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Does Ketosis Hurt Your Kidneys

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High-protein, Low-carb Diets Explained

High-protein, low-carbohydrate diets, like The Atkins Diet, have been widely promoted as effective weight loss plans. These programs generally recommend that dieters get 30% to 50% of their total calories from protein. By comparison, the American Heart Association, the National Cholesterol Education Program, and the American Cancer Society all recommend a diet in which a smaller percentage of calories come from protein. Normally your body burns carbohydrates for fuel. When you drastically cut carbs, the body goes into a metabolic state called ketosis, and it begins to burn its own fat for fuel. When your fat stores become a primary energy source, you may lose weight. Some experts have raised concern about high-protein, low-carb diets. High cholesterol.Some protein sources -- like fatty cuts of meat, whole dairy products, and other high-fat foods -- can raise cholesterol, increasing your chance of heart disease. However, studies showed that people on the Atkins diet for up to 2 years actually had decreased “bad” cholesterol levels. Kidney problems. If you have any kidney problems, eating too much protein puts added strain on your kidneys. This could worsen kidney function. Osteo Continue reading >>

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Popular Questions

  1. Prairie-dawg

    So I went to the pharmacy yesterday to pick up a new scale and some Ketostix. The pharmacist (who works right next door to me and I've become friendly with) asked me if I was "starting some kind of crazy diet." I told him I've started a ketogenic diet and I'm just trying it out to see if it's right for me. He asked me a few questions about it, mostly about macro ratios and if it's been working so far. When I told him about the higher fat ratio (as opposed to high protein) he seemed somewhat intrigued, but still a little skeptical. The other pharmacist who was working with him chimed in at that point. He said apparently in some Scandinavian countries, they've found that a higher fat content and fewer simple carbs in a person's diet is ideal and actually recommended. However, they both agreed that ketosis for an extended period of time can be very hard on the kidneys. I did a little investigating on my own and there's very little info regarding the long-term effects of the high fat/moderate protein/low carb keto diet. So my question is, has anybody experienced any kidney issues on this diet? Has anyone received any similar warnings from their physician?
    TL;DR
    Pharmacist warned about kidney issues caused by long term ketosis. Seeking out facts/sources to prove or disprove this claim.

  2. cloudmind

    When I first started keto I ended up going to hospital because I had severe internal pain that wouldn't go away. Turns out I was eating far too much protein so my kidneys were giving me grief. Fixed it by upping the fat macros in my diet and I went back to being pain free. Hooray for butter and coconut oil!
    Given my experience, I can understand where the pharmacists are coming from since I think there might* have been a spate of people doing atkins-like diets with kidney problems in the past (too much protein, not enough fat).
    *rampant speculation on my part

  3. Prairie-dawg

    I don't blame them for that at all. In fact, before I really started doing my homework on keto, I used to internally roll my eyes when people would talk about low carb dieting. I think there's a lot of risidual negativity held over from the early days of Atkins regarding low carb diets. Fortunately, I'm always happy to have a teaching moment when the chance arises!

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