Q:

Are there any side effects from protein shakes?

A:

Quick Answer

Protein shakes are usually safe when consumed in moderation under the guidance of a health care professional, explains Eleanor Duse for HowStuffWorks. However, excessive amounts can lead to gout, osteoporosis, kidney damage and dehydration.

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Full Answer

Protein is required to build muscle and repair tissues throughout the body, notes CalorieSecrets.net, but too much protein causes problems. Protein breakdown generates high levels of acid in the body. The skeletal system works with the kidneys to bring the body back into balance by releasing calcium from the bones. Over time, this leaching of calcium can lead to weak, brittle bones, especially in women already at risk for osteoporosis.

Gout is another condition associated with increased protein intake, according to Duse. Gout is a type of arthritis caused when uric acid crystals build up in the joints, particularly in the big toe. The condition is extremely painful, and attacks can be disabling. Protein metabolism results in uric acid, making excessive protein consumption a common trigger.

Increased protein in the diet can also cause kidney damage, states CalorieSecrets.net. Ketones build up in the blood when there are insufficient carbohydrates in the diet to balance the amount of protein consumed. These toxic waste products increase stress on the kidneys as they filter the blood and remove the waste. For diabetics and others with reduced kidney function, the increased strain can worsen their condition. The increased urine output can also lead to dehydration and electrolyte imbalances.

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