Can you have too much Protein?!

Written by: Elsie Velazquez cert. personal trainer at Prescription Fitness (Cleveland, Ohio)

In recent years, high protein diets such as the Adkins Diet, Zone Diet, and Keto Diet have become very popular.  These diets are very popular and are known for helping you to reduce fat, lose weight, and develop/maintain muscle.

Protein is an essential part of a healthy diet. It helps to build and repair muscle, organs, and bones. The recommended daily amount of protein is 56 grams for the average man and 46 grams for the average woman.  The amount of protein you need depends on your weight, goals, and your lifestyle.  If you do intense workouts and your goal is to gain muscle, if you are trying to lose weight, or if you have a physically demanding job, you will need more than the average person and can bump up the amount of protein you take in.

While there are some benefits to following a high protein diet – building and maintenance of muscle and potential to curb appetite because it keeps you feeling full longer – it is important to know that exceeding the recommended daily amount for an extended period of time has risksSome of these risks include the following:

Weight gain

If you follow a high protein diet you may experience weight loss but only for a short time.  Excess protein will eventually be stored as fat and this will lead to weight gain.  This is especially true if you consume too many calories while trying to increase your protein intake.  Simply put, if you eat too many calories, regardless of their source, weight gain will be the result.


Bad breath

Eating large amounts of protein can lead to bad breath when you simultaneously restrict your intake of carbs. Following a high protein/low carb diet put your body in a state of ketosis.  This state produces chemicals that give off an unpleasant smell.



Low fiber intake usually goes hand in hand with a high protein/low carb diet.  Increasing your water and fiber intake is one way to try to counteract this issue.



Studies have found that as protein intake increases, hydration decreases.  Keep in mind that you can be dehydrated even though you may do not necessarily feel thirsty. It is important to Increase your water intake with high protein diets, especially if you’re an active person.


Kidney Stones

According to a few studies, high protein diets, especially those high in meat protein, may be partially to blame for kidney stones.  The reason for this is that when you eat protein it is broken down into acids including uric acid.  This acid increases the acidity of your blood and you body responds by releasing the calcium phosphate from the bones into the bloodstream.  Over time, this can lead to an increase in urine levels of both uric acid and calcium.  These substances then form into kidney stones.


Heart disease

You should be aware that if you choose to eat lots of red meat and full-fat dairy foods as part of your high-protein diet, it may lead to heart disease. Eating poultry, fish, and nuts will help lower this risk.


Calcium loss/Osteoporosis

Diets that are high in protein and meat may cause your body to release calcium phosphate from the bones.  This is sometimes associated with osteoporosis and poor bone health.


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