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Why can consuming too much protein cause bone loss?

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
America is a country of crazes. Hula hoops. Parachute pants, Chia pets. They come, they go, some stick around. One that seems like it's going to be around for a while is the high-protein diet craze. Can high-protein diets help you shed pounds? Sure -- at least as well as most other diets can, in the short term. But they can also carry risks that more balanced diets don't.

Ultra-high-protein diets can be detrimental to other organs and systems in your body, and they can also accelerate bone loss. Eating large amounts of protein every day -- say, more than 140 grams a day (that's the equivalent of a pound of chicken, fish, beef, or pork, or two and a half pounds of nuts in a day) -- are believed to be threatening to your bones because the extra protein can cause your body to excrete calcium, rather than absorb it.
YOU: The Owner's Manual, Updated and Expanded Edition: An Insider's Guide to the Body that Will Make You Healthier and Younger

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.