Deficiencies Due to a Lack of Protein & Carbohydrates

A nutritious diet consists of a healthy mix of carbohydrates, fats and proteins. Failing to get enough of any of these key nutrients can result in nutritional deficiencies that negatively affect your health. Both carbohydrates and proteins provide various types of nutrients, and eating a healthy, balanced diet is the best way to avoid nutritional deficiencies.


The nutrients that provide your body energy are known as macro nutrients. There are three key macro nutrients: protein, carbohydrates and fat. According to the United States Department of Agriculture's Dietary Reference Intakes, your body needs about 10 to 35 percent of your calories from protein, 20 to 35 percent from fat and the remaining 45 to 65 percent from carbohydrates. If you significantly reduce your protein or carbohydrate percentages you can suffer a variety of nutritional problems even if you're getting enough calories.


What Happens if My Macronutrient Intake Is Insufficient?

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According to the United States Department of Agriculture's Dietary Reference Intake, you need about 45 to 65 percent of your daily calories from carbohydrates, making it the single largest macro nutrient in your diet. Carbohydrates provide energy in the form of glucose, and your body can store them in your muscles and liver to use at a later time. If you don't get enough carbohydrates this can lead to an abnormally low glucose level, known as hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia can lead to confusion, seizures and loss of consciousness.


Your body uses protein in every cell and organ, and getting enough is key to maintaining a healthy diet. The United States Department of Agriculture recommends you get 10 to 35 percent of your daily caloric intake from protein. If you don't get enough proteins from your diet you can experience symptoms that include a decreased ability to heal wounds, swelling in your hands, feet or abdomen, decreased muscle mass and fatigue, according to Net Wellness, a joint service of the University of Cincinnati, Ohio State University and Case Western Reserve University.

Other Conditions

How to Calculate AMDR

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Getting too much of one nutrient at the expense of other can lead to other deficiencies and health conditions as well. For example, according to Oregon State' University's Linus Pauling Institute, people who have diets that are too-high in carbohydrates, and thus low in protein and fats, can develop a thiamin deficiency. Thiamin, also known as vitamin B1, deficiencies can lead to a medical condition known as beriberi. This condition can cause muscle pain, rapid heart rate, seizures and even congestive heart failure, amongst other symptoms and complications.