Alright, every once in a while someone will ask me, “Is there a study proving low carb diets are safe for your kidneys? I’ve heard that they make your kidneys explode…”
Usually, my response is, “That’s why you have two of them.” After that, we usually enter into a discussion about what research can and cannot do, etc… and ultimately, discuss the fact that there’s no research that proves a low carb diet won’t make your kidneys explode after 10 years. There’s also no research that proves it won’t give you brain warts, spider legs, or a unibrow.
Well, it turns out that I’ll have to be slightly less smug from now on, as new research due to be published today (but as of yet, unavailable) in The Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology reports,
a low-carbohydrate high-protein weight loss diet did not cause noticeably harmful effects to patients’ kidney function or their fluid and electrolyte balance compared with a low-fat diet. “These results are relevant to the millions of healthy obese adults who use dieting as a weight loss strategy,” said Dr. Friedman. (source)
Unfortunately, all we have at the moment is the press release announcing the research. I’ll update this with a link to the actual paper once they make it available.
The research is now available, but it’s behind a paywall (boo!). Here’s the quote from the conclusions:
In healthy obese individuals, a low-carbohydrate high-protein weight-loss diet over 2 years was not associated with noticeably harmful effects on GFR, albuminuria, or fluid and electrolyte balance compared with a low-fat diet. Further follow-up is needed to determine even longer-term effects on kidney function.
- Do Low-Carb Diets Damage The Kidneys? Research Press Release
- Comparative Effects of Low-Carbohydrate High-Protein Versus Low-Fat Diets on the Kidney, July 2012, Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology. Paywall warning.