Adding protein might be why you're gaining weight
How’s this for upsetting news: According to Dr. Neabore, all those times you added chicken to your salad because you thought you needed some protein might have just piled on extra fat and calories that you didn't need, and wouldn't otherwise have eaten.
And low-carb diets, which typically boost protein intake and often lead to short-term weight loss, reinforce this belief. “People say they want to lose weight, so they eat more protein. But people typically have enough protein, so then what happens with the extra protein you're eating? It turns into fat. If you’re already eating fruits and vegetables and whole grains, you’re eating low fat anyway, and you’re getting enough protein from all those things. The rest of it is fiber, so it will fill you up. There’s not really any need to take in extra protein on top of that.”
“Then you have the guys at the gym who are trying to bulk up, so they eat a lot of protein. They call this the 'protein paradox.' You have guys eating protein to gain weight, and you have people eating it to lose weight. So it’s like, which is it? What’s going on here?"
That's a good question, and the answer probably lies in the processed foods that Dr. Neabore mentioned earlier. People who switch to low-carb, high-protein diets tend to cut out processed foods, which leads to weight loss. It's likely not the protein itself, because, as Dr. Neabore notes, “Even if you ate just rice during the day with nothing else, there’s still protein in there. As long as you’re getting enough calories, you’re getting enough protein.”
Too much protein doesn’t really exist, thanks to your body
Just as you don't have to worry about getting too little protein, it's pretty tough to get too much. "Foods are made up some combination of carbohydrates, fats, and protein… We don't really store protein. It’s a building block for things -- enzymes, and to make parts of different cells -- but there’s not not really area in our body that’s concentrated for protein. The body either uses it, or else we will pee it out -- it’s one of the things that makes up urine -- the rest of it just gets converted to fat."