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Unveiling the Unsettling Truth: The Dark Side of Protein Powder

    It’s no secret that protein powder is a popular supplement among athletes and fitness enthusiasts. It can be a good alternative for protein-packed food after you hit the gym or if you need some quick nutrients in the middle of the day. In addition, protein powder can help to build muscle and has benefits as a weight-loss aid. However, despite its popularity, protein powder can have some adverse side effects. This article will discuss some of the most common negative effects of protein powder.

    Digestive Issues

    Whether it’s a whey protein powder or plant-based, all proteins can cause digestive issues. Some of the most common include bloating and cramping. These side effects are usually short-term and not serious. However, before using any type of protein powder, always consult your doctor if you have any preexisting digestive conditions because protein powder can worsen the situation due to protein powders’ rapid absorption rate. Your body absorbs protein powder much faster than it does regular food, so your digestive system has to work harder than usual to absorb it all.

    Increased Blood Sugar Levels

    Because protein powder is in the form of a shake, it’s easier to digest than food. As stated earlier, this means that your body absorbs protein powder quickly. This results in an instant increase in blood sugar levels when you drink protein shakes made of whey protein powder or any other type of protein powder derived from cow’s milk. If you have diabetes, high blood pressure, or thyroid problems, make sure to talk to your doctor before using protein powder because it can exacerbate those conditions, as well as several others.

    Kidney Issues

    Protein powder can contain high levels of purines. Purines are natural chemicals found in all living cells and tissue. However, the body breaks them down into uric acid, which your body removes through urine. This means that it’s normal to have some uric acid levels in your bloodstream at any given time. However, too much protein can cause high uric acid levels. These high levels can lead to a condition known as gout, in which the joints swell and become very painful. Another possible issue when protein powder has high amounts of purines, is that it can result in hyperglycemia, leading to kidney stones or kidney failure.

    Can Contain Toxins

    Any time you heat or cool down ingredients that are in powdered form, there’s a chance that some toxins will be either created or released. For instance, if protein powder has exposure to extreme temperatures for too long, it could increase the risk of harmful chemicals releasing into the protein powder. Another issue is that most protein powders are not organic. So while the whey itself might be a byproduct of organic milk, adding certain chemicals can change its properties and thus negate any positive effects.

    Liver Damage

    The main ingredient in many protein powders is whey protein. Whey protein is made by filtering the liquid off of cheese curds, which means that it has to go through several chemical procedures before it becomes usable as a food additive. This process happens with harsh chemicals like acid or bleach, which can damage your liver. A study revealed that consuming whey protein can have adverse effects on people with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. The study concluded that short-term intake of whey protein for just four weeks could cause an increase in fat levels in the liver, which means it could worsen existing liver damage.


    Since protein powder is a supplemental food source, it’s ideal for those who don’t get enough protein in their diet. However, if a person isn’t used to eating extra-high amounts of protein, consuming too much can lead to constipation. These issues happen because the body needs time to adjust to digesting high protein levels. Therefore it’s important to slowly increase protein intake over time if you are new to protein powder or are switching from one type of protein powder to another.

    Disrupted Hormones

    Protein is necessary for good health. However, consuming too much can impact the natural balance of hormones. This means that it could be disrupting your metabolism. As well as your growth and reproductive health. In addition, because it disrupts your metabolism, the body will have lower energy levels since it needs to work harder than normal to digest all those proteins.

    Lower Blood Pressure Too Much

    Protein can also have adverse effects on blood pressure. If you’re already getting enough protein in your diet, protein powder probably won’t be necessary. The body can only process so much protein before creating insulin resistance. Resistance to insulin occurs when the cells are overwhelmed by proteins and unable to process their effects. The result is lower insulin levels and a greater risk of developing diabetes.


    As you can see, protein powder is not the perfect superfood you might have thought. These powders have several negative aspects, ranging from disruptions in hormones to potential liver damage. However, if taken in moderation and regulated properly, there are no reasons why someone should have any severe side effects from consuming protein powder occasionally. The main thing to remember is not to overdo it. Like with most things, moderation is key!