Most people know that protein is paramount to a healthy body. It is important that you are consuming it on a daily basis to ensure that your body has enough fuel and materials to maintain itself at its optimal level.
Often you hear about all the positive effects protein has on the body, such as increased strength and muscle mass, but what happens if you consume too much protein? Does it have negative side effects?
What side effects are associated with protein consumption?
There are several different side effects that protein may be associated. Some of them are connected to the way in which you consume your protein and others are related to the quantities you consume.
Some of these associated side effects include:
As your body only needs a certain amount of protein each day, relative to your age, sex and they types of exercise you do, then any extra protein you consume may be stored as fat.
If you are eating a protein rich diet to gain muscle mass, you need to balance the quantity you eat with the amount of calories your burn.
Same goes if you are gaining your protein from a diet rich in fatty meats, this can also cause you to gain weight.
Heart disease is only an increased risk if you are gaining your protein from an unhealthy diet.
Foods such as fatty meats, cheeses, large quantities of high fat milk and yogurt, also contain high levels of cholesterol.
Cholesterol coats your arterial walls and puts excess strain on the heart that can cause heart disease.
Some studies indicate that if you are on a high protein, low carbohydrate diet, you are at risk of kidney problems, but the evidence is inconclusive and further research is needed.
Decreased liver and brain function
When the body ingests protein, it causes a toxin called ammonia to be formed.
The ammonia is quickly dealt with by the liver and there is no harm done, but excessive consumption of protein causes the liver to work overtime and can cause it to become a bit sluggish.
If this happens it allows for an increase of ammonia and other toxins to form in the blood, which can in turn be harmful to the functioning of the brain.
Seizures have been linked to excessive protein consumption, but only if the body has not been properly hydrated.
It is important that all protein powders are consumed with the recommended water intake.
Some people experience digestive disturbances, such as diarrhoea, and gas, due to an excessive protein intake.
Another concern with a high protein focused diet is the possibility of overlooking the other necessary nutrients that you need in your diet, such as carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals.
To avoid any of the negative side effects of taking too much protein, make healthy food choices when planning your diet.
When taking protein supplements, it is important to always follow the instructions provided.