Without proteins, we are unable to survive. Thus, a protein deficiency can have serious and long-lasting consequences. Below you’ll find 10 signs that are that you’re not eating enough protein and what you can do to fix it.

What happens in the event of a protein deficiency?

In the event of a protein deficiency, stored proteins are removed from the body tissue. First, the body uses the protein supplies that are not needed for survival. These are, for example, proteins from hair, nails, skin and muscles.

The connective tissue becomes increasingly flaccid when there is too little protein and the skin becomes very thin. This is due to the lack of collagen and elastin. Hair loss and dwindling muscles are also typical signs of protein deficiency. In addition, there are consequences that are not externally visible. These include fatigue, a thin nerve costume and a depressed mood.

10 typical signs that you are not eating enough proteins

  1. Fragile fingernails
    Brittle finger and toe nails. These splinter more easily and tear in quickly.
  2. Thin hair
    Thin, brittle and dry hair, increased hair loss.
  3. Water accumulations
    In the event of a protein deficiency, water from the blood vessels enters the tissue. In order to keep the water in the vessels, the body needs sufficient proteins. Swollen eyes or water accumulations in the legs could be signs of a protein deficiency.
  4. bad skin
    The skin becomes dry and scaly due to protein deficiency. In addition, sunburn, allergies and rashes occur more quickly.
  5. Sugar cravings
    The craving for sugar and sweets in general is particularly high, as well as an increased craving for high-calorie diets. This is due to a steadily decreasing blood sugar level. The body needs enough proteins to keep blood sugar levels constant. If there are hardly or too few proteins in the daily diet, the blood sugar level fluctuates significantly.
  6. Fatigue
    Fatigue is also a typical sign of protein deficiency. This is due to fluctuating blood sugar levels.
  7. Sleepiness
    Increasing sleepiness, or inertia. If the body receives too little protein, it makes use of the supplies. This includes the protein reserves of the muscles. Due to an acute protein deficiency, the muscles shrink. A feeling of permanent fatigue and inertia arises.
  8. Disturbed sleep balance
    To regulate our sleep wakefulness, we need serotonin. Serotonin is part of sleep regulators. In order for the body to form this messenger substance, it needs amino acids. Amino acids are supplied exclusively via proteins.
  9. Poor immune system
    If you have too little protein, you are more likely to get sick. Proteins play an important role in a functioning and stable immune system. White blood cells consist to a large extent of proteins. They are essential for the formation of antibodies.
  10. Weight gain
    If you eat too little protein, you may also suffer from craving attacks. People with this deficiency tend to eat more fatty and sugary foods. This is also due to the sharp drop in blood sugar levels. Often, overweight people eat significantly too little protein, with a high proportion of saturated fat.

What to do about a protein deficiency?

To avoid protein deficiency, you should consume 1.2 to 2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight daily. It is important to know that protein cannot be stored for long. Quite different from fat. Because to this, the body requires a daily intake of proteins. When you exercise, your protein requirement increases to at least 1.5 grams of protein per body weight. If you want to lose weight or tighten your skin, you should eat at least two grams of protein per kilogram of body weight every day.

What to eat to increase your protein intake

  • Egg Yolk

Egg yolk contains about 8 grams of protein per piece. The body can use the protein almost completely. If you eat an entire egg, you will eat about 15 grams of protein.

  • Cheese

Cheese is an ideal protein supplier. Especially hard cheeses like Parmesan. It delivers about 36 grams of protein per 100 grams. Other cheeses such as Gouda about 25 grams. If you want to lose weight, you should also pay attention to the fat content. Parmesan has a relatively low fat content and a high protein content.

  • Fish

Fish is also a high-quality source of protein. Whether it’s saithe, cod, tuna or trout. For every 100 grams, fish delivers about 24 grams of protein.

  • Meat

Chicken contains about 24 grams of protein per 100 grams. In any case, you should pay attention to a good quality, if possible organic, meat.

  • Protein sources for vegans or vegetarians

Vegetarians can use cheese and eggs. But there are also numerous sources of protein for vegans. The protein from plant sources is quite high quality. Vegetable protein sources include cereals such as oatmeal, quinoa or whole meal bread. Potatoes are also an important source of protein. 250 grams of potatoes contain about 5 grams of protein. A useful alternative to fish and meat are lentils. A stew of lentils and potatoes is an ideal source of protein.

Stephan Meed

A southern gentleman at heart, Stephan is a man you'll find mudding, off-roading, and fishing on a typical weekend. However, a nutritionist by profession, he is also passionate about fitness and health through natural means. He writes mostly health-related content for the Scientific Origin.