Protein is one of the important nutrients needed by the body to build and build muscle, support the immune system, and help regulate the production of hormones and enzymes. High-protein foods are also considered to be more filling. That's why many dietary principles encourage activists to consume more protein to reduce carbohydrates. But who would have thought, the habit of doing a high-protein diet can make you at risk of experiencing severe dehydration, even if done by fit-bodied athletes.
What is the connection between a high-protein diet and the risk of dehydration?
Reported from Very Well, Nancy Rodriguez, a nutrition expert, says that the risk of dehydration is related to how much protein food you consume. The more protein you consume, and the longer the duration of the diet, the higher your risk of dehydration.
A study from the University of Connecticut in 2002 found that high-protein foods increase blood urea nitrogen levels. This finding was reported after observing 5 athletes who were given high-protein food in stages, from 68 grams of protein, 123 grams, and a diet high in protein 246 grams.
Shortly after consuming high-protein foods, athletes don't feel thirsty so they don't consume enough water. After testing, the levels of urea nitrogen in the athlete's blood show abnormal numbers. It was noted that urea levels in the athlete's blood could return to normal when protein intake was reduced.
Why is that?
Urea is a waste product from the digestion of protein from the food we eat. Protein contains nitrogen which the body cannot digest and must be removed. Before being released, the nitrogen will be converted into urea or also called urea nitrogen (BUN). Normally, urea will be filtered by the kidneys and then released with urine.
Healthy kidneys will remove BUN so that the levels in the blood remain low. In addition, BUN also shows how well someone's body fluids are sufficient.
When you consume too much high protein food, BUN levels automatically increase. High levels of urea in the blood generally indicate your kidneys are not working properly, which is characterized by the color of deep yellow urine - a typical symptom of dehydration. If it continues to be left, this can cause your dehydration to become more severe, heat stroke, and disorders of the heart and blood vessels.
Don't forget to drink plenty of water during a high-protein diet
Intake of fluids is needed to help the kidneys rinse excess urea and other nitrogen products through urine so the kidneys don't work too hard.
For those of you who are on a high-protein diet, make sure that your fluid intake is sufficient, even if you don't feel thirsty. Also keep your fluid intake before, during, and after exercise to maintain fluid balance and prevent the risk of dehydration.
You can consume drinks rich in carbohydrates and electrolytes which can reduce the risk of dehydration and hyponatremia. However, the best choice of drinks is still water.
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