High Protein Diet And Joint Pain

Your body might not immediately alert you that you've consumed too much protein if you follow a high-protein diet. However, consuming too much protein over the long term, particularly from animal sources, can make your body more prone to inflammation. Furthermore, it may lead to health issues. How much protein is therefore sufficient, and how much is excessive?1

It's not true that eating a lot of protein can make your joints hurt. However, routinely taking protein in excess of your body's requirements might lead to the onset of illnesses that cause aching joints. By choosing low-fat or plant-based protein sources and adhering to the recommended daily protein intake for your age and gender as set forth by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, you can reduce your chance of developing these illnesses.

To get a better understanding of the topic and to learn what needs to be done and what not. Please read the full article.

What causes joint pain?

Numerous traumas or diseases can result in joint pain. Muscle soreness, bursitis, and arthritis may all be associated with it. Whatever the source, joint discomfort can be quite uncomfortable. The following are a few causes of joint pain:

  • Autoimmune conditions including lupus and rheumatoid arthritis
  • Bursitis
  • (C. p.) Chondromalacia patellae
  • Gout (particularly in the big toe) and CPPD arthritis crystals in the joint (pseudogout)
  • Viruses that induce infections
  • Injuries like fractures
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Osteomyelitis (bone infection) (bone infection)
  • Bacterial arthritis (joint infection)
  • Tendinitis
  • Unusual effort or overuse, which may result in sprains or strains2

Does high protein cause joint pain?

Your body's concentration of ketone molecules may increase on a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet as fat is used as an energy source rather than glucose. High levels of ketones raise your blood's uric acid levels, which increases your risk of developing gout. The joints, especially those in the foot, toes, and knees, become painfully inflamed when too much uric acid accumulates there. Since meat, poultry, and fish are high in purines, which the body converts to uric acid, it is advised that people with gout reduce their intake of animal-based proteins. If you have gout, MayoClinic.com advises you to limit your daily intake of meat, poultry, and fish to no more than 4 to 6 ounces.3

What symptoms of too much protein?

Symptoms of an excessive protein intake include:

  • Dyspepsia and discomfort in the intestines
  • Dehydration
  • Unknown fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Irritability
  • Headache
  • Diarrhoea

Chronic protein overconsumption carries significant dangers, including:

  • A cardiovascular condition
  • Disordered blood vessels
  • Injury to the liver and kidneys
  • Seizures
  • Death 4

How protein might impact arthritis

The effects of proteins on arthritis and inflammation are still being studied. Protein probably affects people with rheumatoid arthritis differently than those with osteoarthritis since the mechanisms behind each kind of arthritis differ. Evidence suggests that eating too much protein causes inflammation to increase, maybe as a result of the high fat content of many high-protein diets. Another study on patients with osteoarthritis found gains on self-reported measures of functional status when they followed a whole-foods, plant-based diet.5

What protein to stop eating if you have arthritis?

According to a study, if you have inflammatory arthritis, stay away from these completely or at least try to limit your intake of:

  • Prepared and fried foods
  • Red meat, such as steaks and hamburgers
  • Sausages and other processed meats like hot dogs and bratwurst
  • Refined carbs, such as those in packaged bread and pastries, and artificial sugars
  • Dairy products, like casein, a protein found in milk, ice cream, and cheese, have been demonstrated to irritate the tissue surrounding joints in a number of persons
  • Tobacco and alcohol
  • Too much salt
  • Vegetable oils, including soy and corn
  • Margarine
  • Soda and other sugar-sweetened liquids1

What food makes your joints hurt?

Food that causes joint pain is as follow:

  • Heavily processed foods
  • Red meat
  • Food high in sugar and processed sugar:
  • Fried foods
  • Gluten
  • Foods rich in purine
  • Refined carbohydrates
  • MSG
  • Alcohol

What's so bad about protein?

Excessive amount of anything is bad for your body and that goes the same for protein. When taken more than recommended amounts, it starts impacting the body in the wrong manner.

How much protein do you consume in a day?

Protein's moderate Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) is 0.8 grams per kilogramme of body weight. You can multiply your weight in pounds by 0.36 to get your daily protein consumption.1 A 160-pound person should consume roughly 87 grams per day, according to Paddon-Jones (6).

Prevention to avoid joint pain:

The following are the ways to prevent joint pain:

  • Stay at a healthy weight
  • Control your blood sugar
  • Exercise
  • Stretch
  • Avoid injury
  • Quit smoking
  • Eat fish twice a week
  • Get routine preventive care


There are multiple reasons that can cause joint pain, at any age. These reasons can range from trauma, excessive weight, imbalanced diet to just old age. Some of these reasons can be treated and cured, whereas some can be prevented altogether. Imbalanced diet is one of such reasons. Excessive amount of any component if diet might have a bad impact on your body. No matter what your fitness coach or other gym friend says, too much protein is not good for you. It can lead to excessive inflammation of joints and even more severe problems, like kidney failure. Hence, we need to understand what component is needed in what amount in our body.


  1. Protein and Joint Pain - Does a high protein diet cause arthritic joint pain? [Internet]. Flexcin. 2020 [cited 2022 Dec 8]. Available from: https://flexcin.com/what-protein-causes-joint-pain/
  2. Joint pain [Internet]. [cited 2022 Dec 9]. Available from: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/003261.htm
  3. Kerns M. Sore Joints From Too Much Protein [Internet]. Livestrong.com. 2012 [cited 2022 Dec 9]. Available from: https://www.livestrong.com/article/554750-sore-joints-from-too-much-protein/
  4. Huizen J. How do you know if you are eating too much protein? [Internet]. 2018 [cited 2022 Dec 9]. Available from: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322825#side-effects
  5. Protein and Arthritis [Internet]. mendTM. MEND Nutrition Inc.; 2019 [cited 2022 Dec 9]. Available from: https://mend.me/protein-and-arthritis/
  6. Arthritis Foundation. How Much Protein Do You Really Need in Your Arthritis Diet? [Internet]. Living With Arthritis. 2018 [cited 2022 Dec 8]. Available from: http://blog.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/protein-requirements-arthritis-diet/
This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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