• Weight gain
  • Kidney problems
  • Heart disease
  • Increases chances of cancer
  • Constipation
  • Dehydration
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of calcium
  • Bad breath

Proteins have many benefits for the body as they form the building blocks of different organs. Therefore, the rise of high protein diets is not a surprise with diets such as Atkins and Zone gaining popularity from the ’90s. Time has, however, seen the improvement of these diets like keto, which emphasizes more fat and high proteins. Why is this? Protein is a very vital part of any diet. The body cannot function without this macronutrient as it is required in building and repairing muscles, providing energy for the renewing of cells and building and renewing muscles.

Protein has also been used to lose weight, build muscle, and more benefits. However, too much of everything? You got that right; it is poison! Even though proteins are an excellent macronutrient, too many proteins are not good for you. So, what is the “right” amount of proteins?

There is no right amount of protein that cuts across everybody. RDA recommends that one should take 0.8 grams per kg of body weight. The right amount of protein varies per weight of the person. You simply need to divide your weight in pounds by 2.2. The answer you get should then be multiplied by 0.8 to get the proteins you should consume in grams. Other factors that determine the amount of protein you should take include;

  • Age
  • Activity level
  • Height

Age and activity are closely related because younger people are more active, meaning their bodies quickly break down the proteins. However, as one ages, the activity levels generally reduce, meaning they need fewer proteins. Activity may also refer to bodybuilding exercise and athletes. These categories of people are recommended to consume 1.2-1.7g of protein per kg of body weight depending on the activity level again.

The amount consumed will also be determined by the goals and physical needs of an individual. Why are these numbers so essential? While proteins are vital for good health, the body can only consume a certain amount. So, what happens when you consume protein excess? Look at some of the dangers of protein excess or clogging down more protein than is recommended!

What happens when you eat too much protein?

  1. Weight gain
    You could say goodbye to your body goals in a snap of a finger due to consuming too much protein. While high protein diets have been used in dieting for weight loss, it is just a temporary solution. Diets that are rich in proteins and lower in carbs will often lead to weight gain. Studies have shown that weight gain happens when proteins are used to replace carbs but not fats. The body stores excess proteins as fats, as calories from protein are broken down into sugars and later converted to fats if they are not used up. The excessive amino acids are, however, excreted. The fats stored by the body may, over time, lead to body weight. Therefore, consuming more proteins than recommended could be working against you!
  2. Kidney problems
    Remember, we mentioned that in the event of over consumption of proteins, excessive amino acids are excreted by the body. That is the work of the kidneys. Although no major studies have shown any effects of excessive protein consumption on a healthy individual’s kidneys, it could worsen issues for those with kidney damage. Remember, in the process of digestion the body releases nitrogen as a by-product. The renal system is then taxed in getting rid of the nitrogen meaning the system can become overtaxed of there is too much protein being broken into amino acids. The kidneys will have to work harder, causing a strain could leave to low optimal functionality or complete failure.
  3. Heart disease
    The heart is the most important muscle in the body as its tasked with pumping the heart. While some proteins are known to reduce the risk of heart disease, some increase the risk when consumed in excess. For instance, eating too much red meat and full-fat dairy in a high protein diet may lead to heart disease. Red meat and fat dairy foods are known to contain saturated fats and high levels of cholesterol. Studies have also shown that high-fat dairy increases the risk of coronary heart disease while consuming proteins such as fish and nuts lowered this risk. Long-term consumption of red meat has also been linked to an increase of trimethylamine n-oxide (TMAO), a gut-generated chemical. Several studies have linked the chemical to heart disease.
  4. Increases chances of cancer
    Though scientists have not been able to pinpoint the exact science, consuming too much protein can increase the chances of certain cancer. Most diets recommend a higher intake of proteins to meet goals such as weight loss and muscle building, it is important to remain within the recommended threshold. Studies have suggested that it may be the excessive intake of proteins that could cause too much growth and overproduction of certain cells that could lead to the growth of certain cancers. Also, over consumption of red and processed meats is associated with breast, colorectal, and prostate cancer. If you are going to diet, remember to remain on the recommended standards. While taking a little more than what the recipe dictates seems like an appealing choice to help you lose an extra pound, it can lead to complications you did not sign up.
  5. Constipation
    High protein diets mostly encourage reduced intake of carbs and fats; also, if you are overindulging in proteins, high chances are you are neglecting other macronutrients. A high protein low carbs diet can lead to constipation as the diet lacks fibers that help indigestion. Most protein sources, such as meat and dairy, have no fiber. Therefore, ensure you are taking more fiber and water in case of constipation. It is as important to monitor the bowel movement to ensure its the excessive proteins causing constipation.
  6. Protein farts
    While no conclusive studies are showing that excessive consumption of proteins can cause protein fats, people on the high-protein diet have reported experiencing the same. Protein fats can be caused by over consumption of proteins that the body cannot break down and use. When the amino acids are not used up, they make their way to the colon, where the microbial bacteria feast on the amino acids. The by-product of this process is sulfide gas, which gives protein farts the signature Sulphur-y foul smell. There could be other causes of protein farts, but that is definitely one.
  7. Dehydration
    Consumption of protein excess can also lead to thirst and even dehydration. The body breaks down excessive proteins into amino acids, and nitrogen gas is released in the process. The kidneys are then charged with excreting the toxic gas from the body. The body will then make use of fluids in the body to remove the nitrogen from the body. You may experience excessive sweating or frequent urination to ensure that the nitrogen does not build up in the body as it is toxic to the internal organs. You may also have the urge to drink more water to compensate for the fluids excreted to remove the nitrogen. If there is no intake of water, dehydration may occur. A small study showed that there was a decrease in hydration in athletes on a high-protein diet. However, another study has disputed the first, stating that a high protein diet has minimal effect on hydration. Whatever the case, the bottom line is anyone on a high protein diet should increase the water intake to be on the safer side.
  8. Diarrhea
    Proteins generally take longer to digest compared to other nutrients. It’s even worse when there is an inadequate intake of fiber to assist in proper digestion. Some have even described feeling as if the excessive protein sat in the tummy like a rick! Protein excess can make one feel uncomfortably full and, even worse, lead to diarrhea. For instance, the intake of too many dairy products, even for those who are not lactose intolerant, can often lead to diarrhea and a running stomach. The same applies to consume too much fried and grilled meat, poultry, and fish. Ensure you’re drinking enough water, increase your fiber intake, and slow down the intake of decaffeinated beverages of you notice dehydration.
  9. Loss of calcium
    High protein diets with excessive intake of meat and dairy products can lead to loss of calcium. Calcium loss is often associated with osteoporosis and bone problems. Most protein-rich foods are unable to provide enough calcium and vitamin k to meet the daily body requirement, which leads to loss of calcium. Studies on the topic are, however, inconclusive.
  10. Bad breath
    Too much protein intake could be what is causing the nasty breath that seems impossible to clear. Excessive protein intake, coupled with limited carbohydrate intake, can lead to bad breath. A study conducted concluded that 40% of the participants experienced bad breath from a high-protein diet. The cause could be that the body goes into ketosis, which produces a very unpleasant fruity smell in the mouth. The problem could be controlled by frequent flossing or brushing teeth, drinking enough water, and chewing gum.


What is the Cheapest Protein? Cheap and Healthy Sources of Protein
Protein Deficiency – Signs and Symptoms of Protein Deficiency
Protein Function – Important Functions of Protein in Your Body
Protein Levels and Protein Test: Uses, Results and Procedure
Protein Losing Enteropathy
Protein Losing Nephropathy
Protein Kinase
Protein Synthesis
Protein Energy Malnutrition
Protein Absorption, Digestion and Metabolism
Does Protein Make You Fat?
Protein Only Diet – High Protein Diet: Benefits & Risks
Protein Uses – Protein Types and What Is Their Function in the Body?