Why High Protein Diets Can Impair Your Performance

Why High Protein Diets Can Impair Your Performance

High protein diets are very popular among athletes for various reasons yet they can contribute to a decrease in performance.

Weather it is losing body weight or gaining muscle mass, many athletes go on a high protein diet for different reasons yet they often times neglect to adjust their drinking behavior accordingly.

What they don’t realize is that they need to adjust their water consumption as well when following a high protein diet to prohibit decreases in performance.

Otherwise, the new diet can become more harmful than beneficial!

How High Protein Diets Can Impair Performance

high protein diets
protein powder

Protein consists of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen. If you increase the amount of protein in your diet then the amount of urea (ammonia & carbon dioxide), a waste product the body produces, increases as well because urea is being used by the body to get rid off excess nitrogen.

In order to get rid off the urea via urine, the body uses water. Because the body needs the extra water to excrete the urea via urine, insufficient water reserves in the body can cause dehydration.

That impairs the body’s metabolism and hence decreases performance.

High Protein Diets Aren’t Beneficial For Weight Loss


There are some athletes that use high protein diets to lose weight, which can be counterproductive because:

  1. you increase the risk for dehydration, which impairs performance
  2. losing WEIGHT (water weight) doesn’t mean losing FAT

Once you return to your “normal” diet you regain the water weight that is associated with carbohydrate storage.

It is recommended to increase water consumption while committing to a high protein diet.

To be on the save side try working with a Registered Dietitian before making any significant changes to your diet.

This ensures that you use dietary compounds effectively to increase your performance.

Related Sports Nutrition Articles

How to Pick High Protein Quality Foods
How to Pick High Protein Quality Foods
The Role of Nutrients in Sports
The Role of Nutrients in Sports
How to Evaluate Protein Quality
How to Evaluate Protein Quality © by super_luminal @ Flickr

Training Zone

In this section we provide you with some training tips you may be interested in to optimize your training: