A diet rich in protein, but low in carbohydrates and fats is unsafe for long-term weight loss. Some of the side effects associated with such a diet include kidney disorders, digestion problems, osteoporosis, nutritional deficiency, etc.
Proteins are essential for our body, as these perform various functions that are essential for staying healthy. These help build muscles and repair tissue. These also work as hormones, enzymes, or transport carriers. Proteins are made from amino acids, which are commonly referred to as the building blocks of the human body. All the proteins are synthesized from 20 amino acids. Out of these, nine amino acids are called essential amino acids. These cannot be synthesized by our body. We must get these though the food that we eat.
In general, a high protein diet plan is recommended for athletes and bodybuilders to help gain lean muscles, and lose accumulated body fat. Over time, it has gained popularity as a weight loss option amongst people who are desperate to maintain weight without consuming diet pills or performing intensive workouts. However, a dieter should not ignore the untoward effects that have been linked to a high-protein diet. There’s no denying the fact that the best way to stay healthy is to follow a balanced diet and exercise regimen. So, following a diet that is loaded with protein, but cuts down on the intake of other essential nutrients is certainly not the right way to go about losing and maintaining weight. In the long run, it is bound to cause certain adverse effects.
Possible Side Effects Associated with a High Protein Diet
According to Food and Nutrition Board, the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for protein in case of men and women is 56 g and 46, respectively. The RDA for pregnant women and nursing mothers is 71 g. Basically, the recommended protein intake is 0.8 g /kg/day for adults, and 1.1 g/kg/day for pregnant women and nursing mothers. Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Range (AMDR), which refers to the range of intake for a particular energy source that is associated with reduced risk of chronic disease while providing intakes of essential nutrients, is between 10 g and 35 g for both men and women. Though following a diet that is rich in protein will help build muscles, it is essential to decide the diet plan after analyzing the calorie requirement carefully. The following sections provide information on the adverse effects or health risks that have been associated with such a diet.
It is believed that following such a diet could put one at a risk of kidney problems. The kidneys would have to work harder to flush out the waste products of protein metabolism. It is believed that following such a diet for an extended period could put one at a risk of developing kidney stones or other conditions associated with the kidneys.
Though consuming food items that are rich in protein makes one feel full or satiated, it could burden the digestive system. Many food items that are rich in protein lack dietary fiber. If one doesn’t include food items that are rich in fiber to one’s diet, it could give rise to digestive ailments such as constipation or irregular bowel movements.
Risk for Osteoporosis
Studies suggest that increased production of acid that is associated with protein metabolism aggravates calcium losses. Over time, the loss of calcium makes one susceptible to weak bones and osteoporosis. Thus, it is essential to make up for the losses by taking calcium-rich food items or supplements.
While trying to balance the calorie intake with food items that are rich in protein, essential nutrients (especially the trace elements that are found in specific food items) are excluded from the daily diet plan. This puts one at a risk of nutritional deficiencies.
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), many high-protein animal foods are rich in saturated fat. According to the AHA guidelines, dieters should get less than 35 percent of total daily calories from fat, less than 7 percent of total daily calories from saturated fat, and less than 1 percent of total daily calories from trans fat. It is difficult to meet these requirements on most high-protein diets.Consuming such foods for an extended period could put one at a risk of developing medical conditions such as coronary heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and several types of cancer. Individuals who are predisposed to renal and cardiac problems are at a greater risk.
On a concluding note, a weight loss diet should contain a balanced amount of fiber, plant-based carbohydrate and protein, while limiting fat intake. Those who wish to lose weight should consult a nutritionist, instead of blindly following a fad diet that promises to give impressive results.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.