The principle on which the idea of a keto diet works is quite simple. It proposes cutting down the carbohydrate supply to the body so that the body can use up the stored fats for fuel and energy. When there is a steady inflow of sugar, starch and other carbohydrates in the body, the body tends to break them down first for the energy it requires. The keto diet produces the effects of fasting that is but a natural mode of starvation. This is one of the dietary plans for weight loss that has been taken up by many and is especially popular amongst the celebrities of the tinsel town like LeBron James and Kim Kadarshian. Apart from weight reduction, the keto diet seems to be quite effective for treatment of epilepsy and Type 2 Diabetes.(1) However you must be careful while following the dietary regime as it has often been related to increased renal problems. Let us see whether this claim is true or not.
Is Keto Bad For Your Kidneys?
Keto diet is a form of food regimentation where the carbohydrate amount is restricted for the body and is often partly substituted by an increased amount of protein. This protein is broken down by the kidneys. The person following the keto diet must be careful to consume the right amount of water and other forms of fluid so that they can wash away all the metabolic waste that is generated out of having so much meat (2). Quintessentially it is understood that following this type of a dietary regime can create extra stress on the kidneys. To top it off, if you don’t have an adequate amount of water you can get dehydrated very easy. In addition to this, having an excess amount of meat can also spike up the levels of uric acid in your body. An excess amount of uric acid can also be very harmful for your kidneys.(3,4)
There has been no concrete research that will give a direct endorsement of the relativity between the keto diet and an increased index of kidney problems. However there are nephrologists who have confirmed their observation of an increased number of renal problems and diagnosis of kidneys stones amongst people who have followed a high protein diet. Researches have confirmed worrisome observation of a spike in the number of kidney stone cases amongst patients who follows a high protein and a low carbohydrate diet, much similar to the keto dietary plans.(5,6)
Faulty Interpretation of the Keto Diet
There are doctors who have however said that keto diet is not exactly the root cause for an increased number of kidney stone patients. It is the faulty interpretation of the diet which can lead to kidney problems. Keto diet does not mean a gateway to consume tons and tons of meat without balancing it with the right amount of water. This is a habit which generally leads to kidney stones and other renal problems. Not all keto dieters develop kidney stones. Those who do develop kidney stones are some of the few extreme cases.
The idea is to create a proper balance in the dietary intakes that you plan on a regular basis. The meat amount must be restricted and the fats that are included in the diet must be healthy ones. Instead of the processed butter and other forms of processed fats, you can side with healthier oils like nut oils, avocado and virgin olive oil. Instead of just eating tons and tons of meat you can consume fatty fishes like salmon. This provides the body with the valuable omega 3 fatty acids. You can cut down on some of the meat portions and add green vegetables like spinach, broccoli, kale, and other fibrous vegetables. This helps in proper bowel movement and also helps to keep your body adequately hydrated.(7,8,9)
Remember to drink the right amount of water so that the metabolic water can be removed and also the body can be kept hydrated. One of the helpful tricks is to add lemon to your daily water and fluid intake regime. Lemon helps you to urinate properly, flush out all the metabolic toxicity and also prevent the sticking together of the calcium molecules.
Ketogenic Diet Causing Kidney Problems – Myths Busted
Although in certain contexts it has been suggested that ketogenic diet may lead to renal dysfunction, dedicated research has revealed the weight loss phenomenon which is triggered off by this form of diet has proven to be rather beneficial for the health of the kidneys. Moreover as suggested in a number of contexts ketosis causes a change in the Ph balance of your urine is again not correct. The pH of the urine gets affected due to ketoacidosis and not ketosis. These two are different conditions. Ketoacidosis is a condition that occurs mostly in people suffering from type 1 and 2 diabetes. This condition makes the blood really acidic that adversely affects the kidneys and also the liver.(10,11) Ketoacidosis is a condition which occurs when the body is unable to produce the required amounts of insulin. In the process of ketosis, the level of ketones in the blood remains within the normal range and does not lead to any damage.
The process of ketosis is quite a normal one and occurs quite naturally to people who do not have access to carbohydrate-rich meals all around the day. Research has proven the fact that the human brain and heart can function better with ketones for energy instead of glucose. Hence, even if you have renal problems keto diet will not affect you adversely.
On the contrary ketogenic diet can prove to be beneficial for people who are having kidney dysfunctional problems.(12) All those who are suffering from diabetic nephropathy, are people where their kidneys are not able to purify their blood in a proper manner. This is a condition that can be reversed in a proper manner with the help of a keto diet.(13)
One of the best ways of beginning the process of a keto diet is to consult your doctor before you start. It will always be beneficial to get professional advice on the process and the various precautions you must take in order to derive the best benefits out of the process. However as a thumb rule always remember to include ample water and other fluids while you are on this diet.