How Much Dietary Protein to Consume (cont.)

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What happens when I eat too much protein?

Consuming excess protein in the diet (over 35% of total calories), especially with carbohydrate restriction, can lead to the buildup of toxic ketones, substances made when the body uses its own fat cells for fuel in the absence of sufficient carbohydrates. Ketones can harm the kidneys as they try to excrete these substances. This is accompanied by a corresponding loss of water through the kidneys, leading to dehydration. Symptoms of consuming a ketogenic diet can include

There is excess stress on the heart, and muscle mass and bone calcium both decline. The American Heart Association does not recommend high-protein, low-carbohydrate diets because they often contain high-fat foods and can lead to deficiencies in some nutrients like fiber and certain vitamins. A healthy and balanced diet is by far the best choice for those who want to lose weight or improve athletic performance.

Medically reviewed by Avrom Simon, MD; Board Certified Preventative Medicine with Subspecialty in Occupational Medicine


United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Nutrition for Everyone: Protein." Oct. 4, 2012. <>.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/2/2016

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