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Thread: Too much protein

  1. #1
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004

    Default Too much protein

    I never think about getting enough protein, but I eat nuts, beans, chickpeas, lentils etc. daily, and according to my blood tests my protein levels are higher than the average population. I don't think that's a problem, since I get all my proteins from plants - but some non-vegans worry that thy won't get enough protein if they don't eat animal products. Others discuss the risks of getting too much protein from animal sources, so here's a thread about anything related to too much protein.

    Some links (as always, I'll post links to articles which don't necessarily agree with each other):
    Potential Side Effects of Too Much Protein in the Diet

    So what happens when your diet goes far beyond the recommended level of protein, as you might do if following a high protein diet? One of the main concerns has to do with the stress put on the kidneys.
    It is important for people on high protein diets to exercise, because it can help the kidneys flush wastes out of your system more effectively. Make sure you talk to your doctor before beginning a high protein diet, if you have ever experienced kidney problems.
    Another issue regarding getting too much protein is leeching of calcium from the bones. The acids released by the body as it digests protein are absorbed with the help of calcium. So if you aren't getting enough calcium, your body will take calcium from your bones. The Nurses Healthy Study even showed that women who ate more than 95 grams of protein were more likely to have broken their wrist than were women who ate less protein.
    There is also some evidence that eating a lot of protein can induce or aggravate allergies.
    While it's a popular belief that eating too much protein causes cardiovascular disease, new research shows that a high protein diet that emphasizes vegetable sources of protein is protective to the heart. It is, though, important that you watch fat intake, because many cuts of meat are very fatty.
    Research has also shown the side effects of too much protein in the diet do not include an increased risk of diabetes or cancer.
    When too much protein is bad for you

    If you take excessive amounts of protein, the extra calories will be stored (as fat) or burned. It can also lead to over-straining of kidneys and long-term metabolic problems.
    Excess protein intake enhances diuresis (loss of body water) as the body excretes excess nitrogen (urea and ketones) through urine. This causes mineral losses and increases the risk for dehydration. High-protein diets are often high in cholesterol and may contribute to obesity, osteoporosis, heart disease and cancer.

    Individuals with a family history of liver and kidney problems and diabetes are at higher risk of adverse reaction from excessive dietary protein. Gout, a painful inflammation of joints, may be aggravated by high-protein diets as uric acids accumulate in joints.
    High-protein diets that propagate reduction in carbohydrates are unsuitable for high-endurance activities. These diets deplete muscle glycogen stores and thereby impair the ability to undertake prolonged, high-intensity exercise.

    High intake of single amino acid supplements may impair absorption of other amino acids.
    High-Protein Diets

    Most Americans already eat more protein than their bodies need. And eating too much protein can increase health risks. High-protein animal foods are usually also high in saturated fat. Eating large amounts of high-fat foods for a sustained period raises the risk of coronary heart disease, diabetes, stroke and several types of cancer. People who can't use excess protein effectively may be at higher risk of kidney and liver disorders, and osteoporosis.

    That's why the American Heart Association guidelines urge adults who are trying to lose weight and keep it off to eat no more than 35 percent of total daily calories from fat and less than 7 percent of total daily calories from saturated fat and less than 1 percent of total daily calories from trans fat. On most high-protein diets, meeting these goals isn't possible.

    Some high-protein diets de-emphasize high-carbohydrate, high-fiber plant foods. These foods help lower cholesterol when eaten as part of a nutritionally balanced diet. Reducing consumption of these foods usually means other, higher-fat foods are eaten instead. This raises cholesterol levels even more and increases cardiovascular risk.

    High-protein diets don't provide some essential vitamins, minerals, fiber and other nutritional elements. A high-carbohydrate diet that includes fruits, vegetables, nonfat dairy products and whole grains also has been shown to reduce blood pressure. Thus, limiting these foods may raise blood pressure by reducing the intake of calcium, potassium and magnesium while simultaneously increasing sodium intake.
    Side Effects of Eating too Much Protein
    Side Effects of Eating too Much Protein

    Sudden change in diet and jump towards a high protein diet can cause a few problems, which quite graspable. High protein diets are consumed in order to reduce weight which is impossible with only eating too much protein. Eating too much protein, especially with too less carbohydrates, can create a condition called as ketosis. It is a condition is which body uses its own fat to produce energy. This process leaves behind carbon particles called as ketone, which cause loss of appetite, loss of water weight, etc.

    Eating too much protein also results into excretion of too much calcium and ammonia in the urine. It also causes several kidney diseases and dysfunctions related with kidneys. Kidneys get exhausted by working extra to digest protein and as a result there are chances of kidney stones to appear as increasing age. Hence, having rigorous exercise is the best way to maintain kidney functions. Also, people that are already suffering with some kind of kidney disease, to consult the nephrologist before eating too much protein. Read on too much protein in urine as well.

    As the kidneys absorb the calcium, the body falls short of calcium and it can also happen that eating too much protein can cause absorption of calcium from the bones. Loss of calcium makes the bones all more porous and fragile. If further alleviated, this condition can also lead to osteoporosis, which is disease of bone tissues. It is also said that eating too much protein (non-vegetable sources) can give rise to various cardiovascular diseases, while vegetable sources of protein are said to protect heart health.

    Along with the above mentioned too much protein side effects, there are a few more health related issues that can be evoked by high protein consumption. They are dehydration, fatigue, headache, muscle cramps and muscle spasm, confusion, constipation, loss of concentration and difficulty in breathing. Eating too much protein also arouses issues regarding the health of the liver. Eating only high protein foods cause serious lack of some essential vitamins and minerals in body, leading to other health conditions and loss of physical endurance.
    Too Much Protein Is No Good

    by Vic Shayne, PhD

    It’s a common idea that you need a lot of protein for working out, especially adding muscle mass to your bod. But medical experts say that eating too much protein is bad for your health.

    Eating a quantity of protein that is more than 30 per cent of your total daily caloric intake is no good, according to protein expert Gail Butterfield, PhD, RD, director of Nutrition Studies at the Palo Alto Veterans’ Administration Medical Center and nutrition lecturer at Stanford University. ( Dr Butterfield explains Eating more protein and increasing total caloric intake while maintaining the same exercise level will build an equal amount of additional fat and muscle mass, according to a study published in 1992 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

    One of the biggest problems with eating too much protein is that it can create kidney problems. Excessive intakes of protein causes a buildup of ketones which your kidneys then have to work hard to get rid of, often causing dehydration, in the least.

    Researchers at Washington University’s School of Medicine say that high protein diets may be linked with increased cancer risk:

    Overweight people are at higher risk of developing post-menopausal breast cancer, endometrial cancer, colon cancer, kidney cancer and a certain type of esophageal cancer. Now preliminary findings from researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis suggest that eating less protein may help protect against certain cancers that are not directly associated with obesity.

    The research, published in the December issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, shows that lean people on a long-term, low-protein, low-calorie diet or participating in regular endurance exercise training have lower levels of plasma growth factors and certain hormones linked to cancer risk.

    Cleveland Clinic’s nutrition experts say that too much protein in your diet, which can be caused by low carb diets, can cause your body to go into a dangerous metabolic state called ketosis as your body burns fat instead of glucose for energy. During ketosis, the body forms substances known as ketones, which can cause organs to fail and result in gout, kidney stones, or kidney failure. Ketones can also dull a person’s appetite, cause nausea and bad breath. Ketosis is prevented by eating at least 100 grams of carbohydrates a day. (3)
    Side Effects Of Too Much Protein In The Diet

    An essential part of any healthy diet, proteins form the building blocks of our muscles, blood, immune system and more. They give structure to hair and fingernails through ligaments. The lens of the eye is made of pure crystalline proteins, thus helping with the sight. Some of the valuable food sources, through which the human body gets protein, include peas, beans, lentils, soy products, seeds and nuts. While lack of protein in the diet can cause kwashiorkor, a condition that can lead to loss of muscle mass, stunted growth, impaired immunity and weakening of the circulatory and respiratory systems, too much protein can create a number of problems as well. There are many red flags of excess protein that can cause medical concerns. Read on further to know some of the side effects of too much protein in the diet.

    Negative Effects Of Excess Protein Consumption

    • Extra proteins can cause kidney problems in people. A diet with too much protein stresses up the kidneys, making it difficult for them to function. This can also result in the development of kidney stones.
    • Consuming a diet high in carbohydrates and low in fats can lead to less consumption of fiber, thus resulting in excess protein in the body. This can in turn, lead to constipation.
    • Another important side effect of too much protein is the accumulation of ketones in the blood, a condition that is known as ketosis. The kidneys flush out excess proteins along with water, which can lead to dehydration, thus making you feel weak and tired.
    • The amount of calcium required by the body increases with the amount of protein consumed. If your body in unable to get the minimum required calcium, it will start leeching out calcium from your bones. This condition can become worse and lead to osteoporosis, where the bones tend to become brittle and break off easily.
    While handling excess protein, kidneys become unable to process uric acid quickly, thus leading to gout, a type of arthritis. Uric acid accumulates in the joints, hence causing pain and tenderness.
    • High protein foods that come from animal sources are very high in fats. Excess fat can lead to a rise in cholesterol, eventually putting you at a greater risk of developing heart disease. In case the high protein foods are high in calories, you are likely to gain weight easily.
    • Studies show that women who consume excess proteins are more likely to have broken wrists, as compared to women who eat less protein.
    • Other side effects of too much protein include hypertension, dizziness, fatigue, headache, nausea, diabetes, cataracts, arteriosclerosis, different kinds of allergies and increase in the acid content in blood.
    Too much protein increases cancer risk

    Earlier this week scientists reported a strong correlation between obesity and the risk of common cancers, such as cancer of the colon and breast cancer. Today, initial findings from a US study suggest that eating less protein could be a way to protect some people from cancers that are not directly associated with obesity.

    The research is published in the December issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2006, 84, 1456), shows that lean people on a long-term, low-protein, low-calorie diet or participating in regular endurance exercise training have lower levels of plasma growth factors and certain hormones linked to cancer risk. “However, people on a low-protein, low-calorie diet had considerably lower levels of a particular plasma growth factor called IGF-1 than equally lean endurance runners,” says Luigi Fontana of Washington University, “That suggests to us that a diet lower in protein may have a greater protective effect against cancer than endurance exercise, independently of body fat mass.”

    “Our findings show that in normal weight people IGF-1 levels are related to protein intake, independent of body weight and fat mass,” Fontana says. “I believe our findings suggest that protein intake may be very important in regulating cancer risk.”

    Fontana says most of us don’t eat nearly enough fruits and vegetables or enough whole-grains, cereals or beans. “Many people are eating too many animal products — such as meat, cheese, eggs and butter — as well as refined grains and free sugars,” he says. “Our intake of vegetables and fruits is low, and beans are vastly underconsumed in the U.S. and Europe these days.”

    He believes diets would be healthier if we ate more whole grains, beans, fruits and vegetables and far fewer animal products. He recommends mostly fish, low-fat dairy products and, occasionally, some red meat. Such a diet would both cut total calories and reduce the amount of protein we consume to healthier levels.

    “Eating too many calories increases our risk of developing obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and of certain types of cancer related to obesity,” Fontana adds, “We hope to further clarify what happens to cancer risk when we are chronically eating more protein than we need.”
    Four Disadvantages of Eating Too Much Protein

    1) IT CAN HAVE A DEHYDRATING EFFECT:- In a four week study that looked at five endurance athletes who consumed low, medium and high levels of protein it was found that increased protein consumption lead to lower levels of hydration. Dehydration can cause a number of serious problems including extreme fatigue, muscle cramps, headaches, muscle spasms, difficulty breathing and loss of consciousness.

    2) IT PROMOTES FAT STORAGE:- Many people believe that you can eat protein to your hearts content and not get fat. However, if you eat too many calories (whether they come from carbohydrates, fat or protein) they ultimately get stored as body fat. Eating more of this macronutrient whilst eating the same amount of calories can stimulate fat burning in your body but eating too many protein calories will lead to fat storage.

    3) IT CAN LEAD TO KIDNEY STONES:- When protein is broken down this creates acids such as uric acid which increases the acidity levels in your blood. To combat this your body releases the alkaline substance calcium phosphate from your bones into the bloodstream. Overall, this increases urine levels of uric acid and calcium which can then both form into kidney stones.

    4) IT CAN LEAD TO OSTEPOROSIS:- As discussed above eating high levels of protein can lead to calcium phosphate being released from the bones. Low levels of calcium in the bones can cause osteoporosis to develop. Osteoporosis reduces your bone density and can lead to your bones bending, breaking and fracturing much more easily than normal, healthy bones.

    The Disadvantages of Consuming Too Much Protein

    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.
    And - for the records (and for our non-vegan readers + vegans who may want to increase their protein intake), here's one of many simple ways you easily can get a lot of protein from plant sources. If you click on "many" in the previous sentence, you'll see lots of other options.

    How Much Protein is in Peanuts?

    A 1-oz. serving of peanuts, the equivalent of about a handful, provides 7 g of protein and a little more than 2 g of fiber. Two tbsp. of peanut butter contains 8 g of protein and 2 g of fiber.

    Even though peanuts are not actually in the nut family, they do contain more protein than any kind of nut, according to the Peanut Institute. The high level of protein in peanuts also contributes to improving satiety so you're less hungry after eating them, which can help you lose weight.

    Because the protein in peanuts comes from plants, it has different properties from animal protein, namely fiber and bioactives such as arginine, an amino acid. Arginine converts blood sugar into energy and develops into ntric oxide, which can help improve blood flow, relax your arteries and lower blood pressure. Another bioactive compound in peanuts is resveratrol, the antioxidant present in red wine that can help reduce cardiovascular disease, cancer and inflammation.

    Peanuts are complex plant foods with high levels of niacin, folate, potassium, magnesium, phytosterols and flavonoids. One-third cup of peanuts has a glycemic index of 14, which is a low-ranking measure for how quickly they elevate blood sugar after you eat them. Peanuts contain no cholesterol.

    Daily Intake
    According to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, the recommended level of daily protein intake for adults is 0.8 g per kg of body weight, or about 64 g for someone who weighs 160 lbs. This means that a 2-oz. serving, or two handfuls, of peanuts provides approximately one-fifth of your daily protein requirement.
    I will not eat anything that walks, swims, flies, runs, skips, hops or crawls.

  2. #2
    Greyowl55's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011

    Default Re: Too much protein

    Very informative, thank you. My attitude to all nutrients is that the body is a finely tuned machine that nevertheless can cope reasonably flexibly with short term excesses or insufficiency of whatever is required to keep it healthy. It is a common misunderstanding that if something is good for you, then more of it is even better for you. Not so. Oil is good for an engine. But just as lack of it will ensure it seizes, too much will ensure it suffocates.

    I always religiously follow the RDA guides on products; too little or too much over long periods will cause problems, but as long as over the long term you are near the guidance then you should be OK. The body is an intelligent and intuitive organism - it will soon tell you when something is not right. All that is needed is the informed mind to receive the signals.
    "Nostalgia is not what it used to be"

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