High-protein diets consist of consuming an increased amount of protein to lose weight or gain muscle. Aside from weight loss, high-protein diet side effects have the potential to damage a dieter’s health and lead to long-term consequences. A high-protein diet can increase blood pressure and cholesterol levels as well as deplete the amount of necessary nutrients in the body. Rapid weight loss can also damage the metabolism and kidneys.
Protein is available in a variety of sources, including soy beans, eggs, nuts and meat. Many of these foods are higher in saturated fat, because most are derived from animal sources. Increasing animal fats in the diet raises blood cholesterol overtime. This increases the risk of blocked arteries.
Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is associated with high-protein diets. Foods derived from animal products tend to have higher amounts of sodium. Examples include red meat, bacon, deli meats and ham. Consuming more sodium-rich foods significantly increases the risk of developing hypertension and can worsen pre-existing high blood pressure.
High-protein diet side effects also affect the kidneys. Kidneys are overworked from consuming too much protein. This can be detrimental if a dieter has pre-existing kidney problems. The kidneys naturally help the body eliminate protein wastes. As the amount of protein increases, the kidneys have a difficult time keeping up with waste management.
Following a high-protein diet over a long period of time will almost inevitably lead to chronic diseases of the heart and kidneys. Stroke and type 2 diabetes are other diseases associated with this type of diet. Dieters might develop cancer as a result of not getting enough daily nutrients.
Some high-protein diets also restrict the amount of carbohydrates consumed in conjunction with increased protein intake. Carbohydrates are prevalent in various types of heart-healthy foods, including some fruits, vegetables, whole grain bread, oatmeal, potatoes and brown rice. Such foods also have a high fiber content that creates bulk in the intestinal tract and reduces the risk of heart disease. Fiber-rich foods help level out blood pressure and increase vital minerals, such as magnesium and potassium. Limiting fiber and essential minerals sets the body up for hypertension.
High-protein diet side effects might ultimately cause weight gain in the long term. Losing a large amount of weight too quickly can disrupt one's metabolism. The metabolism is responsible for converting calories and excess fats into energy. Rapid weight loss decreases the metabolism to such a low level that the body can’t burn excess calories on its own. This results in weight gain.
Many health experts believe that high-protein diet side effects outweigh the benefits of increased protein intake. Most nutritionists recommend that weight loss hopefuls choose a balanced diet to lose weight instead of a high-protein diet. Results might not be seen as fast, but they are more likely to stick. A balanced diet might also ensure that a person maintains optimal health while achieving his or her weight loss goals.