Protein - Danger


Danger of consuming too much protein:

The recent death of bodybuilder Meegan Hefford from Australia highlights some potential dangers of consuming too much of the nutrient. According to Perth Now, Hefford increased her protein consumption (both from food and dietary supplements) leading up to a competition, and she was not aware that she had urea cycle disorder, a rare disorder that prevented her body from properly metabolizing protein. (Urea cycle disorder has no outward symptoms.) Hefford’s death certificate listed the condition as a cause of death, along with “intake of bodybuilding supplements.” Hefford’s mother revealed that she found “half a dozen containers” of protein supplements in Hefford’s kitchen, along with a detailed diet plan including protein-rich foods like lean meat and egg whites.

“Consuming too much protein powder can be dangerous for your health, particularly if there are underlying medical conditions,” says Vinh Nguyen, MD, family medicine physician at Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center in Fountain Valley, CA. “People who have disorders where protein cannot be properly metabolized can become very ill or die, as the incompletely processed protein metabolites can build up to toxic levels in the body. Studies show that excess protein consumption can lead to kidney disease, as well as kidney stones. Excessive protein intake can also cause dry mouth, constipation, and hair loss.”

Too much protein — starting at about 35% of daily calories — can lead to health issues such as nausea, cramps, fatigue, headaches and bloating. Some experts think it can cause the kidneys to have to work harder, leading to complications for those with existing kidney problems, or increase calcium excretion, causing bone loss. Dehydration is also a risk for those consuming a lot of protein.

Many of these products contain added oils, sugars, probiotics or amino acids. Sugars and oils can mean more calories, potentially leading to weight gain.

Certain plants can absorb heavy metals from the soils that are often then passed along in protein powder if not screened well. The other things that are added in are just often difficult to gauge, and they may be just ineffective, just a waste of money, but there could be those things that can be dangerous.

If you add protein to your diet, be sure to add plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration. Read the labels and be sure that you understand what you are consuming.

Too much proteins may contribute to fat gain rather than muscle gain.

To prevent packing on pounds, use a supplement to replace one meal daily or follow a reduced-calorie diet that includes a variety of nutritious foods plus your supplement. A high-protein product can even make you gain fat if it promises muscle, since strength training and not food is what builds muscle.

  1. Bad mood
  2. Brain fog
  3. Brain fog, in general, is also a possibility from too much protein, as a sugar deficit for the brain can cause your brain to actually shrink. Make sure your healthy snack between lunch and dinner has a nice balance of carbs and protein, so you feel full, without feeling foggy.
  4. "Without enough carbs, your body's blood sugar dips, and you don't produce enough mood-regulating serotonin, causing you to be 'hangry,'" McMordie says. If you start to feel your fuse run short, McMordie suggests snacking on a side dish like Greek yogurt with berries, string cheese with fruit, or hummus with whole grain crackers, to stabilize your blood sugar and your mood.
  5. Gain weight: "Over time, too many excess calories, no matter from fat, sugar, or protein, will cause weight gain." To shift your meals in a healthier direction, McMordie says to "aim for balanced meals that include lean protein, whole grains, fruit and vegetables." As a general rule, she adds, half of your plate should be fruits or vegetables, one quarter should be protein, and one quarter should be starch or whole grains.
  6. Constipation: "If you replace too much of your diet with protein, you may be lacking fiber from grains and vegetables. Fiber is important for digestion and regularity. Without it, you may experience digestive problems and constipation," McMordie says. Aim for 25 grams of fiber daily from foods like whole grains (McMordie's favorites are oatmeal and quinoa), vegetables, and fruit. Adding in a daily probiotic—or eating foods rich in natural probiotics—may also help keep your digestion on track. By using supplements regularly, you might be at risk of constipation, diverticulitis, and related problems, especially if your overall diet is high in protein. To promote good digestive health, choose supplements that are significant sources of fiber, eat foods with probiotic bacteria, such as yogurt, and make sure your diet includes plenty of high-fiber foods.
  7. Thirsty: "The dehydration is caused by your kidneys working overtime to remove the excess protein as well as the nitrogen waste from metabolizing the protein, so you urinate too much and eventually can wreck your kidneys altogether," Immer explains. To the rescue? More agua, of course, and lightening up on the protein. It's important to pay attention to this sign specifically, as kidney stones can also be caused by a high-protein diet. "Depending on other factors, when you put your kidneys into overdrive, the risk of kidney stones increases for those who are already prone because of particular issues with absorbing specific forms of calcium, mostly from leafy greens, surprisingly enough!" Immer says.
  8. Bad breath: "Your brain and body like to run on carbs, so when you don't eat enough carbs, your body starts to use fat as fuel, producing ketones, which can make your breath smell like nail polish remover," McMordie says. This can be especially dangerous for diabetics, she adds.
  9. Heart and kidney issues: If you're using your supplement as part of an eating plan that is high in protein, pay attention to your cholesterol levels. Many high-protein foods have high saturated fat and cholesterol values, which increase your risk of heart diseases. Too much protein may lead to a worsening of your kidney because your kidneys work overtime to process the excess nitrogen released during the protein metabolism.
  10. Heavy metals: Protein shakes, because they are a food supplement, are not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in the same way as pharmaceutical products. Manufacturers, therefore, might not test supplements for toxins or might fail to disclose harmful ingredients in their products. Independent testing labs have found heavy metal contamination, including cadmium, arsenic and lead in many protein shakes. These metals can accumulate in your tissues over time and lead to chronic toxicity.
  11. Overweight / obesity.
  12. Malnutrition: Relying too much on proteins can result in excluding other beneficial nutrients from you diet. Food-base proteins can also provide you with iron, calcium, heart-healthy fats and vitamin B-12 that may be missing in supplements. If your protein serve as a fuel source, it may make you feel full, and thus do not want to consume fruits, vegetables and whole grains that offer vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytochemicals.
  13. Excess Calcium Loss: Calcium plays a significant role in keeping your bones strong, and consuming extra protein may put bone health at risk. In a study published in 2013, researcher examined the effect of varied protein intakes — 47 grams, 95 grams, and 142 grams per day. They found that each increment increase in protein caused a significant increase in calcium lost through urine. A typical scoop of protein powder contains 20 to 50 grams of protein or more per serving.

Most people's protein needs can simply be met through food. One container of Greek yogurt and a handful of almond contains 24 grams, the same as one serving of some protein supplements. It is still important to consume whole foods because they provide a variety of nutrients as well as fiber.

Your body needs protein to function properly, but it is possible to have too much of a good thing. You can avoid adverse effects by staying within the suggested maximum intake range. This is 25 percent of your daily calories, or 2 to 2.5 grams per kilogram of body weight. This translates to 136 to 170 grams of protein per day for a 150-pound person, from all sources (food and supplements).

All protein powders are not created equal. A big reason: Supplements such as protein powders do not require FDA approval for marketing. Because of this, they may contain less protein, more sugar, and differing amounts of other ingredients — versus what they label claims. “You run into the risk of not actually knowing what you’re consuming,” Asche said. Look for one that’s NSF Certified for Sport, which means a product has undergone third-party testing to assure that what’s listed on the package is actually in the product. “Even if you aren’t an athlete, I still highly recommend seeking out a protein powder with this certification because it’s gone through rigorous testing to assure it is legit,” Asche said.

Danger of not consuming enough protein:

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