Can Eating Too Much Protein Affect Your Kidneys?

While no major studies link high protein intake to kidney disease in healthy people, excess protein does force your kidneys to work harder and can cause problems for people with existing medical conditions. Kidney disease aside, the healthiest diet is a varied one that contains a balance of nutrients. Women only need about 46 grams of protein per day, while men need about 56 grams -- but most Americans consume more, notes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Group of men grilling chicken on the grill.
Credit: ShotShare/iStock/Getty Images

Protein and Kidneys

Dietary protein contains nitrogen products, which the kidneys must expel. Eating too much protein can overwork these organs, contributing to existing disease. In a study of women published in the "Annals of Internal Medicine" in 2003, participants with mild kidney impairment saw increased damage with high protein intake, particularly after eating meat. Those with full kidney function, however, did not show signs of disease even with high protein consumption. According to the UCLA Student Nutrition and Body Image Awareness Campaign, excess protein may be especially risky for people with diabetes.

references
Load Comments
PARTNER & LICENSEE OF THE LIVESTRONG FOUNDATION

Copyright © 2019 Leaf Group Ltd. Use of this web site constitutes acceptance of the LIVESTRONG.COM Terms of Use , Privacy Policy and Copyright Policy . The material appearing on LIVESTRONG.COM is for educational use only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. LIVESTRONG is a registered trademark of the LIVESTRONG Foundation. The LIVESTRONG Foundation and LIVESTRONG.COM do not endorse any of the products or services that are advertised on the web site. Moreover, we do not select every advertiser or advertisement that appears on the web site-many of the advertisements are served by third party advertising companies.