4 Potentially Dangerous Side Effects of Whey Protein

This Evidence Based article was written by

Whey protein is generally regarded as a safe supplement when used appropriately, but you’ll still want to take steps to make sure that you aren’t getting carried away with it.

These are some potentially harmful side-effects of supplementing with whey protein…

1. You Could Gain Fat

If you’re using whey protein to build lean muscle you probably don’t want to gain weight in the form of fat. But many times whey protein will come with added sugars, and therefore added carbohydrates, and some can contain added fat as well.

There’s also the possibility of eating too much while taking whey protein, as it provides added calories and carbohydrates in liquid form, and may not be enough to satisfy you as a meal replacement. If you find that you still eat the same amount of food in addition to drinking whey protein shakes, you may not get the results you seek. Some whey protein is designed as a “gainer,” used by bodybuilders to bulk up their muscles. These will contain extra carbohydrates designed to help those with slim physiques build bigger muscles. Be sure to read the label of the whey protein that you are purchasing to see what it’s meant to be used as.

How to avoid this side effect: Look at the whey protein you’re considering and see how it ranks in terms of calories, carbohydrates, and fat. If you are using it as a meal replacement, make sure you don’t eat a meal in addition to taking the shake. If you simply want the protein, opt for a supplement that is more strictly protein, like egg white protein powder.

Whey Protein Kidney Stone Side Effect

2. You Could Form Kidney Stones

Whether or not a high consumption of excessive amounts of protein causes kidney stones is an often debated. While there is no conclusive evidence that it causes them, whey protein doesn’t seem to help prevent them, and can worsen the condition if it’s already present.

One way to make sure that you don’t get kidney stones from using whey protein is to get enough fiber in your diet. Adequate amounts of fiber and water will help your body maintain itself and prevent the buildup of deposits that can lead to a kidney stone.

Those that are already at risk for getting kidney stones are the ones most likely to be affected by drinking whey protein shakes.

How to avoid this side effect: Use a balanced whey protein supplement that isn’t just straight protein. Eat a balanced diet in addition to taking whey protein, one that gets the right portions of carbohydrates and healthy fats to avoid becoming lopsided in the protein department. Limit your consumption of protein to within the limits of your specific requirements.

Stomach Pain

3. You Could Have Digestive Trouble

Because it is sourced from dairy, whey protein contains lactose, which could end up giving you digestive problems if you are sensitive to it. You don’t have to be lactose intolerant to feel the effects from lactose, and most adults are sensitive to lactose to some degree.

If you notice a sensitivity, try going with a whey protein concentrate, which is processed in a way that removes most of the lactose, leaving behind just the protein you’re after.

It’s easy to tell if you’ll have trouble with whey protein, because you’ll likely have already showed signs from other dairy products like milk, cheese, and ice cream.

How to avoid this side effect: If you find that you don’t digest whey protein very well, you can switch to other forms of protein powders. These include Rice Protein, Hemp Protein, and Soy Protein, all of which are lactose free.


4. You Could Develop Gout

It’s not likely that you’d get gout from drinking protein shakes unless you were already showing signs of it, and unless you consume far more than is recommended. But it is something to be aware of if you have a family history of gout.

Along with the protein in whey protein, there is also a large amount of amino acids. If your body can’t process these effectively they’ll build up in your system and cause problems with your liver and other organs designed to filter these substances and put them to use.

You may want to go with a protein powder that has a less concentrated amount of protein so that you will be able to stay within your healthy range of protein for the day.

How to avoid this side effect: If you are at risk for developing gout you should watch your protein intake and that includes your consumption of protein powders like whey protein. Talk with your doctor to see what your specific protein requirements are.

Want to get more protein naturally? Check out our list of the 15 Foods Highest in Protein

Users Comments:

  • Joseph

    How often do I hve to take whay protain to gain and build strong muscles? I jst wanna hve strong big muscles do whay can help me?

    • Bill

      There is no factual evidence that whey really increases muscle mass. If you are wanting to build muscle mass adhere to a strict body building diet and workout consistently. Whey is only a supplement, not a rule to body building. Probably one of the best foods for muscle is eggs believe it or not. Eat your eggs and workout. It will make it happen for you.

    • ssemambo julius

      i just want to use them were should i find them in UGANDA and how much

  • Orayt

    0.8 * your weight in pounds – amount of protein you should take a day.

  • Bob Magann

    I am doubtful that whey protein is the kind of protein that effect people with gout. I would get gout, at times, if I ate food with purines and or if I drank a lot of alcohol. I eat whey protein and do not get gout flareups. I understand that whey protein does not contain purines which I understand are difficult for defective kidneys to breakdown and therefore uric acid is produced which gets caught in joints and crystalizes in to sharp glass like crystals cutting up the joints and causing inflammation.

  • Abdur rahman

    I’ve been workin out since 7 monthsand i decided to take dymatize whey protein and from last month i started taking it as a post work out protein shake but i’ve been. Encounter problems with my skin abscess boils occuring on my skin as soon as i stopped taking protein shake abscess were drain
    So i want any experienced one,s to suggest me what could i do ..!!
    Thank you .

  • Good Fella

    You can’t get gout from the whey protein ( or other dairy products) as it does not contain purines, unlike other types of plant or animal proteins which contain nucleotides and thus contain purines (ie part of DNA). The gout condition is usually associated with excess of purines within the particular diet. The 70 % of purines within the human body is result of body metabolism and 30 % comes directly from food. Thus in many cases the gout condition could be controlled by the diet with the minimal or zero amount of purines. In such cases the whey protein is safe as the source of purine free protein.

    • Ben

      You are so right on that. Whey protein can not cause gout. A lot people think when they read or heard the words whey protein its either it can cause gout arthritis, kidney stones or organ failure, but what they don’t know is its a good source of amino acids. Our cells needs to eat protein to live or to multifly. If we don’t eat enough protein we grow old faster because cells in our system will die and that’s the main reason why we get sick from lack of protein. Big food industires don’t like people drinking protein shake because its a complete food. Imagine If people starts drinking protein shakes. Nobody will buy those junk foods anymore made by these big foods industries.

    • Angelina

      Does whey protein help in building a bigger ass and flat tummy ?

  • anubhav arora

    i have to reduce my sides weigt and thai weight wich whey product i should take wich does not hve any side effect

    • Ben

      Whey protein does not give side effects at all. Its a complete food and if you excercise a lot then you need to eat them. It will help you focus on what you’re doing.

  • James

    ” you could form kidney stones”… and then you go on to contradict yourself by stating that there’s no evidence to support this.

    Don’t mislead people with stupid articles.

  • Jalal khan

    Should I take or not? Guys pls help ,I’m getting confuse yaar

    • Michael Santos

      Ian diabetic 2.High blood pressure High cholesterol .is one eighth once scoop a day good.and what will whey do for me ?I started work in out iam 60 was always into fitness.was told it will help my bone if I workout or not.I had gout a while back.

  • Jacob

    I have gout. Is it because of the protein? TBH… This article is old.

  • lorisa

    do you have to drink it within a certain amount of time after mixing? I like to mix and then let get cold..usually I make it up and put in the fridge at work so I can drink it on my lunch break…my job is extremely physical

  • raghav

    please tell me that…protein shakes affect in penis erection ?

  • lowella

    More bad info! Ben’s info above is false. Whey is not a “complete” or perfect protein in any way. I am allergic to it and thought i had gout for a year. Beware – whey is fine for some but will hurt and damage joints for others.

  • tenzin

    I am a skinny guy…. I want to growup my muscle … i can’t eat too much food. can whey protein shake Help me… Is it good for me…. How much Spoon of power i have to take Per day….if its good fr me

  • Rio

    Is protein good for 15 yr old boy????
    Any side effects? ?

  • Robert Franklin

    Its good for your sx life, and gives you a real big one.

  • esther

    Whey can cause inflammatory response in s ome people.
    Lupuz…whey…is a no,… no.

    Bone protein is easy to make…beef bones in a crock pot for two days…reset…reset time on high. Bones disappear and broth is a heal component .
    Read on line.

  • Yuvraj

    This is all shit.Kidney stones? Seriously? Stop misguiding people.Gout?? Whey protein is very low on purines,gout is because of hight purine content in body.Fat?its gained due to unsused carbs and fats taken,only mass gainers will make you fat.

  • sahilarora

    This is all fake I didn’t get any of these side effects while using whey protein. It depends on the quality of protein which you are using . I bought whey protein from roboustdiet.com and I am very happy with its quality and there are no side effects in that whey protein.

  • 180naturalprotein

    There might be side effects but when taken in moderation is fine. Everything that taken extensively is bad.

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