[ Back to EurekAlert! ] Public release date: 31-May-2012
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Contact: Tracy Hampton
thampton@nasw.org
312-339-9067
American Society of Nephrology

Do low-carb diets damage the kidneys?

Popular weight loss strategy OK for the kidneys of obese individuals without kidney disease

Highlights

Washington, DC (May 31, 2012) — Low-carbohydrate, high-protein diets—like the Atkins diet—have been popular among dieters for years. For just as long, experts have worried that such diets might be harmful to the kidneys. A study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (CJASN) looks into these safety concerns.

Allon Friedman, MD, (Indiana University School of Medicine) and his colleagues compared the effects of a low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet versus a standard low-fat diet on a variety of kidney-related measures in 307 obese individuals without kidney disease over a two year period.

The researchers found that a low-carbohydrate high-protein weight loss diet did not cause noticeably harmful effects to patients' kidney function or their fluid and electrolyte balance compared with a low-fat diet. "These results are relevant to the millions of healthy obese adults who use dieting as a weight loss strategy," said Dr. Friedman.

The authors noted that further follow-up is needed to determine even longer-term effects of the diet on the kidneys. Additional studies should also evaluate the effects of the diet in different types of individuals, such as those with chronic kidney disease, diabetes, or hypertension, and those at increased risk of developing kidney stones.

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Study co-authors include Lorraine Ogden, PhD, Gary Foster, PhD, Samuel Klein, MD, Richard Stein, PhD, Bernard Miller, MD, James Hill, PhD, Carrie Brill, Brooke Bailer, PhD, Diane Rosenbaum, and Holly Wyatt, MD.

An editorial will accompany the July 2012 print publication of this study.

Disclosures: The authors reported no financial disclosures.

The article, entitled "Comparative Effects of Low-Carbohydrate High-Protein Versus Low-Fat Diets on Kidney Function," will appear online at http://cjasn.asnjournals.org/ on May 31, 2012, doi: 10.2215/CJN.11741111.

The content of these articles does not reflect the views or opinions of The American Society of Nephrology (ASN). Responsibility for the information and views expressed therein lies entirely with the author(s). ASN does not offer medical advice. All content in ASN publications is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, drug interactions, or adverse effects. This content should not be used during a medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Please consult your doctor or other qualified health care provider if you have any questions about a medical condition, or before taking any drug, changing your diet or commencing or discontinuing any course of treatment. Do not ignore or delay obtaining professional medical advice because of information accessed through ASN. Call 911 or your doctor for all medical emergencies.

Founded in 1966, and with more than 13,500 members, the American Society of Nephrology (ASN) leads the fight against kidney disease by educating health professionals, sharing new knowledge, advancing research, and advocating the highest quality care for patients.



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