The risk of excess protein intake

, medical expert
Last reviewed: 14.08.2021

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Consumption of foods high in protein represents a risk to human health. Some researchers believe that, perhaps, the harmful effect of excess protein intake is exaggerated.

  • Impaired renal function

The relationship between protein excess and renal dysfunction has been established. The over-saturation of protein1, in fact, creates an additional burden for the kidneys associated with the release of nitrogen, so problems with kidneys are possible in athletes, siloviki, but this is not proven. Studies conducted on animals do not support the assumption that consumption of large amounts of protein causes kidney problems, even if the animals eat high-protein food all their lives. Other researchers still caution against excessive protein intake (more than 2 g-kg per day) to avoid these problems.

  • Dehydration

Excessive protein intake causes a risk of dehydration. The release of nitrogen entails a loss of water, so athletes who consume large amounts of protein can be at risk of dehydration. Athletes should consume adequate beverages and control the concentration of urine, especially when consuming a high-protein diet.

  • Loss of calcium

It is assumed that the loss of calcium as a result of a high protein diet increases the risk of osteoporosis. Increasing the intake of dietary protein can cause calcicuria. High-protein foods contribute to the production of acid, which is then released by the kidneys. Calcium is released from the bones and is like a buffer in relation to the increased acid load. This effect can be counteracted by the high content of phosphate in the mixed food. However, the body adapts and reduces calcium loss, if its intake is adequate. The ratio of calcium and protein in food> 20: 1 can guarantee adequate protection of bone tissue.

Unbalanced diet

Excess protein is the greatest risk if an athlete consumes an inadequate amount of carbohydrates to maintain and / or replenish muscle glycogen stores. The use of high-protein foods can limit the choice of foods, thus increasing the risk of deficiency of vitamins and minerals.

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