Low carb diets, such as Atkins, which are popular for people who want to lose weight, have been found not to cause any noticeable harm to the kidneys, researchers from Indiana University School of Medicine reported in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology. The authors added that although their study detected no harmful effects on the kidneys, they say further follow-up studies are required to confirm this.

Allon Friedman, M.D. and team set out to determine what effects a high-protein low-carb versus a low-fat diet might have on the kidneys. They compared the two diets on a wide range of kidney-related measures.

The study involved 307 participants over a two year period. None of them had any kidney problems or diseases before the study began.

They found that a high-protein low-carb diet did not appear to have any harmful effects on kidney functions, neither were fluid and electrolyte balances affected.

Dr. Friedman said: “These results are relevant to the millions of healthy obese adults who use dieting as a weight loss strategy.”

In order to determine whether there might be any longer-term effects than the two years in this study, the authors said that further long-term studies are required. Further studies are also needed on patients with certain diseases and conditions, such as those at high risk of developing kidney stones, high blood pressure (hypertension), diabetes, and chronic kidney disease.

Atkins meal
Low-carb diets have become very popular. Some have wondered what effect they might have on the kidneys

In an Abstract in the same journal, the authors wrote:

“In healthy obese individuals, a low-carbohydrate high-protein weight-loss diet over 2 years was not associated with noticeably harmful effects on GFR, albuminuria, or fluid and electrolyte balance compared with a low-fat diet. Further follow-up is needed to determine even longer-term effects on kidney function.”

Written by Christian Nordqvist