Protein diets are widely known for giving quick results as slimming diets. These include the Atkins Dukana method, as well as South Beach commonly known as the South Beach diet. In the first stages, it is recommended here to radically eliminate carbohydrates in favor of lean protein and healthy fats. Unfortunately, with the rapid drop in weight, the risk of health problems increases. We present 5 negative effects of using a protein diet.
1) Risk of osteoporosis
Studies have shown that in women who consume a large amount of protein from meat, a decrease in bone density is observed in relation to women who use a balanced diet to provide proteins of various origins. Consuming large amounts of dairy products such as cheese, yoghurts and milk, calcium is released from the bones necessary for proper processing of the protein provided in this form. Because calcium is an essential ingredient for the formation of bone with the correct structure, as a result of its release, their dilution occurs, which may result in osteoporosis and increased brittleness affecting mainly people over 60 years of age.
2) Charged kidneys
The kidneys are responsible for the filtration and excretion of metabolic by-products. A higher intake of protein-based dairy means for the body a higher content of nitrogen-containing by-products. Because the excess nitrogen is excreted in the urine, it forces the kidneys to work more intensively, and in people with renal failure in this situation they are additionally burdened. This can lead to deterioration, especially since side effects are often observed in patients. The filtration in the renal tubules is increased, which increases the excretion of water and creates a risk of dehydration, therefore it is recommended to provide a large amount of fluids to relieve the kidneys as much as possible.
3) Risk of cancer development
High protein diet has an effect on blood composition. In addition to the increase in the amount of transformation products of nitrogen compounds, the level of IGF-1, a growth factor that is considered to be an impulse initiating the proliferation of cancer cells, also rises. They are composed, among others, of protein and silicon, so that by supplying large amounts of cells, they have the structural element necessary for further growth and thus contribute to the development of cancer.
4) Damage to organs
The body needs carbohydrates to produce the right amount of energy. It is mainly admonished by the brain, which only from glucose can draw energy for proper functioning. In the absence of carbohydrates, it is forced to burn other energy sources to produce “fuel”. It then uses fats and proteins provided in a high-protein diet in excess. One of the intermediate products during the processing of fats are ketone bodies that can unfortunately be stored in the body. In conditions where they reach the toxic level, the person’s condition resembles the hypoglycaemic condition of the diabetic. This is a situation which, if left without the intervention of a doctor, poses a threat to human life. Even if the level of ketone bodies does not reach critical levels, they can worsen the functioning of organs such as the heart, liver and kidneys leading to their damage.
5) The risk of nutrient deficiencies
One of the main risks of protein diets is that it can lead to nutrient deficiencies. Because fruits and vegetables are necessary in a well-balanced diet, their elimination in some of the more restrictive forms of high-protein diets prevents the provision of vitamins and minerals necessary for the body to remain healthy. In addition, the exclusion of carbohydrate products from the diet reduces to a minimum the amount of fiber – it is necessary for intestinal bacteria to synthesize vitamins from group B, and also hinders the correct movement of food through the digestive tract, resulting in frequent constipation. In the long run, this may result in an increased risk of nutrient deficiencies.