Is Too Much Protein Bad

Can You Eat Too Much Protein

Can Eating Too Much Protein Be Bad For You?

Many diet and lifestyle plans extol the advantages of limiting carbs and eating most of your calories from protein and fats. Whether you have tried the Keto Diet, the Paleo Diet, the Atkins Diet or any of the others that call for a high protein intake, you may have wondered just how much protein is too much. Weve asked an expert at INTEGRIS for the answer.

Adding Daily Protein Does Not Weaken Your Bones

The idea of protein leading to weaker bones comes from the fact that protein increases the acidity of the body, and that this causes calcium to leach from the bones to counteract it. Excess acidity can to lead to bone weakness, but protein is not the culprit. 3

In fact, protein in the diet has the opposite effect: it strengthens bones. Increased protein in the diet leads to greater levels of insulin-like growth factor-1, better calcium absorption, and more vitamin D. All these effects act to strengthen the bones.

And thats not all. A diet high in protein-rich foods, combined with weight training increases muscle mass and strength. This is especially important as clients age and naturally start to lose muscle mass. Having more muscle is associated with greater bone density.

How Much Protein To Eat On Keto

The Standard American Diet is dense in carbs, with some protein and very little fat. On keto, you take a seemingly opposite approach, with the bulk of your calories coming from fat, some calories coming from protein, and very few from carbohydrates.

While every person has individual needs, most people follow these macronutrient guidelines to enter ketosis:

  • 75-80% of calories should come from fat
  • 20% of calories should come from protein
  • 5% of calories should come from carbohydrates

This is a common way to break down your macros on the ketogenic diet. And while it may help you to start producing ketones, it may not be the most effective approach for overall body composition and weight loss.

Instead of setting up macronutrient percentages, theres a better alternative.

Also Check: How To Calculate How Many Protein I Need

Digestive Upset And Other Problems

Every cell and organ in your body needs protein, but taking in too much of it can cause unpleasant symptoms. In addition to very serious problems like organ damage, weight gain and high cholesterol, you may also experience stomach upset from eating too much protein. Nausea, diarrhea, bloating, fatigue and even bad breath can result from eating a high protein diet. That’s because high-protein foods are harder for your body to digest, especially if they are high in fat.

Can It Cause Constipation And Nutritional Deficiencies

Is Eating Too Much Protein Bad For You?

Constipation is not a normal side effect of whey protein.

For a few people, a lactose intolerance may cause constipation by slowing the movement of the gut .

However, constipation is more likely caused when people eat fewer fruits and vegetables in favor of whey protein, especially when theyre on a low-carb diet.

Fruits and vegetables are a great source of fiber, which helps form stool and promotes regular bowel movements .

If you suspect that whey protein makes you constipated, check whether you are eating enough fruits and vegetables. You can also try taking a soluble fiber supplement.

Another reason why replacing whole foods with whey protein is a bad idea is because it may increase your risk of nutrient deficiencies.

Whole foods, especially fruits and vegetables, are nutrient-rich and contain a variety of minerals necessary for optimal health.

Therefore, its important to keep eating a balanced diet while youre taking whey protein.

Summary: You may be at risk of constipation and nutrient deficiencies if you replace fruits and vegetables in your diet with whey protein. Eating a balanced diet can help counter these effects.

You May Like: What Are The Best High Protein Foods To Lose Weight

You May Run The Risk Of Consuming An Allergen

Lactose isn’t the only nutrient to look out for when picking a protein powder. “If you have certain food allergies/intolerances check the label on your protein powder. If you have an egg or milk sensitivity/allergy, look for plant-based protein sources like pea, hemp, or brown rice protein,” says Kostro Miller. For examples see these The Best Vegan Protein Powders for Your Muscle-Building Needs.

Eat This, Not That!

Q: Is It Possible To Eat Too Much Protein

A: Like other food sources, too much of a good thing is not good at all. High protein intake also means ingesting excess calories and placing strain on your kidneys.

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services.Policy

Eating too much protein in one sitting over and over again can stress your kidneys which could lead to dehydration. So make sure you are distributing your intake evenly throughout the day.

How do you know if you are eating too much or too little? Following the standard rule of 0.8 grams of protein per 1 kilogram of body weight is suggested. If youre physically active, its OK for your intake to be a little bit higher to help with muscle repair and gain.

But you shouldnt feel you have to eat strictly meat to help rebuild muscles. A variety of healthy protein sources are available for all diets.

Choosing organic animal and plant-based proteins is always best. Look for lean, grass-fed meats or wild-caught fish. On the plant side, lentils, beans and nut butters are easy and nutritious sources.

If youre wandering down the aisles looking at the countless tubs of protein powders, choose one thats organic, has the fewest ingredients and is tested by a third party. Regulations for ingredients in protein powders are more lax, so its reassuring to know another source has verified the ingredients in a powder are safe and healthy.

Also Check: What Protein Is Good For You

You May Get A Sugar High

“Lots of protein powders have tons of flavorings, sugar, and additives to make them taste better. When possible, try to find a protein powder that is minimally flavored otherwise, all that sugar can add up to something similar to a soda!” says Kostro Miller. This is particularly concerning for those who buy protein powders as supplements in protein smoothies, as they will already have a good amount of carbs and natural sugar from fruit.

“Overall, I’d say it’s best to avoid protein powder if you can opt for another way to spike your smoothie with protein. You can try adding more yogurt, seeds and nuts for this purpose. Even tofu can help add more protein to a smoothie without compromising the taste, which is one of my favorite tricks for making creamier smoothies,” recommends Velikova.

The Best Protein Sources For Your Heart

Too Much Protein Bad?

For a healthy heart, opt for low-fat, non-animal, non-dairy plant proteins, like what you get from legumes, beans, nuts, and lentils. Among animal proteins, choose those low in saturated fats like poultry or, even better, fatty fish like tuna or salmon, which is also rich in health-boosting omega-3 fatty acids.27


Don’t Miss: Which Foods Are High In Protein For Weight Loss

Get Results In 30 Days

Join 90k+ people who are losing weight with Keto Kickstart, our doctor-developed program designed to give you real weight loss results.

Youre in! Check your email to get started with the program.

The low-carb approach can boost your ketone levels and help you enter nutritional ketosis, which is a metabolic state in which you burn fat for energy instead of glucose.

This is the defining difference between the ketogenic diet and Atkins or other low-carb diets, which reduce some carbs and dont try to put you in ketosis.

While controlling carb intake is essential on keto, so too is monitoring protein intake.

On keto, youll consume adequate amounts of protein never less than you need. This macro is one of the most challenging to nail down when starting keto due to all the conflicting information about it.

Protein is a building block of life and a necessary component of any diet. Its crucial for:

  • Healthy brain function
  • Cutting body fat

These benefits promote longevity, prevent injuries, and boost your metabolism.

Unfortunately, a lot of ketogenic dieters are worried that overeating protein might kick them out of ketosis.

Many low-carb, high-fat advocates believe excess protein can turn into sugar in your bloodstream through a process called gluconeogenesis and knock down your ketone levels. But as youll find out, this is only a myth.

How Many Grams Of Protein A Day Is Too Much

If there is a level of protein intake that is excessive and damaging to kidney health, we dont currently have evidence to show what this may be.

In other words, there is currently no such thing as too much protein regarding negatively impacting renal function.

Studies show that protein intake at up to 35% of total energy intake has no adverse effect on people with healthy kidneys.

The four studies mentioned in this article also consider all different people.

From resistance-trained individuals to pre-diabetics, people with abdominal obesity, and average healthy adults, no harm was found from increasing protein intake.

Of course, we should still be sensible, and we shouldnt overeat protein just for the sake of it. But overall, the data suggest that there would be no harm from consuming around 1 gram protein per pound of body weight.

Consuming more protein than this would likely be unnecessary for the majority of people.

Key Point:

Also Check: Are Special K Protein Bars Healthy

Are There Dangers To Eating Too Much Protein

Protein one of the three macronutrients along with carbs and fat is essential for human health.

Many types of protein exist in the body. Theyre involved in critical bodily processes, including oxygen transport, immune function, the transmission of nerve impulses, and growth .

High protein diets have been linked to a number of health benefits, including improvements in body composition and reduced blood sugar levels.

However, you may wonder whether you can get too much of a good thing.

This article reviews the science behind protein in the diet and whether you should be concerned about eating too much of it.

Our Kidneys Filter Proteins Waste Products

Is Too Much Protein Bad For You?  BPI Whey Protein Part 1 ...

As our body metabolizes protein, the process generates various nitrogenous waste products such as urea, uric acid, creatinine, and hippuric acid .

These waste products need filtering out of the body for excretion, and this responsibility belongs to our kidneys.

This task requires a lot of hard work, which is quite normal for the kidneys they receive and process approximately 1.2 liters of blood per minute. This amount accounts for around 25% of all cardiac output, which shows the importance of the organ .

If waste products build up in our body, they become toxic, and so the kidneys play a crucial role in removing these products.

As a result, many people assume that higher protein intake leads to a higher kidney workload, and the extra demand causes kidney strain.

You May Like: What Is The Best Protein Bar To Eat

How To Keep A Balanced And Safe Daily Protein Target

The best way to be sure that your daily protein consumption is healthy is to get in touch with a professional, such as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist . These experts are well-versed in all things nutrition and can help you to determine appropriate calorie, macronutrient, and overall dietary goals and strategies to achieve your health and fitness objectives.

Also think about your daily habits and routine. For some people, it makes more sense to consume more protein in the morning. Others may prefer to have a high-protein meal later in the day after work or school. Creating a meal plan even if it is informal and flexible may help you better track the amount of dietary protein you’re consuming.

Finally, consider using supplements such as protein powder derived from whey and other healthy protein sources. Whey protein powder products make it easy to portion out exact amounts of protein, giving you a higher degree of control over the number of grams you eat each day.

Can It Damage Your Liver

No evidence shows that too much protein can damage the liver in healthy people .

In fact, the liver needs protein to repair itself and convert fats to lipoproteins, which are molecules that help remove fats from the liver .

In a study of 11 obese women, taking 60 grams of a whey protein supplement helped reduce liver fat by approximately 21% over four weeks.

Moreover, it helped reduce blood triglycerides by approximately 15% and cholesterol by about 7% .

One case report implied that a 27-year old male could have suffered liver damage after taking whey protein supplements .

However, he was also taking a variety of other supplements. Doctors were also unsure if he was taking anabolic steroids, which can damage the liver .

Considering that thousands of people take whey protein without liver problems, this single case provides insufficient evidence that whey protein can damage the liver.

Although, a high protein intake may harm people who have cirrhosis, a chronic liver disease (

If you have liver disease, check with your doctor before taking whey protein.

Summary: There is no evidence that too much protein can damage the liver in healthy people. However, people with liver disease should check with their doctor about whether whey protein is safe for them.

Recommended Reading: Is Gold Standard Whey Protein Good

Protein And Your Health

Protein is one of three essential macronutrients the other two are fat and carbohydrate. These are needed in large amounts to maintain health and vital functions.

The body uses protein to build, repair, and maintain most of your body’s tissues and organs. Proteins are also necessary for immune system function and help some additional physiological processes as well.

Excessive Protein And Kidney Damage

Protein And Aging – Is Too Much Protein Bad For You?

Consuming too much protein has also been linked to kidney issues, although most studies suggest that this risk is highest in those with pre-existing renal conditions. According to Harvard Medical School, people who consume diets very high in protein are also at a greater risk of kidney stones.

A recent study also suggested that the specific type and quality of the protein in your diet may have an impact on kidney health. It went on to state that diets high in animal protein may put you at a higher risk of kidney disease than plant proteins. For this reason, it may be better to get your protein from plant-based sources such as nuts and beans.

Recommended Reading: Can Toddlers Eat Protein Bars

What Happens When You Eat Too Much Protein And How Much Is Healthy

  • It is possible to each too much protein if more than 35% of your daily calories come from protein, you might experience side effects.
  • Eating too much protein can worsen kidney problems, and over time can cause symptoms like bad breath, indigestion and dehydration.
  • Certain sources of protein like meat, dairy, and processed foods can increase the risk of chronic illnesses like heart disease and cancer.

Protein is an essential nutrient for regulating cell function, building tissue, and helping your blood carry oxygen throughout the body. However, it’s possible to eat too much protein which can overload your liver and kidneys and cause some other minor side effects like bad breath and appetite loss.

Not getting enough protein can lead to fatigue, brain fog, hunger, and slower recovery from illness and injury. It can also cause loss of muscle mass, particularly in the elderly.

On the other hand, it’s possible to experience side effects from getting too much protein, particularly if you have kidney problems.

It’s important to know which sources of protein are better than others for avoiding health risks. What’s more, there are ways to gauge if you’re getting the right amount of protein, how to tell if you’re getting too much, and when to see a doctor.

You May Put A Burden On Your Kidneys

When you down a steak, chicken breast, or any other source of the muscle builder, you also take in nitrogen, which is naturally occurring in the amino acids that make up proteins. When you’re consuming a normal amount of protein, you excrete the nitrogenno harm, no foul. But when you eat a ton of the stuff, your kidneys have to go into overdrive to get rid of all the extra nitrogen, explains Bjork. “In the short run, this isn’t harmful to most people. But if you’re a long-time high-protein dieter, you could be increasing your risk for kidney damage,” she warns.

Recommended Reading: Where To Buy Met Rx Protein Bars

Protein Recommendations For Teenagers

The amount of protein a teen needs depends on height, weight, gender and activity level, but according to teens need about .5 to .8 grams of protein for every pound of body weight. In general, this breaks down to most teenage boys needing about 52 grams of protein per day, while teenage girls need about 46 grams per day. However, if teens are small or large for their age, or very active, their needs are different.

Protein And The Kidneys

Is Too Much Protein Bad For You?

Don’t worry about it if you have healthy kidneys and control your protein intake if you have damaged kidneys. It may be prudent to gradually increase protein intake to higher levels rather than jumping in both feet at a time, but there isn’t much on this topic.

It is generally recommended to consume more water during periods when protein intake is being increased. Whether or not this has biological basis is not known, but it may be prudent to do

Healthy kidneys

When looking at active male athletes and measuring urinary creatinine, albumin, and urea no significant changes were seen in dosage ranges of 1.28-2.8g/kg bodyweight. The above study lasted 7 days, but survey research supports this lack of association . Although ‘high protein’ was defined as 1.1+/-0.2g/kg bodyweight, it was associated with better glomerular filtration rate. The Nurse’s study corroborates these results, but also suggests that this apparent lack of harm does not hold true for renal insufficiency and that non-dairy animal proteins are associated to damage to a greater degree than other proteins.

These studies are likely indicative of a ‘too much, too fast’ sitation, as controlled changes do not lead to adverse changes in kidney function. Thus, it would be prudent to slowly change protein intake over a moderate length of time.

Damaged or unhealthy kidneys

Recommended Reading: How To Track Your Protein Intake

Popular Articles

Related Articles