We recently wrote a blog detailing all the benefits of eating a high-protein diet. These include the most obvious benefits like providing protein in order to build muscles, but also included some of the lesser known benefits, including weight loss, reduced blood pressure, and improving your mood.
But let’s go the other direction...what if you eat too little protein? Here are some of the things you can avoid if you’re eating the right amount of protein in your diet.
Decrease muscle mass
Of course, the most obvious effect of not eating enough fiber is loss of muscle mass. The scary part is that the muscle doesn't just go away; you body actually harvests the amino from your muscles, breaking down the muscle fibers. While this is good for the parts of your body that need these amino acids, it’s bad for your muscles. This is especially a problem for the elderly who don’t get enough protein and/or exercise.
When you don’t get enough protein, your body isn’t getting the energy it needs to build muscle. And what does it take to move? Muscle. When you lose muscles, you become even more weak, which leads to a downward spiral of strength loss.
Compromised Immune System
Question: What do white blood cells and antibodies have in common? They both use protein as their building blocks. When you don’t eat enough protein, you entire immune system can be compromised. This includes how your body fights off infections from viruses and bacteria, as well as foreign chemicals and toxins. Not having enough protein makes you susceptible to sickness that hit you over long terms, as well as those that attack your body quickly.
As we mentioned in the last blog, protein help the body process hormones such as serotonin and dopamine. A lack of protein will prevent you from synthesizing as many of these mood heightening chemicals.
Not only that, but eating less protein will cause you to be hungry, and you’ll probably respond by eating more carbohydrates and sugars, which will cause your blood sugar to spike and crash, leading to mood swings and general irritability.
If you aren’t getting enough protein, you’re considered undernourished. Your body will be putting all available protein into functions that keep you alive, and you hair becomes a secondary (or even tertiary). You hair may take on a strange texture as there is less protein in it, and it may fall out more easily.
Protein in your diet can help with helping your body absorb calcium, adding to bone density. If you don’t get enough protein, your body simply excretes it instead of using it. For similar reasons that you lose muscles, you lose bone mass; your body takes calcium from your bones in order to deliver it to even more vital systems.
As you can see, having too little protein in your body can lead to a host of health problems. As long as you get your protein powder, nutrition shakes, and high-protein/low carb snack bars from OhYeah! you’ll be short on protein. Find your favorite today!