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Eating too much protein: why it can be bad for you

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When you decide to embrace a diet aimed at losing weight, you are very often directed towards high protein diets come le Atkins, a Zona o Paleo.

This is a reasonable choice given that proteins are particularly beneficial for the body and in addition to promoting weight loss they help build and repair muscles, however, it is always advisable not to overdo it, given that diets of this type have been also associated with various health risks.

The ideal amount of daily protein you should consume varies based on a number of factors including age, gender, physical activity, health, overall diet and other variables but in most cases, the maximum recommended amount for adults can be calculated based on body weight.

For sedentary people, however to prevent the shortage protein, experts recommend consuming a daily average of 0,8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight (g/kg).

This quantity may increase if you carry out particularly intense sporting activity and for this reason it is essential to always seek advice from a specialized dietician or nutritionist.

These i major problems that can occur if the limits are exceeded and you consume too much protein over a prolonged period of time.

Weight gain

High-protein diets can stimulate weight loss, as long as the total calories are still lower than the normocaloric intake.

Conversely, if the calories are too many overall, the excess of this element contributes to promoting lipogenesis and adipose deposition with increase of the weight.

Halitosis

Eat Large amounts of protein can cause bad breath, especially if you limit your carbohydrate intake.

This is also confirmed by a targeted study in which at the end of the observation 40% of the participants had developed this unpleasant effect.

The phenomenon may be partly due to the fact that, in carbohydrate deficiency, the body enters a metabolic state called dietary ketosis, which in turn produces chemicals that give off an unpleasant odor.

Constipation

In the same study, 44% of participants reported constipation. High-protein diets that limit carbohydrates are typically low in fiber, and this can facilitate the phenomenon.

If you follow a high protein diet it is therefore good increase your water and fiber intake can help prevent constipation.

Dehydration

A small 2002 study involving athletes found that as protein intake increased, hydration levels decreased. This would happen because the human body eliminates excess nitrogen with liquids and water, leaving you dehydrated even if you don't feel more thirsty than usual.

However, this is not a particularly worrying event given that another 2006 study concluded that consuming more protein actually has a minimal impact on hydration.

To avoid any risk, simply increase your water intake, especially if you do a lot of sport.

Kidney damage

While no major studies link high protein intake to kidney damage in healthy individualsexcess protein could be cause problems for people with pre-existing diseases of these organs, for single-kidney subjects, and probably for those suffering from one spontaneous reduced functionality of the same.

This is due to the excess nitrogen present in the amino acids that make up proteins and the fact that the kidneys have to work harder than the various waste products.

Increased risk of cancer

Reliable studies have shown that some diets particularly rich in roasted meat and preserved meat such as sausages and various cured meats are linked to an increased risk of various health problems, including cancer, particularly colorectal and prostate cancer.

In contrast, eating protein from plant sources has been associated with a reduced risk of cancer.

Consuming lean, unprocessed, properly cooked meat should not increase your risk of cancer.

Heart disease

Eating lots of fatty meats and fatty cheeses as part of a high-protein diet can lead to higher lipid intake saturates and cholesteroland the consequent possible development of heart disease.

Specifically, a 2010 study showed that eating large amounts of high-fat meat and cheese increases the risk of coronary heart disease in women, while eating skinless poultry, fish and nuts reduces it.

Another study, this time from 2018, also showed that long-term consumption of red meat can increase trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO), a chemical generated by the gut and linked to heart disease.

Calcium loss

High-protein diets can increase urinary calcium excretion, which in turn causes osteoporosis and poor health of bone.

Nonetheless, the link between dietary proteins and bone demineralization has been refuted, since greater excretion generally corresponds to better intestinal absorption efficiency. Furthermore, bone metabolism is regulated at an endogenous level – with the participation of vitamin D – in a much more relevant way.

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