1. Health
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Discuss in my forum

Laura Dolson

Study Shows No Kidney Problems from Low-Carb Diets

By June 10, 2012

Follow me on:

kidneyFor years (but somewhat less so recently) there have been cries in the medical establishment that eating a reduced-carb diet "could be dangerous". They were afraid -- they were VERY afraid -- of the many horrible things that would happen to people who stopped consuming foods that were sources of lots of glucose (starches, which are almost all chains of glucose) and fructose (most of the sugars most people eat are about half glucose and half fructose). Almost everywhere you looked on the net, people (nutritionists, physicians, and others) were concerned that avoiding these high-sugar foods could cause dire consequences.

Although you don't see so much of that these days, one of the remaining fears about the potential dangers of low-carb diets is that kidney damage will result. Has there ever been one bit of research that indicates this? Well, no...but, the research had not been done! The notion has been that since people with some kinds of kidney damage do better on a low-protein diet, eating more protein will cause kidney damage. Never mind that a) low-carb diets aren't necessarily (or even usually) particularly high in protein (more like slightly higher, especially at first) and b) studies of diabetics followed over time showed no relationship between the amount of protein people were eating and their risk of the kind of kidney damage related to diabetes (in fact, physicians have noted reversals of this type of damage on low-carb diets).

Now there is a report of a study published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology which followed 300 healthy obese people for two years, half on a low-carb high-protein diet and half on a low-fat diet. Kidney functioning in both groups was fine, and stayed fine the whole time.

One after another, the fears about low-carb eating are being calmed.

Note: I've been trying to get my hands on the original study to no avail, so I don't know exactly how much protein, fat, or carbohydrate people were eating. Usually, I wouldn't write about a study without reading it, but this has been in quite a few TV and news outlets. For that reason, consider this blog a "blurb" rather than a full report from me.

Photo Medical Art Inc

Related Resources:
Forum | Facebook | Twitter | Newsletter & RSS
June 11, 2012 at 1:48 pm
(1) Frank says:

Just beside the beginning of the abstract, you will see Abstract Free and under that is Full Text and Full Text (PDF). It looks like clicking on either of those will take you to a login page where you can create your PAID ACCESS account.

Apparently, research results aren’t free. :-)

June 11, 2012 at 8:34 pm
(2) lowcarbdiets says:

Hi, Frank -

Usually researchers will send copies of the studies to media people — they want their research publicized, after all. For some reason, I never got a reply to my request. However, another health writer just sent me a copy and I look forward to reading it.

June 11, 2012 at 5:53 pm
(3) Lovingcritters says:

I’m 75, have Diabetes 2 have been on Low Carb for 3 years. Have lost 30 lbs. and my A1C is now down to 5.8. I just had my physical last week, and my Dr. is amazed. My kidneys show .04! She had to show the other Dr in the practice. She is absolutely amazed.
Hurry for Low Carb!!!!

June 12, 2012 at 1:54 am
(4) James says:

Had my regular diabetic check at the docs yesterday after going low carb for the last two months since the last one. My Doctor was astonished at the improvement in all my stats…”almost fraudulent” were the words used. So LC for life now. :-)

June 15, 2012 at 10:08 pm
(5) MuchTooTrusting says:

May I suggest the excellent up-to-date youtubevideo: “Enjoy eating your saturated fats they are good for you.” Donald Miller (cardiac surgeon)

June 19, 2012 at 2:53 pm
(6) Jackie Felix says:

For everyone really interested in the science, the article is available in this site: http://www.atkins.com/atkinsdotcom/media/Master/friedman-2012_1.pdf

May 16, 2013 at 7:55 am
(7) hosting says:

Dude.. I am not a great deal into reading, but somehow I got to study lots of articles on your weblog. Its amazing how interesting it is for me to visit you extremely often. -

June 9, 2013 at 7:40 pm
(8) John Chapa says:


Eating oatmeal causes problems to the kidneys?

Thank you,
May God bless you always!

April 7, 2014 at 11:00 am
(9) Mrs. Al says:

Thank you for your information on the low carb diet. I had read that keeping your kidneys “flushed” was not healthy. It’s been worrying me until I read your article. Thank you so much!

Leave a Comment

Line and paragraph breaks are automatic. Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title="">, <b>, <i>, <strike>

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.

We comply with the HONcode standard
for trustworthy health
information: verify here.