Expert Weighs In On Whether High Protein Diets Are Safe

The Atkins' Diet. The Scarsdale Diet. The South Beach Diet. These high-protein diets have been around for decades, and versions of high-protein diets are still popular today. Although some high-protein diets will have you consume up to 30% of your daily calories from protein (via Healthline), some bodybuilders will eat significantly more than that. A number of people may go on a high-protein diet to lose weight, but is it safe? To answer this, we talked to Melissa Wasserman Baker, a certified RDN and the founder of FoodQueries, which is a website dedicated to providing delicious recipes and answering questions related to food storage and spoilage.

The focus of high protein diets is to consume more protein while cutting back on carbs and fat, explains Baker. In turn, you lose weight from high-protein diets because you feel less hungry after consuming more protein. Although you can lose weight and build muscle on a high-protein diet, Baker says it might not be safe for everyone.

Why a high protein diet might not be safe

A high-protein diet could be associated with certain health conditions if you're not careful, shares Baker. "Consuming too much protein can put a strain on your kidneys, increase the risk of osteoporosis, and lead to other health problems," Baker said. "Additionally, if you're consuming a lot of protein from animal sources, it can be high in saturated fat, which can increase the risk of heart disease." Therefore, she advises seeing a healthcare professional about a high-protein diet, particularly if you already have a health condition.

If you want to start a high-protein diet, Baker suggests researching more about high-protein diets and creating a meal plan each week to ensure you're getting plenty of protein and other nutrients. "Buy plenty of lean meats, fish, eggs, dairy products, legumes, nuts, and seeds to make sure you have enough protein-rich foods on hand," she said. Because high-protein diets can stress your kidneys, she recommends drinking plenty of water to flush out excess protein and keep your kidneys healthy.

"That being said, a high protein diet can be safe for most people as long as it's done in moderation and balanced with other healthy foods," Baker said.