High-protein diets are all the rage, with keto being one of the biggest health trends of the moment. Many people have experienced amazing weight-loss and bodybuilding results by cutting carbs and loading up on high-protein foods, but it doesn’t come with some risks or potential issues.
The typical human body isn’t used to extremely high levels of protein and low levels of carbs, which can confuse one’s system and affect their overall health in many different ways.
Here are 12 things that could happen to your body when you eat too much protein.
You can become a little backed up.
Chances are if you’re on a high-protein diet that restricts carbohydrates, you’re probably not getting enough fibre, according to Women’s Health. This can lead to constipation.
“It’s not the protein but a lack of fibre that causes constipation,” Torey Armul, R.D. told the publication. “People eat less fibre on a high-protein diet since they’re more focused on eating animal proteins, which don’t have any fibre at all.”
You may get a bad case of diarrhoea.
On the flipside, too much protein can lead to diarrhoea, according to Livestrong. That’s because people often turn to dairy and processed food to hit their protein goals. This can cause you to have loose stool.
Experts recommend trying to cut back slightly on protein and to make sure that it’s coming from high-quality sources.
You could wind up gaining weight.
Although many turn to high-protein diets to lose weight, a lot of protein isn’t always conducive to weight loss.
According to Live Science, too much protein can contribute to weight gain if the added protein in your diet is contributing to excess calories. Be sure you’re focusing on the total nutritional value of your food, rather than just protein.
It could cause kidney damage.
Harvard Health Publishing reports that consuming too much protein is linked to kidney stones and kidney damage.
A high-protein diet will send your kidneys into overtime because they have to work extra hard to process the excess nitrogen contained in proteins’ amino acids.
You may have temporary bad breath.
This bad breath can be a sign you’ve reached ketosis, which can be a good thing if you’re on the keto diet.
But, although it’s temporary, it’s certainly not pleasant. “Keto breath” has been described as having an acetone scent.
You may have an increased cancer risk.
Eating too much meat – a prime source of protein – has been linked to certain types of cancer, particularly ones related to the bowel.
According to Cancer Council, “Meat may affect cancer risk because of chemicals formed during digestion that have been found to damage the cells that line the bowel.”
You might suffer from serious brain fog.
If you’re consuming a lot of protein but cutting out carbs and other nutrients, it might be more difficult for you to think clearly.
“Your brain depends on glucose from carbs as its main fuel- it takes up only two per cent of your body weight, but uses 20% of available glucose,” registered dietitian and nutritionist Carrie Dennett told Aaptiv Magazine.
When you don’t consume enough carbs, your brain might not be getting enough of its typical energy source, which can make it tough to concentrate.
You’ll probably need more fluids than usual.
Excess protein kicks your kidneys into overtime, which could mean your body will require more fluids. But, you might not feel more thirsty than usual.
Very Well Fit reports that a study conducted on athletes that tested protein consumption and hydration found that those who followed a high-protein diet didn’t feel any thirstier, even though their bodies likely needed more fluids.
“Based on our findings, we believe that it is important for athletes and non-athletes alike to increase fluid intake when consuming a high-protein diet, whether they feel thirsty or not,” said Nancy Rodriguez, an associate professor in nutritional sciences who oversaw the study, in a press release.
It can impact your chances of heart failure.
According to an American Heart Association study, high-protein diets can put some people at risk for heart failure.
The study found that “eating higher amounts of protein was associated with a slightly elevated risk for heart failure than those who ate less protein.”
Although the study focused on middle-aged men, its implications are certainly worth noting.
You may experience menstrual changes.
Not consuming adequate nutrients can cause your menstrual cycle to become irregular.
The keto diet and other high-protein diets’ lack of carbohydrates could cause you to miss your period or have an irregular cycle.
“The most common causes of irregular periods or amenorrhea (absence of a period for three months or more) are stress, too little carbohydrates, calorie restriction, and exercise,”registered nutritionist Vanessa Roster previously told INSIDER.
You could suffer from calcium loss.
A 2013 review posited that poor bone health may be connected to a high-protein diet. This led some to believe that increased protein intake may cause calcium loss.
Although more research must be done on the topic before definitely drawing a conclusion, this study is worth noting.
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