High-Protein Diet Could Be Harmful, Even for Healthy Kidneys

A high-protein diet, often recommended as a way to lose weight and stay healthy, appears to be harmful to the kidneys in individuals with apparently normal kidney function.

Many previous studies have shown that a high-protein diet may harm kidney function, and this is why nephrologists recommend patients with known early stage chronic kidney disease (CKD) stick to a low-protein diet. But people who have mild CKD of which they are unaware or those at high risk may follow the trend of eating a protein-rich diet because they believe it is healthy. Unfortunately, the high-protein culture has emerged as the preferred, healthy, and safe way of eating. We are being told that getting plenty of protein is the revival of our hunter–gatherer ancestral spirit and it will help maintain our lean muscle and reduce fat mass. Dietary regimens such as the Atkins, Zone, South Beach, and Ketogenic diets have increased daily protein intake to 20% to 25% or more of the total daily energy intake for the day, considerably higher than the 10% to 15% recommended by most guidelines.

it is time to unleash the taboo and make it loud and clear that a high-protein diet is not as safe as claimed, as it may compromise kidney health and result in a more rapid kidney function decline in individuals or populations at risk of CKD. It is essential that people know there is another side to high-protein.

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