3 minute read

High-Protein Diets Can Help You Lose Weight, But You May Be Missing Important Nutrients

Published June 7, 2023

High-protein diets are a popular way to lose weight by cutting out carbohydrate-rich foods, such whole grains, and replacing them with lean protein. 

While protein is essential for building muscles, beef, pork, and processed meats can raise your bad cholesterol and may be high in saturated fats which could be a concern for those at risk for heart disease. Not only does the food we eat influence how nutrients work in our body, but genetics, age, health conditions, medications, and metabolism all contribute to how well nutrients are absorbed in your body. When any one food group is restricted, you could be lacking certain vitamins and minerals in your diet which could lead to nutritional deficiencies and serious health problems.

To begin a high-protein diet with the best foundation, it is valuable to be aware of any deficiencies in any essential nutrients. You could become more deficient and cause additional health issues when you eliminate certain foods from your diet. If you have any health issues, concerns, or questions, you should talk with your doctor before starting a high-protein diet. 

Types of high protein/low carb diets

A high-protein/low-carb diet includes fish, beans, legumes, and vegetables higher in lean protein.

  • Atkins
  • Dukan
  • Mediterranean
  • Paleo
  • Scarsdale
  • South Beach
  • Zone

If you are following or considering a high-protein/low-carb diet, you may want to get tested for vitamin deficiencies and modify your diet if necessary.

Quest High-Protein Diet Vitamin Deficiency Test Panels

We make it easy to check the levels of micronutrients with the Quest High-Protein Diet Vitamin Deficiency Test Panel. This panel measures the levels of vitamin B1, vitamin B7, vitamin D, vitamin E, calcium, chromium, folate, iodine, iron, magnesium, and molybdenum in your blood to help detect any deficiencies common to a high-protein diet. It is available to purchase online; no doctor’s visit is required.

Common high protein vitamin/mineral deficiencies

Depending on the type of high-protein diet that you follow, you may be missing the following micronutrients: vitamin B1, vitamin B7, vitamin D, vitamin E, calcium, chromium, folate, iodine, iron, magnesium, and molybdenum. These are all essential nutrients that your body needs to function properly. Our bodies don’t produce most of these vitamins and minerals, so we must get them daily from the food we eat or with supplements. 

Vitamin B1 is necessary for turning your food into energy and for healthy cells, brain, and heart function. Vitamin B7 helps your metabolism, and aids in growing and maintaining healthy hair and nails. Vitamin E is an antioxidant. Vitamin D and calcium help keep bones strong. All the minerals have important functions from regulating blood sugar, to building healthy red blood cells and supporting organ health.

Dietary alternatives for a high-protein diet 

It’s important that if you follow a high-protein diet that limits carbohydrates, the carbs you do consume should be nutritionally dense to ensure you are getting essential vitamins and minerals. This would include fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. It is possible to get most of these nutrients from a high-protein diet if you are consuming good quality meat like grass-fed beef, pastured pork, poultry, eggs, and wild-caught fish rather than farmed. These are some ideas for alternative foods that contain those needed vitamins and minerals that may be lacking.

High-protein sources of vitamin B1 include beef, pork, salmon, and mussels. Vitamin B7 is found in pork, salmon, eggs, avocados, and nuts. Vitamin D is found naturally in meat, seafood, and cod liver oil, and is added to both dairy and plant-based milk.

High-protein sources of calcium include dairy products, some plant-based milk, canned sardines, and salmon. 

Chromium is found naturally in beef, organ meats, poultry, broccoli, and brewer’s yeast. 

Liver, seafood, eggs, dark, leafy greens, peanuts, and sunflower seeds are all sources of folate. 

Good sources of iron are liver, beef, fish, shrimp, clams, poultry, and spinach.

High-protein sources of magnesium include fatty fish like salmon, dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds, avocados, and dark chocolate. 

Molybdenum is found naturally in dairy and beef liver. It’s also in legumes (beans), spinach, zucchini, and nuts.

Test your micronutrient levels with Quest

Quest is here to support you on your journey to good health. We offer a convenient way to check vitamin and mineral deficiencies commonly associated with a high-protein diet. The Quest High-Protein Diet Vitamin Deficiency Test Panel is available to purchase online today.

No doctor visit is required to buy your own lab test at questhealth.com. PWNHealth and its affiliates review your purchase to ensure it is medically appropriate before submitting the test order for processing. PWNHealth also reviews your test results and will contact you directly if they require prompt attention. Included in each purchase is the option to discuss your test results with an independent physician; however, you are also encouraged to speak with your primary healthcare provider.


  1. High-Protein Diets: Do They Work? Accessed March 31, 2023 https://www.webmd.com/diet/ss/slideshow-high-protein-diet
  2. Nutrition And Health Eating. Accessed March 31, 2023 https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-answers/high-protein-diets/faq-20058207
  3. Carbohydrates. Accessed March 31, 2023 https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/carbohydrates/
  4. Are high-protein diets safe for weight loss? Accessed April 3, 2023. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-answers/high-protein-diets/faq-20058207 
  5. Are There Risks Associated with Eating Too Much Protein? Accessed April 7, 2023 https://www.healthline.com/health/too-much-protein