positive things, we can change our mindset. One way to practice this daily is by writing three good things about your life every morning or evening. It’s been scientifically proven that doing so for a few months can help rewire your brain.

        Advertising

        6. Take Some “You” Time

        A Netflix binge is not always good for you, but it might be in some cases. The better the leisure time is, the better you’ll feel in the long term. It’s usually better to read a book or start a new hobby that requires more cognitive skills than just lying on the couch. But as long as you feel good watching a movie, that might be a good start.

        7. New Technologies Might Be Helpful

        There are tons of self-help apps such as Fabulous, Headspace (meditation), Noom (diet and exercise), and others. They’re good to use, but you should also be careful not to run away from your problems only to watch social media for hours. It’s not real, and no one’s life is perfect (even if their Facebook or Instagram feeds might seem so). You should also be aware not to be in an “always-on” mindset.

        Bottom Line

        Whether you’re at the first or the fifth stage of the burnout phases, the goal of this article is to show you that there are always ways to fight it. The first thing is self-awareness—knowing that there’s a problem. The second step is to decide what to do about it.

        You can also consider using Lifehack’s community. You’re more than welcome to share your burnout story on our Facebook page.

        Bonus: Rebound from Burnout in 8 Hours

        Watch what you can do to rebound from burnout quickly in this episode of The Lifehack Show:

        https://youtu.be/MNnyqQWK_zg

        Featured photo credit: Lechon Kirb via unsplash.com

        Reference

        Read Next