Low-Carb Diets and Your Kidneys
The excessive protein in low-carb diets is suggested by many to be harmful to the kidneys. Is it true?
Dr. Atkins, in his book, “The New Diet Revolution,” explains that millions of people believe it simply because it has been so overwhelmingly repeated. But as Atkins asserts, “There has never been a single case report…describing even an isolated example of protein-containing diet causing any form of kidney disorder.
There is one important caveat, however. Once far-advanced kidney disease is already established, it is very difficult to handle protein. Atkins says protein has nothing to do with the cause of the kidney problems. Others agree. Elizabeth Ward, president of the British Kidney Patient Association told the BBC, "If you have healthy kidneys, you can't eat enough protein to damage your kidneys.
If someone does have kidney disease, it is suggested that anyone with creatinine levels about three should have a repeat level checked after two and four weeks on the diet. If the creatinine level has not increased, it appears to be safe to stay on the diet. Atkins did report having to use a high-fat, low-protein variant of the diet in cases of patients with high creatinine.
The Department of Nutrition Therapy at the Clevelan Clinic does assert, however, that high protein diets have also been shown to cause people to excrete more calcium than normal through their urine. Over a prolonged period of time, this can increase a person's risk of osteoporosis and kidney stones.
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