• Posted by CERC India
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High-protein diets: The pros and cons

High-protein, low carbohydrate diets are increasingly catching the fancy of many, especially the health conscious. But how much protein do we need and is too much dangerous?

There are about 10,000 types of protein in the body and they are essential for the proper functioning of cells and are used as the basis of muscle, bone, skin, hair and other tissues. The Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) of protein is around 0.8g/kg of body weight per day.


  • Foods that are high in protein and thus have a low GI (glycaemic index) are slow to digest and help keep people full. This prevents people from snacking and reduces cravings.
  • A high-protein diet helps maintain lean muscle mass which means you are less likely to lose lean muscle and more likely to lose fat.
  • High-protein products are suitable for those avoiding animal sources of protein for health, environmental or ethical reasons.


  • Most people can easily meet their protein requirements, even vegans, nutritionists feel. If you consume more protein than required it gets converted into glucose which can turn into excess body fat if you don’t burn the calories with sufficient exercise.
  • The benefits of protein and weight loss only apply up to 1.6g protein/kg body weight you consumer per day.
  • There has also been concern that high-protein diets may cause kidney damage. Other side effects are lack of energy, constipation, vitamin and mineral deficiencies and bad breath.
  • Such diets are unsustainable and it is hard to stick to the diet for more than six weeks.

Protein powders

Protein supplements such as powders, shakes and bars are being used by many people not just athletes and bodybuilders. But there are generally expensive and have more calories. Also using protein shakes as a meal replacement means you are drinking liquid calories which is not like eating real food with naturally occurring fibre.

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