There was a belief in the past that one must not take too much of protein in his or her diet. However, during 1950s, Americans who were actually health conscious were encouraged to enhance their protein consumption.

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Even today many dieticians recommend taking high protein foods for weight loss. However, there are some unwanted health risks linked with a high protein diet taken regularly. There is a belief that excess of protein can cause kidney damage. Let us shed some more light on this in our current article and try to answer the question “Can Excess Of Protein Cause Kidney Damage?”

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Proteins: The Building Blocks of Life!

Proteins, as we know are the building blocks of life. Body building, muscle building requires protein intakes in the regular diet. Muscles and various other body proteins are built from amino acids, which come from the proteins we eat. There are number of diets, which contain all the essential amino acids. Beans, grains, lentils, and fresh vegetables contain all the essential amino acids our body requires. Meat, fish and dairy products also contain high protein content.

Can Excess of Protein Cause Kidney Damage?

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Can Excess Of Protein Cause Kidney Damage?

Excess of protein can cause kidney damage only in those people who are already suffering from kidney problems or people having chronic kidney disease. Otherwise, excess of protein does not harm your kidneys in healthy people or people with healthy kidneys. However, it is a good idea to remain within bounds and not go overboard with anything, even with something as good for your health as protein.

Who Are At A Risk Of Kidney Damage From Excess Protein In Their Diet?

There are people who may be at a greater risk of kidney damage from excessive protein content in their diet. Patients who already suffer from kidney diseases, patients with diabetes and people with any other serious or chronic medical conditions may have a risk of kidney damage because of high protein rich diets like processed meat, high fat containing dairy products etc.

What The Research Says About The Affect Of Protein On Kidneys:

It is clear from various research studies that high protein containing diet induces some change in the functioning of kidney. Some of the changes include increase in the GER or Glomerular filtration rate or causes the condition of hyperfiltration and also increases the size and the volume of the functional units of kidney known as glomeruli. However, these changes seen in kidney because of high protein diet do not reflect the damage caused to kidney health. Such changes in kidney functions are also noticed during pregnancy in women. Though as per some researchers, hyperfilteration may cause kidney disease; however, many other researchers believe that hyperfiltration marks the fact that kidney is getting better in performing its function. As per one of the best paper, it is believed that hyperfiltration is just a normal adaptive response to the extra amount of protein intake in the diet and not a condition leading to kidney disease.

It must also be mentioned here that studies have shown people with normal kidney who have donated their one kidney also do not suffer from any kidney damage because of high protein diet. It is only the people with chronic kidney disease who may have harmful effects from excess or high protein diet.

Choose Your Protein-Rich Foods Wisely To Avoid Kidney Damage

  • Some high protein diets can cause kidney damage in patients with chronic kidney disease, as the body may have issues in eliminating all the waste products of the protein metabolism.
  • There are high protein rich diets like red meat, which can restrict the intake of carbohydrates in the body in such a way that it may result in nutritional deficiencies and can lead to problems like constipation and bad breath. Constipation may strain the kidney and can cause issues with kidney health.
  • Some of the good choices for protein rich foods include: nuts, grains, beans, legumes, low fat containing dairy products, fish, pork, lean meat, skinless chicken etc.
  • Avoid eating excess of red meat, processed meat, high fat containing dairy products etc.

Conclusion: Excess of Protein Does Not Cause Kidney Damage In Healthy People

It is true there is a big concern among people around the globe that high protein diet can be harmful and may cause serious kidney related issues. However, low to moderate protein rich diets are essential for good health. It must be noted that high protein diets can be harmful, especially to the kidney health for people who already suffer from kidney disease; but does not cause any kidney disease in healthy people. Now we know that not all high protein rich food causes kidney damage. However, it is essential for you to choose your protein rich foods wisely. Consult an expert dietician or talk to a professional medical adviser for best advices on what diet to adopt for appropriate protein intake in your body.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: May 6, 2019

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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