Protein Poisoning: Here Are The Warning Signs

  • 19 months ago
4 minute read.
Protein Poisoning: Here Are The Warning Signs

Protein forms an essential component of your diet, especially nowadays, when losing weight and muscle building has become quite a trend. This is the reason why gym enthusiasts or the ones who want to build muscles are often seen consuming proteinaceous foods and supplements.

But did you know consuming too much protein causes problems? If not, we got you covered. This blog talks about protein poisoning, what it is, how it's caused, what's the right amount of protein you need, and a lot more.

What is Protein Poisoning?

Protein poisoning, also known as rabbit starvation, occurs due to excess protein intake. It is a condition in which your body cannot take more proteins and start responding negatively.

Usually, people believe that eliminating carbs and fats while adding protein would make their daily diet worth eating. But the reality is somewhat different.

Intake of proteins more than is usually required for your body is simply a whole mess. In other words, the mess is merely protein poisoning. Although it is not a common case yet, it has some long-term bad consequences.

[ Also Check: Are You Suffering From A Sensitive Gut? ]

Common Causes and Symptoms of Protein Poisoning

Several factors of your day-to-day life affect your body in distinct ways. Likewise, the kind and amount of nutrients you consume has much to do with your health.

Excessive consumption of carbs and fats causes your body to become obese; an over-proteinaceous diet works no better. Five very common causes of protein poisoning that you must be aware of are:

  • Less intake of carbohydrates and fats in the diet
  • Intake of protein at odd hours
  • Over-dependency on protein supplements
  • Believing in misconceptions that provoke you to rely much on proteins
  • Poor gut capacity for the absorption of other nutrients

Here are some symptoms you might notice:

How Much Protein Should You Take?

According to recent studies, if you aren't much involved in a physical workout, the adequate amount of protein intake is suggested as 0.80-1.0 g/kg ideal body weight. Yet another exciting way to know how much protein you should take is by using an online protein calculator. All you need to do is multiply your weight by 0.36, and you are ready with your results.

Please note: the exact protein requirement for your body is determined by several factors such as muscle mass, age, sex, disease history, exercise intensity, etc. So, a few grams, more or less, is acceptable.

Furthermore, daily protein requirement highly depends on a person's physique and differs in males and females. For females, the amount is estimated as 40-80 g/day, while in the case of males, it is 45-90 g/day.

To know other details, you may check the current Dietary Guidelines for Indians, which simply highlight the importance of protein-rich healthy food items and the recommended protein intake for Indians.

Warning Signs of Excess Protein Consumption or Protein Poisoning

  • Kidney misfunctioning: Although protein poisoning hurts your overall health, kidneys get affected in the first place. Not only does it hinder the process of blood filtering, but it also facilitates the accumulation of amino acids, toxins, etc.
  • Obesity: It is a common problem among people. The moment your metabolic rate slips from normal, you start getting lean or obese. Not only does it happen in excess intake of fatty food, but protein poisoning can also lead to such conditions.
  • Dehydration: When protein interferes with your kidneys, it also disturbs your normal process of urination. This causes dehydration condition in your body and eventually invites significant complications.
  • Foul breath: Less intake of carbs and fats prompt the body to break your stored fats and carbohydrates. And this rapid oxidation process in your body generally releases a foul smell. And this is by design noticed through bad breath.
  • Depression, mood swings, and anxiety: Mainly, this occurs as a result of starvation, fatigue, and tiredness. You start becoming anxious when you feel low and unenergetic for a while. This is how protein poisoning becomes the very cause of depression, mood swings, and anxiety-like issues.

[ Related: Foods To Beat Depression ]

What do you Need to Know About High-Protein Diets? 

High protein diets need a balanced carb and fat diet. High protein diets, especially among vegetarians, generally include legumes and dairy products. In case a person excludes the other essential nutrients, they're likely to suffer from protein poisoning.

That's why the intake of the right amount and the right food choice is necessary. However, Research on determining the appropriate amount of protein intake is ongoing.

Possible Ways to Treat Protein Poisoning 

Although there are several ways to treat protein poisoning; the best six methods to treat the condition are listed:

  • Consume carbohydrates and fats as much as your body desires.
  • Avoid depending on protein tablets, tonics, etc., mindlessly.
  • Schedule a diet chart from an expert.
  • Seek a nutritionist for the right counseling.
  • Increase intake of fibrous foods and healthy fats.
  • Do not take more than 1.5 g of protein per kg of your ideal weight (that too after consultation from experts)

Diet Plan

Protein Poisoning vs. Protein Toxicity

While protein poisoning is merely a result of less intake of fats and carbs, protein toxicity usually occurs due to the poor capacity of kidneys to filter waste.

People with renal diseases are more susceptible to protein toxicity. It's basically the failure of kidneys to handle, digest and eliminate protein.


While protein poisoning isn't a popular condition like AIDS, cancer, or arthritis, it surely needs awareness as it can be dangerous if it goes unchecked. However, as you have all the information at your disposal, you need not fear anything.

Always remember that protein poisoning can be cured. However, once it happens, the recovery is relatively slow. Before switching to any protein supplements or dietary patterns, seek expert advice. And if you notice any symptoms of protein poisoning in you or someone near you, don't neglect. Rather try to consult a doctor and get the proper treatment.

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