Ill effects of high protein diet

Nowadays demand for weight loss therapies is increasing. A high protein diet that uses excess protein in the diet is one such therapy used by many. Let’s discuss the ill effects of a high protein diet.

Diseases like hypertension and diabetes mellitus are on an increasing trend across the world. Since the last few decades, we have seen a revolution in agriculture and the food industry. 

We have a variety of food available at affordable prices. Many times we get confused about what is healthy and what is not. Also with increasing industrialization, many food ad campaigns mislead people.

How much protein do I need daily?

Essentially it depends on your age, sex, body weight and level of physical activity. We have discussed previously in a post about egg protein.

Let us summarize in easy tabular form.

Preterm neonates3-3.5 gm/kg body weight
Infants and toddlers2-3 gm/kg body weight
Children and adolescents2 gm/kg body weight
Normal adultSedentary lifestyleModerate physical activity0.8 gm/kg body weight1 gm/kg body weight1.2-1.7 gm/kg body weight
Pregnant ladiesAdult intake plus 15 gram extra proteins daily
Lactating mothersNormal adult intake plus 25 gram extra proteins daily
Athletes1.8-2 gram/kg body weight daily

How does a high protein diet work for weight loss?

A high protein diet has less amount of carbs. Carbs induce insulin secretion and the formation of fats. This may lead to weight gain.

Protein helps to reduce gastric motility and reduce food intake. After eating proteins your hunger reduces.

These properties are thought to help in weight loss. Theoretically, it seems very easy. In practice though may help to reduce weight, it may cause the following ill effects.

Ill effects of high protein diet:

Ill effects of a high protein diet are from very mild to very dangerous. Let us discuss them one by one.

Weight gain

Yes, you read it right. The diet used for weight loss may in fact cause weight gain. This weight gain after a short period of weight loss. 

It has become impossible to follow high protein diet plans for a long period. In the long run when you start eating your regular diet you regain your weight. 

Many times this regained weight is more than what you lost while on diet.


As we discussed earlier proteins help to reduce the motility of the intestine, The food moves slowly in your digestive tract. 

People on a high protein diet may eat dietary fibres in insufficient quantities causing constipation.


Though this is rarer than constipation and occurs in few people. People may feel bloating in the abdomen and some may have diarrhea.

Bad breaths

Many of those who are on a high protein diet complain of bad breath. This bad breath in fact is noticed by their near and dear ones.

Kidney damage

Excess proteins in your diet make your kidneys work hard. It creates a lot of nitrogenous waste when you metabolize proteins. This causes an increased load on the kidney to throw out the waste.

If you have any previously existing kidney disease or nephropathy due to ti Diabetes Mellitus you may suffer more.

Calcium homeostasis

Excess protein changes your calcium bone homeostasis and as a result, you lose excess calcium from the body.


Some studies have found the occurrence of cancer is more common in people who eat excess proteins.

Heart disease

People may take unhealthy fats with an excess protein diet and that may cause heart disease in a few people.


Rather than taking excess proteins, you should have a balanced diet. To lose weight balanced diet with a change in lifestyle is needed.

A high protein diet may cause weight losses in the short-run but it has ill effects of its own.

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