Is the Low Carb Diet Safe For My Kidneys?

What You Need to Know

  • The medical community is finding is that low carbohydrate eating is not causing any harm to people with normally healthy kidney function.
  • It is important when beginning any diet to have a physical to determine your overall health.
  • When you start a low-carb diet, drink plenty of water & add the recommended vitamins and supplements to help your success.

Christy DeBoerHello everyone; let me introduce myself. My name is Christy DeBoer, and I am a Registered Nurse. I have been a nurse for nine years, and during that time I have worked in a variety of specialty areas. I have worked in the mental health field, on medical units, surgical units, and, most recently, on critical care units.

Originally published 5/2/2000, Updated 09/19/2019.




My History & Success With the Low-Carb Diet

Why am I here telling you all of this? It’s simple. Two years ago I made an amazing discovery that changed my life. I discovered the Low Carb Way Of Life. I cannot tell you how much low carbing has changed my life, and not only in the area of weight loss.

I have lost over 70 pounds so far and I feel awesome. I still have a lot of weight to lose but have no doubts I will achieve my goals. I feel better then I have in several years. I am healthier, more confident, less moody, happier, and much more energetic. So much so that I am now engaged to be married.

In the past two years, I have been asked numerous questions about this way of life. Having a good medical background, I have helped many people battle problems they encounter with low carbing. I also have found that many people hear negative things about this diet that are just not true, and have been happy to be able to give them the facts about low carbing and it’s health benefits.

It is now my honor to bring that experience and knowledge to the members of the low carb community visiting this site. I have been asked to answer medical questions that people have that are related to low carb eating and their health. I am willing to help in any way that I can. If I am unsure of a particular question, I will research it and provide some guidance.

Hopefully, I can answer questions and help make this way of life easier for you, but In no way is my online advice to substitute good sound advice from a physician. No one knows you as well as your own physician.

I am very excited about being able to help in this way and appreciate CarbSmart for all that they are willing to do to help others rather them merely selling low carbohydrate products. CarbSmart has given me my own email address via their site, so if you have a medical question, just send an email to me at [email protected].

Question: Is eating this much protein and being in ketosis bad for my kidneys?

This is one of my favorite questions. When the high protein diets came along, some physicians were fearful that they would cause harm to the kidneys. This has not turned out to be the case, and rumors of people damaging their kidneys with a low carbohydrate style of eating are just that – rumors.

In reality, what the medical community is finding is that low carbohydrate eating is not causing any harm to people with normally healthy kidney function. I have only encountered one instance when a physician advised a patient to avoid low carbing because of their kidneys, and that patient had had a kidney transplant. Even then the physician did not say it would hurt their transplanted kidney, but that it might overwork it. This is not a concern for those of us with normal kidney function.

Visit Your Doctor Before You Start A Low-Carb Diet

Visit Your Doctor Before You Start A Low-Carb Diet

Photo by Online Marketing on Unsplash

It is important when beginning any diet to have a physical to determine your overall health. You should have your physician run blood tests to check your liver, kidney, and thyroid function as well as your levels of electrolytes, cholesterol, and triglycerides.

These tests are important to establish a baseline against which to judge your progress while losing weight as well as to rule out any medical problems which might react adversely to a low carbohydrate style of eating. After having the initial checks completed, it is important to follow up and have them rechecked in about 3 to 6 months. (I have been doing a low carbohydrate style of eating for two years now and have never had any adverse effects on my kidneys or liver.)

Drink Plenty of Water & Add Recommended Vitamins and Supplements

Why You Still Need To Drink Plenty Of Water

I advise people to drink plenty of water. A good rule of thumb is to drink a minimum 64 ounces of water every day, adding an additional 8 ounces for every 25 pounds you need to lose. The water you drink will flush the protein, ketones, and toxins that were stored in the fat you are losing through your kidneys without difficulties, and will also go a long way toward preventing constipation.

I have one last thought on the issues of kidneys and low carbohydrate dieting, and that is to make sure that you are getting adequate vitamins and supplements. A low carbohydrate diet is naturally diuretic, and one thing that will happen while you are in ketosis and losing weight is that you will lose water from your body. (This water loss accounts for the rapid weight loss in the induction phase of the diet.)

Please be careful, because increased water loss also causes an increased loss of sodium and potassium. I always recommend adding some vitamins and supplements. This will help you feel better and keep your body in balance. Do not shy away from salt; if you start craving salt, there is probably a reason.

In conclusion, when researching this article I could not find a single medical study or article that provided solid evidence that kidney function was adversely affected by low carbohydrate diets unless dysfunction already existed. There was a great deal of speculation, but not any concrete proof.

Please do not hesitate to email me with any other questions you may have. I will gladly answer them, and look forward to hearing from you.

Low Carb Diets & Kidney Health

Until next time,

Christy DeBoer R.N.

DISCLAIMER: The information contained on this website has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. It is not meant to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Individuals starting any diet plan or who are suffering from any disease or illness should consult with a physician or health care professional.

Check Also

Ketogenic Diets Effectively Lower Blood Pressure by Dana Carpender

High Blood Pressure and the Low Carbohydrate Diet

There are many things that happen to your body to cause your blood pressure to increase. I have been asking this question of physicians that I know, and the consensus is that they feel that obesity is a much greater risk factor than any diet. They would prefer that their patients lost the weight on a low carbohydrate diet and just monitored their blood pressure to make sure that it did not get dangerously high. There was also a general consensus that they actually saw their patients' blood pressures decrease when they followed a low carbohydrate regime.

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