Side Effects of Too Much Protein

It is believed that in order to build up muscle, the boosting of the quantity of protein in the diet is necessary. Even though extra protein is usually required for certain groups like athletes, particularly bodybuilders and weight lifters, it is indeed possible to consume an excessive amount of protein in your nutrition, which in turn can cause harm. The groups that might be at too high a risk of excess protein are, along with the mentioned sportspeople, dieters on diets with low carbohydrates or even none at all, as well as diabetics who have replaced carbohydrates with protein food.

It is without doubt that protein is a vital part of a wholesome regime, as it shapes the building blocks of the blood, the muscles, the immunity, etc. In fact, if insufficient fuel in the shape of fat and carbohydrates is not being received in order for the body to function in a proper manner, energy from the protein structures of the body will be needed to manage the fundamental needs of the body. Thus, between 10 and 35% of the total caloric intake per day from protein is needed, or 50 to 175 grams daily.

There is a simple formula, recommending that adults acquire 1 gram of protein for each kilogram of weight per day. Therefore, the following can be established:


Body Weight

             Protein Needs
(grams daily)
100 lbs

35 gr

120 lbs 42 gr
160 lbs 56 gr
200 lbs 70 gr


What are some possible side effects of excess protein in the diet?

Most, if not all of these side effects, are linked with excessively high protein diets along with unbalanced nutrition as well as dehydration. Some possible side effects are the following:

  1. Cancer – diet regimens which are excessive in red meat protein (like for instance beef) might result in elevated incidences of cancer.
  2. Kidney Problems – consuming excess protein, according to some studies, may put some stress on the kidneys and add to certain existing kidney issues, as well as kidney stones, and increased protein levels in the urine.
  3. Heart problems – according to the newest studies, it seems that a disproportionate protein diet which contains mostly vegetable protein sources can even be beneficial for the heart. However, a diet full of animal proteins has increased amounts of saturated fat, and this is likely to result in some kind of problems with the heart.
  4. Reduced ketosis – protein which is present in large amounts in the nutrition may very well be harmful to the primary mechanism of the diet, ketosis – the process of using fat for energy. An excess amount of calories from too much protein can also result in weight gain.
  5. Gout – consuming too much protein can cause high amounts of uric acid that in turn can result in gout. Thus, ingesting proteins based on vegetables proteins might reduce the risk of this.
  6. Irritation of the intestines – excess protein has been linked to excessive gas, diarrhea as well as constipation.
  7. General dehydrating – it is recommended to drink half a gallon of water per 100 grams of protein. Even seizures can be a result of dehydration.
  8. A rise in liver enzymes.

A Balance of Macronutrients

Protein is an essential building block of human tissue, and yet the body requires an evening out of macro and micronutrients. Thus, a wholesome diet includes fats, proteins, as well as carbohydrates and a diversity of foodstuffs. If the protein ingestion is maintained at 30% or less of the total caloric intake, the required balance can be achieved and the body can function in an optimal way.

However, the side effects of a lack of protein are far more sinister, and they can be general illness, sleep deprivation, vision problems, poor coordination, and a host of other problems.