Low-Carb High Protein Diets Strain Kidneys & Leak Calcium
Low-carb high-protein diets can increase the risk of kidney stones and reduce the body's ability to absorb calcium after just 6 weeks, according to a report in the American Journal of Kidney Diseases.
Their findings come at a time when an increasing number of Americans, seduced by anecdotal accounts of fast weight loss, are turning to low-carbohydrate, high-protein (LCHP) diets.
But while LCHP diets have been shown to get the pounds off in the near term, these diets are less successful over the long run and may even be hazardous to health.
Protein-rich foods can be high in fat, which increases the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. A lack of carbohydrate-rich foods such as fruits and vegetables can leave the body hungry for essential vitamins and minerals, while insufficient glucose (sugar) from carbs, the body's preferred fuel source, can cause fatigue and dizziness.
And according to the new study, 6 weeks on an LCHP diet increased the acid load to the kidneys, raising the risk of kidney stones.
At the same time, adults in the study had higher levels of calcium in their urine, suggesting a decreased absorption of the bone-building mineral and an increased risk of osteoporosis.
While it is not clear from the study whether bone mass was affected, the findings indicate that such diets may increase the risk of bone loss over the long term.
SOURCE: American Journal of Kidney Diseases 2002
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