Dr. Stephen Phinney: Does a ketogenic diet cause kidney problems?

I would say the risk to kidney function from dietary protein intake, is based more on a
presumption than on data. When protein is eaten in moderation there is very little evidence in, when people have normal, or even modestly impaired kidney function that it will negatively affect the kidney function. In our one year data from the IUH study that we published a couple months ago, the commonly used measure
of kidney function is something called serum creatinine.

And that's a product that's produced metabolic in the body
and has to be cleared by the kidneys as a waste. And the level of
creatinine over the course of a year in people with
preexisting Type II Diabetes, so the kidney's are already being challenged by their diabetes. The creatinine level went down slightly, but statistically significantly, in the context of a well
formulated ketogenic diet. So we saw no evidence at one year of any negative effects
of moderate protein in the context of carbohydrate restriction and circulating ketones.

And we will have, hopefully
data from two year, that we'll publish from two years as well. So again it's, this is
not a high protein diet. That, really we have to emphasize that. Protein is eaten in, as
when we say moderation it's in a range that if
you're talking about macros in terms of what the
body is burning in a day, we're providing 10 to 15%, at most 20% of the daily
energy intake of protein. Some people advocate
higher protein intakes with carbohydrate restriction, let's say with the Paleo diet. And that does not appear to be necessary. We don't know whether that's safe or not. But certainly at the levels
that we counsel people to do this, we have every evidence of improving kidney function, and no evidence that there's a negative impact on renal health..

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