Too Much Protein Is No Good
by Vic Shayne, PhD
It’s a common idea that you need a lot of protein for working out, especially adding muscle mass to your bod. But medical experts say that eating too much protein is bad for your health.
Eating a quantity of protein that is more than 30 per cent of your total daily caloric intake is no good, according to protein expert Gail Butterfield, PhD, RD, director of Nutrition Studies at the Palo Alto Veterans’ Administration Medical Center and nutrition lecturer at Stanford University. (medicinenet.com) Dr Butterfield explains Eating more protein and increasing total caloric intake while maintaining the same exercise level will build an equal amount of additional fat and muscle mass, according to a study published in 1992 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.
One of the biggest problems with eating too much protein is that it can create kidney problems. Excessive intakes of protein causes a buildup of ketones which your kidneys then have to work hard to get rid of, often causing dehydration, in the least.
Researchers at Washington University’s School of Medicine say that high protein diets may be linked with increased cancer risk:
Overweight people are at higher risk of developing post-menopausal breast cancer, endometrial cancer, colon cancer, kidney cancer and a certain type of esophageal cancer. Now preliminary findings from researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis suggest that eating less protein may help protect against certain cancers that are not directly associated with obesity.
The research, published in the December issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, shows that lean people on a long-term, low-protein, low-calorie diet or participating in regular endurance exercise training have lower levels of plasma growth factors and certain hormones linked to cancer risk.
Cleveland Clinic’s nutrition experts say that too much protein in your diet, which can be caused by low carb diets, can cause your body to go into a dangerous metabolic state called ketosis as your body burns fat instead of glucose for energy. During ketosis, the body forms substances known as ketones, which can cause organs to fail and result in gout, kidney stones, or kidney failure. Ketones can also dull a person’s appetite, cause nausea and bad breath. Ketosis is prevented by eating at least 100 grams of carbohydrates a day. (3)
- Nelson, Miriam, “Will Eating More Protein Help Your Body Gain Muscle Faster?,” webmd feature, reviewed by Gary Vogin, MD, 2008
- Dryden, Jim, “Does too much protein in the diet increase cancer risk? Study shows low-protein, low-calorie dieters have reduced levels of hormone linked to cancer,” Dec 2006
- High Protein Low Carbohydrate Diets, Department of Nutrition Therapy at The Cleveland Clinic. Edited by Cynthia Haines, MD, WebMD, October 2005