# In a well balanced 1500 calorie a day diet, what is too much protein?

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In a well balanced 1500 calorie a day diet what is too much protein (in grams) to consume? I am involved in weight training and really feel better when I eat MORE protein than is advised in various charts. Why is too much (assuming the protein I am eating is high quality, low fat, which it is) bad for you? What harm does it cause?

Protein should comprise 10 – 15% of a healthy diet. If you eat 1500 calories per day, then you should eat about 56 grams of protein. Take 1500 calories times 15%, then divide by 4 calories per gram.

However, 1500 calories seem low for someone in a weight training program. Your calorie requirements may be as high as 60 calories per kilogram per day. Take your weight in pounds, divide by 2.2 and then multiply by 60 to get your calorie needs.

Protein once absorbed into the blood is filtered by the kidneys and if not used to build and repair muscle tissue, is converted to energy or stored as fat. At 1500 calories, I doubt though that any protein would be stored as fat. Protein requirements of athletes are 1.2 gram of protein per kilogram of body weight. Take your weight in pounds and divide by 2.2 to get your weight in kilograms, then multiply by 1.2 to get your protein needs. For instance, a 154-pound person would weigh 70 kg and would need 84 grams of protein.

Unfortunately, there is lots of hype involved in weight training. Most of it not backed by research. Actually, muscle synthesis decreases during exercise and nearly doubles during recovery between training according to Dr. Carol Meredith of the University of California at Davis. She also stated that additional protein does not increase muscle mass or strength.

Carbohydrates are important sources of energy in weight training since your muscles need fuel (glycogen, which is stored in glucose and comes from carbohydrate in the diet). Are you eating about 55-60% of calories from carbohydrates? In a 1500-calorie diet that would be about 206 grams. Take 1500 calories times 55%, then divide by 4 calories per gram. Also what percent of your diet is fat?

P.S. Avoid raw egg whites as a high protein, low-fat food choice as they contain avidin which destroys biotin which is a nutrient.

Joanne Larsen is a licensed, registered dietitian with extensive clinical experience in nutrition therapy in hospitals, clinics, mental health and long term care. She has a bachelor's degree in dietetics with a minor in chemistry and a master's degree in nutrition with a minor in counseling. She is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly American Dietetic Association).