High-protein diets are quickly becoming a thing because of so many proven side effects of a food intake high in carbohydrates. And because of the seeming benefit of protein in building muscles, this diet is a favorite among celebrities and ordinary people who are into bodybuilding or just for toning their abs.
But as the saying goes, a lot of one thing can be harmful, and it rings true even when it comes to our health. Despite the physical benefits it can bring to you, your body is only wired to handle a certain amount of protein at one time. Too much of it and it can have side effects on other parts of your body. Here are six of these said effects:
Despite the excellent rep associated with protein, it cannot give a healthier, brighter mood the way sugary, starchy carbohydrates can. And because of the lack of carbs, which primarily fuels both muscles, organs, and the brain, your body uses protein for energy. So instead of using protein for growth and development, most of it would preferably be used to fuel your bodily functions.
Another cool job of the carbohydrate in our system is to activate serotonin, a feel-good hormone that significantly affects our overall mood and disposition. Proteins can never do this. So it’s not a wonder that those who are in high-protein diets can be difficult to work with.
Nail polish breath
Most high-protein diets sacrifice carbohydrate intake to ingest more of the nutrient. And as previously mentioned, it forces the body to use protein and fat for energy. Once the latter is used, your body would go into ketosis, a process wherein fat is converted to ketones then used as fuel instead of glucose. If you are in this state for a while now, you (or your officemate, probably) will notice that your breath smells like you just drank a whole bottle of your nail polish remover.
While the effect on your bodily functions is not necessarily harmful, it can be extremely uncomfortable especially for people who are into human relations as a job. And because the odor comes from within, having a good oral hygiene is not enough to take the stench away.
The breakdown of proteins results in a lot of waste products, specifically nitrogen. This requires your kidneys to work full time to flush it out of the body. And for them to do a good job, they need a lot more water than usual. Without the additional oomph from fluids, these waste products could accumulate and develop into stones which can both be painful and annoying especially during urination.
Impaired renal function
While this is highly debatable, some people who consume high-protein diets, whether consciously or not, develop kidney problems over time. It is because of the extra effort the organs have to do to get the nitrogen products and excess proteins out of your system.
In time, your kidneys would tax out, and it could bring permanent damage. To avoid this, have a regular checkup with your doctor and have him or her monitor your glomerular filtration rate (GFR), a range that tells you how efficient your kidneys are in filtering chemical wastes inside your body.
Because of the absence or limitation of carbohydrates in the diet, your fiber intake may be affected. An average adult should get his or her recommended amount of roughage which goes between 25 to 35 grams daily. Otherwise, it could lead to constipation.
Also, if you get your protein from dairy products like milk and cheese, you might experience bloating; if you get it from nuts and beans, you might have to endure the smell and sound of constant farting. All three GI problems may affect your overall self-esteem every time you have to go out to work.
High cholesterol levels
Some high-protein products like red meat and full-fat milk may contain copious amounts of fat which could lead to increased cholesterol levels. There are also others who consume the whole meat, including the fat. This side effect, can, thankfully, be controlled by being selective with your food choices and trimming visible fat from your meat cuts.
Regardless of how many fitness experts, nutritionists, and ordinary people who swear by its efficacy, the high-protein diet should still be adopted with caution and supervision by your doctor. Nothing beats the age-old methods of balanced diet and exercise to achieve the dream body you want.