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Dehydration with High Protein Diets

High protein diets are taken by athletes with the intension to increase the muscle mass in the body or lose weight. But some are unknown with the fact that a high protein diet can cause silent dehydration in endurance athletes who are trained adapt greater degree of dehydration compared to an average individual. As the amount of proteins is increased in the diet it influences the hydration indices. Degree of hydration in the body is inversely proportional to the amount of protein consumed in the diet.

High-protein low carbohydrate diets followed for weight loss only work for few weeks, after which the lost weight is regained.
High protein diets mainly emphasize on foods rich in proteins like eggs, meat, chicken, fish, most of which are also high in saturated fats. Also foods rich in carbohydrates are restricted like whole grains, fruits, vegetables and non fat milk products which provide other vital nutrients and fiber. This can lead to nutritional deficiencies that are rarely for short period. A low carbohydrate diet can in turn cause loss of body fluid, incomplete fat burning and formation of ketone bodies.

Follow a thumb rule - Higher the protein in the diet higher should be the water consumption.

Kidney plays a very important role in filtering not only the toxins from the body but also regulating the blood pressure and the number of red blood cells in the body. Blood urea nitrogen (BUN) is one of the tests used to determine the kidney function. When high amount of proteins are consumed in an athletes diet, abnormal BUN levels are found in the tests. This can be explained as increased protein intake can caused nitrogen build up in the body. This nitrogen precipitates in the kidney in the form of urea that has to be eliminated from the blood via urine. This process leads to increased urination that may ultimately cause dehydration. High protein diets may have a negative impact on the kidneys posing a load on them to produce concentrated urine. Moreover dehydration forces the kidneys to work harder to clean the waste materials from the blood.

Thus whether you feel the desire to drink water or not, to is wise to increase the water intake with high protein diets to avoid dehydration. Even 2% decrease in body fluids can affect the performance of an athlete in an event and may also increase cardiovascular risks. Following a balanced diet along with regular exercise regime is the best way to stay fit and enhance performance of an athlete in an event.
Submitted on March 31, 2010