While some studies indicate that kidney damage may be possible due to the large amount of protein and fats ingested, most research shows that there is no correlation between the keto diet and kidney damage in people with normally functioning kidneys. It is true that too much protein causes the kidneys to work harder; however, the goal of keto is not mass amounts of protein but instead, keeping carbohydrate intake as low as possible.
How it works
The ketogenic diet revolves around effectively removing carbohydrates, the main resource for building fat stores, in the diet to shift the body’s energy source to fat. If done correctly, insulin production will stay consistently normal, which will help with the breakdown of fats as the new energy source. If you’re worried about muscle breaking down, studies have shown that the keto diet effectively burns fat for energy without the loss of muscle tissue.
Low carbohydrate and high protein are often a concern for kidney failure and kidney stones. One thing to note is, the cause of these problems more associated with the amount of protein. High protein intake can cause kidney problems. The more protein taken in, the harder the kidneys must work to excrete protein waste and byproducts; however, in an effective keto diet, protein intake is not actually considered that high. Anecdotal account list the 80/20 rule as an effective keto diet and best facilitates weight loss without risking kidney health. 80% of calories are taken in as fat, while 20% of the calories are taken as protein. These are not exact percentages and are adjustable up to 70/30.
Symptoms of kidney problems
One of the main signs and symptoms you can get from developing kidney problems, is the formation of kidney stones. Kidney stones are the result of the kidneys having nowhere to filter the excess sodium, calcium and potassium created from the kidneys processing protein. These excess substances build up and begin to crystallize and harden to form a kidney stones. The best way to avoid this is to be sure you’re not eating too much protein to begin with. Drinking more water and taking a kidney health supplement like Stone Breaker also helps prevent damage by supporting both kidney and gallbladder health (source). Before beginning the keto diet, always consult your physician to make sure it’s right for you, and to discuss the concerns you may have with it.