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Is The Keto Diet Bad For Kidneys

Keto Diet And Creatinine Levels

Is KETO Bad for Your KIDNEYS?? (Recent News Proves It?) 2022

Creatinine, a waste product that naturally occurs in the body, can build up over time with chronic kidney disease. So would a keto diet help creatinine levels?

There is noresearch at this time that focuses on the keto diet and creatinine levels in those with chronic kidney disease.

One study did measure the effect of creatinine clearance between a low-carb/high-protein vs. low-fat diet. The study, however, used obese adults without any serious medical conditions including kidney disease.

The result in that particular study found that healthy obese individuals had no harmful effects on GFR. But the study also wrapped up with the infamous line, Further follow-up is needed to determine even longer-term effects on kidney function.

Misconception : Ketones Overwork Kidneys As A Result Of Greater Acid In Urine

It is a myth that the nutritional state of ketosis can alter the pH of a persons urine. The myth states that the urine will go from a neutral state to an acidic state and as a result overwork the kidneys.

But this only occurs in a state of ketoacidosis, not during ketosis.

What is ketoacidosis? It is an issue that comes about as a result of very high blood sugar and ketone levels and happens mostly in folks affected by type 1 and 2 diabetes. The blood becomes excessively acidic and has a negative effect on the kidneys and liver.

It is more likely to happen in people battling type 1 diabetes because they cannot produce insulin.

Nutritional ketosis is not the same, as your ketone levels are at a normal number. While in ketosis, we have greater ketones in our blood than normal, but not so many that ketoacidosis happens.

Its all about staying in ketosis on the keto diet, definitely not ketoacidosis!

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Kidney Health And Ketogenic Dieting: Dont Worry

Many articles and so-called experts have done a good job of confusing the general population about the health of the keto diet.

But ketosis is normal. Ancient peoples used ketosis as a means of survival because the food was not as plentiful as it is today. The idea of eating three meals a day is relatively recent in terms of human existence.

We as humans have advanced to utilize ketones as a fuel source. Getting into keto will not harm the kidneys.

Actually, research suggests that ketones are better means of energy over glucose. Our brain and heart run more efficiently on ketones.

Remember, research tells us that a lower carbohydrate diet that is higher in protein does not affect renal function in a negative way in people with normal, healthy, functioning kidneys. Those with typical kidney function are able to take in large protein amounts with zero trouble.

Even for diabetics, who are at a greater risk of dysfunction of the kidneys, keto has its benefits.

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Your Period Can Be Affected By The Keto Diet

The keto diet affects every part of your body, including your hormones.

A 2003 study published in Epilepsia found that the keto diet is effective at treating epilepsy and causes menstrual dysfunction. This study, in particular, saw that the diet affected 45 percent of its female participants’ menstrual cycle. Another 2018 study published in the Journal of Obesity and Weight Loss Therapy found that the keto diet was responsible for hormonal disruptions in females.

Board-certified cardiologist and nutritionist Luiza Petre, MD, told Everyday Health that one of the main hormones affected by diets like keto and the resulting weight loss is estrogen. Estrogen is the hormone that ensures your menstrual cycle stays on track, but once you lose a lot of weight, your estrogen levels drop as well, resulting in an irregular or absent cycle.

A 2012 study published in Breast Cancer Research noted that weight loss due to calorie restriction and/or excessive exercise can lead to a drop in estrogen levels and, in turn, issues with your period. John Thoppil, MD, also cautions that lower estrogen levels can affect more than just your period you might experience other side effects like vaginal dryness. Another problematic side effect is an increased risk of bone loss. Along with that, your fertility can also be affected, so if getting pregnant is something you’re aiming for, the keto diet is not the route you want to take.

Myth #: The Ketogenic Diet Causes Kidney Stones

Is Keto Diet Bad For Kidneys?

Kidney stones form when a mass of crystals develop in your urinary tract. They are extremely painful and while the cause remains unknown, some people believe ketone production can exacerbate these symptoms.

The argument is that excessive high protein consumption requires your kidneys to work in overdrive and forces your body to excrete excess amounts of sodium, calcium and potassium. This loss of electrolytes may also lead to low blood pressure which may stress your kidneys even more.

However, research doesnt seem to justify this argument.

Take the keto quiz

One recent meta-analysis that measured the impact of low carb diet on renal function taking into account 1000 people from nine randomised controlled trials found that:

a low carbohydrate diet and the corresponding high-protein diet was not harmful for renal function in overweight and obese individuals without renal dysfunction.

Furthermore, it concluded that a low carb diet may even improve renal function thanks to its weight loss effects.

Following a proper keto diet plan with electrolyte supplementation will also help ensure that you dont come across these issues.

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The Possibility Of Low Blood Sugar Can Make Keto Risky For People With Diabetes

Carbohydrates help control blood sugar levels, which are of particular importance for people with diabetes. A study published in May 2018 in the journal Diabetic Medicine shows that while a keto diet may help control HbA1c levels , the diet may also cause episodes of hypoglycemia, which is a dangerous drop in blood sugar. Echoing many registered dietitians, the Lincoln, Nebraskabased sports dietitian Angie Asche, RD, says she is hesitant to recommend a ketogenic diet for individuals with type 1 diabetes.

The same goes for people with type 2 diabetes. While some preliminary research suggests the keto diet may be safe and effective for certain people with type 2 diabetes, theres still the risk for low blood sugar, especially for those on insulin, and the keto diet omits certain food groups known to benefit those with this disease. For example, a study published in September 2016 in the journal Nutrients highlights the importance of whole grains for helping to control weight as well as episodes of high blood sugar. Whole grains are off-limits on the ketogenic diet.

The best course of action is to proceed with caution and consult a professional before diving in. If you have a medical condition or are on medications, you should always consult with your doctor before beginning a ketogenic diet, Asche says.

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Diabetic Nephropathy Can Be Reversed

Abbreviated as DN, diabetic nephropathy comes about as a product of kidney damage thanks to diabetes. The glomeruli, or tiny units inside ones kidney in which filtration of blood takes place, get damaged, which leads to the condition.

A study suggests that a ketogenic diet that is carefully formulated could actually reverse DN.

But why is this? There are two reasons

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Not Enough Calcium On Keto Diets

Can Keto (Ketogenic Diet) Reverse Kidney Disease?

Although cheese is typically allowed on a keto diet, milk and yogurt are not. Eating calcium rich foods is key to kidney stone prevention and bone health. One study found a 50% reduced risk of kidney stones with adequate calcium intake in people with a history of kidney stones.

Calcium reduces the amount of oxalate absorbed from your food. It is difficult to get enough calcium on a keto diet. This may be another reason for the keto kidney stone connection.

Note: Calcium supplements are not ideal and can increase the risk of kidney stones, whereas calcium rich foods reduce risk.

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Ketogenic Diet Causing Kidney Problems Myths Busted

Although in certain contexts it has been suggested that ketogenic diet may lead to renal dysfunction, dedicated research has revealed the weight loss phenomenon which is triggered off by this form of diet has proven to be rather beneficial for the health of the kidneys. Moreover as suggested in a number of contexts ketosis causes a change in the Ph balance of your urine is again not correct. The pH of the urine gets affected due to ketoacidosis and not ketosis. These two are different conditions. Ketoacidosis is a condition that occurs mostly in people suffering from type 1 and 2 diabetes. This condition makes the blood really acidic that adversely affects the kidneys and also the liver. Ketoacidosis is a condition which occurs when the body is unable to produce the required amounts of insulin. In the process of ketosis, the level of ketones in the blood remains within the normal range and does not lead to any damage.

The process of ketosis is quite a normal one and occurs quite naturally to people who do not have access to carbohydrate-rich meals all around the day. Research has proven the fact that the human brain and heart can function better with ketones for energy instead of glucose. Hence, even if you have renal problems keto diet will not affect you adversely.

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Keto Diet Could Hasten Kidney Failure Says New Research

Research suggests that the keto diet may not be that beneficial for health, obtaining only short-term weight outcomes, and is not more effective then other diets.

How beneficial is the keto diet in reality?

A review in Frontiers in Nutrition has claimed that keto diets place pregnant women and kidney disease patients at risk of adverse health effects, and found that for most people, the possible long-term risks including heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimers disease outweigh its possible benefits.

Lead review author Lee Crosby nutrition education program manager at Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, described the keto diet as, a disease-promoting disaster.

Loading up on red meat,processed meat, and saturated fat and restricting carbohydrate-rich vegetables, fruits, legumes, and whole grains is a recipe for bad health, he explained.

The review claims that higher-protein levels caused by the keto diet could hasten kidney failure in those with kidney disease, as well as raise bad cholesterol levels.

The term ketogenic diet generally refers to a diet that consists of low carbohydrates, is modest in protein, and high in fat, aimed to induce ketosis.

Keto diets have not only been promoted for weight loss, but though less common for other health reasons, such as seizure disorders, all of which were considered in the review.

Your Period On Keto Might Undergo Some Changes

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Periods may become irregular or completely stop on the keto diet, says Yawitz. This is more due to rapid weight loss than the diet itself and happens because of drops in gonadotropin-releasing hormone, follicle-stimulating hormone, luteinizing hormone, estrogen, and progesterone.

Long-term disruption of menstruation can bring on serious side effects, including low bone density. This is because estrogen is very important to bone health, says Yawitz. Studies have also found prolonged menstrual irregularity to increase risk for cardiovascular disease, depression, anxiety, and sexual dysfunction. Its important to contact your ob-gyn if your cycles become irregular or if you stop having periods.

But wait, theres one loophole. Have polycystic ovary syndrome ? Then the keto diet may help regulate your periods. Women with PCOS have high insulin levels, which cause sex hormone imbalances, notes Yawitz. In a small study published in the journal Nutrition & Metabolism, subjects with PCOS following a ketogenic diet for six months noted improvements in their menstrual cycles and a small number of women became pregnant, overcoming previous infertility obstacles. This study was very small, so we cant make recommendations for all women with PCOS based on its findings, says Yawitz. And really, any diet that leads to weight loss should help in PCOS.

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How Does The Keto Diet Work

Here are the basics of keto: The diet aims to force your body into using a different type of fuel. Instead of relying on sugar that comes from carbohydrates , the keto diet relies on ketone bodies, a type of fuel that the liver produces from stored fat.

Burning fat seems like an ideal way to lose pounds. But getting the liver to make ketone bodies is tricky:

  • It requires that you deprive yourself of carbohydrates, fewer than 20 to 50 grams of carbs per day .
  • It typically takes a few days to reach a state of ketosis.
  • Eating too much protein can interfere with ketosis.

Myth #: Ketones Overwork Your Kidneys Due To Increased Urine Acidity

Theres a common misconception that nutritional ketosis can change the pH of your urine from neutral to acidic and therefore overwork your kidneys.

However, this only happens during ketoacidosis, not ketosis.

Ketoacidosis is a complication that results from dangerously high levels of ketonesand blood sugar, most commonly in people with type I and II diabetes. This combination makes blood too acidic and negatively affects the liver and kidneys.

Ketoacidosis is most likely to occur in people with type 1 diabetes, who cant produce any insulin.

Nutritional ketosis, on the other hand, is different because the level of ketones is in a normal range. When youre in ketosis, you have more ketones in your blood than usual, but not enough to cause ketoacidosis.

The ketogenic diet is all about being in ketosis, not ketoacidosis.

Now that weve debunked those two myths, lets look at why the ketogenic is actually beneficial for your kidneys.

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May Damage Bone Health

The keto diet is also associated with impaired bone health.

Several studies in animals link the keto diet to decreased bone strength, likely due to losses in bone mineral density, which may occur as your body adapts to ketosis .

In fact, a 6-month study in 29 children with epilepsy on the keto diet discovered that 68% had a lower bone mineral density score after going on the diet .

Another study in 30 elite walkers determined that those who followed keto for 3.5 weeks had significantly higher levels of blood markers for bone breakdown, compared with those who ate a diet higher in carbs .

All the same, more extensive research is warranted.


The keto diet may reduce your bone mineral density and trigger bone breakdown over time, though further studies are needed.

The Keto Diet May Be More Dangerous Than You Thought

The Keto Diet and Kidney Function | A Kidney Doctor Explains | The Cooking Doc®

Never has there been a hotter debate than the one over the keto diet. Also known as the ketogenic or low-carb diet, this weight loss wonder has taken the world by storm. However, this diet was never intended for the average person when it was created. Rachel Kleinman, RDN, LDN, told UChicago Medicine that keto was initially utilized to help treat epilepsy in children.

The keto diet leads to weight loss because it tricks your body into ketosis a state in which it starts burning fat for energy instead of carbohydrates. While this might sound like a miracle fix, dieticians warn that all is not what it seems. Registered dietician Kathy McManus told Harvard Health that keto’s short-term results have been studied, but they have no idea if the diet works in the long term or if it’s even safe. Since foods high in carbohydrates are a no-no, most fruits and vegetables aren’t allowed on this diet, while foods high in saturated fat are often encouraged. The diet is also hard to maintain because it’s so restrictive, and according to McManus, you’ll likely regain all the weight you lost once you switch back to a normal diet.

From the various health risks associated with keto to the dangers it can pose if you already suffer from a chronic disease, here’s why the keto diet may be more dangerous than you thought.

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