Different versions of high-protein diets have cropped up on the market for years. The Atkins Diet and the South Beach Diet are two major players in the world of weight loss. Protein powders, bars and shakes are easy to find in grocery and supplement stores. Although some protein is important for general nutrition and muscle building, too much may put a strain on vital organs. For instance, increased urinary output from high-protein diets directly impacts your bladder.
High-Protein Diets: Initial Water Loss
If you have ever followed a strict high-protein diet, you may have been delighted to see how quickly the pounds disappear after just the first week or so. This is because the metabolism of protein increases urinary output and water loss. Diets high in animal protein raise uric acid levels in the blood. In order to filter this out, your body excretes more water as urine, helping the kidneys filter the byproducts of protein digestion. Too much protein in your diet increases the workload of your kidneys and the amount of urine directed to your bladder.
Urinary Effects of Excessive Protein Intake
The compounds present in your urine are determined, in part, by what you eat. Ketones are an acidic byproduct of high-protein intake. Protein is also about 16 percent nitrogen. As a result, the urine produced by a high-protein eater is acidic, with a higher nitrogen content. Although your bladder is designed to handle any type of urine, it is a good idea to increase your water intake if you are eating a lot of protein. This will help you stay hydrated and dilute urinary substances to protect your bladder in the long run.
Soy Protein and Bladder Cancer
Animal protein is often pinpointed as the toxic offender of the body. However, even diets high in soy protein may influence your risk for bladder cancer. A Chinese study published in 2002 in "Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention" found that both men and women showed an increased risk for bladder cancer associated with high soy protein consumption. If you are trying to protect your bladder from toxic effects of animal protein in the diet, overloading on soy may not be such a good idea.
Eating protein in excess will affect the concentration of urine in the kidneys and the urinary output by the bladder. Whether high-protein diets cause significant bladder problems has yet to be determined, but there is an association between bladder cancer and soy protein intake. It is important to eat a well-balanced diet with adequate carbohydrates and healthy fats. Focusing too much on protein can put added stress on your body and deter you from getting vital nutrients from other important foods, such as fruits and vegetables. Talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian to learn more about how much protein you should aim to consume every day.
- Feminist Women's Health Center; Women's Health Information: High Protein Diets - Are You Losing More Than Water Weight?; Monique N. Gilbert
- National Council on Strength and Fitness: The Scientific Reality of High Protein Diets
- University of Connecticut Advance; Too Much Protein Can Lead to Dehydration, Researchers Find; Janice Palmer; April 2002
- "Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention"; Dietary Soy and Increased Risk of Bladder Cancer: The Singapore Chinese Health Study; C.L. Sun, et al.; December 2002