Dangers of protein excess

Why not to eat too much protein


What is a hyperproteic diet?

calculo proteina dieta hiperproteica con sobres de proteina
A recount of protein-rich foods in an alleged hyperproteic diet. The weights correspond to the grams of protein contained in each food.

The total is 104 g diet. of protein a day, a very hyperproteic amount, which would only be suitable for a athletic person with 95-100Kg.

A hyperproteic diet or high-protein diet is one that provides an amount of proteins much higher than the actual needs of the organism.

Since the body does not have a warehouse to store more protein, the excess will be converted into fat. The residue of this transformation should be eliminated in the urine.

* See: Calculate protein needs

A diet is not well balanced when the excess of protein is not compensated with food providing fiber, vitamins and minerals to balance the excess.

An unbalanced hyperproteic diet, can have consequences in short- and long-term for health. Among these consequences we quote:

Metabolic acidosis because of high-protein diets

Unbalanced diets with excess of protein cause metabolic acidosis, that is to say, a production of acidifying waste due to metabolism of excess of foods rich in animal protein.

Excess of protein is metabolized by the body, which once covered its protein needs, stores the remaining protein as body fat. To do this, the body must process amino acids, which generates toxic nitrogenous waste for the body to be processed and eliminated.

The use of proteins (amino acid catabolism) produces NH4 +, which is toxic, and must be converted by the liver into urea (urea cycle) for it to be eliminated through urine.

The acidifying medium of the body is accentuated if the intake of carbohydrates in the diet is fully restricted, which causes fats and proteins to be used as the main energy source. An acidifying diet contributes to premature aging. The metabolism of these nutrients in search of energy produces waste, such as ketosis and the elimination of nitrogenous waste through urine.

People who replace carbohydrates by a strict protein diet, should know that the excess of protein is converted into energy, and that, curiously, 1 gram of protein has the same energy value than carbohydrates: 4 kcal. The difference is that carbohydrates do not generate nitrogenous waste.

* More information: Alkaline Diet

Bone problems because of high-protein diets

Bones are responsible for cushioning body acidity (metabolic acidosis), and do so through their reserves of calcium alkaline salts. Bone yields calcium (or stops absorbing) to counteract the acid effect of a high-protein diet, reducing the concentration of mineral in bone mass.

For this reason, if very protein-rich diets or carbonates (colas and fizzy drinks) are made, foods rich in calcium should also be provided (such as sesame seeds), to prevent bone decalcification.

Excess of dietary protein ingested by the general population in developed countries may be related to the growing of diseases like osteoporosis and other bone diseases (hip fractures,…).

These effects could be counteracted only eating alkaline foods (fruits, legumes, vegetables, dried fruit, nuts) or supplements. With a balanced diet that provides these nutrients, we could avoid metabolic acidosis, reduce calcium excretion, and increase bone mass.

* More information: descaling Diet

High-protein diets and increased uric acid

Meat, fish, seafood and vegetables are protein foods rich in purines, substances that turn into uric acid in the body and in people with gouty disease can cause an attack. A diet with too much wealth or abuse of these foods can cause hyperuricemia.

High-protein diets for kidneys

Unbalanced diets with excessive protein intake can cause alterations in the functioning of the kidneys (excretion of calcium, proteinuria, kaliuresis,….). Moreover, in patients with renal failure, these diets help accelerate the deterioration of the kidneys.

In addition, this type of unbalanced diets favor the formation of kidney stones.

Unbalanced protein diets can increase renal excretion of protein. Increased protein removal is considered a cardiovascular risk factor in healthy and sick people. If people capable of making such diets already have these diseases, as obese people, it increases the risk of cardiovascular disease.

In children, recent studies have warned that high-protein diets increase in childhood weight gain and increases the risk of obesity later in adulthood.

The basis of health is a balanced and varied diet with high intake of alkaline foods such as legumes, vegetables and fruits, plus a supply of energy and sources of various energy: whole grains, breads, legumes, seeds, nuts.

Hormonal alterations in unbalanced high-protein diets

Metabolic acidosis can cause hormonal disorders due to the alteration of the body in general. Among these hormonal changes (that regulate metabolism), we find:

Delay or growth disorders in children, because it reduces the secretion of growing hormone (GH). It is therefore important to teach children the importance of a balanced diet.

– The metabolic acidosis that occurs in this type of diet can cause insulin resistance and cause the body to use muscle as an energy source (protein degradative proteolytic mechanisms are activated in the body).

Other altered hormones: Vitamin D, thyroid hormone, glucocorticoids, parathyroid hormone.

High-protein diets and environmentalism

Out from the strictly nutritional issue, we should consider that the abuse of animal flesh is a very important ecological waste.

To consume excessive meat daily implies the existance of a large poduction of soybean and cereals used to feed these animals.

Moderating the abuse of animals (meat, milk, eggs, and dairy products: meats, cheeses, pastries, cakes,…) and eat plenty of plant foods (cereals, bread, vegetables, fruit), helps reduce environmental pollution, to balance diet and improve health.

punto rojoMore information on essential fatty acids in the listing

This article was endorsed by Elisenda Carballido - Dietitian nutritionist. Postgraduate in Phytotherapy and master in Nutrition and Metabolism.
Written by Editorial Botanical-online team in charge of content writing

22 April, 2019

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