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High protein diets can have adverse effects on kidney health

Obesity is a serious public health issue affecting millions of people worldwide. Since the 1970's a high protein diet with carbohydrate restriction has increasingly gained popularity for weight loss and control of type 2 diabetes. Rapid weight-loss diets, which is increasingly popular among the younger generations, are usually based on a high-protein intake and a very limited amount of carbohydrates. Dietary regimens such as the Atkins, Zone, South Beach, and Ketogenic diets are recent fad diets in which daily protein intake exceeds up to 20% to 25% or more of the total daily energy intake, which is considerably higher than the 10% to 15% recommended by most guidelines. There has been extensive recent research to suggest that these types of diets have deleterious effects on the kidneys.

The recommended dietary allowance for protein intake is only 0.8 g/kg/day and the requirement for protein is likely even lower, at only about 0.6 g/kg/day, provided adequate essential amino acids are consumed. However, most adults in Western societies consume 1.0 to 1.4 g/kg of protein daily.

Emerging research has suggested that a high protein diet can lead to intraglomerular hypertension induced glomerular hyperfiltration which leads to a higher risk of chronic kidney disease in otherwise healthy individuals, as well as accelerating the progression of preexisting chronic kidney disease. The quality of dietary protein may also play a role in kidney health. Compared with protein from plant sources, animal protein has been associated with an increased risk of the development of progression to chronic kidney disease and end stage renal disease. Furthermore, a recent study published in April in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology demonstrated that a strictly plant based diet diminishes the overall risk of development of chronic kidney disease. The findings of this research support the extensive research and evidence endorsing a plant based diet on the reduction of risk of cardiovascular disease and even cancer as conducted by Dean Ornish, MD as well as others.

It is important to keep in mind that undertaking a balanced diet and practicing regular physical exercise is the key to a healthy, stable and permanent weight-loss. In the era of social media, trends and advertisements may attract you, though keep in mind a diet should always be balanced including carbohydrates, protein, fat, fiber, vitamins, minerals and water. 

If you have chronic kidney disease and have any questions regarding your diet and kidney health, call 817-233-6923 for a personalized consultation.

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