Protein is a very important part of our diets.
Along with carbohydrates and fats, it is one of the primary macronutrients that is in all of the food we eat.
What’s more, it is an essential macronutrient, meaning that we literally won’t stay alive if we don’t consume enough protein on a regular basis.
Now what constitutes enough protein varies greatly from person to person.
If you’re an athlete, or someone that works out a lot, then your protein requirements are going to be higher – up to 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight, or sometimes even more.
But even if you don’t actively work out, you still need to be eating a minimum amount of protein each day.
In fact, the official RDI for protein is at least 56 grams per day for adult men, and 46 grams per day for adult women.
What happens, then, if you don’t meet this target – if you fail to get the requisite amount of protein in your diet?
Well, the short answer is nothing good…
Yup, not getting enough protein can drastically impact your quality of life, your appearance, and your overall health.
In this article, I’m going to be covering 7 warming signs – or, rather, symptoms – of not having enough protein in your diet.
Let’s get started.
Symptom #1: Low Energy / Fatigue
All of us get tired sometimes – especially when you’re working hard, and may not be getting enough sleep.
But if you’re chronically fatigued, it could be a sign that you’re not eating enough protein on a regular basis.
This is because the amino acids that make up protein are an essential component of the transportation of oxygen in your blood.
And without an adequate supply of oxygen available to meet the constant demands of cells and organs in your body, you may start experiencing symptoms of fatigue and chronic low energy.
Symptom #2: Hair Loss
Your hair is actually made up of keratin, which is a type of protein.
Therefore, it follows that if you don’t get sufficient protein in your diet, you can start to have issues with hair loss or brittle hair.
There is evidence that when your body has a limited quantity of dietary protein to work with, it will start reducing the supply to less essential areas, such as your hair.
Symptom #3: Decreased Strength & Muscle Mass
If you work out, one of the warning signs of not getting enough protein is feeling noticeably weaker.
This can be especially pronounced if you do any sort of strength training.
The reason for this is fairly simple: building and maintaining muscle mass requires a constant supply of protein, so if you’re lacking in that department then one of the places you’ll start noticing it is in the gym.
Symptom #4: Weakened Immune System
Do you get sick a lot?
If so, it may be a sign of a protein deficiency.
Protein is a key factor in maintaining a healthy immune system, since it is responsible for producing white blood cells, antibodies, and blood proteins.
All of these are important to help fight off infections – be it a common cold, or something more serious – so not eating enough protein compromises your body’s ability to do this effectively.
Symptom #5: Bloating
All of us get bloated sometimes – like after a massive meal, or if you have indigestion.
But if you experience frequent bloating, without an obvious cause, then it could be because of a protein deficiency.
You see, protein is also responsible for maintaining the water balance in your cells.
This means that if you don’t have sufficient protein, your cells can release too much of their water, which in turn can cause irregular bloating.
Symptom #6: Declining Bone Health
Maintaining healthy, strong bones is obviously very important, especially as we get older.
And most of us know that calcium is directly related to bone health.
However, what many people don’t know is that protein plays a key role here as well, since it is partly responsible for your digestive system absorbing calcium properly.
This means that without adequate protein, your body’s ability to utilize calcium may be compromised, resulting in weakened bones, decreased bone density, and a reduction in bone mass.
Symptom #7: Slow Recovery From Exercise
Do you find that it takes far too long to recover after a tough workout?
That you feel sore for days and days after lifting weights?
Now a little bit of occasional DOMS is normal – but if you experience this frequently, it may be a sign that you’re not eating enough protein, especially for the amount of exercise you’re doing.
As I mentioned before, protein is one of the key building blocks for your muscles; without it, your body can’t repair properly after an intense workout, leading to longer recovery times and greater post-exercise soreness.