5 Signs You Are Not Eating Enough Protein
Protein is a key building block of life. And while many know this fact, the price you pay for actually not including enough of this macronutrient in your diet is very high. Whether you’re vegetarian, vegan or a hardcore non-vegetarian, there are plenty of natural sources of protein that you can consume to keep protein deficiency at bay. From animal products like meat and dairy, eggs, fish and seafood to plant-based proteins like whole grains, nuts, seeds, soy products and even some vegetables like spinach and peas, you have limitless options.
Why you need sufficient protein
If you fail to add enough protein in your regular diet, your risk of adverse health outcomes can be quite high. A 2016 study published in Scientific Reports suggests that the consumption of protein triggers essential adaptive responses in the body that regulate ingestive behaviour, energy expenditure and metabolism. Not getting enough of this nutrient can not only make you lethargic and tired but can also lead to muscle wasting and a severe form of protein malnutrition known as kwashiorkor.
Signs you aren’t eating enough proteins
Getting enough proteins in your diet is, therefore, a must. When you don’t, your body is likely to draw your attention towards this major nutritional deficiency by putting out visible signs and symptoms. If you get one or more of these symptoms, it’s necessary to consult a doctor immediately and modify your diet to make up for the lack of proteins. In some cases, the doctor might even recommend protein supplements to overcome the deficiency quickly and safely. The following are the symptoms you should look out for.
1. Fatigue and weakness
Protein consumption provides a lot of energy to your body and can fuel more physical activity. When you don’t get enough of this vital nutrient, the exact opposite is likely to happen. Not only are you going to feel weak and fatigued, but you’re also going to feel more lethargic than usual.
2. Loss of muscle mass
Dietary protein is a key nutrient that helps the body build muscles. When this dietary intake is lacking, the body starts breaking down skeletal muscle to fuel itself, which leads to loss of muscle mass and, therefore, loss of strength. If not controlled in time, this can cause long-term debilitation and low quality of life.
3. Increased hunger
Your body needs fuel to function and protein is one macronutrient that provides it in spades. So, when your protein intake is inadequate or too low, your body tries to make up for it by increasing your hunger. The problem is, if you try to overcome this increased appetite with junk or processed foods, it may instead lead to unhealthy weight gain, obesity and other complications.
4. Low immunity
Even a little protein deficiency can cause your immunity to take a hit. Getting infections more frequently is a sign that you may be consuming low amounts of protein in your diet. Lack of protein in a diet can also slow down the healing of wounds.
5. Early ageing
A study published in the Indian Dermatology Online Journal in 2019 suggests that the effects of low protein can start to show up on your skin, nails and hair too. Thinning of hair, brittle hair and nails, wrinkled or pigmented skin and hair loss are some common early signs of lack of protein in your diet.
For more information, read our article on Protein deficiency.
Health articles on News18 are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health.