Kidney Problems on Low Carb Diets
Reports of Kidney Problems on Low Carb Diet

Carbs in Food
Glycemic Index GI of Carbs
Glycemic Load of Carbs
GI Diet - Low GI Diet

Information About Carbs | Carbohydrates Guide | Low Carb Diets

5. Reported Kidney Problems (& Gout) on Low Carb Diets

Extract from "Updated Analysis of Health Problems Associated with High-Protein, High-Fat, Carbohydrate-Restricted Diets Reported via an Online Registry" by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) (Dec, 2003)

Note: Numbers in brackets refer to research references. See Low Carb Eating References

Kidney problems were reported by 19 percent of registrants: 10 percent reported kidney stones, 1 percent reported severe kidney infections, and 89 percent reported reduced kidney function.

One registrant reported, “I have recurring kidney infections with elevated leukocytes and blood in my urine. I have tender flanks and am currently under a urologist’s care to find the cause of the blood and the pain.” Another noted that he had three kidney stone episodes in the four months he was on a high-protein, carbohydrate-restricted diet. A person who experienced her first kidney stone episode while on a high-protein diet stated, “Even though I lost weight on the diet, if it’s responsible for my experience with kidney stones, it’s not worth it!”

High-protein diets are associated with reduced kidney function. Over time, individuals who consume very large amounts of animal protein risk permanent loss of kidney function. Harvard researchers reported recently that high-protein diets were associated with a significant decline in kidney function, based on observations in 1,624 women participating in the Nurses’ Health Study. The damage was found only in those who already had reduced kidney function at the study’s outset, but more than 40 percent of adults over age 40 in the United States already have reduced kidney function, which suggests that most people who have renal problems are unaware of that fact and do not realize that high-protein diets may put them at risk for further deterioration. (9), (21)

The American Academy of Family Physicians notes that high animal protein intake is largely responsible for the high prevalence of kidney stones in the United States and other developed countries and recommends protein restriction for the prevention of recurrent kidney stones. (22) In part, this is because protein ingestion increases renal acid secretion and calcium resorption from bone and reduces renal calcium resorption. In addition, animal protein is a major dietary source of purines, the major precursors of uric acid, which is an important factor in some people who have a propensity to form kidney stones. When uric acid builds up, especially in an acid environment, it can precipitate in uric acid stone formers and decrease the solubility of calcium oxalate, a problem for calcium stone formers. (17), (22) This situation is aggravated when the diet is both high in protein and carbohydrate-restricted because ketone bodies compete with uric acid for renal tubular excretion such that uric acid levels can increase even further. (23)

Gout Reported by 5 percent of Registrants

Gout is an excruciating type of arthritis characterized by joint swelling and pain caused by the accumulation of uric acid crystals in the joint fluid. Uric acid is produced when the body uses proteins. Ketosis associated with a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet or fasting can precipitate an attack of gout. (16)

INDEX to PCRM Low Carb Health Problems Report


The PCRM Report:

Carbohydrates Definition
Carbohydrates Information
Complex Carbs Guide
Simple Carbs Guide
Starch/Starchy Carbohydrates
Sugars Carbohydrates
Carb Counting Guide
Facts About Carbohydrates
Diabetes, Carbs and Diet

Fiber in Diet
Dietary Fiber
Types of Fiber
Best Sources of Fiber
Benefits of Fiber
Daily Fiber Needs

Nutrition & Carbohydrate
Nutrition in Carbs
Minerals in Carbohydrates
Vitamins in Carbohydrates
Phytochemicals in Carbs

Carbs and Glycemic Index
Digestion of Carbs
Blood Glucose Levels
Glucose into Energy
What is Glycogen?
How is GI Measured?
What Affects Glycemic Value?
Glycemic Index Food Chart
Glycemic Index Food Pyramid
Glycemic Value of a Meal
GI Values in Carbohydrates
GI Value For Beans
GI Value For Bread
GI Value For Cereal
GI Value For Dairy Food
GI Value For Drinks
GI Value For Fruit
GI Value For Meat/Fish
GI Value For Nuts
GI Value For Snacks
GI Value For Starchy Carbs
GI Value For Sugar
GI Value For Vegetables
GI Value For Whole Grains

Carbohydrate in Foods
Atkins Diet Foods
Energy Bars
Flour/Baking Foods
Ice Cream
Milk, Cream,Yogurt

Carbs in Food cont/
Soy Food
Zone Diet Foods

Diet Recipes
GI Diet Recipes
Low Carb Recipes

Carb-Controlled Diets
Atkins Diet
South Beach Diet
Zone Diet
Low Carb Dieting
Benefits of Low Carb Diets
Low Carb Diets Health Risks
Ketosis - High Ketones in Blood
Gluconeogenesis Guide
Free Low Carb Diet Advice
Low Carb Weight Loss Diet

Diabetes, Insulin, Obesity
Diabetes Information
Hyperglycemia - High Blood Glucose
Hypoglycemia - Low Blood Glucose
Obesity Information
Diabesity, Diabetes and Obesity
Insulin Information
Insulin and Obesity
Types of Insulin
Hyperinsulimia - High Insulin Levels
Insulin Resistance Syndrome provides general information about different types of carbohydrate, like monosaccharides, disaccharides, oligosaccharides, polysaccharides, as well as nutritional value of carbohydrates, carb-content of foods, plus details of GI values of all food groups, plus advice about diabetes, impaired glucose tolerance and insulin resistance. But no information is intended as a substitute for medical advice. Copyright 2003-2021.