Low Carb Diet and Your Kidneys

Low Carb
Diet and Your Kidneys

Low carbohydrate dieting is generally higher in fat and protein than what some
refer to as a “balanced” diet. What we need to do is, determine what
component(s) in the foods we eat can be harmful to our kidneys.

There are some studies showing a higher risk of kidney stones in those who
practice a low carb diet. Patients who practice a low carb diet for health
reasons are screened on a regular basis for kidney stone formation. Should one
develop, the patient receives a higher volume of fluids to ingest. This usually
corrects the problem. If, to the best of your knowledge, your kidneys are
healthy, you need not worry too much about this potential threat if you make a
point to drink plenty of fluids – water of course, the most highly recommended.
This is something everybody should do regardless of what type of diet consumed.
If you have even a slight concern, please, do go see your doctor! That old
saying, “Better be safe than sorry” has withstood the test of time
for many reasons and applies quite accurately here.

If you are
on a low carbohydrate and have been for some time and you are concerned about
this, check with your doctor and inquire about protein and kidney disease. The
potential risks do come from the increased amount of protein in the low carb
diet. Proven data is now available that a reduction in protein intake
in-patients with severe kidney disease does reduce their mortality rate by
approximately 40-percent. The recommended daily protein intake should be below
0.6g for every pound of body weight. Coincidentally, this is precisely the
amount the ketogenic diet prescribes!

Ratio prescribed to the patients on a ketogenic diet:

For every calorie coming from carbs and protein combined, four calories should
come from fat. Alternatively, you may use this formula:

Fat : protein + carbohydrates = 4:1

You can have the fat/protein/carb ratio on a regular low-carbohydrate diet at a
ratio of 3.5:1 but you should reduce the protein intake.

There is no doubt that high-cholesterol diets increase blood pressure, which
can and often does result in damage to your kidneys. Another factor is high
blood-cholesterol levels. This is where the most common misconception of low
carb dieting comes into play. All too often low carb dieting is compared to
high carb/high fat dieting which is where all the negativity appears. High carb
AND high fat consumption is very detrimental to one’s health. One must remember
that high fat intake when combined with low carbohydrate intake can actually
reduce cholesterol levels. One does have to keep in mind genetics may play a
role in your personal body reaction to any diet, so it is very important one
sees their physician before beginning any new diet/exercise program. I cannot stress
that enough.

Another important factor you may be well aware of; the type of fat you ingest.
In low carb diets, it is essential you watch the type of fat in your foods. If
you stay away from saturated fat and seek out polyunsaturated fatty acids, omega-3
and monounsaturated, you are well on your way to protecting your health against
adverse effects on the kidney as well as the entire body. In addition, omega-3
polyunsaturated fatty acids reduce kidney injuries. Some of the more common
sources of these fatty acids are salmon, tuna and sardines, sometimes called
“oily” fish.

There is always the possibility what works magic for one person, simply may not
work for you. Each one of us is unique and wonderfully created – treasure
whatever genetic disposition you have and learn to work with it accordingly.

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