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Why Is Ketosis Bad For Kidneys

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The Keto Diet Is Gaining Popularity, But Is It Safe?

A new twist on extreme weight loss is catching on in some parts of the United States. It’s called the "keto diet." People promoting the diet say it uses the body’s own fat burning system to help people lose significant weight in as little as 10 days. It has also been known to help moderate the symptoms of children with epilepsy, although experts are not quite sure why it works. Proponents say the diet can produce quick weight loss and provide a person with more energy. However, critics say the diet is an unhealthy way to lose weight and in some instances it can be downright dangerous. Read More: What is the “Caveman Diet?” » What Is Ketosis? The “keto” diet is any extremely low- or no-carbohydrate diet that forces the body into a state of ketosis. Ketosis occurs when people eat a low- or no-carb diet and molecules called ketones build up in their bloodstream. Low carbohydrate levels cause blood sugar levels to drop and the body begins breaking down fat to use as energy. Ketosis is actually a mild form of ketoacidosis. Ketoacidosis mostly affects people with type 1 diabetes. In fact, it is the leading cause of death of people with diabetes who are under 24 years of age. Continue reading >>

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  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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