How Much Protein Is 'Too Much' Protein?

In the past few decades, low-carb diets that are high in protein have been all the rage. From the Atkins diet to the keto diet, dieters have swapped out carbs, often for more meat, in the pursuit of weight loss and lifestyle changes.

In recent years, the ketogenic (keto) diet has found a legion of followers adhering to a diet that has them getting most of their calories from protein instead of carbohydrates, according to WebMD. People who follow the keto diet can only consume 50 grams of carbs per day so that the body turns to its existing protein and fat for energy and breaks them down to fuel the body. Harvard Health says that protein is essential to a person's well-being, explaining that a person needs it in order to be a healthy weight and to generate hair, blood, antibodies, and more. Athletes may need more protein in their diets to help with energy and muscle recovery and can seek it out in healthy sources, such as eggs, Greek yogurt, string cheese, and milk.

What is the right amount of protein?

The answer to how much protein a person needs to have a healthy body is not simple. Two factors must be considered when determining the right amount for each person: body weight and activity level, according to Harvard Health.

To reach the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein, a person should consume about 0.4 grams for each pound they weigh. The way Harvard Health explains it, the RDA is the base amount a person needs to consume to stay healthy and not get sick. Harvard Health suggests using the following equation: multiply your body weight in pounds by 0.36 to determine how much protein is needed daily. This equation is recommended for people who don't exercise. For people who exercise more regularly and athletes, a higher amount of protein is recommended for their daily diet to help with muscle recovery, to generate new muscle, and for energy, per Michigan State University. As a result, it is recommended that athletes incorporate about 0.5 to 0.7 grams per protein per pound of body weight into their diet. The Mayo Clinic says that no more than 35% of your calories should come from protein per day. There are some indicators to watch out for if you are consuming too much protein, per Livestrong: dehydration; headaches and feeling weak; bad breath; constipation; diarrhea; weight gain; and kidney stones. Protein is essential for a healthy life, but just how much is up to the individual.