Dangers of High Protein Intake After Keto
Keto Diet

Dangers of High Protein Intake After Keto

We all know that protein is a good thing, muscle building needs protein, bone health needs protein, the immune system, hormone synthesis, and so on all need protein. Therefore, everyone supplements protein unscrupulously, and many people even promote a high protein intake. But a high-protein diet is not necessarily suitable for everyone, or even most people.

What are the Adverse Effects of High Protein Intake?

After a low-carb diet, we eat more meat, and many people are very prone to excessive protein. The risks are not only fatigue, and dizziness, but also many other problems.

High Protein Leads to Risks Such As Back Pain

If your body doesn’t need as much protein, excess protein can tax your kidneys. If you notice pain in your lower back after drinking an extra protein shake or eating a big steak the day before, your kidneys may be causing the pain.

Increased Metabolic Protein Waste

The protein that people eat is digested in the intestine and forms ammonia. Ammonia is toxic. It needs to be processed by the liver to synthesize urea to detoxify it, and then metabolized and excreted by the kidneys. The two important organs involved in this process – the liver and the kidney, any error in either party will prevent the smooth metabolism of ammonia.


The ability of the liver to process ammonia is limited. When excess ammonia cannot be converted into urea, the toxic ammonia will re-enter the blood, poisoning the brain, causing dizziness, and possibly disturbing the nervous system.

Joint Pain

A high-protein diet rich in red meat can increase uric acid in the blood, causing joint pain.

Bad Breath

On the one hand, high-protein diets are often low in carbohydrates, and people may enter a state of ketosis and produce bad breath. On the other hand, excessive intake of protein may leave excess amino acids in the oral cavity, and these amino acids may combine with anaerobic bacteria in the oral cavity to form sulfides and cause bad breath.


The body needs water to break down protein. If you eat too much protein, you will urinate more. When the body is dehydrated, it is natural to feel thirsty frequently, which may also be accompanied by headache symptoms.

Fatigue, Lethargy

After a big meal, people sometimes feel empty and tired for a while, and people become sluggish and lethargic. There can be many reasons for this feeling. First of all, when the body is trying to digest, it will allocate a lot of “energy” to concentrate in the intestines, and the energy of the brain will be deprived, and the person will become groggy, sluggish, and lazy. Secondly, beef, chicken, and other meat proteins are rich in tryptophan, which can help synthesize serotonin and melatonin, making people calm and drowsy. Furthermore, after eating high-protein foods, the process of gluconeogenesis can cause fluctuations in blood sugar. The body perceives this fluctuation as a kind of stress, causing fluctuations in cortisol and making you feel tired.

If you experience one or more of the above symptoms after a meal, you may be eating too much protein, and you can try to reduce the protein in your diet. If you only have a high-protein diet once in a while, it’s okay to say that after some discomfort in your body, you will slowly recover by adjusting your diet.

High Protein Intake

Dangers of Long-term Excessive High Protein Intake:

High Protein Leads to Increased Homocysteine

Many studies have found that high-protein diets can increase homocysteine levels, which may be cautious for elderly people with heart disease.

Long-term High Protein, Increasing the Burden on the Kidneys

For people who already suffer from chronic kidney disease, a high-protein diet will indeed aggravate the damage to the kidneys. If the kidney itself has problems, a high-protein diet will increase the burden on the kidneys and only make the situation worse. But for healthy people, there is no need to worry too much. A study of more than 1,000 healthy women found that high amounts of protein did not negatively affect kidney function but might worsen kidney disease.

Exacerbation of Liver Disease

If the liver is already damaged, consuming high amounts of protein can tax the liver and lead to a buildup of harmful waste in the body.


If you eat too much protein, the excess ammonia in the body cannot be effectively processed, and it will re-enter the blood, causing hyperammonemia.

Weight Gain

Although protein is easy to make people feel full, eating too much often and taking in a lot of extra calories will still make people fat. Moreover, many high-protein foods have added a lot of sugar for better taste. They constantly stimulate your appetite, make you eat a lot without knowing it, and in the long run, will make you gain weight slowly.

May Lead to Osteoporosis

Too much protein intake creates a lot of acids in body fluids that require calcium to neutralize them. Some of this calcium comes from the bones and, over time, may interfere with normal bone growth.

Increased Risk of Cardiovascular Disease

In January 2020, a study revealed for the first time that excessive protein intake stimulates mTOR signaling in macrophages and increases the risk of cardiovascular disease. High-protein diets increase cardiovascular risk by activating macrophage mTOR and inhibiting mitophagy.

Rabbit Starvation

To the extreme, if you only eat lean meat for a long time, it may cause rabbit starvation. When the Indians of North America could only eat rabbit meat (very lean), there was a symptom of extreme hunger among them, called rabbit starvation. With rabbit starvation, symptoms of nausea can occur in as little as 3 days, severe weakness can occur after 12 days, and there may even be a risk of death within a few weeks.

How Much Protein Should You Eat?

There has been a lot of debate about protein intake, and there are many factors to consider, such as a person’s size, health, muscle mass, exercise level, and digestive function. According to the recommendation of Harvard Medical School, the protein daily intake (RDA) is 0.8g/kg (body weight). But for different kinds of people, the amount of protein that is required or can be taken is different.

Generally Healthy Person

If your body is safe and sound, all indicators are normal, and your kidneys are also healthy. However, if you eat too much protein and feel uncomfortable, you can reduce the protein appropriately, strictly follow the standard, or reduce it. Ketogenic people can eat a small number of carbohydrates (about 50g, just keep low carbon), and increase fat appropriately. But be careful, choose healthy fats.

Children and Teenagers

Children and adolescents are in a critical period of growth and development, and a little protein can be appropriately added to the diet, but it is best not to exceed 1.5g/kg of body weight per day.

People Who Exercise Regularly and do Strength Training

If you exercise regularly and do high-intensity exercise, muscle fibers are torn, and you need protein to repair them, then you can eat more protein appropriately. According to the recommendations of the “Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition”, athletes who often do strength training should consume 1.4-2g/kg (body weight) of protein per day, (or 12% to 15% of their daily calorie intake). For most athletes, protein should not exceed 3 grams per kilogram of body weight per day. We have to remember that excess protein will not only be wasted but may also have adverse effects on the body.

People with Liver Disease or Kidney Disease

For people with liver disease or kidney disease, to reduce the burden on the liver and kidneys, protein intake should be reduced as much as possible. To what extent it is reduced, it is recommended to consult a doctor in detail.

Old Man Without Muscles

Muscle is very important for the elderly, but eating meat alone will not grow muscle, and high-intensity strength training is also required. If you’re not exercising, tearing muscle fibers, and consuming too much protein is not recommended. Just eat at 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight. If you have very little muscle mass, you can even reduce it to 0.6-0.7 grams per kilogram.


Although protein can help you lose weight and become healthier, eating too much or too much is not only unnecessary but may bring some health risks. A long-term high-protein diet will also increase the risk of some diseases, and in extreme cases, it may even be life-threatening. In conclusion, a high-protein diet isn’t as good as you might think, but it’s not as bad either.