5 Warning Signs You’re Eating Too Much Protein

High-protein diets are very trendy right now. Atkins, Keto, South Beach, Paleo and others all recommend copious amounts of protein. These diets also have many loyal fans.

The theories behind these diets make sense. Protein provides energy, helps build muscles, stimulates your metabolism and contributes to satiety. All of which help with achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. But while protein is an important macronutrient and a huge boon for weight loss and overall health, you can go overboard with animal protein. Excess protein in the body and longterm high protein intake is connected to several health issues.

In general, the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for protein is 0.8g per kg of body weight. That’s the bare minimum to meet your body’s nutritional needs. According to research at the Protein Summit, a bit more, or roughly 15 to 25 percent of your total daily calories, should come from protein. So how do you know it you’re overdoing it? Here are a few signs you’re overloading on animal protein.

1. Joint Pain

Researchers have discovered that people on high-protein diets that are rich in red meats have higher levels of uric acid in their blood, which can form needle-like crystals inside the joints and increase the risk of gout. Gout is a type of arthritis that causes painful joint inflammation.

crack knuckles photo
Flickr | orijinal

2. Thirst And Dehydration

In order to break down protein, the body needs water. Excess protein intake means your body will signal for more water with thirst. The kidneys, which break down protein, will pull water from elsewhere in the body to keep up with the extra protein. In fact, one large 2016 study linked a high-protein diet high in red meat to kidney disease.

drinking water photo
Getty Images | Mark Dadswell

3. Constipation

Diets high in animal protein generally tend to include less fiber. Unfortunately, with plates piled high with protein, there’s no space left for fiber-packed produce. Falling short on fiber leads to intestinal problems like constipation and bloating. It also leads to an imbalance of gut flora, which in turn creates more bowel irregularities. Eating a diet high in red meat has also been linked to an increased risk of colon cancer, according to the World Health Organization.


4. Bad Breath

The combination of high protein and low carbohydrates places your body in a state of ketosis (the goal of the Keto diet). While it’s excellent for weight loss, ketosis and its accompanying excess ketones can produce smelly breath. Some people report an unpleasant fruity scent.


5. Weight Gain

Protein contains calories, and consuming more calories than you burn leads to weight gain. One study looked at the effect of long-term high-protein consumption on body weight changes and found surprising results. Participants whose diets included more than 20 percent protein — with ample animal protein — were significantly more likely to gain weight compared to people whose diets had less than 15 percent protein.