What are the problems related to drinking too much protein shake?

Protein shake is not a substitute for regular food


Unfortunately, many people are mistaken when they expect a miracle from protein shakes. They think their muscles will automatically grow and they won’t need to do anything else. Some others are lazy to eat solid food so they keep drinking shakes and realise at the end of the day that it was their 5th. What problems could arise from drinking too much protein shake?

Protein shake is not a substitute for regular food

Just like the name suggests, protein shakes are dietary supplements. They are not meant to replace regular and normal meals, but to supplement them if your diet doesn’t include the protein quantity that your body requires. You might work out on a daily basis and you need a high protein intake for muscle regeneration, or you are on a diet, but you would like to retain your muscles. Or maybe your day is so full that you don’t have time for a proper meal, so you drink a shake now and eat a normal meal later. These are all acceptable answers, but it is not OK if you get your necessary protein intake only from protein shakes.

What is “much” in this situation?

You should cover no more than a third of your protein intake with shakes! If you need 120g of protein, then you may drink two shakes each with 20g protein content per day. Every now and then it may be a little bit more if there is no other solution, but definitely not on a regular basis!

Why is it not good to consume protein shakes excessively?

  1. Protein shakes are liquid nutrients. Your body is “specialised” to process solid food. If you continuously burden your body with liquid meals, your stool will change in consistency. You will either suffer from constant diarrhoea or have a loose stool. In addition, you can expect to be regularly bloated and have an enhanced gas production.
  2. The excessive consumption of protein causes acidification, and as a result you might experience a number of the following symptoms: constant fatigue, tiredness, irritability, constant smaller illnesses, weakness, incapacity to lose weight, spots on your skin, unpleasant mouth odour, broken nails and hair, etc. In order to avoid this you should consume a large quantity of vegetables together with your high protein intake.
  3. Extra burden for the kidneys: it is a huge burden for your body, especially for the kidneys to deal with an excessive amount of proteins. If you are suffering from a kidney disease you shouldn’t consume protein excessively, but even in a healthy body the continuous protein overload could result in significant problems.
  4. Calcium loss: the excessive protein intake causes a withdrawal of calcium in the bones that can lead to a weakening of your bones. Therefore, when you follow a diet rich in protein, you must pay attention to an increased intake of calcium!
  5. Weight gain: protein is a nutrient that contains calories. If you consume too much of it, it will result in a weight gain. If you increase your protein intake, but would not like to gain any weight, you must decrease your intake of carbohydrates and/or fats. If you want to lose weight, it is not enough just to increase your protein intake. If you are a beginner, however, even this single step can result in a huge transformation in your shape. Nevertheless, it is very important to follow a proper diet if you want to lose weight!
  6. Unnecessary: if you consume more than 2.5g/kg (in body weight) protein, your body simply can’t process it. It is only an extra burden on your body to process or store in surplus.

Protein shakes are an excellent solution and provide a high quality protein intake, if you follow the prescribed dose. Just like with anything else, don’t get carried into the extremes!


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