Protein, Ketones And Kidney Stones
Kidney stones may not be on your mind when beginning a weight-loss diet, but if you plan to follow a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet plan, they should be. While many popular low-carb commercial diet plans encourage your body to shift into a fat-burning state called ketosis, the production of ketones that results can alter your urine chemistry and raise the risk of kidney stones. Understanding the risks to your kidneys can help you decide whether the weight loss promises of a high-protein, low-carb diet are worth it. Video of the Day Kidney stones develop when a hard mass of crystals develops in the urinary tract. Kidney stones are often extremely painful, especially when they pass through the thin ureter to exit the body. There are a few different types of kidney stones, each made up of different materials. The cause of kidney stones remains unknown, but some people seem to be more prone to developing them than others, so there may be a hereditary component. Ketones are compounds formed by the breakdown of fat as the body shifts from burning carbohydrates to burning fat for fuel. During a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet, ketones become the main source of energy in the body. After a few days or weeks on this type of diet, the brain begins to use ketones as fuel instead of glucose. However, when too many ketones build up in the bloodstream, the pH of the urine changes from neutral to slightly acidic, which can put stress on the kidneys and potentially raise the risk of developing kidney stones. A 2002 study published in the "American Journal of Kidney Diseases" found that a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet raised the acidity of the blood over a six-week period, a condition known to contribute to kidney stones. The study found up to a 90-percent increase in acid Continue reading >>
Do Low-carb Diets Increase Kidney Stone Risk? Let’s Ask The Low-carb Experts
People have all sorts of ideas about low-carb diets based on what they’ve heard somewhere or just on what they think they know about them. It’s why concepts like “artery-clogging” saturated fats still pervade our culture despite all the scientific evidence to the contrary. It doesn’t help that these myths surrounding healthy carbohydrate-restricted diets are perpetuated on a daily basis by so many so-called health “experts” in both the medical and nutrition fields and the general public is none-the-wiser to contradict any of it since they are merely living their lives and trusting the sources of information they are paying attention to. It’s what makes the idea of creating a cultural shift in thinking in favor of low-carb living that much more difficult–but it won’t deter me or the many others who are out here fighting the good fight to educate, encourage and inspire others to give livin’ la vida low-carb a try for themselves. I literally receive hundreds upon hundreds of e-mails daily from readers who are searching for answers to their questions about their low-carb lifestyle, help with weight loss, or managing some chronic disease they are dealing with. Although I’m not a doctor or nutritionist, I’m always happy to share from my own experiences to see if that information can be beneficial to the person who wrote to me. It’s my pleasure to hear from readers and to offer up assistance in any way that I can. However, from time to time I’ll receive an e-mail from a reader who has an interesting question that is beyond my scope of full understanding enough to share a detailed explanation of what’s possibly going on. It’s okay that I don’t know everything there is to know about nutrition and it’s relationship to being healthy. The good Continue reading >>
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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. Osteoporosis and kidney stones. When you're on a high-protein diet, you may urinate more calcium than normal. There are conflicting reports, but some experts think this could make osteoporosis and kidney stones more likely. If you're considering a high-protein diet, check with your doctor or a nutritionist to see if it's OK for you. They can help you come up with a plan that will make sure you're getting enough fruits and vegetables, and that you're getting lean protein foods. Remember, weight loss that lasts is usually based on changes you can live with for a long time, not a temporary diet. Continue reading >>
Clearing Up Kidney Confusion: Part Deux
It’s funny how our mental state really affects how we write and what we are interested in. When I wrote the introduction to this piece I was just getting settled into our new place in Santa Fe, NM and was looking at over a month at home to work and write. Then a number of wacky events happened and I’ve been home about 7 days out of the last month and I’ve only made it about 70 pages into Kon-Tiki. Ouch. Now I’m home for 8 days and will then be gone for a project that will take me completely off the grid for nearly 3 weeks. No phone, email…nada. When I sat down to do this kidney piece it was with a mindset that I had a ton of time and could really sink my teeth into it. Now I’m time crunched and anxious that I will get it done at all! Up front here I’d like to thank Mat “The Kraken” Lalonde with his help on some literature for this piece. Any inaccuracies however are my own tomfoolery. If I wanted to cut to the chase I could boil this whole thing down to the following: 1-Dietary protein DOES NOT CAUSE KIDNEY DAMAGE. 2-Chronically elevated BLOOD GLUCOSE levels DO cause kidney damage. 3-Dietary fructose REALLY causes kidney damage. 4-Many kidney issues have either a hyperinsulinemic characteristic, an autoimmune characteristic, and or a combination of autoimmunity or hyperinsulinism. A standard, low-ish carb paleo diet can fix most of these issues. 5-For serious kidney damage a low-protein, ketogenic diet can be remarkably therapeutic. 6-If you get kidney stones that are from oxalates, reduce your green veggie intake (spinach for example) and have other types of veggies. 7-If you get kidney stones that are from urate salts, you are likely NOT following a low-ish carb paleo diet, you likely have insulin resistance and your liver is not processing uric acid Continue reading >>
Will The Keto Diet Cause Kidney Stones?
Once upon a time, fat was the enemy of dieters. Nearly every product on the grocery store shelves had its “low-fat” version. Low-fat dressing. Low-fat cheese. Low-fat chips. Low-fat processed meats. Low-fat cookies. Low-fat freezer meals. It didn’t matter if the food itself was terrible for you and completely devoid of any nutrients (or even real food)… as long as it was “low-fat,” it was marketed as healthy for you. It was the way to lose weight for good. But then science begin to show us that fat wasn’t the enemy after all. In fact, eating plenty of healthy fats was the key to optimal health – and even sustainable weight loss. And today we have a diet rapidly growing in popularity that says, “Not only is fat good for you, you should be eating MOSTLY fat.” That’s right, I’m talking about the keto diet. Discover in just 7 short questions why you may be experiencing painful kidney stones and uncover how to return to your normal life. Take The Kidney Quiz Now! As with any unique diet plan, there are those who believe in it religiously and will “proselytize” to anyone who is listening. Then there are those who adamantly believe it to be dangerous. But one concern that pops up quite frequently from those who are skeptical is kidney stones. Can the keto diet encourage the formation of kidney stones? I’m here to help you examine that question. We’re going to learn more about the keto diet and what it does to your body. Then we are going to look at the science behind kidney stones and high-fat/low-carb dieting to see if the keto diet should be embraced or avoided if you suffer from kidney stones. What Is The Keto Diet? Though trendy now, the keto diet is not a new thing. It’s actually been around since the 1920s. In simple terms, the keto diet Continue reading >>
Ketogenic Diet Side Effects
Although the adverse effects related to the ketogenic diet are generally less serve than those of anticonvulsant medications used to treat epilepsy, individuals following the diet may experience a number of undesirable effects. Short-Term Side Effects There are several short-term side effects that are most evident at the beginning of therapy, particularly when patients commence the diet with an initial fast. Hypoglycemia is a common side effect in this instance, and noticeable signs may include: Excessive thirst Frequent urination Fatigue Hunger Confusion, anxiety and/or irritability Tachycardia Lightheadedness and shakiness Sweating and chills Additionally, patients may also experience some constipation and low-grade acidosis. These effects tend to improve when the diet is continued, as the body adapts to the new diet and adjust the ways in which it sources energy. Alteration in Blood Composition As a result of the changes in dietary consumption and the body’s adaptive mechanisms to cope with the reduced carbohydrate intake, there are several changes in the blood composition of individuals following the ketogenic diet. In particular, the levels of lipids and cholesterol in the blood are commonly higher than what is considered to be normal. More than 60% of patients have raised lipid levels and more than 30% have high levels of cholesterol. If these changes are profound and there is some concern about the health of the child, slight changes to the diet can be made for the individual patient. For example, saturated fat sources can be substituted for polyunsaturated fats. In some cases, it may be necessary to lower the ketogenic ratio and reduce the proportion of fat to carbohydrate and protein in the diet. Long-Term Effects When the ketogenic diet is continued for exte Continue reading >>
Is Ketosis Really Bad For You?
A patient recently asked me how bad being in nutritional ketosis was for her. I responded that the worse problem I’ve seen recently is the patient that broke his toe when he slipped on bacon grease. Are there risks with a ketogenic diet? Yes, but these usually only occur when you cheat or fall off the wagon. What problems can arise? Lets talk about them individually. First, as I stated above, make sure you don’t slip on bacon the grease. It really can be an issue if you’re not used to using increased amounts of fat in your kitchen. So, be prepared for how to cook and use fat. Grandma understood this well, we could learn a great deal from her if you ask her about using bacon grease. Second, let’s define the difference between ketosis and keto-acidosis and try to clarify the misinformation that is being spread around the blogosphere. A ketone is a molecule the body produces from the breakdown of fat (specifically triglycerides) and some proteins (amino acids). There are specifically three types of ketones: beta-hydroxybutyric acid, acetoacetic acid and acetone. If ketosis was “bad,” then why would our bodies produce these molecules? They are not bad, and in fact, multiple studies show that the body is often more efficient in weight loss, inflammatory reduction, bowel function, epigenetic influence and maintenance of lean body mass more effectivly when it functions on ketones rather than glucose as its primary fuel source. You can see these studies here, here, here and here. The body can only supply a limited amount of sugar or glucose for fuel. If you talk to runners, marathoners or triathletes, they will tell you that after about 45-90 minutes of continuous endurance exercise the glucose supply runs out and they will experience what is termed a “bonk” (ha Continue reading >>
High Protein Diet Brings Risk Of Kidney Stones
Diets heavy on foods that are high in protein and low in carbohydrates can increase the risk of kidney stones and reduce the body's ability to absorb calcium after just six weeks. These findings from a new study come at a time when an increasing number of Americans, seduced by anecdotal accounts of fast weight loss, are turning to low carbohydrate, high protein diets. Popularised by Dr Robert Atkins, these diets are having a revival after a recent cover story in the New York Times Magazine said that relying on diets heavy in carbohydrates and low fat products has caused people to hold on to fat, explaining a rising incidence of obesity and perhaps diabetes. Although low carbohydrate, high protein diets result in weight loss in the short term, they are less successful in the long term and may even be hazardous to health, researchers have warned. Protein rich foods can be high in fat, which increases the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Diets heavy in foods with low levels of carbohydrate, such as fruit and vegetables, can also leave the body hungry for essential vitamins and minerals, and insufficient glucose from carbohydrates, the body's preferred fuel source, can lead to fatigue and dizziness (American Journal of Kidney Diseases 2002;40:265-74). The researchers, led by Dr Shalini Reddy from the University of Chicago, found that six weeks on a low carbohydrate, high protein diet increased the acid load to the kidneys, raising the risk of kidney stones. Animal protein has been shown to boost urinary excretion of oxalate, a compound that combines with calcium and other compounds to form kidney stones. The new study included 10 healthy adults aged 21 to 52 who ate their usual diet for two weeks, then a low carbohydrate, high protein diet for two weeks, and final Continue reading >>
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To Ketone Or Not To Ketone: Mineral Salts
Let me preface this article by stating that I am not affiliated, do not know any of these companies directly, and haven’t tested them in any way. Rather, due to the recent explosion of ketone supplements on the market, I wanted to cover the importance of considering mineral salt content of these supplements. Exogenous ketones are becoming more popular than ever as advancements in scientific research continue to show how they work to improve both health and performance. At first, the only options for delivering exogenous ketones were unpalatable ketone esters; however, now exogenous ketones can be taken in the form of ketone mineral salts that are easily blended and palatable in water. Making ketone mineral salts involves combining beta hydroxybutyrate (BHB) with mineral salts such as sodium, calcium, magnesium, or potassium. Before considering whether ketone supplements are a good option, most people immediately look at the salt load, and rightfully so. It is important to take into account the nutritional and health impact of not only the BHB, but to consider the minerals that are used to make the product. Although there is more current evidence on the effectiveness of ketone esters , ketone salt supplementation has the potential to provide additional benefits through the extra electrolytes/nutrients that are required to make the ketones. While ketone esters are expensive due to the manufacturing process involved in making them, ketone salts might be a more convenient option for both inducing a state of ketosis and elevating blood ketone levels for various reasons we will discuss separately. Let’s take a look at some of the facts and misconceptions about three of the minerals used to make ketone mineral salts: sodium, calcium, and magnesium. (Potassium is very hygro Continue reading >>
Does Diabetes Increase My Risk For Developing Kidney Stones?
What’s the connection between diabetes and kidney stones? Diabetes is a condition in which your body doesn’t produce enough insulin or can’t use it properly. Insulin is crucial to regulating blood sugar levels. High blood sugar can cause problems in any part of your body, including your kidneys. If you have type 2 diabetes, you may have very acidic urine. That increases your risk for developing kidney stones. Kidney stones form when you have high concentrations of certain substances in your urine. Some kidney stones form from excess calcium oxalate. Others form from struvite, uric acid, or cysteine. The stones can travel from your kidney through your urinary tract. Small stones may pass through your body and out in your urine with little or no pain. Larger stones may cause a great deal of pain. They can even get lodged in your urinary tract. That can block urine flow and cause infection or bleeding. Other symptoms of kidney stones include: back or abdominal pain nausea vomiting If you experience severe symptoms of kidney stones, see your doctor. Your doctor may suspect kidney stones based on your symptoms. Urinalysis, blood tests, and imaging tests may be needed to confirm the diagnosis. Anyone can form a kidney stone. In the United States, almost 9 percent of people have had at least one kidney stone, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. In addition to diabetes, other risk factors for kidney stones include: obesity diet high in animal protein family history of kidney stones diseases and conditions that affect the kidneys diseases and conditions that affect the amount of calcium and certain acids in your body urinary tract disorders or chronic inflammation of the bowel Certain medications can also put you at higher ris Continue reading >>
Does Ketosis Cause Kidney Damage?
The ‘Lean for Life’ program is mildly ketotic, and only for a brief portion of the program. It has not been associated with kidney damage or disease in individuals who have normally functioning kidneys. Concerns regarding undue stress on the kidneys are often aimed at very low carbohydrate, very high protein ketogenic diets. Few studies have shown any actual damage, however. (Note: Although the Weight Loss portion of the ‘Lean for Life’ program is mildly ketogenic, it is not considered to be exceptionally “high protein” for most individuals.) Dietary ketosis is among the most maligned and misunderstood concepts in nutrition medicine. Particularly among researchers who don’t actually treat patients, ketosis (the presence of ketone bodies in the urine) is often confused with ketoacidosis, which is a life-threatening build-up of ketone bodies due to muscle wasting and dehydration as in states of shock or uncontrolled Type 1 diabetes. In the Type 1 diabetic, the absence of insulin leads to a toxic build-up of blood glucose and an extreme break-down of fat and muscle tissue. This condition doesn’t occur in individuals who have even a small amount of insulin, whether from natural production or artificially administered. Whereas patients in ketoacidosis are closely monitored in Intensive Care Units, individuals in ketosis are amongst the healthy, active population. Dietary ketosis is a natural adjustment to the body’s reduced intake of carbohydrates as the body shifts its primary source of energy from carbohydrates to stored fat. The presence of insulin keeps ketone production in check so that a mild, beneficial ketosis is achieved. Blood glucose levels are stabilized within a normal range and there is no break-down of healthy muscle tissue. It would be diffi Continue reading >>
How To Prevent Kidney Stones Naturally
This is a guest post by Laura Schoenfeld, a Registered Dietitian with a Master’s degree in Public Health, and staff nutritionist and content manager for ChrisKresser.com. You can learn more about Laura by checking out her blog or visiting her on Facebook. Anyone who’s had a kidney stone will tell you that they’re one of the worst medical problems you can ever experience. Kidney stones are a common and painful chronic condition seen in otherwise “healthy” patients, and one of the most common disorders of the urinary tract. About a million people in the United States are treated for kidney stones each year, and the prevalence in adult men is almost 12% and around 6% in adult women. (1) Stones are most common in caucasian adults between the ages of 20 and 50, and once someone develops a stone, they are far more likely to develop another stone in the future. Like most chronic diseases, the incidence of kidney stones has been increasing over the past 30 years. (2) This is likely due to the variety of dietary and lifestyle changes we’ve made as Americans which aren’t conducive to good health. What are Kidney Stones? Stones can be formed from a variety of substances, but the most common stones are made of calcium and oxalate that has crystalized in the urinary tract. Other types of stones include struvite, uric acid and cystine. While stones themselves are painful enough, they can lead to more serious conditions such as obstruction of the urinary tract, permanent damage to the kidneys, and even life-threatening infections. I’ve seen patients in the hospital who have come in with necrotic kidneys due to obstruction from a stone, so this can become a serious condition if not managed properly. Conventional medical professionals take a multi-pronged approach to tre Continue reading >>
12 Steps To Prevent Kidney Stones
12 Steps to Prevent Kidney Stones: The pain of kidney stones is one of the worst possible pains one could possibly experience. While the causes behind kidney stones are not fully understood there is some common nutritional advice that can help prevent these stones from forming. Kidney stones come in a number of different forms. Understanding the type of stone is key to preventing it from re-forming. The most common kidney stones are by far calcium oxalate crystals which account for 80% and uric acid crystals which account for another 5-10% (1). The goal of this article is to help you find the best strategies to work with your unique genetic makeup to prevent kidney stones. We will discover the underlying mechanisms behind kidney stone formation and the unique nutrition and lifestyle tips to follow. Fructose and Kidney Stone Formation: Certain foods that are commonly consumed in the United States promote kidney stone formation. High fructose consumption is linked with an increased excretion of calcium, oxalates and uric acid, which are all associated with increased risk of kidney stones. Research has shown that high fructose diets are at greater risk for kidney stone formation (2, 3, 4) Soft drinks with phosphoric acid significantly increase calcium excretion and kidney stone formation (5). Soft drinks and sweet teas are perhaps the biggest dietary causes of kidney stone formation because they often contain high levels of both fructose and phosphoric acid (6) Major Factors With Kidney Stones: Here are 6 major factors often seen with kidney stone formation Dehydration: This causes low urine volume and less fluid to grab up calcium and other compounds in the urinary system. This is the easiest thing to address. You should be urinating every 1-2 waking hours and unless you Continue reading >>
This article is about a dietary therapy for epilepsy. For information on ketogenic diets as a lifestyle choice or for weight loss, see Low-carbohydrate diet and No-carbohydrate diet. The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, adequate-protein, low-carbohydrate diet that in medicine is used primarily to treat difficult-to-control (refractory) epilepsy in children. The diet forces the body to burn fats rather than carbohydrates. Normally, the carbohydrates contained in food are converted into glucose, which is then transported around the body and is particularly important in fueling brain-function. However, if there is very little carbohydrate in the diet, the liver converts fat into fatty acids and ketone bodies. The ketone bodies pass into the brain and replace glucose as an energy source. An elevated level of ketone bodies in the blood, a state known as ketosis, leads to a reduction in the frequency of epileptic seizures. Almost half of children, and young people, with epilepsy who have tried some form of this diet saw the number of seizures drop by at least half, and the effect persists even after discontinuing the diet. There is some evidence that adults with epilepsy may benefit from the diet, and that a less strict regimen, such as a modified Atkins diet, is similarly effective. The most common adverse effect is constipation, affecting about 30% of patients—this was due to fluid restriction, which was once a feature of the diet, but this led to increased risk of kidney stones, and is no longer considered beneficial. The original therapeutic diet for paediatric epilepsy provides just enough protein for body growth and repair, and sufficient calories[Note 1] to maintain the correct weight for age and height. The classic therapeutic ketogenic diet was develope Continue reading >>
Does A Ketogenic Diet Cause Kidney Stones?
Personally, I was wondering if part of the problem might have been PUFA intake. These diets are ketogenic but not paleo and many people think PUFA and grain oils are the healthier fats so the general populace would probably be targeting these kinds of fats. Plus the consumption of mostly muscle meats is likely with little to no emphasis on organ meats. Fruit intake would be nonexistant and veggies are not universally liked. Seems like an easy recipe for a diet that in some cases would be deficient in some important nutrients like magnesium. Of course, then all ketogenic diets are then blamed as dangerous when it could be simply an issue of imbalance and lack of certain nutrients, probably those that co occur with carbs but would exist in higher quantities in the less favored types of meat like grassfed or organ meats. Since neither the innuit nor the masai have a big problem with kidney stones, then it's probably not the ketogenic diet itself that is the problem. I think the scientists are missing the important point of all the clues they have been given about what may cause kidney stones. They are assuming it is the ketogenic diet itself but not looking beyond that to reasons why it may not be. IMO, what they should be looking for is what is diff about the diets of these kidney stone patients compared to other ketogenic diets that do not result in kidney stones. "...what can be done to ameliorate such a risk? In order to ameliorate the risk, doctors at Johns Hopkins Hospital, where this treatment was invented, give large amounts of potassium citrate to these children as a preventative measure. The standard dose is 2 mEq/kg per day. This is a very large dose. For a 150 lb adult, it would be nearly 15 grams per day. That's the amount in an entire bottle of over-the-count Continue reading >>