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10 Unexpected Side-effects of High Protein Diet

High-protein diets have become popular in managing weight or shedding extra pounds. Health experts, however, warn that such diets may cause health complications.

Exercise & Fitness By Himanshu Sharma / May 12, 2015

Weight Gain

Proteins form the building blocks for our muscles, blood, immune system and more. If you eat too much protein than what your body requires, it will simply convert most of the calories to sugar and then fat. Limit your protein intake so that you don’t accumulate unwanted fat.


Excessive protein in the diet can affect biochemical pathway called the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR). This biochemical pathway plays an influential role in development of many cancer types. When you consume too much protein than what your body requires, you increase your chances of cancer growth.

Loss of Kidney Function

Kidneys are responsible for removing waste products from the blood; and too much protein in the body interferes with kidney function by stressing them. This might lead to chronic dehydration and also put you at risk of kidney stones.

Imbalance of Amino Acids

Studies suggest that high protein consumption reduces intake of the amino acid methionine, which happens to be high in animal-based foods. The balance of amino acids is key to keeping many health complications at bay, especially with other amino acids like glycine that may actually lower methionine levels.

Restriction of Carbohydrates

Most high-protein diets restrict carbohydrate-intake. Absence of sufficient carbohydrates can result in nutritional deficiencies or insufficient fibre which can cause many health problems.

Heart Conditions

Most high-protein diets comprise foods such as red meat and full-fat dairy products. These foods have been associated with heart diseases.

Weak Bones

Too much protein in diet can take calcium away from the bones. A Nurses Healthy Study found that women who ate more than 95 grams of protein were more likely to have broken their wrist than women who ate less protein.


Animal protein foods are high in purines and can cause high levels of uric acid, contributing to gout. Plant-based proteins keep gout risk to a minimum.

Unpleasant Body Odour and Bad Breath

Unpleasant body odour and bad breath can develop if you eat only protein foods. It is because of the ketones that accumulate in the body.

Nutritional Deficiency

When you stick to a certain diet, you may miss out on certain essential nutrients. A high–protein diet usually cuts out fruits and vegetables, making you lack on sufficient antioxidant, vitamins such as beta carotene, vitamin C, protective bioflavonoids, and certain minerals.



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