A high protein intake is one of the most commonly-recommended routines by dieticians and even holistic healthcare experts for weight loss, muscle mass, or handling blood sugar levels, blood pressure, or cholesterol. A high-protein diet, as the name implies, consists of eating more proteins while limiting simple carbohydrates and sugars. A high-protein diet is designed to reduce overall calorie intake, induce satiety, and keep blood pressure, body weight, and blood sugar levels under control. Yet, we are often unaware that the benefits of a high-protein diet can quickly put us at risk of becoming victims of its numerous side effects.
How much protein does a high-protein diet require?
According to experts, one gramme of protein per kilogramme of body weight should be consumed ideally – for example, a 50kg individual should consume 50 grammes of protein per day to lose weight or reap the health benefits of a high-protein diet.
A few of the best protein sources are:
- Dairy products
- Lean beef
- Skinless poultry
Several studies have found that pregnant or breastfeeding women require significantly more protein than other people. Many studies even suggest that increasing protein intake with age can promote healthy ageing. According to a 2016 study, older adults must consume 1.2-1.6 grammes of protein per day to avoid muscle mass loss, also known as sarcopenia. This also helps with weight loss, satiety, and appetite control.
What are the negative consequences of a high-protein diet?
According to a Mayo Clinic report, following a high-protein diet for a short period of time isn’t particularly harmful because these come with nutrition-related restrictions – mostly regarding carbohydrate consumption.
Carbohydrates are a source of glucose that energises the body; however, to reap the most benefits from carbohydrate consumption, choose high-quality carbs such as oatmeal and whole grains. A high-protein diet is more likely to cause nutrient deficiencies, such as a lack of fibre and carbohydrates.
The following are the consequences:
- Breath that stinks
A high-protein diet can also make you more susceptible to the following:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Kidney disease
- Blood problems
- A disease of the Liver
Eating more than 2 grammes of protein per kilogramme of body weight can lead to long-term health problems such as:
- Intestinal discomfort
- Unexplained fatigue
What effect does a high-protein diet have on men?
According to a study published in the journal Nutrition and Health, following a high-protein diet – 35% of daily calorie intake – in men caused a 37% drop in testosterone levels. This level is low enough to be considered medical hypogonadism.
Other symptoms of extremely low testosterone levels in men include:
- Muscle weakness
- Sexual dysfunction
For optimal health, men should consume 25% of their daily calorie intake as protein.