Nutrition Myth - Protein is bad for your Bones and Kidneys.

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Over the next few weeks we will be addressing some nutrition ‘myths’ that are still prevalent and commonplace. We want to try and show you what you should and shouldn’t believe when it comes to nutrition. In recent times, both carbs and fats have received a lot of criticism from the media in terms of their effect on health and weight loss. However, protein has not been excluded from this equation, and that’s what we are going to start with this week…

 

     Nutrition Myth 1: “Protein is bad for your bones and kidneys.”

In terms of your bones there has been a theory that too much protein can cause osteoporosis. The reason this theory first originated is that protein adds to the acidic load inside your body, which causes calcium from your bones to be used as neutralizer to this acid. As a result, some claim that the calcium loss caused by excess protein consumption can lead to osteoporosis-like symptoms.

 

However, studies have shown that, whilst there may be some short-term calcium loss, this is something that does not continue over time. In fact, studies have actually shown that increasing your protein consumption will not negatively affect bone health, and in fact protein can actually improve our bone function.

 

As stated in this article on examine.com “Other studies determined that high protein diets increased glomerular filtration rate (GFR), a marker for waste filtration in the kidneys.[7] It was argued that increased GFR was a sign that undue stress was put on the kidneys,[8] but later research has shown that kidney damage does not occur as a result of diets high in protein.[9][10] » The fact stands; adding protein to your diet may increase the workloads of your kidneys by a tiny amount. However, the amount it increases is negligible compared to the work your kidneys are already doing every day.”

 

 All in all, current evidence suggests that protein actually has a neutral or even protective effect on bones.  Moreover, high protein diets have not been proven to have harmful effects on the bones and kidneys in healthy individuals (if you have a pre-existing condition this may not still be the case).

 

Protein actually has many benefits to everyone and therefore it is highly recommended that everyone eats a decent amount of protein each day. Here are some of the positive things that protein does do:

-       It helps build and repair tissue

-       It helps build muscle

-       It is important for cartilage

-       It helps maintain healthy skin

-       It increases satiety

 

At the end of the day, it would be extremely difficult for people to eat an amount of protein that is harmful to you, and there is no denying that protein has more positive effects on your health than negative ones. A high protein diet won’t cause you as much harm as some people seem to think. Your body needs protein to thrive, so you want to make sure you are eating enough of it. As vegetarians, vegans or even those reducing their meat consumption for sustainability, there are plenty of high protein foods you can use as a substitute for meat, and so it’s important to not let yourself experience protein deficiency.