Do weight-loss diets harm the functionality of the kidneys?

Obesity and Type-2 diabetes are growing issues worldwide, more so in India. In this context, recent decades have seen an increase in interest in diets strong in protein and low in carbohydrates. The daily protein intake recommendation of 0.83 gm per kilogram is thought to be sufficient to meet the demands of 97% to 98% of the world’s population. However, protein consumption of more than 1.5gm/kg body weight per day is generally considered to be a high-protein diet. Popular weight loss plans advocate consuming more protein and limiting carbohydrates under the presumption that all carbohydrates are bad for you. However, this concept has been refuted in recent literature. The following table depicts various types of diets for weight reduction with various proportions of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, and fruits and vegetables consumption recommended.

Diets high in protein have an impact on kidney health

In people with preexisting Chronic Kidney Disease, consumption of high protein consumption is associated with worsening kidney function, increased acid production, and the retention of acids in the body. It is also possible that long-term high protein intake may lead to the onset of Chronic Kidney Disease in an apparently healthy person. Animal sources of protein compared to plant sources have been associated with an increased risk of kidney damage due to a higher proportion of saturated fat. However, the protein in egg whites, fish, and lean chicken is not high in saturated fat and is considered safe if the daily intake of protein does not exceed 1.5gm/kg body weight/day. Many individuals, particularly gym goers, are advised to take protein supplements.

However, one must read the composition and should not consume more than the recommended maximum daily allowance of protein. Whey protein, which is used to promote healthy muscles, may damage the kidneys by increasing urinary calcium excretion and urinary volume. This overburdens the kidney and leads to kidney stone formation. A whey protein intake of 25 to 50 gm per day is considered safe. Creatine…

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