10 ways too much protein is harmful to your health

By , K24 Digital
On Thu, 20 Jul, 2023 07:00 | 3 mins read

This essential nutrient, protein, whether animal or plant-based, is a key macronutrient for the body. But did you know, consuming more of it than your body requires could lead to various problems?

Here are some of the consequences of excessive consumption of this macronutrient

  • Kidney damage

High protein intake puts a strain on the kidneys as they are responsible for filtering waste products generated during protein metabolism. While no major studies link high protein intake to kidney damage in healthy individuals, excess protein can cause damage in people with preexisting kidney diseases. This is because of the excessive nitrogen found in the amino acids that make up proteins. Damaged kidneys have to work harder to get rid of the extra nitrogen and waste products of protein metabolism.

  • Increased risks of cardiovascular diseases

Some studies have suggested that high protein diets, particularly those predominantly based on animal protein sources, may be associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases. One of those studies was done by researchers at the University of Eastern Finland and found that people who consumed a high-protein diet increased their risk of developing heart failure by 33 per cent. The reason being, these diets often contain high levels of saturated fats and cholesterol, which can raise blood cholesterol levels and contribute to the development of heart disease.

  • Bone health concerns

High protein intake, especially when coupled with low intake of fruits and vegetables, can lead to an imbalance in the body’s pH levels. To neutralise the acidic byproducts of protein metabolism, the body may draw calcium from the bones, potentially leading to weakened bones and an increased risk of bone diseases such as osteoporosis.

  • Increased cancer risk

Scientists have been able to link high protein intake, particularly high red meat-based protein with an increased risk of certain types of cancer, such as colorectal and prostate cancers. However, the evidence in this area is not entirely conclusive, and more research is needed to establish a definitive link.

  • Weight gain and metabolic issues

A high protein diet helps in weight loss. But if you are consuming excessive proteins, chances are, you will be gaining more weight than losing . This is because the excess protein is stored as fat which then leads to weight gain. Additionally, high-protein diets that are low in carbohydrates may disrupt the balance of macronutrients necessary for optimal metabolism and overall health.

  • Fatigue

One of the signs to show that you are consuming more protein than required is not being able to concentrate, not because you are distracted but because your mind keeps getting tired and losing interest. While protein is meant to keep us energized, it also plays with our health. This is because less of carbs and more of proteins will signal your brain about lack of energy and hence tiredness will lead to you feeling exhausted all the time.

  • Dehydration

If you consistently take excess protein for a longer period of time, it can eventually lead to dehydration. This happens because when your body consumes excess protein, your kidney has to work harder to remove the excess amount of it and the nitrogen waste from the body through the urine. This increases your visit to the bathroom which ultimately raises the risk of dehydration.

  • Nutrient imbalances and digestive issues

An excessive focus on protein consumption may result in neglecting other important nutrients in the body, leading to imbalances and deficiencies in other essential vitamins and minerals. A high protein diet means a low fiber and low carbs diet which can easily lead to digestive issues ranging from constipation, nausea and diarrhoea. Along with that, you may also experience cramping and bloating.

  • Hangry

When your body needs food, it is asking for carbs, fats, fiber, proteins, vitamins and minerals. If at a time like this, you only provide it with proteins, it will end up making you hangry because the needs of your body are not fulfilled. Coined from the words hungry and angry, hangry is an adjective that describes being irritable due to hunger.

  • Bad breath

Eating large amounts of protein can lead to bad breath, especially if you restrict your carbohydrate intake. This is because high-protein foods sets off a chemical chain of events once the body starts digesting them. An excess amount of proteins means the body cannot break them down efficiently, resulting to excessive amino acids. These acids, combined with anaerobic bacteria are responsible for cavities and decay in the mouth. The result is the unending irritating oduor that eminates from a person’s breath.

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