3 Fad Diets and Their Effect on Your Kidneys

food on a table to represent fad diets and their effect on your kidneys

Over the last couple of weeks, there has been a lot of talk about health, wellness, and New Years Resolutions. Whenever health and weight loss becomes top of mind, so do various diets and nutrition plans. While many of these diets claim to be based on science and advertise numerous health benefits, it’s always recommended that you speak with your doctor before starting a new diet, especially if you have kidney disease. Many fad diets limit your intake of nutrients and can end up being unhealthy, and in some cases, dangerous. To help you stay healthy and informed, we’re examining some of the most common fad diets and their effect on your kidneys.

Dukan Diet

The Dukan Diet is a low-carb, high protein diet that includes 100 different types of proteins and vegetables. The diet does not restrict how much a person eats, just as long as they only eat the specified food on the list of the 100 vegetables and proteins. Experts caution that this fad diet can have serious implications for your kidneys, including an increased risk of developing kidney stones. This increased risk is due to the protein-rich nature of the diet raises the excretion of calcium in the urine, making the urine more concentrated. The diet also reduces the pH level of the urine, making it a more optimum environment for the formation of kidney stones.

Atkins Diet

While the Atkins diet is another example of a low-carb, high-protein diet that markets swift weight loss. Unfortunately, the Atkins diet can also be problematic for the kidneys. Many medical and nutritional organizations caution against excessively high protein diets, as this increased level of protein consumption can lead to cardiovascular problems, hyperuricemia (relating to joint pain and gout), and hypercalciuria (which can lead to kidney stones and osteoporosis). In fact, a Harvard study found that high protein diets may cause permanent loss of kidney function in anyone with reduced kidney function. 

Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean diet consists of eating foods that were traditionally consumed in the Mediterranean region. The list of food includes fresh produce, legumes, whole grains, and healthy fats. Experts have found that a Mediterranean diet may not only benefit cardiovascular health but that it may also help preserve kidney function as well. This diet has a far lower animal protein content than the previously listed Atkins and Durkin diet, which puts less stress on kidneys. The Mediterranean diet also has a higher amount of fiber and antioxidants which can help reduce inflammation in the body.

Make An Appointment

While there is no general “one size fits all” approach to eating, the team at Durham Nephrology can help you figure out the most beneficial diet for your kidneys and your overall health. Before starting any sort of meal plan, make sure you contact your doctor so that you don’t end up causing more harm to your body than good. If you have any questions about the effect that your diet has on your kidneys, or about your kidney health, request an appointment, or call us directly at (919) 447-3005. Our staff is dedicated to providing quality care to patients in Durham and Oxford with kidney disease and high blood pressure.


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