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Low Carb Diet and Your Kidneys

Fitness for mind and body.

Low carbohydrate dieting is generally higher in fat and protein than what some refer to as a "balanced" diet. What we need to do is, determine what component(s) in the foods we eat can be harmful to our kidneys.

There are some studies showing a higher risk of kidney stones in those who practice a low carb diet. Patients who practice a low carb diet for health reasons are screened on a regular basis for kidney stone formation. Should one develop, the patient receives a higher volume of fluids to ingest. This usually corrects the problem.

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If, to the best of your knowledge, your kidneys are healthy, you need not worry too much about this potential threat if you make a point to drink plenty of fluids -- water of course, the most highly recommended. If you have even a slight concern, see your doctor! That old saying, "Better be safe than sorry" has withstood the test of time for many reasons and applies quite accurately here.

If you are on a low carbohydrate and have been for some time and you are concerned about this, check with your doctor and inquire about protein and kidney disease. The potential risks do come from the increased amount of protein in the low carb diet. Proven data is now available that a reduction in protein intake in-patients with severe kidney disease does reduce their mortality rate by approximately 40-percent. The recommended daily protein intake should be below 0.6g for every pound of body weight. Coincidentally, this is precisely the amount the ketogenic diet prescribes!

Ratio prescribed to the patients on a ketogenic diet:
For every calorie coming from carbs and protein combined, four calories should come from fat. Alternatively, you may use the following formula:

Fat : protein + carbohydrates = 4:1

You can have the fat/protein/carb ratio on a regular low-carbohydrate diet at a ratio of 3.5:1 but you should reduce the protein intake.

There is no doubt that high-cholesterol diets increase blood pressure, which can and often does result in damage to your kidneys. Another factor is high blood cholesterol levels. This is where the most common misconception of low carb dieting comes into play. All too often low carb dieting is compared to high carb/high fat dieting which is where all the negativity appears. High carb AND high fat consumption is very detrimental to one's health. One must remember that high fat intake when combined with low carbohydrate intake can actually reduce cholesterol levels. One does have to keep in mind genetics may play a role in your personal body reaction to any diet, so it is very important one sees their physician before beginning any new diet/exercise program.

Another important factor you may be well aware of; the type of fat you ingest. In low carb diets, it is essential you watch the type of fat in your foods. If you stay away from saturated fat and seek out polyunsaturated fatty acids, omega-3 and monounsaturated, you are well on your way to protecting your health against adverse effects on the kidney as well as the entire body. In addition, omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids reduce kidney injuries. Some of the more common sources of these fatty acids are salmon, tuna and sardines, sometimes called "oily" fish.

Nutrition Nibble

Regular consumption of refreshing lemonade - or even lemon juice mixed with water - may increase the production of urinary citrate, a chemical in the urine that prevents the formation of crystals that may build up into kidney stones.

There is always the possibility what works magic for one person, simply may not work for you. Each one of us is unique and wonderfully created -- treasure whatever genetic disposition you have and learn to work with it accordingly.

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