My last couple of articles have looked at protein and the health benefits it can provide. Although it is a fantastic macronutrient that acts as the building blocks for your body, protein is is not without its faults. Consuming too much protein can cause a number of health problems. In this article I will be discussing some of the potential problems associated with overdosing on protein in greater detail.
1) DEHYDRATION:- According to this study increasing your protein intake can also increase levels of dehydration. The study looked at five endurance athletes who consumed low, moderate and high levels of protein over a period of four weeks. The findings revealed that as protein intake went up, hydration levels went down. Dehydration can put you at risk for a number of health problems and heat related illnesses.
2) INCREASED FAT STORAGE:- One of the common misconceptions surrounding protein is that you can eat as much as you like and you will not get fat. However, the simple truth is that if you eat too many calories (whether they be carbohydrate calories, protein calories or fat calories) any excess will be stored as body fat. Increasing your protein intake and reducing your carbohydrate intake whilst staying within the limits of your daily metabolism can stimulate fat burning in your body. However, increasing your overall caloric intake by eating more protein will ultimately lead to fat storage.
3) DIABETIC KETOACIDOSIS:- Eating high levels of protein and low levels of carbohydrates causes your body to enter a state of ketosis. This is a state where there is no glucose available in your blood in your blood to use for energy. Since there is no glucose available your liver starts to convert body fat into fatty acids and ketones which can then be used for energy. Whilst this is a popular fat loss method it can also be dangerous for diabetic people. Ketones are acidic and can therefore cause a number of problems including nausea, vomiting and even death. In non-diabetic people blood ketone levels are controlled by insulin. However, diabetic people struggle to produce adequate levels of insulin and ketosis can quickly turn into ketoacidosis, a state where the level of ketones in your blood is extremely high. This then leads to the problems discussed above.
4) KIDNEY STONES:- Studies suggest that high protein diets (particularly those high in meat protein) may be partially to blame for kidney stones. The reason for this is that when you consume protein it is broken down into acids including uric acid. This then increases the overall acidity of your blood. Your responds by releasing the alkaline substance calcium phosphate from the bones into the bloodstream. Ultimately, this can then lead to an increase in urine levels of both uric acid and calcium. These substances may then form into insoluble crystals (kidney stones) which are excreted in the urine.
5) OSTEOPOROSIS:- As I mentioned above eating high levels of protein can ultimately cause your body to release calcium phosphate from the bones. A lack of calcium in the bones can then lead to a condition called osteoporosis where your bone density becomes reduced. Osteoporosis causes your bones to bend, break and fracture much more easily than someone without the condition.
As you can see from this article protein is not perfect. Consuming too much can cause serious health problems. Although it is a vital macronutrient which helps keep you alive excess protein consumption is not advised. Increasing your protein intake at a sensible rate should not cause any of the problems listed above and may help you build muscle and burn fat. Just ensure that you do not go overboard.
Now I want to hear your thoughts. Are there any other protein disadvantages that you can think of which cause health problems? Do you agree that protein consumption should be moderated to a degree? Let me know by leaving a comment.
An In Depth Look At Ketogonic Diets and Ketosis (Bodybuilding.com)
Does Too Much Protein Turn To Fat? (Inch-Aweigh.com)
High Protein Diets Cause Dehydration (About.com)
Kidney Stones (About.com)