Eating too much protein could lead to an unbalanced diet.
One of the main issues with overeating protein is that it often means you’re consuming too little of other types of foods, like healthy carbohydrates.
“If you fill your plate with mostly protein all day every day, that higher intake could push out other high-quality foods your body needs to properly function, like disease-fighting fruits and vegetables, heart-healthy fats, and whole grains that aid in digestion and weight loss,” registered dietitian Chris Mohr writes in Men’s Health.
When you focus on loading up on protein, you’re limiting your opportunities to consume carbohydrate-rich foods containing valuable nutrients, fiber, and energy that aren’t as readily available in protein-rich foods.
Too much protein can lead to weight gain.
Popular diets like Atkins and the keto diet might have you believing that packing yourself with protein is the magic bullet for weight loss. Unfortunately, that’s not the case.
According to Healthline, excess protein is normally stored as fat while the surplus amino acids are excreted.
Additionally, consuming excess protein may result in you eating too many calories, especially if you’re opting for more calorie-dense sources of protein like high-fat meat and nuts.
You might also experience bad breath.
If you’re reducing your intake of carbohydrates and upping your protein consumption in an effort to lose weight, be prepared for some serious halitosis.
WebMD cautions that bad breath is a hallmark of ketosis, a metabolic state that occurs when you take in very few carbs in favor of high amounts of protein. People report this particular type of bad breath as being fruity-smelling and impossible to budge with toothpaste, mouthwash, or dental cleanings.
“If you have a metabolic cause of bad breath, there is very little the dentist can do; you have to change your diet,” periodontist S. Lawrence Simon tells WebMD.
Constipation and diarrhea are unpleasant side effects of overdoing protein.
Fiber is an important element of digestive health — i.e. keeping your belly happy. If you swap out fruit and vegetables for mega-doses of meat, dairy, and eggs, you could find yourself struggling with bowel issues.
“If you cut out all whole grains, nuts, seeds, veggies, and fruit, all of which are good sources of fiber, it can lead to issues with digestion including constipation,” nutritionist Christy Brisette told Women’s Health.
A lack of fiber can also lead to diarrhea and an imbalance of gut flora, which could contribute to bloating and cramping.
Over-consuming some kinds of protein could increase your risk of cancer.
Munching on too much animal-based protein could also have more serious consequences than an expanding waistline and stinky breath.
High-protein diets have been linked to an increased risk of cancer. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), small increases in the risk of several cancers may be associated with high consumption of red meat or processed meat. The WHO found evidence that eating too much red or processed meat could up your chances of developing pancreatic, prostate, and colorectal cancer.
Processed meat was classified as Group 1, carcinogenic to humans. This means that there is convincing evidence that the agent in question causes cancer. This is the same classification as asbestos and tobacco smoking.
Dining on lots of red meat might also lead to heart disease.
Beef-lovers beware: loading up on red meat could be putting your heart in harm’s way.
A 2010 study found that eating large amounts of red meat and high-fat dairy is correlated with a higher risk of coronary heart disease in women. This could be due to the high levels of saturated fat and cholesterol in these types of food.
Interestingly, the same study found that eating a diet rich in poultry, fish, and nuts lowered the risk of heart disease in participants.
Your bones might suffer, but the jury’s still out.
There’s a chance that having too much protein in your diet could lead to brittle bones.
According to a 2013 review of studies, high levels of protein consumption may be associated with poor bone health due to calcium loss.
However, another 2013 review found that the effect of protein consumption on bone health cannot be determined. More research is needed to understand the connection, if there is one, between high amounts of protein and bone health.