Kitchen Myths

Facts and fiction about food and cooking, by Peter Aitken

A high-protein diet is bad for your kidneys

The “rationale” behind this myth is that digesting and processing large amounts of protein puts a strain on your kidney, which are responsible for filtering the blood and removing certain waste products. This myth became more widespread when low-carb diets, which typically involve eating more protein, became popular. The only problem (common to all myths!) was that there was precious little data to support this notion. Several recent studies looked at this question and found that in people with normal kidney function, a high-protein diet did not affect kidney function. These studies were published in The International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, The Annals of Internal Medicine, and Nutrition and Metabolism.

Note, however, that one of these studies suggested that in people who already have some degree of kidney insufficiency, a high-protein diet seemed to hasten renal decline. So, if you are considering going low carb, you might want to have a kidney function test first to make sure it is normal.

6 responses to “A high-protein diet is bad for your kidneys

  1. Lily Jonathon July 28, 2011 at 11:24 am

    thanks for article. i didn’t know that.

  2. mike walker October 9, 2011 at 8:14 pm

    Checked up on your sources. Review haven’t been strong of them and there is a lot of evidence to the contrary. Your description of the underlying pathology here is weak. there is a large body of evidence suggesting ph-based, calcium based and oxalate based kidney disease (bmj, amjmed amongst others). Never heard of kidney stones? Additionally, even if high protein diets were fine on your kidneys, they cause ketoacidosis (which is also bad for your kidneys) which can have pretty severe effects. Check your facts and do not mislead people. High protein diets are dangerous if you are not (and sometimes even if you are) on a program to increase muscle mass. Medical advice should be sought before and during such diets and must only be used for a short period and infrequently.

  3. Marks Hickman November 22, 2011 at 10:14 pm

    I am Marks Hickman, I have usually problem in my kidny and I am looking for some sites that can help me through this.. And I’m so glad to find your site.. that was a great content. I’m sure to back for more updates on your blogs. Thank you and more power!

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  4. Joan December 11, 2011 at 12:59 am

    High protein diet plans are very popular right now. That’s because they can give you some immediate weight loss… initially. But just like any unnatural way of eating, a high protein diet plan is not a practical solution to long-term and permanent weight loss. How about a practical alternative… one where you will burn the majority of the calories you eat and still eat plenty of foods you enjoy? Does this sound too good to be true? Maybe not. The good news is that you can definitely do this if you learn how to eat in pre-determined patterns throughout the day.

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