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High-protein diets may provide you with some health benefits, especially when it comes to weight loss. However, the American Heart Association isn't in favor of high-protein diets for weight loss because many of these diets restrict healthy, carb-containing foods. Although high-protein diets do have some benefits, they may also cause some unpleasant side effects.
High-protein diets are often beneficial for weight loss because of protein's effect on satiety. According to a review published in a 2008 edition of the вЂњAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition,вЂќ protein increases satiety more than fat or carbohydrates. Another review published in a 2008 edition of вЂњCurrent Opinion in Endocrinology, Diabetes and ObesityвЂќ suggests that high-protein diets help preserve lean muscle mass, are effective for weight loss and may improve heart disease risk factors.
Consuming a high-protein diet long-term may have some drawbacks. Many high-protein diets are low in carbs, including healthy carbs like fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy foods. Following a high-protein, low-carb diet long term may also put you at risk for developing vitamin and mineral deficiencies, according to the American Heart Association. PubMed Health reports that high-protein diets may put a strain on your kidneys, and protein-rich diets containing lots of meat could contribute to gout and high cholesterol levels.
High-protein diets, coupled with a low carb intake, can cause some unpleasant side effects. These may include headache, nausea, diarrhea, constipation, dizziness, weakness, fatigue, bad breath and nutrient deficiencies, according to MayoClinic.com. A review published in a 2006 edition of the вЂњInternational Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise MetabolismвЂќ reports that eating too much protein can cause protein toxicity and may even be fatal.
The 2006 review published in the вЂњInternational Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise MetabolismвЂќ suggests the maximum protein intake you can safely consume on a daily basis is 2.5 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, or about 1.14 gram per pound of body weight each day. This value is equivalent to 171 grams of protein daily for a 150-pound adult. Although a diet slightly higher in protein and lower in carbs may be beneficial for weight loss, the Institute of Medicine suggests adults need at least 130 grams of carbs on a daily basis.