Are Low Carb Diets Bad for Your Kidneys?

by Tanya Zilberter, PhD

When it comes to any kind of dieting, there are two major issues concerning kidneys: One is kidney stones, the other is damage of the kidney's tissue.

Since a low-carb - or ketogenic - diet is generally higher in fat and protein than a "balanced" diet, it's important to understand what componentor components of the diet can be potentially dangerous for tthe kidneys

According to the Packard Children's Hospital Stanford University Medical Center, "Kidney stones have been reported on the [ketogenic] diet. We screen for kidney stone formation ? If one develops, a slight liberalization of fluids seems to correct the problem."

So, if your kidneys are generally O.K. (if you have any doubts, please see your doctor!) and you are drinking enough water (a minimum of eight eight ounce glasses a day), you needn't be concerned.

Just in case, here is information that may be helpful in determining whether you diet is having an adverse effect on your kidneys, and how to express those concerns to your doctor:

Protein and Kidney Disease

Reducing protein intake in patients with severe kidney disease reduces the mortality rate by about 40 percent. It's recommended that your protein intake should be below 0.6 g a day for every kilogram body weight.

But wait a minute - this is exactly what the ketogenic diet prescribes!

The ratio prescribed to the patients on a ketogenic diet: for every calorie coming from carbs and protein combined, four calories should come fort fat, or:

fat : protein + carbohydrates = 4:1

A "regular" low-carb diet can have the fat : protein : carb ratio of 3.5:1 and be still ketogenic, but it's protein intake is reduced.fat burning index Here's is what we've done with all-science 'ketogenic ratio' of foods and meals. We used a scientific formula recognized by clinicians and fitness professionals - but we adapted it to the needs of a normal, regular person, without serious diseases (always - always! - consult with your physician before you start any diet!) and not aiming for a bodybuilding competition. We came up with the Fat Burning Index

Fat Intake and Kidney Disease

It is well known that high cholesterol diets increase blood pressure and induce damage to the kidneys. High blood-cholesterol levels can also cause kidney disease.

Yet, here we again come to the major misconception about low-carb diets. High fat intake in these diets, when combine with low carbohydrate intake, helps reduce cholesterol level, not impair it as the low carb opponents claim.

What Kind of Fat?

Supplementing your diet with polyunsaturated fatty acids ? omega-3, in particular ? can protect you against kidney disease. Increasing the amount of Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA ), fish oil and so-called Lipoic acid can be a boon to your overall health. The journal Research in Experimental Medicine reported that Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids reduce kidney injuries thatwere brought on because of a high blood cholesterol intake. "Oily" fish? salmon, tuna and sardines, to name a few ? are rich in omega 3 fatty acids.


Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, (2):CD001892, 2000
Journal of Laboratory & Clinical Medicine, 135(3):275-86, 2000
Kidney International ? Supplement, 71:S47-50, 1999
American Journal of Kidney Diseases, 33(4):633-46, 1999
Japanese Journal of Nephrology, 41(4):436-41, 1999
Research in Experimental Medicine, 198(1):1-10, 1998 Prostaglandins Leukotrienes & Essential Fatty Acids, 59(3):221-7, 1998
Research in Experimental Medicine, 198(1):1-10, 1998


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What low carb plan have you tried the most?
Atkins Diet
South Beach Diet
No White Diet - no white flour, potatoes, white rice
No sugars, high sugar fruit, starchy vegetables
I created my own low carb plan
Total votes: 1076

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